FBI intentionally withheld info from bomb suspect

FBI agents did not initially tell a man suspected of planting a bomb along the route of a Martin Luther King. Jr. Day parade why he was arrested because they wanted to gain his trust, newly released documents state.

The court records released Tuesday addressed concerns voiced by U.S. District Judge Justin Quackenbush about a delay of several hours in telling suspect Kevin Harpham the reason for his arrest and to immediately provide his Miranda rights.

Harpham made no confession during that time, The Spokesman-Review reported.

If he had, the documents show, Quackenbush indicated he would not have allowed federal prosecutors to use those statements at the trial set to begin Aug. 22.

Harpham, 37, who has extensive ties to white supremacist groups, has pleaded not guilty to attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, committing a hate crime and other charges. He could face life in prison if convicted.

The bomb was found by authorities and defused before it could explode.

At a hearing Thursday, prosecutors revealed that Harpham took photographs of himself at the Jan. 17 march, as well as photos of black children and a Jewish man wearing a yarmulke.

Later in the hearing, Quackenbush closed the courtroom to media and spectators, and attorneys called two FBI agents to testify about the initial hours of Harpham's detention after his arrest on March 9.

Court testimony indicated that agents did not immediately give Harpham his Miranda warnings, including his right to remain silent, the documents indicated.

FBI agent Joseph Cleary said agents were trying to win the trust of Harpham.

"Agent Cleary acknowledged that with this procedure the agents hoped Harpham would give a statement and confess to an offense, which he did not," the documents said.

After taking the suspect to the Stevens County Sheriff's Office, agents taped a 10-minute conversation with Harpham without providing his Miranda warnings.

"No incriminating or inculpatory statements were made by Harpham during that time," court documents said.


Information from: The Spokesman-Review, http://www.spokesman.com