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| Guest Columnist | Harry M. Covert | Jason Miller | Ken Kellar | Patricia A. Kelly | Cindy A. Rose |


As Long as We Remember...

January 29, 2019

SWAT-ting a Political Gadfly

Harry M. Covert

Were it not for the seriousness of a federal case, the Roger Stone pre-dawn raid last week would be the laughingstock of law enforcement. For certain, the incident is an embarrassment in the crime fighting business.


Of course, it was a Friday when news used to slow down. Not anymore.


What a wakeup call for Roger Stone, the political gadfly and impeccable dandy. He has been daring the Special Russia probe prosecutor to indict him. It wasn’t a pretty picture. It was nearly a comedy show unlike arresting activities of John Edgar Hoover, who loved being photographed with a tommy gun after his boys did the hard work chasing down John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson, and other serious and dangerous bad guys.


In Fort Lauderdale, apparently the FBI leakers chose only their favorite cable outlet to record the so-called news event. No print reporters were tipped off.


It was a shameful show. The Federal Bureau of Investigation dressed its special agents, 29 of them, in SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactical) gear, side arms and long guns. There were 17 cars in the neighborhood, with flashing lights. Residents probably thought a major drug bust, multiple murderers in a gun fight, or international cartel was under assault.


That was not the case. The feds, not affected by the government close down, just knocked on Stone’s front door. They didn’t knock it down, but quickly found their man, in the family bedroom. Stone alerted the lawmen his wife was deaf so she wasn’t accidentally shot. That was certainly nice.


Mr. Stone was handcuffed and shackled, apparently allowed to put on a blue golf shirt for his trip to the hoosegow and later to appear before the feds’ magistrate judge.


Mr. Stone has been successful getting public attention on all the networks for years. He has seven federal charges, one that he lied to Congress. He is in good company because lots of his colleagues, especially on the Democrat side, have enjoyed stretching the truth without penalty for quite some time.


It was nice of the judge to allow him to leave court on a $250,000 bond. He just promised to pay if he skipped out. He didn't even have to use a bail bonds agent. His word was enough. Sad for the bonding pros.


Mr. Stone says his money well is dried up. He’s determined to plead not guilty in Washington later.


The Big Story? Actually, the anti-climax is why law enforcement treated the 66-year-old citizen with such disdain. He is no risk. The special prosecutor obviously was making an example of the political operative whose biggest error is knowing and have advised for President Donald Trump. Same treatment was given other presidential allies.


In reality the Florida spectacle didn’t need to happen with an early morning raid. Perp walks and similar captures make good teevee and excite the public and writers.


Roger Stone may well know how to advise politicians, but he is not a gangster in the class of the New York mob.


A phone call to Mr. Stone would have saved the agents time and money. He would have turned himself in quickly and easily. The flaw is merely, that no predawn video or still photographs for the FBI and Trump critics would have been available. Mr. Stone would have had his own news conference for certain. Always entertaining and newsy.


Time is now for the fun and games to abruptly end. The FBI’s Florida antics could have been handled by a process server. That was an easy arrest. The Acting Attorney General and the FBI director mishandled the Stone case. It will never be a case study for criminal class studies with exception of how not to serve warrants or make an arrest.


Now, lying to Congress is not good if it occurs. Congress telling untruths to citizens is wrong, too. Holding “those people” to honesty and veracity is remote to say the least.


Woodsboro - Walkersville Times
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