Patterico's Pontifications


Fit Hits the Shan in Atlanta

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:12 pm

The facts that are coming out are very, very bad for the Atlanta cops in that Johnston case.

The other day we heard that, according to the Assistant Chief, the warrant was obtained after “an undercover officer made a drug purchase at Johnston’s address.”

Today we hear that it wasn’t an undercover officer who made the purchase, but rather a citizen informant.

And it gets worse: the informant is now claiming that police asked him to lie:

An informant who narcotics officers say led them to the house where an elderly woman was killed in a drug raid is accusing the officers of asking him to lie about his role, Atlanta police Chief Richard Pennington said Monday.

The informant, who has not been identified, complained to department officials that the drug investigators involved in the bust had asked him to go along with a story they concocted after the shooting, said Pennington. He said the informant had been placed in protective custody.

A few comments here.

First: we don’t know for sure if the informant is telling the truth, but the police don’t look too good regardless. If he’s telling the truth, and if the police really did this, they should go to prison. And if they didn’t — if their informant is lying — it doesn’t say much about his reliability.

Second, it is unconscionable that the Assistant Chief was claiming that the warrant was predicated on a buy by an undercover officer, when it was, in fact, predicated on alleged information from an informant. There have been many apparent conflicting statements coming out of the Department, but that particular one is inexcusable. The warrant has been released (link via Gaius Obvious) and it clearly says it’s predicated on a buy from an informant. Whoever is responsible for so badly misinforming the public should be fired.

We’re now looking at a multi-agency investigation of this incident. All eight members of the narcotics unit have been suspended. I hope the investigation gets to the bottom of this.

In the meantime, I had hoped to publish my interview with the use of force expert this morning, but it wasn’t ready. He has interesting observations regarding the shortcomings of the planning of this raid. I plan to publish that tomorrow if at all possible.

P.S. I do not apologize one bit for being cautious and wanting to stick to the facts in analyzing this story. Many commenters here who are beating their chests over their amazing predictive powers should ask themselves whether they thought that investigation by the police and media would lead anywhere. I remember a lot of those chest-beaters confidently predicting that nothing would ever come of an investigation; those people have swiftly been proven wrong. We know much more today than we knew even yesterday, and facts will continue to come out.

I will always be of the view that we should wait for the facts to come out before making confident declarations about anything. Clearly labeled speculation is fine, and is often very helpful. But ignoring known facts and leaping to definitive conclusions is, in my view, never a good idea.

Another Reason Not to Trust the Reporting Coming Out of Iraq

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:34 pm

Curt from Flopping Aces has the story of the day, though you have to scroll all the way to UPDATE XI near the bottom of this post to see it. Allah at Hot Air calls it a “bombshell,” and that was precisely my reaction when I heard about it.

Here’s the short version: an “Iraqi Police Captain” whom the AP has been quoting for months — is not, in fact, with the Iraqi Police or the Ministry of the Interior.

Which means he may well be an insurgent posing as a police officer.

See Dubya is following up on the AP reporter in posts here and here.

The latter post is a little bombshell of its own (a “bomblet”?), since See Dubya has found a connection between that AP reporter and the incident in Ramadi I have been discussing here in recent days.

I spoke with Curt on the phone about this today at lunch. I have the names of a couple other alleged police officials I’d like to check.

Good news: I may have someone at CENTCOM willing to answer those questions. I got an e-mail today (also left as a comment on my site) which I view as a very positive step by the military media folks:


I understand you ran into a bit of difficulty with our press desk last week.

I hope we can consider that water under the bridge and as you say, it is an isolated incident. I would like to invite you to join our mailing list and get in the loop with the CENTCOM Blog Team.

CENTCOM does indeed recognize the importance and value of blogs especially when it comes to getting out positive news in what seems to be an overwhelming sea of negative coverage of events in Iraq and the Global War on Terror in general.

U.S. Central Command Public Affairs has a team of three individuals, an officer and two enlisted, whose main responsibilities are to reach out to those of you who operate blogs that discuss and write about matters in the CENTCOM area of responsibility.

I do wish the events that lead to this would have been handled differently, your request should have been routed to us but, what is done is done. I can say that the event did generate a memo from the Deputy Director,

“We treat bloggers as we do “traditional media’ in all respects.

If you interact with bloggers please direct them to the appropriate staff section as you would traditional media.”

For future reference, please directly media inquires to the blog team,

Capt. Anthony Deiss
Spc. Patrick Ziegler
Spc. Chris Erickson

Spc. Patrick A. Ziegler
U.S. Central Command
Public Affairs

I encourage bloggers to use these folks — but try not to overwhelm them.

Thanks to Spc. Ziegler for the note.

And stay tuned.

Brilliant Idea of the Decade

Filed under: Morons — Patterico @ 12:02 am

Jonathan Chait wants to bring back Saddam Hussein.

I can’t even bring myself to comment on that. What can you do but throw up your hands in disgust?

P.S. I wonder what our soldiers think when they read something like this. Look at the number that have died to get Saddam out of power and keep him out — and now some yahoo proposes to put him back in. Incredible.

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