It’s really amusing that Texas State GOP Chair Sarah Weddington told her colleagues to use phrases like “on the lam” when describing the Killer D’s walkout because it connotes “criminal wrongdoing”, especially given that the justification being bandied about by the Texas Department of Public Safety for destroying all records having to do with the search for the Killer D’s is that it was not a criminal matter.
DPS spokeswoman Tela Mange said the agency acted appropriately in destroying the records because federal law mandates that law enforcement agencies cannot keep intelligence information on individuals who are not suspected of a crime. The missing lawmakers were not accused of any crimes.
Which leads to a question that Josh Marshall asked:
Does this regulation even exist? In each of the stories I’ve read this evening, the writer passes on that claim without any comment giving the reader a clue as to whether it has any validity.
Is there really a federal regulation stipulating that nothing that police agencies compile — pictures, notes, phone logs, anything — can be kept unless it pertains to a specific criminal investigation? I find it really hard to believe that such a sweeping regulation exists. Now, mind you, my question is not purely rhetorical. I have certainly asked such questions before, with great incredulity, only to find out that yes, believe it or not, the answer is ‘yes.’ It just doesn’t sound true to me, though — and I think the failure to mention any specific regulation and the, shall we say, diminishing credibility of the source [DPS] makes me think so even more.
If this “regulation” does in fact exist, it isn’t used all that much:
It also was not immediately revealed today whether the DPS had ever before destroyed documents under the federal regulations it cited in its prepared statement.
I’m finding it harder and harder to not lapse into Dana Carvey mode and make with the “How Conveeeeenient” asides, let me tell you.