Central View: How to become a DOJ informant
Based on the recently released House Intelligence Committee memo, some holdovers from the Obama Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Obama Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have been playing partisan politics. Specifically, some Obama DOJ and FBI officials could be guilty of obstruction of justice, perjury, Russian collusion, and partisan interference in the recent presidential campaign and the presidential transition.
Also, the way the DOJ directs the FBI to conduct personal interviews using form — FD-302– deserves some scrutiny as well.
You might be at your place of work — let’s say an insurance company or a medical practice of some sort — or even at home in the evening when two nicely dressed FBI agents show up unexpectedly, asking for a few moments of your time. Sometimes, one of the agents is female.
Because you have nothing to hide, you agree to be interviewed. You ask if you are the subject of an investigation. You are told, “No.” However, if you wish, you can have your attorney present.
Typically, people waive the attorney “right” and proceed to answer their questions. Big mistake! The DOJ does not want the FBI to tape such interviews. Thus, the only contemporaneous record of your interview is going to be recorded on FBI form FD-302.
One of the agents will jot down notes about what the agents ask you and what you reply. Because you elected not to have your attorney present, you now have no way to refute what the agent decides to record on the FD-302.
Whenever the agent gets back to his or her office, he or she will use his or her notes to recollect what transpired during your interview. Ergo: the 302 is not actually a statement-of-fact. It is the agent’s recollections from hastily scribbled hand-written notes about your replies to the questions posed by the FBI agents.
Unfortunately, many judges regard the FD-302 form as a statement-of-fact and will admit 302s into evidence as fact when, in reality, they are merely an agent’s recollections of what took place.
It gets worse. Let’s say the agents asked you if you know a Mr. Voltaire Candide? Because you do not know anyone by that name, you say: “No.” Not long after, you are summoned to appear at a DOJ office or before a Federal Grand Jury. Once again, you ask if you are the subject of an investigation. You are not; however, a DOJ prosecutor says he or she has camera footage of you talking with Voltaire Candide and, therefore, you have committed a federal offense by lying to agents of the FBI.
The truth is you were caught on camera in a shopping mall talking to someone who “said” his name was Joe Goodfellow (actually, he was Voltaire Candide), and he was asking you how to find the train station.
Now, the DOJ prosecutor accuses you of lying to the FBI and you better tell about your boss’s alleged attempts to bilk Medicare out of millions of dollars or you will be charged with a crime. Actually, you have no knowledge about that; however, rather than go bankrupt with legal fees, you go from FBI interviewee to DOJ informant.
Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, is a laureate of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, the Nebraska Aviation Hall of Fame, the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame, the Oklahoma University Army ROTC Wall of Fame, and was a recipient of the University of Nebraska 2015 Alumni Achievement Award. Dr. Hamilton is the author of “The Wit and Wisdom of William Hamilton: The Sage of Sheepdog Hill,” Pegasus Imprimis Press (2017).
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