As you likely are too, I’m watching conversations unfold among friends on Facebook and in real life about the terrorist attack in San Bernardino and what the United States should be doing in response. Depending on your point of view, the argument is framed as one between American values and bigotry or political correctness and getting tough on radical Islam. Admittedly, these are extreme formulations, in each case using one side’s caricature of the other. But all of this ignores the central conundrum we face when we think about counter-terrorism, especially ones of the lone wolf variety or even more organized ones like the recent massacre in Paris.
The kinds of surveillance and scrutiny which inevitably fall on suspect populations as part of a heightened counter-terrorism posture are exactly the kinds of strictures which over time are likely to create the kind of social isolation and alienation which seems, from the evidence we have from Europe, to create a breeding ground for radicalization. So getting the balance right is very difficult. And this is entirely apart from the very legitimate and pressing discussion about what policies are American values and our constitution will or should allow. Throw all of that out the window and you’ve still got a very complex balancing act on your hands. (read the rest here)
So, the last time I talked about this ricin investigation, the FBI had some Elvis impersonator from Mississippi in custody. That was so yesterday… Paul Kevin Curtis was the man who was arrested. The FBI and the news media let us to believe that this was an open and shut case. Not so fast. Paul Kevin Curtis is now out on bail. The FBI is currently ransacking (carefully searching) the house of Everett Dutschke. This case is getting stranger and stranger.
Everett Dutschke said in a phone interview with The Associated Press that the FBI was at his home Tuesday for a search related to the mailing of the poisoned letters to Obama, U.S. Senator Roger Wicker and a Mississippi judge. Dutschke said his house was also searched last week.
Dutschke has maintained his innocence and says he doesn’t know anything about the ingredients for ricin. He said agents asked him questions about suspect Paul Kevin Curtis but also asked him if he would take a lie detector test and whether he had ever bought castor beans, which can be used to make the potent poison.
“I’m a patriotic American. I don’t have any grudges against anybody. I did not send the letters,” Dutschke said.
Lots of questions remain – how could the FBI make a high-profile arrest and not be 100% sure they’ve got the right man? If you recall, the FBI made the same mistake in the anthrax case. They were 100% sure it was Steven Hatfill. Then, they decided it was not Stephen Hatfill and focused on Bruce Ivins instead.
Florida Judge Jessica Recksiedler on Wednesday stepped down from the second-degree murder case of George Zimmerman, the man accused of killing unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin.
Recksiedler gave in to a request from Zimmerman’s attorney, who said the judge had a conflict of interest because her husband was hired by CNN to do commentary on the case.
The Orlando Sentinel reported that Judge Kenneth Lester Jr., would take over.