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The Champion

April 2007 , Page 8 

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Federal Law Enforcement Should Record Custodial Interrogations

By Thomas P. Sullivan

“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.

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