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Boston Bombing News: The 60 Minutes FBI Bragfest

FBI Agents Rick DesLauriers and Stephanie Douglas were interviewed on 60 Minutes last night. I recorded it and forced myself to watch it twice. DesLauriers is the man who on April 18 showed us the “walking with backpacks” video and and said: “These images should be the only ones the public should view to assist us.” A very odd statement IMO.

According to this: “Every [FBI] office in the world” was on the case, watching 13,000 videos. On Wednesday morning they had a breakthrough when they saw “white hat” walk into the frame and nonchalantly put his pack down. When the first blast happened, everyone except him looked to the east in the direction of the finish line. He appeared calm and started walking west. 20 seconds later, the second blast happened. There was “a lot of smoke” (which may have obscured the source of the explosion).

Compare this to Agent Genck’s account in the criminal complaint: “Bomber Two … can be seen standing near the metal barrier … with his back to the camera … apparently slipping his knapsack to the ground … The people around him can be seen reacting to the first explosion. VIrtually every head turns to the east and stares in apparent bewilderment and alarm. Bomber Two, virtually alone among the individuals in front of the restaurant, appears calm. He glances to the east and then calmly but rapidly begins moving to the west … Approximately 10 seconds later, an explosion occurs in the location where Bomber Two had placed his knapsack.”

Note that they have increased DT’s “walk-away” time, possibly because of the skepticism which Genck’s 10-second estimate has attracted. Also note that DT did look toward the finish line after the blast. Lack of alarm and bewilderment, seen in profile, are subjective. Nit-picking? Maybe, but defense lawyers love to nitpick.

Genck states that “A photograph taken from the opposite side of the street shows the knapsack on the ground at Bomber Two’s feet.” Imagine my surprise when that photograph turns out to be the infamous “blue runner photo” which has been thoroughly debunked here and here. At this point RD dramatically compresses his lips to hold back his tears. (Or, is he “smirking”?) He points out the Richard family, DT walking west at the back of the crowd, and the black bag at the curb. Predictably, in the “walking with backpacks” video, we are only shown the portion where DT is seen from the front; the audience watching this cannot see that his pack is white.

This photo is a blatant piece of emotional manipulation. I thought it was of “uncertain venue,” but now the FBI is endorsing it, or even claiming it as their own. Supposedly it shows DT placing his pack at Martin Richard’s feet, but it shows nothing of the sort. There is no visible connection between Dzhokhar, Martin and the backpack, unless you draw circles to “prove” there is a connection. If the photo is genuine, it indicates that DT was walking through the Forum area and was well on his way to somewhere else, many minutes before the first blast. If DT has been photoshopped in, then the FBI has stooped to showing faked evidence to a national audience.

RD and SD insist they had no idea who Bomber One and Two were. They talk about their anguished decision to release the video to the public, although fearing that it might “make them run.” They regret the killing of Sean Collier (who they “knew” had been murdered by the fleeing bombers), but they really “had no choice” other than to release the video and pictures of the Tsarnaevs.

They repeat the story that Tamerlan was ID’d with fingerprints after his death. “Other records” show that he had a brother. (Aha! The brother is “white hat!”) They do not specify where Tamerlan’s fingerprints were on file, or what “other records” revealed a picture of Dzhokhar. Duh, could it have been an FBI dossier, which they had supposedly filed away and forgotten after two warnings from the Russians? Or, a dossier on Tamerlan as an FBI informant?

If they could look through 13,000 videos in a day and a half, could they have checked their database for people on the terror watch list in the Boston area, and ID’d Tamerlan that way? If they had done that instead of releasing the video to the public, then according to their skewed story, they could have saved Sean Collier’s life.

There was no mention of DT’s alleged confessions, which is interesting in itself.

Oddly, they spent considerable time denying what WoodyBox has called the “smothered arrest” on Wednesday (this is where Carmen Ortiz chimed in). Why focus on denying that arrest? Doth they protest too much? They also mentioned an erroneous New York Post photo of a guy with a white hat and black backpack, complaining that the media was messing up their investigation.

RD harped on Dzhokhar’s alleged “smug smirk” at his arraignment, said it was “galling,” and enthusiastically endorsed the death penalty. IMO, a smirk is in the eye of the beholder. (It is interesting that some of us see DT’s low-key facial expressions as gentle and spiritual, and others see the same expressions as secretive, smug and smirking.)

Finally, the moderator told us that the defense team declined to be intervewed. As at least one commenter on the 60 Minutes Twitter site pointed out, there is that little matter of the SAMs keeping them silent. And as Mark commented on the last thread, all of us should definitely go there and spread some truth. This is a large audience.

I agree with wb that this was a weak, even pathetic showing. Showing the blue runner photo smacks of desperation. leftcoast’s assessment of SD’s sneaky body language is interesting. Are these two genuine? How do they sleep at night? Are they under such immense pressure to solve this case that they are simply lying to themselves?



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