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Book Update

Inside the scandals at the FBI Crime Lab
by John Kelly & Phillip K. Wearne

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FBI defenders claim that our book is old news, and that they have cleaned up their act since the publication of the Inspector General's report on April 15, 1997. But who is familiar with the fact that the FBI DNA unit has begun applying two new techniques -- identification and mitochondrial DNA analysis -- which have absolutely no scientific basis or validation? Who is aware that no one else in the forensic scientific community is using these techniques while the FBI is using them to convict people even though the legal community considers the identification policy an invasion of the province of the jury? Who is aware that the FBI's new mitochondrial DNA unit is comprised of a dentist and a hairs analyst?

Bearing in mind that most scientists do not consider hair analysis to be a scientic endeavor because it consists of a subjective comparison of hairs and certainly a backgound in hair analysis does not qualify one to perform DNA testing. Who is aware of the fact that in November 1997 the FBI announced that Bruce Budowle was the creator of the identification policy and that he would be publishing a study validating this technique -- which article has yet to be published. Who is aware that Budowle, who heads DNA research at the FBI and promulgates DNA practices affecting the lives of thousands, is considered nothing short of a fraud by most, if not all, legitimate DNA scientists aware of his work? Who is aware that Budowle and the FBI control funding for DNA research and training for the entire country? Who is aware that this same Budowle was recently caught manipulating data to agree with his hypothesis in a published study?How can anyone be aware of the fact that the Inspector General found the FBI's DNA unit terribly deficient since the IG covered up its findings and didn't report them. It's not that big a unit, but we found three Ph.D.'s who refused to testify for the FBI because they felt the FBI's DNA testing was inaccurate and unreliable. Two of these scientists quit the unit in disgust and went back to the streets as agents with a cut in pay and rank. And they weren't the only ones critical of the FBI DNA practices.Who is aware that Jenifer Lindsey Smith, the head of the DNA unit, totally botched the DNA analysis of Ted Kaczynski and didn't even obtain a sample of his DNA? Who is aware that the FBI lied in the affidavit justifying the search of the cabin when they said two tests found a match between Kaczynski's DNA and the Unabomber's DNA profile? In fact, the DNA analysis was so bad that the prosecution would have been unable to use it if Kaczynski had gone to trial. Finally, who is aware of the fact that the FBI lab still refuses to submit to external double-blind proficiency testing which is the only universally accepted method for checking for competence, reliability, and accuracy.

About the Authors Foreword Book Update New Press Release

 

Tainting Evidence - Inside the Scandals at the FBI Crime Lab
from The Free Press

Visit The Free Press website with more info about the book (includes a full chapter).

Send mail to John Kelly with questions or comments about this web site.
Copyright 1998 Tainting Evidence
Last modified: July 10, 1998