Boston College (Cont.): AUSA Todd Braunstein, the Infamous Irish Politician
One new fact, twice the clarity.
In two previous posts, I argued that the federal subpoena for confidential oral history materials held at Boston College was probably not what it seemed. Pursuing the records of historical interviews with former members of the Provisional IRA following a request from the British government, the Department of Justice claims to be aiding a murder investigation; the more likely reality is that they're helping to frame a purely political case against Sinn Fein after its recent successes during the February election in the Republic of Ireland. I won't rehash that claim here, but you can follow the two links above for background.
So then, on Friday, the DOJ filed its response to BC's motion to quash the subpoena. I discussed that response here, if you missed it.
But here's one more exceptionally interesting thing about that response, which you can read here. It's on pg. 2, at the start of the section titled, "Procedural History" (emphasis added): "On March 30, 2011, the United States submitted an application to the Court pursuant to the Treaty Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland..."
Before the DOJ filed this response, all that was known publicly was that BC got a subpoena in early May; the first news stories appeared around the middle of that month. But now it's clear that the DOJ first walked into court with their request a little over a month earlier. Subtract a week or two for the DOJ to process the request and prepare its filing. Subtract a week or two for the British government to decide on, prepare, and transmit the request.
The general election in the Republic of Ireland that brought Gerry Adams into the Dail took place on February 25, 2011.
The murder of Jean McComville went without investigation for nearly forty years. That fact is undisputed. But then, at the very moment that Gerry Adams was elected to a parliamentary seat that he was willing to take -- in an election that brought Sinn Fein back from the dead in the Republic of Ireland -- it became suddenly urgent to get to the bottom of the McConville murder. And the way to do that was to subpoena only the interviews of the very two people who are publicly known to have said that Adams approved the killing.
The British government is engaged in politics, not a murder investigation. No one is going to be convicted on murder charges as a result of the DOJ's subpoena. Everyone involved knows that. The point is politics. And the DOJ is playing along.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Braunstein, you got a request for a subpoena of material that would damn Gerry Adams, and you got it immediately after an election that saw a significant new political development for Adams and Sinn Fein -- and you couldn't figure out what you were being asked to do?
Or he knew exactly what he was being asked to do, and he cheerfully did it anyway. Which would be worse?
It's a shameful abuse of power in either case.
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