How the FBI Went After The Wrong Man In Ricin Case
(Oxford, MS) When the U.S. Government arrested, and then dropped terrorist charges against a Corinth Elvis impersonator, former terrorism investigator Cliff Freeman wasn’t a bit surprised.
He says terrorist investigations involve more trial and error than we’re used to, ”Usually we build a case, we get the evidence, we get the search warrant, then we make an arrest. However, in a terrorism investigation you want to stop the threat first.”
That means, what you might call an “arrest first, ask questions later” response.
That apparently happened last week, as letters laced with the poison ricin, led to the arrest of Paul Kevin Curtis within 24 hours.
As far as we know, the case against Kevin Curtis, began to unravel in U.S. District Court in Oxford.
It became clear, the FBI agent testifying got very uncomfortable when defense attorneys began pointing out weaknesses in the government’s investigation.
Searches of a home belonging to Curtis turned up nothing, and even some of his alleged targets had doubts.
”He’s written me letters over time, mostly in support of ideas that I’ve had. He’s always been a big letter writer, a guy who’s involved in the political process and wanted his opinions expressed and I always welcomed people like that,” said Steve Holland who ran against the new suspect in the case, Everett Dutschke, and took a lot of criticism.
Holland’s mother, a justice court judge, got one of the ricin letters.
Freeman, who investigated Germany’s Baader-Meinhof and Black September terrorist groups warns us to get ready for more investigations like this, ”That kind of offends the sensibilities sometimes for Americans, but this has been going on in other countries for many, many years and we’ll see more of these type strikes, I believe in the future.”
He warns, the pressure to arrest first and investigate later, is intense, but standard in terrorist cases.