June 04, 2003
DPS documents released

The Department of Public Safety documents about the search for the Killer D's which escaped the shredder's jaws were released yesterday, and the first thing we see is that Governor Perry had a bigger role than he's claimed so far.

The handwritten notes show that at 7:40 p.m. "Lt. Crais was asked into Speaker Craddick's office by Gov. Perry, personally."

Thirteen minutes later: "Lt. Crais came in to say governor has ordered two Rangers sent to find Rep. (Rene) Oliveira (D-Brownsville) and Rep. (Craig) Eiland (D-Galveston)."

Eiland was among the lawmakers in Ardmore. His twins were in the neonatal unit of the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.

A memo by Texas Ranger Capt. Clete Buckaloo said he ordered Sgt. Joe Haralson to find Eiland on instructions that "came directly from the Governor's Office."

So Perry was responsible for a state trooper showing up at a neonatal unit to look for Rep. Eiland. As Rep. Lon Burnam says, that may not be illegal but it sure is tasteless. It's also not likely to be all that damaging to Perry.

A more important revelation is that Lt. Will Crais claimed in a sworn deposition that he acted on his own to contact Homeland Security about Rep. Pete Laney's plane.

Crais said he acted alone in calling an air and marine interdiction center, a customs enforcement agency now under Homeland Security, according to Burnam and the state attorney general's office.

A transcript of the deposition is expected to be released today.

"Lieutenant Crais testified that he was the one who thought to call U.S. Customs," said Deputy Attorney General Jeff Boyd, who sat in on the deposition. "Nobody suggested to him that the DPS do so. He went and obtained the number himself from a co-worker."

The disclosure is important because one Democratic lawmaker had alleged that Jay Kimbrough, whom Perry appointed as the state's homeland security coordinator, gave Crais the number.

I'm not ready to buy this explanation. That seems like a lot of initiative for a cop to take. Maybe he did think of it on his own, but I have a hard time believing he didn't run the idea past a superior or two, and I have a hard time believing that someone in the Governor's office or Attorney General's office wasn't consulted first. Like the swift destruction of DPS' documents, this is awfully convenient for the GOP leadership.

That said, if nothing or no one comes forward to contradict his statement, it closes a big chapter in this book without getting any political hands dirty. If this is all there is, there's nothing here for the Democrats. We'll see what comes out of the depositions of Kevin Bailey and his staffer Roberta Bilsky.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on June 04, 2003 to Killer D's | TrackBack