Former Sheriff Fletcher denies fabricating terrorism investigations

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Former Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher is firing back at a Twin Cities Daily Planet report that says he lied about the work his deputies did on terrorist organizations.

Specifically, the article questions the existence of 78 information briefs on terrorist groups that Fletcher reported his deputies compiled from 2005 to 2009, based on public records and an interview with new Ramsey County Sheriff public information officer Randy Gustafson.

"There's many terms that would define the stupidity of Mr. Gustafson's statements," Fletcher told City Pages in response. "The simple one is, he's clueless."

In October 2010, Karen Hollish put in a data practices request demanding explanation of the 33 domestic and international terrorist organizations Fletcher claims to have investigated according to the County's 2009 budget.

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According to Ramsey County's 2009 budget, the sheriff's department investigated 22 domestic and 11 international terrorism groups.
​When she realized shaking loose the information would take more work, Hollish submitted a pitch to the community journalism website Spot.us, and raised $575 to pay her salary during the investigation (legal fees were donated). Last week, Bostrom's new public information officer Randy Gustafson called Hollish with a bombshell about the terrorism reports.

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TC Daily Planet reporter Karen Hollish broke the story of the missing terrorism reports.
"They never existed," Randy Gustafson told her. "It is a very big lie."

Fletcher says he was never contacted by Hollish and hadn't yet read her article when first contacted by City Pages early this afternoon.

He says during the two-month transition period late last year to Bostrom's command, neither Bostrom nor Gustafson made any inquiries about his terrorism work. He says the person who would know most about the briefs, head of the home security unit Gary Olding, was fired on Jan. 2 and may have taken the documentation with him.

"The new Sheriff Bostorm fired Mr. Olding on Jan. 2," he says. "I can understand why it's difficult for him to get specific information."

Deputies did do much of their initial research simply by surfing the web and watching the news, Fletcher admits, but that was not the extent of it. How they spent their time on those higher level investigations was none of Hollish's business, says Fletcher.

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Fletcher's budget document incorrectly identifies the Animal Liberation Front as the American Liberation Front.
"We don't have an obligation to define which individual or groups we're spending most of our investigative time on," he says.

Fletcher claims his officers attended over 100 meetings in their anti-terrorism work and collaborated with other agencies, which would have seen the phantom terrorism briefs. Some of the briefs were oral presentations so no physical record would exist.

But the investigations couldn't have been too thorough--the Animal Liberation Front is misidentified as the American Liberation Front. Forget terrorism, the sheriff's department couldn't figure out acronyms.

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Former Sheriff Bob Fletcher says it's not his fault new Sheriff Bostrom doesn't have the terrorism briefs.
Mary Turck, the editor of TC Daily Planet, says Fletcher had three month to respond to Hollish's original data practices request and didn't return numerous emails and phone calls to his office.

"He's legally required to respond and he did not," says Turck.

Even if Fletcher's officers did the work he says they did, it appears none of the terrorism data remains in the hands of the current sheriff, and that's a problem.

"We're supposed to have a plan in place at the Ramsey County Sheriff's office for dealing with these threats," says Gustafson. "It's a little bit disconcerting that we don't have them."

Previous Coverage

* Meet Bob Fletcher, Ramsey County's most controversial cop

* Did Bob Fletcher fictionalize terrorism reports?

* Secret government informer "Karen Sullivan" infiltrated local activist groups

* Moles Wanted: FBI recruits informants in advance of RNC

* Police raid anarchist homes in advance of RNC

* RNC Arrests: A police state of mind

* Amy Goodman sues cops over RNC arrest


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8 comments
Sammy from the Midway
Sammy from the Midway

Randy Gustafson is nothing more than a dfl hack that has a new, high paying job with the new Sheriff because he was his campaign flack for the past year. Now that past history will be written by the "winner" we are told that the former Sheriff is a liar. The key thing her is that we are seeing the final few nails being put into the the last non-dfl office holder in Ramsey County. These folks hate Fletcher so much that they'll do anything to smear him. PS: Ms. Hollish sure earned the $550 writing this cr*p.

Nick Espinosa
Nick Espinosa

Is it just me, or has Minnesota become the capitol of trumped up terrorism charges against activists?

justacoolcat
justacoolcat

"We don't have an obligation to define which individual or groups we're spending most of our investigative time on"

And herein lies the crux of the problem and in my opinion is a problem with modern policing in general, no accountability. And shockingly the police always need larger budgets, faster cars, more exotic training locations, and increased powers.

Mark Gisleson
Mark Gisleson

Fascinating. I suspect Sheriff Bob is about to find out that it's much harder to manufacture reports after the fact than he seems to think. If, in fact, he wasn't deceived by his own staff as to what they were doing with their time.

THEWatcher
THEWatcher

Sammy u seem to know allot of protected private information about employees. We’ve been following you on the blogs for some time. I would be careful. You may end up getting subpoenaed.

Ham On 5, Hold the Mayo
Ham On 5, Hold the Mayo

I think people have been calling Bob Fletcher a lier for considerably longer than a few months, with good reason in my opinion.

Mark Gisleson
Mark Gisleson

No, just we're just the last place the RNC held a presidential convention. Florida will get to enjoy the next round of this lunatic dissembling and DHS thuggery.

Nick Espinosa
Nick Espinosa

Just saying, RNC8, grand juries, and now the FBI raids on anti-war activists...

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