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Column: Ex-FBI Official Mike Mason Challenges Comment by FBI Profiler on Penn State Scandal

Michael Mason, a former assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Washington field office, retired as the executive assistant director at FBI headquarters in 2007. His column is in response to a column ex-fed prosecutor Ross Parker wrote in the form of a  letter to his son about the Penn State Scandal in which he quoted Jane Turner, an FBI psychological profiler, who said: “It takes enormous strength to put one’s moral integrity over your personal inclination to protect fellow colleagues who have committed malfeasance, or criminal activity. The FBI, like Penn State and the Catholic Church, are entities that allows their personnel to report allegations up a chain of command but those in positions of power or change, fail to take immediate or strong actions.”

Mike Mason/fbi photo

 
 
By Michael Mason
for ticklethewire.com

I have tried for the past two days to get beyond Ross Parker’s letter to his son and specifically the reference he made to the FBI via a piece apparently written by FBI profiler Jane Turner.

I too, have sons and have always taught them to stand tall when faced with moral imperatives.

I have shared with them many times that never in my FBI career was I ashamed to look at myself in the mirror for my conduct or that of my colleagues regarding the decisions we were called upon to make on a daily basis. I have shared with them times when agents have gone astray and been held accountable for doing so. I have shared with them the times I had to take a stand against conventional wisdom and against my own best interest and proudly did so.

I am not alone in any of the above. I did not inhabit an insular world. As you know I left the FBI as an Executive Assistant Director and there is not a single day of my entire career for which I am ashamed of or would be afraid to put on the front page of the Washington Post or New York Times.

I am proud of the many internal discussions we had in the FBI about choosing the right course of action in a myriad of situations most would find extremely challenging. Did we always choose the right course of action, perhaps not, but I can tell you and the readers of Ticklethewire that we left those meetings believing we had done so.

I never left any such meeting with my head hung low, ashamed that I, or one of my colleagues, had not spoken up when the occasion required us to do so.

I believed I wrestled with enough truly challenging decisions over the course of my career that teaching a masters level philosophy course would have been a natural role for me and many others to fill in retirement. So when I read comments about the FBI, even from FBI employees such as Jane Turner, I find myself wondering to what, specifically, they are referring.

Now that I am in the private sector, I can assure you the significant decisions made by the FBI are more exposed to the light of public opinion than virtually any such decisions made in this arena.

My point here is not to suggest the FBI was or will ever be flawless in their decision making processes or in the execution of their sworn duties. However, throughout my career I worked with some of the hardest working, most honest people I have ever met. I have seen FBI employees give more of themselves than the average American will ever be asked to give.

Every day of their respective careers they tried desperately to do the right thing. So try as I might to simply read Parker’s article and move on, I have been unable to do so. What was essentially a “drive-by” comment linking the unfortunate incident at Penn State to the general environment at the FBI demands a response. Parker’s use of Turner’s piece in his letter to his son suggest at a minimum he agrees with her statement. I categorically do not.

I have no doubt that both Jane Turner and Ross Parker are very fine individuals who served the public well. I have no doubt Parker’s son, if he follows his dad’s advice, will become a fine young man as well.

However, I believe the exact same thing about my two sons and dozens of other sons and daughters of FBI employees who have dispense similar advice to their children.

Far from an “insular world” the one I inhabited while serving in the FBI dealt with extraordinarily complex situations which often called for very difficult decisions. Never did I find my colleagues shrinking from their responsibility to try and make the right call.


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Comment from msfreeh
Time November 24, 2011 at 12:07 am

I could never understand why a very special agent Mike Mason would work for an organization called the FBI .
In 1999 a Memphis Jury determined that the FBI assassinated Martin Luther King.
We now know the FBI also assassinated President Kennedy with other members of the United States Government just as we know FBI agents Anticev and Floyd created the 1993 1st World Trade Center bombing and FBI agent Larry Potts was Timothy McVeigh’s handler before the Oklahoma City bombing.
Because it has become clear to me that Tickle the Wire is nothing more than a public relations mouthpiece for the FBI I don’t want to invest much more in this conversation.
Let me know when a very special agent Mikey Mason addresses the issue of pedophilia at the FBI and Agent Turner’s charges.

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