One of the things that has come to the fore in listening to the unending saga of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s recent spate of wrongdoing is their horrific failure to use technology to create evidence.
Allow me to describe the problem.
The FBI conducts interviews with suspects — talking the Lt Gen Flynn interview in the White House — and documents those interviews on a handwritten or manually typed FD Form 302.
WTF is a FD Form 302, Big Red Car?
The first thing you need to know is that the FBI forbids recording interviews.
Why? Why? Why would anyone not want a recorded, objective, truthful record of a conversation?
So, the FBI summarizes the interview on a FD Form 302 which is described as: Form for Reporting Information That May Become Testimony.
Why no interview recording, Big Red Car?
Consider that for a second. Why would the FBI forbid a permanent, objective record of an interview?
Well, the talking point is this — the FD Form 302 can be written after the fact, can be revised, can be reviewed, and can be tailored to whatever the FBI desires it to be.
This practice — no contemporaneous record of an interview — is fraught with peril. It is how perjury is created. The FBI can write, re-write, revise the FD Form 302.
The FD Form 302 is created after the interview, relying solely upon the secondary FBI agent’s notes, and is subject to continual revision.
What is on the FD Form 302?
The form as promulgated by the FBI contains the following information:
The name of the agent who wrote the 302
The date of the interview
The name of the interviewee
The place the interview took place
A description of what the interviewee said, either in narrative form or a recitation of the questions and answers (the description is not a verbatim account)
A modest proposal
So, your Big Red Car recommends that the FBI come into conformance with every other law enforcement organization, with the Rules of Civil Procedure, and record its interviews.
What we have learned in the course of several investigations is that the FD Form 302 is a locus of mischief. We have learned the FBI cannot be trusted to make an accurate record on its FD Form 302’s.
We learned it in the Hillary Clinton email server interviews.
We learned it in the Lt Gen Flynn interview.
There is no justification for this practice. It is archaic. It is a source of mischief. It is crooked.