Holding the FBI Accountable


(Richard Barboza)

Holding the FBI Accountable

All law enforcement should be held to the same standard of accountability when mistakes are made—including the FBI.

Remember when Gary Lee Sampson called the FBI from a pay phone in Abington to turn himself in for a slew of bank robberies in 2001? He waited several hours to be arrested. And no one showed up.

The next day he went on a killing spree. Now he’s on death row and three men are dead.

Remember when the FBI intercepted communications between Major Nidal Hassan and Al Qaeder leader Anwar Al-Awalki while Nidal was working as an Army psychologist?

But nothing happened. On November 5, 2009 Nidal went to work at his base in Fort Hood, Texas where he executed 13 soldiers and wounded another 30.

Americans trust

Or that time the FBI and the CIA got warnings about the Tamerlan Tsarnaev in 2011 that he was communicating with dangerous radicals in Dagestan? Tsarnaev was on two terror watch lists when he went to Dagestan in the months before the Boston Marathon bombings to talk to those radicals in person.

When Tsarnaev “beat feet” as one Congressman described it out of Russia in July 2012 no one stopped him from reentry into the US via Boston despite the terror listings. Within weeks the FBI told immigration officials that they saw no problem that should prevent Tsarnaev from being naturalized [despite a 2009 arrest for slapping his then girlfriend that made him ineligible]. Tamerlan and his brother, Dzhokhar, who was a citizen, unleashed the Boston Marathon attack four months later, killing four people, wounding 260 others, among the critically injured 17 amputees.

Peter Strzok

As Omar Mateen opened fire at the Pulse nightclub he gave his “homeboy” Tamerlan Tsarnaev a “shout out” in a call to a Florida dispatcher. He had been under FBI surveillance twice and a gun store owner had called the FBI about the startling amount of ammo he purchased weeks before the June 2016 slaughter of 49 people. Despite those warnings, the club became a bloodbath and it was the responding officers who were questioned about THEIR response.

Then there was Esteban Santiago who walked into a FBI field office in Alaska making erratic statements about ISIS in Nov. 2016. He got on a plane with a gun in his checked luggage and opened fire the following year, killing 5 and wounding 8.

The FBI does amazing work everyday – the current MS13 federal prosecutions, the largest number of the deadly gang members facing trials in the nation, are a fantastic example of their dedication – but when mistakes along the mahogany rows of the FBI lead to bloodshed there needs to be accountability, like the punishments doled out to rank and file law enforcement who make mistakes on the job.

Michele McPhee is a best selling true crime author; three-time Emmy-nominated television investigative producer in Boston for ABC News Brian Ross Investigative Unit; award-winning columnist; magazine contributor. 


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Michele McPhee

Michele McPhee is a best selling true crime author; three-time Emmy-nominated television investigative producer in Boston for ABC News Brian Ross Investigative Unit; award-winning columnist; magazine contributor. McPhee spent more than three years investigating the Boston Marathon attacks and that work is contained in her new book Maximum Harm, the Tsarnaev Brothers, the FBI, and the Road to the Marathon Bombing. She has also written five other true crime titles: A Professor's Rage; A Date Date With Death; Heartless – The True Story of Neil Entwistle and the Brutal Murder of His Wife and Baby; When Evil Rules; and A Mob Story. She lives in Jeffries Point, East Boston and isn’t leaving. Her book A Date With Death was adapted by Sony Pictures for the Lifetime TV movie the//craigslist.killer that aired in January 2011 http://www.mylifetime.com/movies/the-craigslist-killer/interview/date-with-death-author-michele-mcphee. She was also a story consultant for Sony Pictures Lifetime TV movie based on the Clark Rockefeller case “Who is Clark Rockefeller?” that aired on March 13, 2010. http://www.mylifetime.com/movies/who-is-clark-rockefeller. A Mob Story is in development as a feature film titled “UnMade Man” http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/448886/Unmade-Man/overview. McPhee was the Police Bureau Chief for the New York Daily News, the paper where she covered murder, mayhem and the Mafia for nearly ten years. She was at Ground Zero on September 11, 2001 – the terrible morning when 23 NYPD officers, 37 Port Authority police officers, and 343 FDNY members were slain. She was the recipient of the 2002 New York Society of the Silurian’s Feature News Award for a body of work entitled: “The Days After.” She has covered high-profile crime cases across the country and has been a commentator on breaking news for national programs on ABC World News Tonight, NBC Dateline, CNN; MSNBC; and the Fox News Network. She is also a frequent guest on ID Discovery and A&E regarding high-profile crime cases and was a host on the Travel Channel hit series America Declassified. She was the only full-time female host of a four-hour New England market talk radio program, the Michele McPhee radio show, and she continues to provide commentary on radio shows around the country. McPhee returned to her native Boston in 2004, where McPhee she was awarded first place for “Serious Column” by the New England Press Association in 2007 for her work in the Boston Herald. McPhee’s true crime stories have appeared in more than a dozen national magazines including Newsweek; Maxim; Stuff; Cosmopolitan; New York; ESPN the Magazine; Gotham; Manhattan File; and other international publications. She continues to contribute to Boston magazine and Newsweek. She is the recipient of many journalism awards, including the Society of the Silurian’s Feature News Award for her New York Daily News 9-11 coverage. She was awarded First Place for Serious Column in the Boston Herald by the Associated Press. Her work for Team 5 Investigates at ABC affiliate WCVB earned her a 2012 nomination for Outstanding Investigative Reporting and her work with Ross Investigative Unit led two other nominations: Best Business Reporting; Outstanding Investigative Reporting in News Magazine. She was also honored with an Il Migliore award by the Pirandello Lycei Society of Boston. Web: www.michelemcphee.com Twitter: @MicheleMcPhee LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/michelemcphee?trk=hp-identity-name Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/michelemcpheeshow McPhee lives in Boston.

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