Published January 13, 2015
I have been a supporter of many of the decisions and policies of the president and the attorney general, but I must join the line of people who have a bone to pick with them about a particular decision.
The attorney general and the president have decided not to provide information on a really, really bad FBI call for which an innocent man sat in jail for 30 years. Why? So the agency could cover for a valued Mafia informant they knew either actually committed the killing in question, or — at least — could name the person who did.
Joseph Salvati had 30 years taken from him, and the FBI agents in the Boston office who were running the informant knew he was the wrong guy. Still, they said nothing.
Why this happened, who allowed this to happen, and whether it could ever happen again are important public questions. They are neither conservative nor liberal questions. They are questions of conscience and good, decent government.
Therefore, it is beyond me why there is a good reason to make a claim of executive privilege on these files. Why shouldn't the House Government Oversight Committee see them? So there won't be public hearings on the matter? So confidence in the enormously powerful federal law enforcement agency cannot be tidied up?
Hiding this stuff is not going to help. It feeds conspiracy theories. It makes it possible for people to believe that secret squads of FBI agents are running around framing people — or worse — actually having people killed.
I realize the attorney general and the president may wish to clean things up themselves quietly and in private, and I have confidence they are taking the matter seriously. But, they should do it out in the open. They should cooperate when Congress wants to get involved, because it has a legitimate role to play in these kinds of re-examinations of the past.
We can't give Salvati his 30 years back, but we can make sure no government agency does this sort of thing again. Hiding the evidence doesn't help.
That's My Word.
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