FBI Agent’s Testimony Shredded In Boston Bomber Trial

220px-BostonSuspect2146px-US-FBI-ShadedSeal.svgCriminal defense attorneys have long objected to “experts” produced at trials by the Justice Department who often seem to closely follow trial theories rather than scientific or forensic data. I have handled cases where experts used by the Justice Department gave almost laughable testimony filled with errors in national security cases but courts continue to admit their testimony. This week, one such expert, FBI Special Agent Steven Kimball, fell apart on the stand when confronted with clearly conclusions over basic and easily ascertainable facts.

Tsarnaev’s defence attorney Miriam Conrad for example noted that the FBI identified a picture sent on the twitter account of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as a picture of Mecca. This led to this exchange:

Conrad: “You said the picture [that forms the background of the second account] was a picture of Mecca.”

Kimbell: “Yes, to the best of my knowledge.”

Conrad: “Did you bother to look at a picture of Mecca?”

Kimbell: “No.”

Conrad: “Would it surprise you to learn that it is a picture of Grozny?”

Unfortunately, he might not be surprised at all given the loose standards imposed on such expert testimony.

Kimball was also forced to admit that highly incriminating tweets isolated by the Justice Department were actually quotes from pop songs, including a tweet referring to “I shall die young.” Kimball said that he was unaware that these were quotes from songs. Kimball admitted that he did not even click on some links in tweets cited by the government as incriminating. One of the links would have taken the reader to a song with the line “I shall die young.”

Kimball was also confronted by the fact that the FBI had isolated lines that were actually jokes form Comedy Central and various comedians. One could of course forgive an FBI agent for having a limited knowledge of humor sites. However, Kimball also misidentified a quote as having been made by the al Qaida-affiliated cleric Anwar al-Awlaki when it was really a quote from the Qu’ran.

Among the other examples was the highly incriminating use of the term “mad cooked” in tweets that was raised by Kimball. Kimball admitted on cross examination that he was entirely ignorant of the fact that this slang means “high” after he tried to guess that it might mean “Crazy.”

In the end, it was the testimony that seemed cooked. It was a great cross examination by Conrad, but it is unfortunately not unique.

The exaggeration of such evidence reflects the real issue at trial — death. The defense has already admitted that Tsarnaev carried out the attack. The issue is only the penalty and whether a single juror can be convinced that Tsarnaev was under the influence of his older, more radical brother. The misrepresentation of this evidence was intended to portray Tsarnaev as a dedicated terrorist and extremist like his brother. Instead, it seriously undermined the credibility of the prosecution before the jury in what was an extremely strong case for the death penalty.

Source: Guardian

312 thoughts on “FBI Agent’s Testimony Shredded In Boston Bomber Trial”

  1. This is manufactured terrorism. The FBI has already told at least three different versions of the BMB case. The ‘probes’ prosecutors have been showing during this so called trial are nothing unless reenactments with photoshopped imagens and stunt actors playing the characters of Tamerlan and Dzhokhar. In a Russian site “Podstava” the video shows Tamerlan at Auburn St. on the day of the marathon. He was there at 1:04am. And also says Dzhokhar wasn’t at the marathon in 2013. He attended the event on April 16th, 2012. Why the authorities aren’t allowing and won’t allow Dzhokhar to testify? He has nothing to lose and if he opens his mouth they know the govt might be in trouble. They have been sedating Dzhokhar and maybe have already cut his tongue. JUSTICE IS DEATH. CORRUPTION RULES THE JUSTICE SYSTEM.

    1. Maria – the prosecution gets its turn, then the defense. The prosecution is not done yet. The authorities cannot stop Dzhokhar from testifying. The choice is his and his attorneys. BTW, if they had cut out his tongue his attorneys would have complained that he and taken it to the judge.

  2. @ Inga and Everyone Else

    I ran across the following essay while reading *The Patriot Post*, a Conservative publication which describes itself thusly: “The Patriot Post provides a hard-hitting rebuttal to contemporary political, social and mainstream media protagonists on the Left.”

    “The Squeal of the War Hogs
    Why Do Lindsey Graham and John McCain Think Half a Trillion Dollars Is Not Enough to Defend the Country?
    By Jacob Sullum · Mar. 18, 2015

    “During a recent visit to New Hampshire, Lindsey Graham said that if he were president, he ‘would literally use the military’ to force congressional approval of a bigger defense budget. Later, the South Carolina senator’s spokesman said Graham was only kidding.

    “It’s too bad that Graham and other Republicans are not kidding when they say our national security is threatened by inadequate military spending, because that is also a joke. A little perspective shows why.

    “In a February 27 letter to Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Jack Reed, D-R.I., bemoan the cuts required by the 2011 Budget Control Act, saying, ‘It is difficult to overstate the destructive impact on our military that has been wrought by the BCA.’ But McCain and Reed – the chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the Senate Armed Services Committee – are up to the task.

    “ ‘The effects of these arbitrary spending cuts have been devastating to the capabilities, readiness, morale and modernization of our armed forces,’ they write. ‘American lives are being put at risk by the caps on defense spending mandated in the BCA.’ The result, they say, is ‘a national security crisis of our own making,’ with potentially ‘catastrophic’ results.

    “Hawks like Graham and McCain, joined by at least 70 Republicans in the House, want us to believe it’s impossible to defend the country for a mere $523 billion, the Pentagon’s base budget for the next fiscal year under the BCA. That amount, which is slightly higher than this year’s budget, does not include whatever our various wars will cost – another $50 billion or so, according to President Obama’s estimate.

    “In real terms, the amount of money that Graham and McCain consider recklessly small is more than the U.S. government spent on the military in 2005, when it was in the midst of two wars that have been winding down in recent years. The Pentagon’s base budget is higher than it was in 2006 or in any year during the previous decade. Were we merely lucky to have escaped catastrophe back then?

    “Cato Institute analyst Christopher Preble notes that defense spending averaged $458 billion a year in current dollars during the Cold War, $601 billion a year under George W. Bush, and $687 billion from 2009 through 2014. Contrary to Graham et al.’s fear mongering, Preble says, the BCA has not resulted in ‘a precipitous decline in military spending relative to where we were a generation ago.’

    “The ‘war hogs’ warnings look even sillier when you compare our defense budget to spending by other countries. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the United States, with less than 5 percent of the world’s population, accounts for nearly two-fifths of global military spending. It allocates more money to the military than the next eight biggest spenders combined.

    “The United States is a large country with peaceful neighbors. Yet it spends more than $2,000 per capita on defense – as much as Israel, a tiny country beset by enemies, and more than twice as much as European countries such as the U.K., France and Germany.

    “One begins to suspect that our so-called defense budget is spent on a lot of things that have little or nothing to do with defense. Consider the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, which dragged on for a dozen or so years and will ultimately cost taxpayers more than $4 trillion, not to mention the thousands of lives lost.

    “Are we $4 trillion safer than we would have been without those wars? ‘Boondoggle’ does not come close to capturing such disastrous misappropriations.

    “ ‘For the American people and their elected representatives to devote additional resources to national defense,’ McCain and Reed write, ‘they must be confident that the Department of Defense is making the best, most efficient use of our limited taxpayer dollars.’ Given the track record of the politicians who decide how to use the military, such confidence would be dangerously misplaced.”

    There’s also the small matter of the 2.3 *trillion* dollars that went missing from Pentagon appropriations, as reported by then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld on 9/10/2001.

    The section of the Pentagon that was hit on 9/11 is, by the way, where the group assigned the task of finding the missing funds were located, killing most of them.

  3. @Herr Schulte

    “Comrade Ken – It was Oscar Wilde who said ‘Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.’

    That’s pretty good, but not as good, I think, as “Experience has as great a potential for stupefying as for enlightening us.”

    In the case of Blair’s and Prescott’s “mistake,” it was no big deal, just over a million people killed and a burgeoning Muslim jihadist movement against the US and UK.

  4. This thread has turned in “Fifty Shades of Grey Matter”. Paul, if you want to ‘abuse’ someone, it won’t be me. I suggest you look closer to home. Now you’re back on ‘ignore’.

    1. Comrade Inga – don’t tell us you actually read “Fifty Shades of Grey”.

  5. Why the hell would I give you permission to “dox” me, are you seriously nuts? Paul, if you don’t want me to wonder about your mental status, don’t act as if you have a screw loose.

    1. Inga – if you really are a nurse you would know the difference between a TIA and a mental health problem.

  6. Comrade Ken – Prescott has waited a long time to come clean, so to speak.

  7. Ken, I do think it’s noteworthy. The endless wars are coming to fruition now, the crop of super soldiers with blood in their eyes have now grown up with the drums of war beating in their heads. War, war and more war, the pols need to cut the social safety nets in order to fund the coming wars, how are they going to pay for it, eh? Netanyahu is whispering little war poems in Republicans ears. Republicans like Cotton are nuzzling the war profiteers… So if goes until if all goes BOOM. McCain is still humming his ditty, “bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran”.

  8. @Anyone

    Am I the only one here who thinks it’s news- and comment-worthy that Tony (Bush’s Poodle) Blair’s Deputy Prime Minister, Lord John Prescott, says it was a colossal blunder to have gone along with the invasion of Iraq?

    “The veteran Labour politician went on to directly link Blair’s invasions with young Muslims’ joining violent Islamic groups.

    “Lord Prescott added, ‘When I hear people talking about how people are radicalized, young Muslims. I’ll tell you how they are radicalized. Every time they watch the television where their families are worried, their kids are being killed and murdered and rockets firing on all these people, that’s what radicalizes them.’ ”


  9. My dear DBQ, I believe you came on to this thread with fists flying, don’t inadvertantly sock yourself in the eye, LOL! You people are too much, but you do certainly bring the drama and you do add to my daily laugh quotient. Laughing is good for you, ya know. Those who do not laugh daily and take themselves too seriously are in a state of severe humoremia, which could cause a whole cascade of co morbidities. That is a nursing diagnosis. Sue me. I’ve had the experience, as nurse, to have laughed at many a$$es over the years, why stop now that I’m retired?

  10. “While I detest self-proclaimed victories,”

    Good. I believe it was Nietzsche who observed, “Self-praise blows majorly.”
    (Eigenlob stinkt.) 🙂

    1. Comrade Ken – It was Oscar Wilde who said “Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.”

  11. I know attack dogs that don’t have your endurance. I speaking to both sides. I’ve decided that you really love each other, and this is all some weird mating ritual. I should take notes and publish.

    Carry on.

    Actually, the only reason I’m posting this is I made the mistake of my checking the “Notify me of new comments via email” with my last post, and I’m hoping if I post again and don’t click that option the emails will stop coming.

    It’s worth a try.

  12. @ Inga

    Do you post comments in a ‘estate planning’ mode every time you make an utterance?

    Not every time I comment. However, when I DO make a comment on financial, insurance or estate planning matters I AM using my area of expertise and years of experience. I’m not soliciting accounts or offering professional personal advice either, since I am now (thank GOD) retired. My other comments …….I’m just a blowhard on the internet like everyone else here. 😀

    Personally, I would prefer to discuss the topics at hand and avoid the personal insults and speculation about people’s off line lives. If commenters on this board have specialized information, legal expertise and other expert opinions…..I’m all ears. I may not agree, but if it is pertinent to the topic…..I will read and consider and maybe be persuaded.

    The issue is that you and others can’t get all whiny and indignant, when people make comments that are personal or inappropriate or derogatory or which (in the case of a medical professional) are diagnostic of an illness, when you have done the very thing. Maybe you do it in jest, but you do do it.

    You can’t have it both ways. If people want to hurl stones, you can’t bitch if you get caught in the crossfire.

  13. Herr Schulte, oh bulloney. Paul, you think you could have me “charged”? Bwhahahaha! OK, this is really too silly. Paul I suggest you do so if you feel that you have a good “case”. I hope you do, what a fool you would be made out to be in a court of law.

    1. Comrade Inga – If you lived here, I would report you in a heart beat. BTW, you are aware that Obama was trying to do a deal behind the backs of Congress and the people of the United States. He is just upset he got caught.

      1. Herr Schulte, blah blah blah. LOL, just shaking my head here. Why don’t you call the Wisconsin Department of Regulation and Liscensing? I suggest you do.

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