After Sheriff Bostrom revealed that lists of 33 terrorist organizations and multiple terrorism briefs were not found in the Sheriff’s department search, the media then asked Bob Fletcher, the previous sheriff, to reply to the question on whether he “exaggerated”. That is the polite form of “Did you lie?” And here are Fletcher’s twelve defenses for your entertainment:
1) The “We don’t know how to use a paper shredder” defense, so therefore nothing is on paper. Never mind that paper shredders supposedly ran non-stop after the last election.
“There was rarely information passed out in paper form,” he [Fletcher] said. “We didn’t want the paper to be left in the wastebasket or to leave the room.”
2) The “We are so worried about security that instead of meeting in a secure relatively new Sheriff’s building with classrooms, that we met in a community center” defense. I guess the files must be there as well.
[Fletcher] He said that his office organized a terrorism task force in 2003 that met monthly with several law enforcement agencies at the Maplewood Community Center.
3) The “Brief – anything can be a brief” defense.
The “briefs” refer to everything from personal e-mails to crime bulletins to in-person conversations, Fletcher said, explaining that no standard procedure existed to produce or record them.
4) The “Just google it defense”. That we paid our old Sheriff department the big bucks, so they could just google it.
Some investigations relied on information readily available to the public via websites, he [Fletcher] said.
5) The “There must be an ongoing investigation somewhere so I don’t have to provide information” defense. Sorry, the RNC 8 investigation was the last to finish and it finished last fall.
[Fletcher] He declined to discuss the nature of other briefs, citing ongoing investigations.
6) The “Personally attack the person who attacks you” defense.
He also called Gustafson “clueless” about the affairs of the department. “I guess no one told Randy Gustafson that the election ended on November 2nd,” said Fletcher, who lost to Bostrom by a wide margin. Gustafson was Bostrom’s campaign spokesman.
7) Use the call a friend lifeline!
Maplewood Police Chief David Thomalla said he attends the terrorism task force meetings and confirmed Monday that Fletcher’s office presented both written, verbal and photographic information.
8) When in doubt, say nothing, take the 5th!
Fletcher declined to say how many people and how much money were dedicated to the investigations.
9) Really, someone else must have destroyed or hid the files, maybe “the dog did it”. Yep, we basically have the “the dog did it” defense.
The briefs are either destroyed or tucked in investigators’ files, he [Fletcher] said.
10) The “If you want to have it, you have to ask for it” defense. Never mind that data inquires asked for this information twice last year.
[Fletcher] He says during the two-month transition period late last year to Bostrom’s command, neither Bostrom nor Gustafson made any inquiries about his terrorism work.
11) The “Its none of your business” defense.
Deputies did do much of their initial research simply by surfing the web and watching the news, Fletcher admits, but that was not the extent of it. How they spent their time on those higher level investigations was none of Hollish’s business, says Fletcher.
12) This is my favorite. The “You fired the guy who had the answers and he took the documentation with him.” defense. Taking documentation away is illegal by the way.
[Fletcher] says the person who would know most about the briefs, Deputy Gary Olding, was fired on Jan. 2 and may have taken the documentation with him.
“The new Sheriff Bostorm fired Mr. Olding on Jan. 2,” he says. “I can understand why it’s difficult for him to get specific information.”
BONUS – from the just added Pioneer Press article! The “anything can be terrorism” defense.
A terrorism brief could include e-mails to law enforcement officers about a lock broken at a water department reservoir, Fletcher said. “We wouldn’t know if it was an attempt to contaminate water or just kids playing around,” he said, so the information would be sent as a precaution.