Friday, August 1, 2008

The Mystery Of The Anthrax Suspect

Kevin Drum has a little piece up about a new development in the anthrax murders, and here are my thoughts in response:

As to why the suspect may have been warned about the impending criminal charges-- warning the defendant is not unheard of. For some reason the FBI or prosecutor's office probably didn't consider him someone who they had to worry about trying to flee prosecution. Or maybe the evidence wasn't quite as strong as the prosecutor would have liked to indict, but they thought that letting him know that he was a target in the investigation might provoke him into making some kind of a mistake that turned up more evidence- especially if they already had enough evidence to justify putting him under some kind of surveillance.

Anyway-- why haven't we heard about this yet? Just because he was the right guy and the FBI didn't manage to get him? Bad PR? That's lame. We need to be able to make things like the FBI better, not just be led around by the nose by them. Guys like the FBI aren't the smartest guys in the world, and they shouldn't be able to hold themselves above public scrutiny. They're the only thing we've got to protect us against a lot of dangers.

I'd bet that the prosecutor had enough evidence to indict, but he wanted more stuff to confront the suspect with during an interrogation and / or to make the case more air-tight for trial.

They made a decision that if they told the guy they were after him, it would be more likely that he would do things that confirmed or dispelled their suspicions about him than that he would successfully conceal or destroy evidence before they were aware of it, or that he would successfully flee.

Or maybe this cover-up came from politically-minded conservatives within the FBI or the Bush administration, and maybe they just wanted to let the public think that maybe Saddam was responsible until it didn't matter anymore.