For those of you new to this blog, this is part of a series about revealed conspiracies. You may want to start at the beginning .
There are instances where people in charge of accumulating information and data fudge the numbers or outright lie. This is one snippet of information where the conspiracy theorists are correct. There are people in the position of collecting information feel that the possible rewards for lying about said information outweighs the cost of getting caught. As a chemist, I do not understand this mentality, but I do accept the empirical fact that it does happen. It happens in science more often than I would like, and with government officials of all political persuasions.
In the FBI, this concept has been amplified in the past. Dr. Frederic Whitehurst, who was a special agent of the FBI for 12 years, became a whistle-blower in 1998 for the concept that the FBI Crime Labs have a culture of intentionally biasing evidence for the prosecution. This comes on the tail end of the O.J. Simpson Murder Trial, where Simpsons lawyer Johnnie Cochran told the court three years earlier that the FBI is fudging the science and they have a person in the FBI who could prove it.
But these charges were dropped after Whitehurst was demoted and eventually was let go from the Bureau. While Dr. Whitehurst did bring this concept to public light, no real investigation was done on the matter and no real evidence was brought forth. The matter was merely dropped with no explanation.
So the conspiracy was pushed back into the darkness. Years passed before it was brought back to light by the Washington Post in 2012. They came forward with evidence to support the wistle-blowers claims, and a formal investigation finally revealed the extent of the forensic assistance to prosecutors. By the time this came out, 14 people who were put on death row in cases where the FBI knowingly presented flawed science “were executed or killed in prison” . The rubish science behind these cases were performed by 26 of the 28 members of the FBI’s Elite Forensics Team . At least the FBI is publicly admitting it now. It would have been very nice indeed if they didn’t do this piss poor work in executing their jobs to begin with.
So why did the FBI fabricate data? Why did they want to increase guilty verdicts so badly? No one knows for certain.
Which goes to show how important forensic science is in the court of law, and how easily it can go awry. So what is the solution to this problem? The best bet is to have multiple organizations do forensic analysis on any given case. Yes, have the FBI continue doing forensic analysis, but also have city, county, and state forensic labs work on the case. If money allows for it, also bring in private forensic labs into the mix, not as a replacement, but rather as an additional assessment. The more, the merrier.
The biasing of reports was beyond the realm of explosives, the division which Dr. Whitehurst worked. Yes, there was bias in the realm of explosives — the 1993 WTC bombings and 1995 Oklahoma City Bombing being the two most well known cases — but there are other cases, including the conviction of Donald E. Gates (falsely charged with rape and murder), Santae A. Tribble (falsely charged with murder), and Kirk L. Odom (falsely charged with rape) based on faulty hair analysis.
The question that come to mind are about when this began and how many people in the agency are involved in this particular conspiracy. The first known instance of the FBI using it’s labs to persuade federal cases is the aforementioned Tribble case, which closed in 1978. So that’s 34 years from the first case until the time the investigation revealed it to the public, involving 26 people.
For those of you keeping track , this means that the per-person-per-year probability of the conspiracy being revealed is 9.992E-4, which is the highest to date by two orders of magnitude. This brings the running average runs up to 2.005E-4. This does bring the standard deviation up to 3.945E-4, which makes this probably a statistical anomoly. After everything is input, I’ll check if it is.
So until next time, take that as you will.
K. “Alan” Eister Δαβ
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