Sandy’s Unwritten Toll: FBI basement evidence boxes ~Graham Kates, The Crime Report
While I don’t remember seeing the FBI/DOJ offices flooding during the Federal Flood 8-29-05 here in New Orleans, our own Civil/Criminal Court was wiped out. As the AP reported one month after the levees failed, all the evidence lockers were destroyed. Almost all of the computers were on ground floor, as were courtrooms and judges chambers. So it was with great interest that I followed this story from Twitter.
What strikes me about this fine article by Graham Kates is what I’ve come to call Institutional Amnesia, to wit: 7 years after this very thing happened in New Orleans, it happens again in New York City with Hurricane Sandy! Lo & Behold, The Crime Report covered it on the 5th Anniversary of the Federal Flood, August 27, 2010: New Orleans Justice Post-Katrina: Some Improvement, No Big Change “Probably no modern criminal justice system has faced the kind of test imposed by the devastating flood after Katrina, which swamped New Orleans’ jail, criminal court, vital police buildings, the district attorney’s office and more.” I would only add that much has indeed changed in that regard, even in the 3 years since the article cited. For one thing New Orleans now has actual Police, whereas pre-Federal Flood we had nothing more than a brutal, well armed and extremely well organized junta. But that is another issue entirely, so without further ado:
A year ago this week, Hurricane Sandy swept into the New York region—destroying lives and uprooting homes in what became the second costliest hurricane in U.S. history. But as New Yorkers take stock of what was lost on the first anniversary of the superstorm, one result of Sandy’s destructive fury is only now becoming clear: the huge and still unquantifiable loss of records held by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in or near the country’s financial capital.
The storm sent water streaming into several covert FBI file storage locations in New York and New Jersey, damaging between 8,000 and 9,000 cardboard boxes, each capable of storing hundreds of documents from investigations and cases spanning at least two decades. By the time emergency contractors had drained the buildings, it was evident that many of those boxes —and the files within them—were irreparably harmed. Read more.