Skip to comments.Constructing Truth: the FBI's (non)recording policy
Posted on 08/11/2018 6:11:58 PM PDT by marktwain
Instead of electronically recording its interviews and interrogations, the FBIs policy is to rely on agents typewritten section 302 reports, crafted to reflect the supposed substance of the exchange. At such sessions, one agent takes notes by hand while the second agentin the traditional two-agent FBI interviewing teamconducts the interview/interrogation. Tape recordings are almost never done because such recordation is believe it or not against formal written FBI policy. Therefore, the 302 report becomes the sole arbiter of what was, and was not, said; moreover, as we will see below, any interviewee who contests its accuracy risks prosecution. Hence, a potential witness script is written and not necessarily by the witness himself the moment he opens his mouth in the presence of an agent.
On its face, and in an era where digital recording has become ubiquitous, there seems to be little justification for a policy of not recording interviews. Paul K. Charlton, a now-former US Attorney in Arizona, certainly thought so when he broke ranks and ordered the mandatory recording of any statements from an investigative target in cases undertaken by his office. Charltons policy was resisted, and he was fired soon after instituting it. The FBIs general counsels office produced an internal memorandum (PDF), later made public by the New York Times, listing four separate justifications for the non-recording policy. Two of these arguments, it turns out, are weak, a third is laughably weak, and a fourth is terrifying in its practical implications for the fair, and truthful, functioning of the federal system of criminal justice.
Consider, to begin, the two merely weak arguments (all quotations regarding the policy below taken from the FBIs internal memorandum (PDF)):
(Excerpt) Read more at forbes.com ...
What are you trying to say?
Should’a been Could’a done it!
This is obviously a way to acrew someone over.
They could still do the exact same interview AND record it.
Great way to shut them down.
“And the sage of Waco opines. Worthless as always.”
YOU DIRTY BANDIDO! GO AWAY!
Reid Interrogation Techniques.
Eff-Bee-Eye does not use recordings, they use their “notes” and “recollections” to create “302” reports and you’re full of crap. That’s what I’m trying to say.
I wanted to record it. They said if I did, there would be no interview.
Id be okay with that.
You can't be right to save your azz.
No you are wrong. They not only tape but they video. Ask Martha Stewart. Have a great Sunday.
Electronically recorded interviews are accurate records of what was asked and answered. Written records are accurate records of what the agent wrote.
Most states are one-party states. As long as one party knows the conversation is being recorded, the other party is not entitled to notice.
If you are in a two-party state, you do not need to give notice to a public official that you are recording a conversation.
And live-streaming the whole thing to Wikileaks.
Record all conversations with public officials. They are not legally entitled to notice.
NEVER, EVER go to the office of a law enforcement agency; NEVER answer their questions unless you are a victim of a crime; Record, ALWAYS. If a law enforcement officer wants to talk to you, WITH your attorney, do so at your attorney’s office or a very public place; preferably at a nice restaurant with the LEA paying the bill.
How about courts disallow 302 statements as hearsay, and only accept recorded interviews?
Maybe PDJT will get this change while he is draining the swamp. It is really Stalinist to have procedures that permit lying/threatening etc by LEOs of any type.
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