A former Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) agent, who for over three decades held key posts in the bureau’s counter-intelligence, counter-terrorism and intelligence divisions, says several missteps were made by Jamaican Government officials in recent meetings with American authorities to solicit aid in flushing out criminal actors there who are driving crimes in the island.
According to the former FBI operative Wilfred Rattigan, those encounters and the utterances by the prime minister afterwards lacked diplomacy.
Rattigan, a Jamaican by birth, made his assessment following Wednesday’s indications by Prime Minister Andrew Holness that the Government has provided United States law enforcement agencies with the names of 30 Jamaicans living in America who are behind murders and other crimes here in order to have them tracked down and brought to book.
“You don’t come out and say you have given them names and you have done this and that, you don’t come out and say that. What you do is, the announcement is made, we are going to meet with these people and we are going to talk about issues of mutual interest concerning crime. That’s what you do,” Rattigan, who also served as acting section chief of transnational organised crime with the FBI, declared.
“Then when you go to the meeting, you tell them we have 30 people, 300 hundred people, whatever the number is, and here is what we have and you turn over the information. The US Government doesn’t like people publicising or telegraphing what they are coming to talk to them about in specifics. It shows that you are unprofessional and it shows that you are a rank amateur. You don’t do that,” he said.
Rattigan, in the meantime, expressed doubts as to how effective those meetings were given that the prime minister did not meet with the heads of the various law enforcement agencies but instead dialogued with executives of those agencies.
“In my meetings I have set up over the years, I have never seen the leader of a country come to the United States to meet with law enforcement officials and meet with them in a crowded room.
“In fact, most of the times it would be the minister of the interior or minister of national security who would come to talk about crime issues and if you want to set up those meetings properly, you would set it up with the heads of those agencies,” Rattigan said.
“The directors are not going to congregate in the same room based on different schedules, security reasons and whatnot. So that meeting should have been set up for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) director, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) director, FBI director and they should have been set up separately,” he told the Observer.
“If you are going to show up and you are not going to meet with the heads of agencies, then those meetings can take place in Jamaica because all of those meetings have representatives at the US Embassy in Jamaica. These meetings could have been done simply by a phone call between the prime minister and the ambassador or the minister of foreign affairs and the ambassador and then he would have set up something for the agency heads to meet with the Jamaican delegation and then they could have just talked about the issues there,” he said further.
Rattigan, in noting that he has applied for the job of police commissioner three times and has been turned down, was adamant that he harbours no ill will towards the Government for rebuffing his offer. He said his advocacy reflects that of many other Jamaicans in the Diaspora who are willing to offer their services to the island at no cost.
“Let me be abundantly clear, I have no interest in being the police commissioner, whoever is the police commissioner I would be willing to work with that person. I applied for the job three times, and I have never been shortlisted. I made it clear to them that I am bringing my team with me and if we cannot make an appreciable within a year, they don’t have to show me the door,” Rattigan stated.
He noted that ironically the Jamaican Government has consistently reached out to qualified members of the diaspora for assistance from individuals in the same agencies who in many cases have been trained by Jamaicans.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness, in subsequent posts to his social media pages, said the meetings with the United States Department of Justice enabled critical discussions on the ways in which cooperation could take place to combat organised crime, gangs, lottery scams and cybercrimes, among others, which account for most of the murders in Jamaica. In a further post, the prime minister said he met with senior United States Department of Justice and FBI officials on tackling organised criminal violence and the trafficking of illegal guns. He said he also met with several executives of the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.