Saturday, March 13, 2004

Just help yourself--no one's looking 

Maybe you thought those 9-11 ads were in poor taste? Read THIS:

AP: Rumsfeld, FBI official kept 9/11 items

By John Solomon

March 13, 2004 | WASHINGTON -- The removal of souvenir debris from the scenes of the Sept. 11 attacks reached the highest levels of government, including Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and FBI Director Robert Mueller's chief of anti-terrorism, a Justice Department investigation has found.

The practice was so widespread inside the FBI that it even forced prosecutors in Minnesota to drop plans to prosecute a company that had taken a fire truck door from the World Trade Center, according to a still-confidential report obtained by The Associated Press.

The report said the Justice Department inspector general confirmed that Rumsfeld "has a piece of the airplane that flew into the Pentagon" inside his Defense Department office.

Chief Pentagon spokesman Lawrence Di Rita said Friday night that Rumsfeld has a shard of metal from the jetliner that struck the Pentagon on a table in his office and shows it to people as a reminder of the tragedy Pentagon workers shared on Sept. 11, 2001.

"He doesn't consider it his own," Di Rita said. "We are mindful of the fact that if somebody has an evidentiary requirement to have this shard of metal, we will provide it to them."

Asked whether Rumsfeld's possession of the shard was similar to FBI agents who have been criticized for taking mementos from the World Trade Center, Di Rita said: "It was never that kind of thing. ... It seemed perfectly appropriate."

The Justice Department investigation also collected testimony that Pasquale D'Amuro, Mueller's executive assistant director for terrorism until last summer, asked a supervisory agent to "obtain a half dozen items from the WTC debris."

D'Amuro told investigators that he asked for pieces of the building for himself and possibly others who worked the investigation "as a memento." He added he was aware that agents had taken such items from other terrorist crime scenes over the years.

D'Amuro left FBI headquarters last July to become an assistant director in charge of the New York office. Joe Valiquette, a spokesman for the New York FBI office, declined comment Friday.

The report also divulged that the FBI supervisor for evidence recovery at the landfill where World Trade Center debris was taken failed a lie detector test and that agents' removal of items like a Tiffany crystal globe gutted a criminal case the bureau was building against a Minnesota contractor that had taken a fire truck door from the same rubble.

Prosecutors told the FBI they "might not indict the crime regarding the fire truck door due to government misconduct involving the Tiffany globe," the report said.

Surviving family members were disappointed by the news.

"Unbelievable," said William Doyle, whose son was killed in the World Trade Center.

"Everybody has things that they probably should not have from the World Trade Center site," added Sally Regenhard, whose firefighter son died in the towers.

The Justice Department's report has not been officially released, but heavily deleted versions of the report began circulating around Washington last month showing 13 FBI agents had taken rubble, debris and items such as flags and a Tiffany crystal globe paperweight.

The bureau announced it was banning agents from taking items from crimes scenes, but no agents were being charged with crimes because the bureau did not have such a policy during the Sept. 11 investigation.

A lawyer for retired agent Jane Turner, who blew the whistle on the FBI's removal of souvenir debris, said agents should have been charged.

The amount of theft from Ground Zero by federal officials is shocking," attorney Stephen M. Kohn said. "Every federal employee who stole or converted property from that crime scene must be held fully accountable under the law."

The full report obtained by the AP divulges some senior FBI managers were among those cited for having authorized or asked for mementos.

Besides D'Amuro, the report said the now-retired head of the New York FBI office, Barry Mawn, asked for and received an American flag and a piece of marble from the debris. And the agent in charge of FBI in Knoxville, Tenn., Joe Clark, requested and received a 100-pound piece of steel to display in an exhibit dealing with hate crimes, the report said.

The report stated FBI agents who worked in New York repeatedly expressed their disgust that visiting colleagues and supervisors would "want to take items, including pieces of the building which were contaminated with blood and human body parts."

The report disclosed that among the items taken, agents had cut World Trade Center security patches from the sleeves of shirt pieces found in the rubble.

"It was a ghoulish prospect that anyone would want things from a crime scene where people have died," one agent was quoted as telling investigators.

Two senior FBI lawyers from New York told investigators they were never consulted by FBI managers about the propriety of taking items, and would have objected.

The FBI New York office's ethics officer, Steven Carolotto, "emphatically stated FBI agents could not profit from working any location" and the "calamity of the event was inconsistent with the taking of items for personal use."

Investigators also stated the agent who ran the recovery effort at the landfill, Richard Marx of Philadelphia, gave "inconsistent" answers during the investigation after several colleagues claimed he had given them permission to take items. Marx failed a polygraph last summer, the report said.

I guess this means that 9-11 really DID change everything.

Looting and helping themselves to World Trade Center security patches from the sleeves of dead security officers? Oh, my fucking GOD...

And Rumsfeld as a role model...that should explain everything right there.


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