Foreign Bureau of Investigation?

According to a January 4 criminal complaint from the U.S. Department of Justice, Colombian national Mario Antonio Palacios, 43, “is charged with conspiracy to commit murder or kidnapping outside the United States and providing material support resulting in death, knowing or intending that such material support would be used to prepare for or carry out the conspiracy to kill or kidnap.”

The charges relate to the July 7, 2021, assassination of the Haitian president Jovenel Moise, in Port-au-Prince. According to the DOJ, “the FBI is investigating the case with other law enforcement partners, including Homeland Security Investigations.” Palacios faces a life sentence but “all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.” While the trial awaits, some details deserve attention. 

The “homeland” in the Department of Homeland Security in the United States, but in this case, it seems to be Haiti. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, as its name confirms, is an agency of the U.S. federal government, but in this case, the FBI arrests a Colombian national for a crime committed in Haiti. That raises a jurisdictional issue, and a lot more. 

Whatever operations the FBI conducts in Haiti failed to prevent the assassination of Jovenel Moise. FBI action came after the fact, a pattern also appears in the United States, with deadly consequences. 

In 2009, U.S. Army Maj. Nidal Hasan was communicating with al-Qaeda terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki about killing Americans. As Lessons from Fort Hood confirms, the FBI was aware of these communications but the bureau’s Washington Office called off the investigation. On November 5, 2009, at Fort Hood, Texas, Hasan murdered 13 American soldiers and wounded more than 30 others. Whether anyone in the FBI was fired, demoted, or disciplined over Fort Hood remains unknown. 

Russian intelligence warned the FBI about the Tsarnaev brothers, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar, also connected to terrorist networks. No action by the FBI stopped the brothers from, in 2013, bombing the Boston Marathon, an attack that killed three and wounded hundreds. Police took down Tamerlan in a shootout but Dzhokhar survived. He is currently serving a life sentence and recently made news for receiving a $1400 COVID relief payment.

That sparked outrage, which might be extended to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for failing to stop the bombing in the first place. The pattern for the FBI seems to be mission creep, action after the fact, and avoidance of accountability. 

K. Lloyd Billingsley is a Policy Fellow at the Independent Institute and a columnist at American Greatness.
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