The cover story in the May 26th U.S. News & World Report is a puff piece about FBI director Robert Mueller “changing the FBI” for the better. Tell that to FBI whistleblower Jane Turner, who is being fired for pursuing evidence that some of her FBI colleagues stole a Tiffany crystal globe from the ruins of the World Trade Center. Turner told Lisa Meyers of NBC News she was amazed to learn that members of the FBI’s elite Evidence Response Team may have committed the very crime she was investigating. But the U.S. News story by Chitra Ragavan doesn’t mention that. Instead, Mueller’s “friends and colleagues” are reported to believe that Mueller is “the right man for the job.”
This pitiful excuse for a story also ignores the FBI persecution of Dr. Steven Hatfill in the anthrax letters case. The FBI doesn’t have a shred of physical evidence against him, but has driven him out of two prestigious jobs because Attorney General Ashcroft considers Hatfill a “person of interest” in the anthrax case. The FBI claims to have fished a piece of lab equipment out of a pond that some news reports tried to link to Hatfill but won’t produce a picture of it. Some think it’s a plastic minnow trap.
The FBI continues to keep Hatfill under surveillance and an FBI driver recently followed Hatfill as he went to buy some paint and ran over his foot. Hatfill was given a ticket by D.C. police for walking over to the FBI car and trying to take a picture of his tormentor. Hatfill spokesman Pat Clawson says the FBI is trying to provoke Hatfill so they can arrest him on some flimsy charge and claim they were right about him all along.
Chitra Ragavan has kind words for retiring FBI official Van Harp, who is leading the persecution of Hatfill. Ironically, Harp is quoted as saying that FBI agents pursuing critical investigations “can’t take any information or source for granted.” Yet the FBI has simply dismissed evidence that some of the 9/11 hijackers were exposed to anthrax. A new tape purporting to be from Ayman al-Zawahiri, the top aide to Osama bin Laden, warns of more terrorist attacks. He is the head of al Qaeda’s biological weapons program and may have been behind the anthrax letter attacks.
Ragavan’s second article is another puff piece about Mueller that ends by quoting his praise for the “culture” of the FBI. That’s fascinating because the culture of the FBI has been on display in an on-going scandal involving bureau payments to mobsters who killed people. False FBI testimony kept an innocent man in jail for 30 years in this scandal.
Speaking of the FBI culture, Ragavan does mention that FBI headquarters failed to approve a request by FBI agents for a wiretap on Zacarias Moussaoui, the alleged 20th hijacker. Such a wiretap could have uncovered the 9/11 plot, saving nearly 3000 lives. But Ragavan also quotes Nancy Savage of the FBI Agents Association as praising Mueller. When FBI agent Colleen Rowley, who blew the whistle on the bureau’s failure in the Moussaoui case, went public again, warning that the FBI wasn’t prepared for the terrorist threat, Savage publicly attacked her.