Records show FBI practice of hiding evidence in secret databases.
The words above appeared as the headline of Dennis Romboy’s article published Friday evening in the Deseret News, Utah’s largest daily newspaper. When you read the article below the headline, however, you discover that the federal court case from which that ominous headline emerged is the same one about which I reported two days ago in my post, Federal Judge Orders FBI to Answer Questions About Missing Oklahoma City Bombing Videotapes.
Not content with the basics I was able to report on the case based on email conversations with Jesse Trentadue Wednesday, I pressed the Utah attorney to provide me with more documents about the case, and he gladly obliged. To say that I was shocked by what I received would be an understatement about what took place in the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah, Central Division.
In the order issued May 11 after a two-hour afternoon hearing in the case Jesse Trentadue v. United States Central Intelligence Agency et al, Judge Clark Waddoups ordered the defendants — a group that includes only the CIA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation — to provide additional responses to the court addressing several matters. Excerpts from the order appear below (minus footnotes and annotations that can be seen by viewing the order) followed by my comments:
(1) In the case of Islamic Shura Council of Southern California v. Federal Bureau of Investigation, No. SACV07-1088-CJC, 2011 WL 1576476 (S.D.Cal. April 27, 2011), the court found the government, and Mr. Hardy specifically, to have provided false and misleading information to the court through sworn statements. Id. at *4. When the deception was revealed, the Government argued that it had authority to mislead the court and requested an opportunity to brief the issue. Id. Ultimately, the court rejected the contention and held that the “Government’s duty of honesty to the Court can never be excused, no matter what the circumstances.” Id. at 9. In light of the Islamic Shura Council, Defendants are to affirm whether in this case Mr. Hardy or any of its affiants has misrepresented information or provided incomplete or otherwise misleading information to the court under an asserted right to protect the interests of the United States. [Comment #1: It's not a small thing for Judge Waddoups to point out that FBI Information Director Hardy provided false and misleading information to a court through sworn statements.]
(2) Defendants shall provide further evidence addressing whether the I-Drive and S-Drive identified by counsel for Defendants have been search in response to Plaintiff’s FOIA requests. If such drives have not been searched, Defendants shall explain why such a search would not be reasonably calculated to locate the requested video tapes and other materials. [Comment #2: Make no mistake about the importance of this item. On March 2, 2004, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers made sure its members knew about the I-Drives in a post on its website . Now, they're hiding stuff in S-Drives. When I asked Trentadue where else they might be hiding evidence, he replied, "Well, hell, there are 26 letters in the alphabet!"]
(3) Defendants shall address specifically whether or not the Evidence Control Centers (or other locations commonly referred to as ECC) located at Headquarters, Oklahoma City, and the FBI Crime Lab were searched manually. If not, Defendants must explain why there is no reasonable likelihood that the requested files would be located in any of those locations. [Comment #3: Whether or not the FBI says they searched the locations in question, the bureau's explanation for not finding the missing videotapes -- and I'm assuming they won't admit to finding them -- ought to be interesting to say the least.]
(4) Defendants shall either manually search the physical files located at the Evidence Control Centers located at Headquarters, Oklahoma City, and the FBI Crime Lab for the requested videos and other materials that were collected during the first 14 days following the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, 1995 or provide evidence as to why such a search is so burdensome as not to be required. [Comment #4: Again, the opportunity for another interesting explanation presents itself.]
(5) Defendants shall submit a further declaration or affidavit from Mr. Hardy stating he does not know of either the existence or the likely locations of the requested video tapes. He is likewise to state that he is otherwise unaware of anyone else that may know of the existence or likely locations of the videotapes at issue. If he cannot affirm so truthfully, Defendants will submit an affidavit explaining such to the court. [Comment #5: I wouldn't want to be in Hardy's shoes as it appears that, thanks to Judge Waddoups, he might be in a no-win situation.]
For more background, read my previous reports about the Oklahoma City Bombing.
UPDATE 6/16/2011 at 2:16 p.m. Central: With two weeks remaining until the deadline passes for the FBI to respond to Judge Waddoups, Jesse Trentadue gave an audio interview to James Corbett of The Corbett Report. To listen to the interview, click here.
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