Assistant U.S. Atty. Steven Myhre maintained that the federal team had simply “culled the database with witness protection in mind.” Navarro did not buy it for good reason.
The judge earlier detailed six different types of evidence withheld by the government. This evidence include the presence of an FBI camera on a hill overlooking the Bundy ranch. The DOJ mocked allegations by the defendants that there were devices planted near the ranch while knowingly withholding evidence of at least one such device. There were also maps and threat assessments that seemed to support the public statements by the Bundys that they were being surrounded. Some of these documents were linked to lead bureau special agent Dan Love, who was later fired by the agency. Other evidence showed that an agent did appear near the ranch in tactical gear and carrying a heavy weapon before the call went out for support.
The evidence would have led credence to the call by the Bundys for help in dealing with threats from the government.
Some of the most serious allegations, in my view, dealt with the withholding of threat assessments that concluded that the Bundy did not represent a likely threat of violence. Such assessments were developed by the FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit, the Southern Nevada Counter Terrorism unit, the FBI Nevada Joint Terrorism Task Force, the Gold Buttle Cattle Impound Risk Assessment and the Bureau of Land Management.
The result has been the expenditure of millions on prosecutions based in part on some troubling theories and advanced through unethical means. Yet, there is not even a suggestion of discipline from Main Justice, which is why this pattern will continue in federal courts. The Justice Department has never shown a particularly credible record of policing its own ranks. The Brady violations reflect the absence of any real deterrent due to this culture of tolerance and willful blindness at Main Justice. Hopefully, the review ordered by Sessions will result in real changes and actions by Main Justice to deal with this persistent problem. However, in seeking changes, Sessions will face a bureaucracy with a proven record of resistance to reform.