Long-time Federal and State Prosecutor George Parry has some comments on the pre-dawn FBI paramilitary operation mounted last Friday to arrest 66-year-old, wealthy, advisor-to-presidents Roger Stone.
Long ago, as a Special Attorney with the Justice Departmentâ€™s Organized Crime and Racketeering Section, I participated in planning and â€” in a handful of instances â€” executing arrests of members of La Cosa Nostra and their associates. From personal observation, I early on concluded that, in apprehending mobsters, one of the primary threats to agent safety was the risk of fratricide, i.e., one amped-up, anxious and heavily armed agent accidentally shooting some other amped-up, anxious and heavily armed agent. The FBI, ATF, and other federal agents with whom I was privileged to work shared that concern. For that reason, they planned operations meticulously and kept the number of arresting agents to the absolute minimum in order to reduce the risk of injury or error.
To that end, I opted whenever possible to avoid arrests altogether by having defense counsel surrender their clients at the marshalâ€™s lock up during regular business hours. From the mediaâ€™s standpoint, the visuals must have been underwhelming. But then, we didnâ€™t much care about meeting the needs of the news media. Having targets surrender was simple, held down down costs, and reduced the risk of harm to one and all.
This is not to say that we never made arrests. Sometimes, we had no choice.
I recall one early morning arrest of a violence-prone mobster. The assigned agents were aware that the target was at a bar with his girlfriend. Since we wanted to take him at his home so that the premises could be searched incident to arrest, the agents parked outside his residence and waited for him to show up.
Around 6:00 A.M., the target arrived and went inside with his girlfriend. Two FBI agents (the total number needed to take down this dangerous felon and conduct the search) knocked on the door. A split second later, the target stepped outside, slammed the door behind him, and announced, â€œOkay, letâ€™s go.â€
By this tactic, he had cleverly defeated our plan to search his residence.
Despite the targetâ€™s extensive criminal record, one of the agents said to him, â€œVinnie [not his real name], if you promise to behave, I wonâ€™t put you in cuffs.â€ The violent felon smiled and said, â€œDeal.â€ Thus, he was transported without handcuffs or incident to the federal building where he was processed.
Thatâ€™s how the old Hoover era FBI rolled.
But today, with the example of Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the FBIâ€™s recent daring dawn raid and arrest of serial false declarant Roger Stone, it is apparent that my ancient generation of federal law enforcement had it all wrong. Team Muellerâ€™s use of 29 agents plus CNN video support elements were confronted with a challenging tactical problem. Despite the fact that Stone has no prior criminal record, he is nevertheless 66 years old. This is an age when people are sometimes cranky and disagreeable. Obviously, those 29 agents were necessary to establish tactical dominance and to quickly subdue this lawless false declarant. Hopefully, the overwhelming show of force prevented Stone from making any further false declarations during the course of his arrest.
And, equally important, the visuals of the assault broadcast by the CNN tactical elements undoubtedly will serve as a deterrent to others who may harbor thoughts of uttering untruths sworn or otherwise.
All of which leads me to shake my wooly gray head and wonder aloud if any of these two-fisted crime fighters who took down the cunning and dangerous Roger Stone are in any way embarrassed by their participation in this vaudeville act.
I mean, come on! 29 agents? Seriously? Once upon a time, you could have invaded a small country with that much firepower much less arrest a white haired gadfly who allegedly lied to the authorities. Is the wimp quotient really that high in todayâ€™s FBI?
Or was there some other reason for this televised silliness? Could it be that Mueller and his team of Hillary Clinton acolytes are trying to fool us with their comedy act? Is this ridiculous armed raid supposed to distract us from the humiliating fact that the Team Mueller elephant has once again given birth to a mouse? Is this an act of misdirection calculated to obscure the fact that Muellerâ€™s Hillary Clinton fan club seems incapable of bringing nothing but process crime indictments devoid of any evidence of Trump-Russia collusion?
There was obviously no justification whatsoever for that pre-dawn raid, which was clearly a flagrant abuse of power and authority intended to cow and humiliate the arrested ally of a political adversary.
Donald Trump is President of the United States, and he should tolerate neither this kind of official misconduct nor a Special Counsel and a Federal Police Agency waging war against himself and his Administration under color of the Law.
Trump should pardon Roger Stone, Michael Flynn, Paul Mannafort, and everybody else on Mueller’s list of indictments, fire Mueller, announce that he is firing everyone currently employed by the FBI and CIA, abolishing those two current agencies, and creating a new replacement of the latter Intelligence Service. There never should have been a Federal United States Secret Police in the first place. Trump should then announce a new investigation aimed at prosecuting people misusing offices and laws of the United States to attack an elected president for treason.