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Sen. Grassley released this statement after Dr. Kerr's appointment as the new FBI Assistant Director for the Laboratory Division.

UNITED STATES SENATOR IOWA

CHUCK GRASSLEY

STATEMENT OF SENATOR CHARLES E. GRASSLEY

RESPONDING TO THE APPOINTMENT OF FBI'S CRIME LAB HEAD

OCTOBER 21, 1997

Earlier this year, the FBI promised to recruit a top scientist to run its crime lab, whose credentials would include "an outstanding academic and practical background in forensic science and a reputation for excellence in the forensic community." In choosing its new lab director, who has no such background, the FBI fell miserably short of even its own standards. It shows the FBI's stated goals are mere happy talk, and that institutional arrogance still controls what it does. This is prima facie evidence that the American people cannot trust what the FBI tells them. The people and Congress have been misled. Public confidence in federal law enforcement is once again undermined.

The FBI's choice of a government/industry insider, whose instincts are to cooperate with management, is the antithesis of what is needed in the lab -- someone who will encourage openness and who will rock the boat when needed. The FBI lab, like before, is still without a leader steeped in a background of forensic science.

This newest action by the Bureau raises the following questions:

1.Is this how the FBI intends to implement the Inspector General's 40 recommendations to enhance quality in the lab?

2. Lacking the requisite experience, how can the new lab director keep from getting snowed, forensically, by examiners who cut corners, and who have gotten away with it before, such as James T. Thurman, Roger Martz, Michael Malone, David Williams, and others?

3. What explanation has been given for why the FBI departed from its promise to hire a forensic scientist to head the lab?

4. Who, from the FBI and from the Department of Justice, including the Office of the Inspector General, signed off on or acquiesced to this choice?

 


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