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January 2014


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Column: Retired FBI Official Says Ray Kelly’s Criticism of FBI Unfair

Michael Mason is a retired Executive Assistant Director of the FBI. His column is in response to former New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly’s criticism of the FBI in a New York Times article. Kelly suggested the FBI should have shared information regarding its suspicions about one of the Boston Marathon bombers before the bombing ever took place.

Mike Mason/fbi photo

By Michael Mason

I am a big fan of Ray Kelly. I believe he is an innovative, thoughtful police executive. But I think his criticism of the FBI is seriously misplaced.

Precisely what would the FBI have shared with Boston, that in a steady-state environment would have led to them in engaging in any different actions toward the suspects? There are suspicions about hundreds of suspects that exists every day of the week.

Does anyone really think the FBI could have told Boston authorities, “Hey, we think these two guys are targeting the Boston Marathon for a bombing incident?” That is patently absurd.

It’s really time to stop the “blame game” in the aftermath of terrible events such as the Boston Marathon bombings. It is way too easy to say “We should have known anything you had about those suspects” after they have engaged in a heinous act against innocent civilians.

So, are we suggesting that the FBI should share all the information it has on every subject of interest who might potentially engage in a criminal act in the territory of any police agency?  I can assure you that is not the sharing environment we want.

The media needs to press officials when they complain of not receiving information from the FBI in a timely manner by asking two simple questions: 1) What is the precise information you are suggesting the FBI did not share with you in a timely fashion? and 2) In a steady-state environment, i.e. before the bad act has occurred, precisely what would you have done with the information you claim was not share with you in a more timely fashion.

Ray Kelly

Over the course of my career the offices I ran had an interest in hundreds of suspects. However, to share that information would have been utterly meaningless unless there was something to be accomplished by doing so.

I had outstanding relationships with the entire law enforcement community because I assured them I would share any actionable information as soon as I received it. However, the interest we had in the vast majority such “suspects” eventually waned without any additional actions being taken by my office.

I hope the time for using the FBI as an information hoarding piñata every time something bad happens in this country soon goes the way of the dinosaurs.

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Comment from fedupgman
Time January 6, 2014 at 6:24 pm

Right on, Mike.

The long-running problem with the FBI has been its long-running refusal to utter a critical word in its own defense, lest it “upset” a local or some other law enforcement entity.

This was a problem before 9/11 and was magnified afterwards. All these locals screaming that the FBI doesn’t share information, as if every cop in Hicksville, USA is entitled to every piece of information the Bureau possess on every topic.

So the alternative has been an FBI that has been regularly pounded by the likes of Ray Kelly.

Kelly was never a great fan of the FBI and he surrounded himself with retreads from other government agencies to build his own counter-terrorism empire that stretched from Battery Park to Europe to serve his ego first, and NYC second.

Look for him to pop up as the latest on call talking head expert for one of the TV networks when something happens anywhere on Earth.

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