Los Angeles Times | March 21, 1997 | Reports Show Freeh Wrongly Cleared FBI Lab |

WASHINGTON — In a development that calls into question the integrity of FBI Director Louis J. Freeh, documents released Thursday show that Freeh was wrong when he announced a year ago that the bureau had found no evidence supervisors at the bureau’s crime lab had altered reports or otherwise tampered with evidence.

The new reports reveal that in 1995, after a whistle-blower had raised concerns about the lab, Freeh’s subordinates found 13 criminal cases in which lab reports had been been improperly changed by a supervisor.

In fact, the reports state that the bureau was so concerned about the alterations that it recommended severe punishment for the supervisor.

“The problems that could arise during testimony when [lab report] dictation is arbitrarily changed cannot be overemphasized,” FBI officials said in the reports.

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The Marshall Project | Apr 2015 | Bad FBI Science

Dr. Frederic Whitehurst knows a thing or two about FBI lab scandals. As a “supervisory special agent” and noted forensic scientist, he began complaining to his federal supervisors more than 25 years ago about shoddy policies and practices within the vaunted crime lab. Then, in the mid-1990s, he went public with his concerns, officially becoming a “whistleblower” by highlighting flawed forensics and testimony relating to (among other things) the Oklahoma City bombing investigation. For this he was scorned by many of his colleagues and retaliated against at work, but ultimately vindicated by the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General, which in 1997 issued a report endorsing some of Whitehurst’s claims. He left the FBI following a settlement with the government in 1998 and now serves as a co-chair of the National Whistleblowers Center.

We caught up with Dr. Whitehurst this week in the wake of the latest allegations of scientific misfeasance at the FBI crime lab. We now know that nearly every FBI scientist at the lab before the year 2000 — 26 out of 28 — overstated his or her “expert” conclusions about matches from analyses of hair samples collected from crime scenes and/or suspects. Hundreds of cases, at least, have been tainted, including at least one dozen cases that resulted in a sentence of death.

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US News July 2012: FBI to review thousands of old cases for flawed evidence

US News July 2012: FBI to review thousands of old cases for flawed evidence

By Isolde Raftery, msnbc.com

Updated at 9:51 p.m. ET: Months after the Washington Post revealed that lab technicians at the FBI possibly exaggerated evidence, resulting in at least three wrongful convictions, the Department of Justice has announced it will review thousands of old cases.

The review, the largest in U.S. history, will focus on work by FBI Laboratory hair and fiber examiners since at least 1985, the Post reported.

In April, the Post wrote about two men who were convicted largely because of contaminated FBI hair analysis. A review of the evidence has since resulted in the release of both men.

A reporter at the Post had been working on a story about Donald Gates, a D.C. man released after DNA evidence proved his innocence, when he learned about Frederic Whitehurst, an FBI lab chemist who blew the whistle on the FBI Laboratory in the mid-1990s. Whitehurst said he watched colleagues contaminate evidence and, in court, overstate the significance of their matches.

“There was a lackadaisical attitude,” Whitehurst said.

When Whitehurst, a chemist with a doctoral degree from Duke, arrived at the FBI crime lab in 1986, the first thing he noticed was that the place was, as he called it, a pigsty. The equipment was outdated and there was a film of black soot coating the counters – a dust from the vents that the agents called “black rain.”

It surprised him, too, he said, that outsiders were allowed to tour the lab, which he said should have been a controlled environment.

When he raised these issues, a coworker told him, “Before you embarrass the FBI in a court of law, you’ll perjure yourself. We all do it.”