On March 21, the Boston Globe reported that, after a year-long investigation by the Justice Department, the FBI has concluded that three FBI agents should be terminated for a noogie one of them delivered to a federal prosecutor in 2006.
In other news, the government evidently has people to spare from the search from Osama bin Laden, and/or those wanting to smuggle him nuclear material, in order to help defend our nation’s noggins.According to the Globe, the incident took place in the federal courthouse in Boston. As a meeting between the agents and a federal prosecutor was concluding, one of the agents “came up behind her, wrapped his arm around her neck and gave her a Three-Stooges-style noogie,” as it was described by the Globe’s anonymous sources. (The device-assisted noogie depicted here is no longer used, except at Guantanamo.) Charges apparently followed.
It will come as no surprise that the noogie-deployer was male (FBI profilers say 97% are), but it is unclear whether the fact that the prosecutor was female explains the result. The DOJ was investigating whether the incident was “foolish horseplay, bullying, or harassment,” but the only conclusion reported was that the offender “acted inappropriately when he put his hands on the prosecutor.” (Why that conclusion took a year to reach is not entirely clear.) Probably more important is the fact that the agents do not seem to have been truthful about what happened, which would mean that, as is so often the case, the noogie cover-up has turned out to be worse than the noogie itself.
There does seem to be something deeper going on here, but no one is talking about it directly. At the time, the noogie-giver was (believe it or not) the head of the Boston office’s Organized Crime Strike Force. Based on what I learned from “The Departed”—which I have seen twice—there has been some trouble with police corruption in Boston. The Globe, digging a little deeper, recalled that the OCSF prosecuted gangster “Whitey” Bulger, whose former FBI “handler” is already in prison for conspiring with Bulger. That whole business seems to have left deep divisions between the FBI and DOJ, which may or may not have affected the interpretation of the 2006 noogie incident.
Like bin Laden, Bulger’s current whereabouts are unknown. But the year-long investigation of the people they could find will reportedly result in termination. As of March 20, the FBI said no one had been fired, but would not discuss the matter any further. The agents would have 60 days to appeal.