Friday, May 19, 2006

A break in the Jimmy Hoffa case. Who cares? 

If you are of a certain age (I am not quite old enough), the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa remains one of your generation's enduring mysteries. Well, it seems there is a break in the case:

The FBI is mounting one of its biggest searches to date for the remains of former Teamsters boss James R. Hoffa, bringing in dozens of agents for what agents say will be a multi-week dig at an 85-acre property once owned by one of Hoffa's closest union associates.

Thirty years of myth and legend have placed Hoffa's remains everywhere from the Giants' stadium to a Japanese auto factory to swamps of the Florida Everglades to the bottom of Lake Michigan.

But acting on what some investigators say is the best tip in years, authorities now believe the remains of the missing Teamsters boss may yet turn up in the pastoral Hidden Dreams Farm less than 20 miles from the suburban parking lot where he last was seen July 30, 1975.

Detroit FBI chief Dan Roberts said the scope of the search -- including geologists, cadaver dogs and heavy earth-moving equipment that may be needed to excavate beneath a barn -- indicates that authorities believe they are pursuing one of their best leads yet in a mystery that has frustrated investigators for 31 years.

"This is the best lead I've seen come across on the Hoffa case," said Roberts, who has run the Detroit office for two years. He called the lead "fairly credible."

All very interesting, but it is revealing that the linked Detroit News article includes a lengthy sidebar that explains the history of the case, and why we might care. The search for Hoffa is a historical curiousity, and an opportunity for the FBI to redeem itself by closing the books on one of its most famous open cases. It is not even slightly important in the battle against organized crime.

May I suggest, therefore, that deploying "dozens of agents" for a "multi-week dig" in central Michigan to find a few of Jimmy Hoffa's old bones might just possibly be an enormous waste of money and time? The only "benefit" that will accrue from the recovery of Hoffa's right femur and a few of his metatarsals -- or whatever will remain -- will be publicity for the FBI. Oh, sure, maybe they will get to indict some 90-year old mobster and justice will be served in some higher sense, but it is only a higher sense. Old bones or no, there is still no evidence that the world without Jimmy Hoffa was any worse than the world with him.

CWCID: Miller, The Corner.


By Blogger Fabio, at Fri May 19, 12:56:00 PM:

This should be a job for archeologists, not investigators now.  

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