I’m From A Government Lab, And I’m Here To Help You
By Felix Bronstein
March 5, 2015
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Among other things, FBI’s handling of evidence in such cases as the Oklahoma City and the 1993 World Trade Center bombings was criticized. The investigation came about as a result of a whistleblower, Frederic Whitehurst, Supervisory Special Agent in the FBI Crime Lab. In 2003, an investigation by the Associated Press showed that “the FBI lab, which reformed itself after a mid-1990s scandal over bad science, is grappling with new problems that have opened its work on lead bullets and DNA analysis to challenges … .” The IG began an investigation, which eventually broadened to the FBI’s DNA analysis unit. In May of 2003, a man who spent 10 years in prison had his conviction overturned “because an FBI scientific expert gave inaccurate testimony and withheld evidence.” In the summer of 2003, the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility began investigating its crime lab’s chief of scientific analysis, Steven Burmeister, regarding his conduct in the Oklahoma City bombing case. Burmeister initially claimed that the crime lab mishandled evidence, but then retracted that statement, allegedly under pressure. In July of 2014, it was revealed that the task force the Department of Justice created in 1996 to identify cases involving “fabricating evidence and reaching conclusions unsupported by science” and other mishandling by the FBI acted very slowly. A number of defendants were never informed that their convictions were based on such evidence, and at least 3 death row inmates were executed before they could be informed of this. “Nearly every criminal case reviewed … as part of [an] investigation started in 2012 of problems at the FBI lab has included flawed forensic testimony from the agency.” The FBI then stopped the review of its hair and fiber analysis unit until the July 2014 report came out.
In November of 2014, charges against several defendants were dismissed and prison sentences were vacated as a result of an FBI agent allegedly “tampering with drug and gun evidence.” In December of 2014, an audit revealed that “F.B.I. agents in every region of the country have mishandled, mislabeled and lost evidence.” Also in December, a General Accounting Office inquiry found that the “FBI’s genetic tests didn’t nail anthrax killer.” This corroborated prior investigations that found problems with how the FBI and its lab concluded that Bruce Ivins was the Amerithrax killer.
Perhaps the next time someone states that we must always only look to the federal government when truly important matters of science, safety, objectivity, justice, national security and transparency are concerned, one may take a pause, and consider these (and other similar) cases.
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I have long ranted that the Gooferment is immoral, ineffective, and inefficient.
Here’s another example.
How do we shut this stuff down?
Does anyone believe anything that comes from them?
I used to.
But, they have lost ALL credibility.
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