Sunday, November 23, 2014

Don't bet on transparency at NCIS

Remember the U.S. Navy admiral who was disciplined in connection with his gambling habit? Here is The Associated Press's report on additional aspects of the case, including DNA evidence suggesting that he had doctored $1 casino chips to look like $500 chips. Another AP report indicates that the DNA evidence was inconclusive:
Doubts about the DNA evidence are summarized in an email exchange between a [Vice (now Rear) Admiral Timothy M.] Giardina lawyer and an examiner at the Army laboratory that tested the DNA. In the emails obtained Sunday by the AP, the examiner affirmed to the lawyer that while the "major contributor" of the DNA found on the underside of the adhesive sticker that had been affixed by the counterfeiter was Giardina's, this did not necessarily mean he had touched the adhesive.
The examiner indicated it was possible that the Giardina DNA had migrated onto the adhesive when an Iowa state investigator removed the sticker to confirm that the chip was phony. Giardina had handled the chip during the poker game, so his DNA would have been on the outside of the chip and possibly along the edges of the sticker.
The examiner said either explanation — that Giardina had, indeed, touched the underside of the sticker, or that his DNA had migrated to the sticker while others were handling the chip — was equally possible.
Of interest is the fact that the Naval Criminal Investigative Service at first denied the AP's Freedom of Information Act request for NCIS's investigative report, but released it following an intramural appeal. What changed in the interim? Was the initial denial reflexive? BZ to the AP on some good (and persistent) journalistic work.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are subject to moderation and must be submitted under your real name. Anonymous comments will not be posted (even though the form seems to permit them).