A comparison of the Governor’s Columbine Review Commission Report with then-Governor Kaine’s report of the Virginia Tech shooting produces some startling revelations pointing to a cover up in Virginia.
To begin with, the state of Colorado did not pay a private consulting firm that does business with Colorado to write the “official” report of the Columbine tragedy—thereby removing the specter of conflict of interest that hangs over TriData’s Virginia Tech report. The Governor’s Columbine Review Commission, members of which were not paid, was tasked with “the responsibility for writing, editing and assembling the Commission report for public release.”
The first section of the first chapter of the Colorado report is entitled, “Investigative Obstructions Encountered by the Commission.” The Colorado Governor, the report asserts, “… anticipated that it (the commission) would receive full cooperation from all governmental agencies that responded or were involved in the events surrounding the deadly assault made at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999. As a consequence, the Commission was not empowered to issue subpoenas …“
The report then goes on to describe a litany of obstructionist behavior—much of which was repeated in Virginia. The Colorado report describes officers providing the Commission with only a “minimal description” of the Sheriff’s response to the events at Columbine High School.”
The Colorado report is hard-hitting in describing the lack of cooperation. This lack of cooperation is spelled out in pages seven and eight of the report:
“Although data bearing on the assaults perpetrated by Klebold and Harris at Columbine High School, including the pre-massacre tapes obtained by the Sheriff’’s office during its later investigations, were made available to Time Magazine, local news media and other groups and individuals, Sheriff John Stone repeatedly denied the Commission access to those materials, on the ground that civil litigation was pending against the sheriff and other Jefferson County Officials, commenced by victims and their families; it has been asserted that several of the defendants would be prejudiced in the course of that litigation were they to provide the data sought by the Commission. Throughout the course of the Commission’s work, Sheriff Stone and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office have been singularly uncooperative in assisting the Commission in obtaining the factual information it required, and thereby forced the Commission to acquire its facts through a series of hearings and in the course of a lengthy investigation. In short, the Commission has been unable to garner significant testimony and other relevant data from Sheriff Stone and the Sheriff’s Office, the principal law enforcement agency in Jefferson County. When the Governor assigned the Commission its duties, he did not anticipate that information would be withheld which would assist the Commission in completing an accurate and analytical review of the events at Columbine on April 20, 1999, so that the requested recommendations could be made to the Governor.”
Compare the Colorado report’s handling of lack of cooperation on the part of law enforcement with the way TriData touched on the same subject.
“… due to the sensitive nature of portions of the law enforcement investigatory records and due to law enforcement’s concerns about not setting a precedent with regard to the release of raw information from investigation files, the panel received extensive briefings and summaries from law enforcement officials about their investigations rather than reviewing those files directly. …”
The Addendum asserts that Cho should not have been allowed to buy a gun, yet his name was not on the list prohibiting gun sales. Whose responsibility is it to put those names on the list? Law enforcement. The panel was never allowed to look at the actual documents pertaining to this vital aspect of the case.
Page seven of The Addendum, addresses this point glossing over the obstructionism:
“Finally, with respect to Cho’s firearms purchases, the Virginia State Police, the ATF, and the gun dealers each declined to provide the panel with copies of the applications Cho completed when he bought his weapons or of other records relating to any background check that may have occurred in connection with those purchases. The Virginia State Police, however, did describe the contents of Cho’s gun purchase applications to members of the panel and its staff.”
Then-Governor Kaine and then-Attorney General McDonnell bought this obstructionism hook, line, and sinker. They never said a word.
When TriData’s initial report was presented to Governor Kaine in late August 2007, at a cost of over $600,000 the problems with the document were readily apparent. The number of revisions, clarifications, and additions to the timeline alone was, by my count, over 20. That number adds to the indictment of the initial report.
In fact, the third and final version of the report is still riddled with errors. TriData was paid another $75,000 to make corrections. Not all the corrections were made. TriData should have been fined $75,000 for sloppy work, not rewarded.
In the final analysis, the state of Virginia bought and paid for the report it wanted, a report that would mitigate the changes of litigation against the school or state. (To be continued)