“What we have grown accustomed to seems good enough, and they who fall
into ways and ruts find it natural to walk therein to the end.”1
Our federal investigative agencies — for example, the Federal Bureau of
Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Drug
Enforcement Agency, the Postal Inspection Service, the Internal Revenue
Service, the Secret Service, the Department of Homeland Security — have
access to and routinely make use of the most up-to-date, sophisticated
technology available. But, incredibly in this day and age, they cling to
“scribble-then-type” when questioning arrested criminal suspects,
rather than using readily available, highly efficient and perfectly
legal audio and video recorders, which they commonly use for other
purposes. Indeed, the FBI retains a rule, adopted decades ago, that
prohibits an investigating agent from recording custodial interviews
without advance supervisory approval.
The explanations for this anom
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