Commentary and information about public safety and security, intelligence and counterintelligence, open government and secrecy, and other issues in northern Idaho and eastern Washington.

Location: Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, United States

Raised in Palouse, WA. Graduated from Washington State University. US Army (Counterintelligence). US Secret Service (Technical Security Division) in Fantasyland-on-the-Potomac and Los Angeles. Now living in north Idaho.

Friday, March 23, 2007

If Dirty Harry Got Elected...

What if an institutionalized Dirty Harry were running the City of Coeur d'Alene?

Remember the movies in which actor Clint Eastwood portrayed Inspector Harry Callahan, a fictional San Franciso police inspector who follows "...his own unconventional philosophy of justice using excessive force, ruthless methods, and 'the end justifies the means' principle without much regard for the rules and legal regulations of his profession."

The "unconventional philosophy" in the preceding paragraph exists. It has a name: noble cause corruption. As it applies to law enforcement officers, it is well-explained in the paper titled Occupational Stressors and Noble Cause Corruption: Understanding Inspector Callahan. The study was authored by Dr. David Sunahara and published by the Canadian Police College in September 2006.

The same noble cause corruption that can take root in law enforcement officers can infect elected and appointed officials, too. Look at the introduction in Dr. Sunahara's paper. It notes, "They act corruptly by stepping outside sanctioned means to achieve ends they deem worthy." But he goes on to say, "The nobility of the cause lies in the eyes of those officers (replace 'officers' with 'elected and appointed officials') who commit noble cause corruption. We cannot and should not assume that the ends they value, and use to justify their actions, are necessarily deemed worthy by the larger society."

How true.

It is only fair to note that when Clint Eastwood was serving as the mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, he left his Dirty Harry persona behind. Sadly, some of our local officials in Coeur d'Alene-by-the-Lake apparently retrieved and adopted it.


Blogger Starr Kelso said...

Appreciated reading your posts. It seems that today so many people fall into two categories. Those who "know nothing, and want to know nothing"--and those who "know too much, and wish that they didn't know what they know." Here is to hoping that you keep your sanity.

3:13 AM, March 24, 2007  
Blogger Bill McCrory said...


Thank you for reading and commenting.

Sanity? My sanity went away years ago.

6:54 AM, March 24, 2007  
Blogger Starr Kelso said...

With the info in your posts I had thought as much...but I was hoping against hope. I was particularly impressed when I saw this morning that low and behold there are that notes documenting the U.S. AG, Gonzo's, presence at meetings to plan the firings of the 8 U.S. A.G.s. Wasn't it just a few days ago that he said he had no knowledge of how or why?

12:56 PM, March 24, 2007  
Blogger Bill McCrory said...


Too many years in DC drained my sanity. However, it did improve my awareness of corruption. When I was working in DC I lived in Prince Georges County, Maryland (Spiro Agnew country, though he was long gone by then). PG is one of the most corrupt counties in the USA. Living in Carson, CA, during my years in LA was also an education in corruption. The people here in north Idaho are amateurs compared to the pros in those locations. Of course, it doesn't say much for my ability to choose places to live, does it?

Isn't documentary evidence wonderful? Don't you just love it when meeting minutes, agendas, telephone memos, Emails, etc. surface to "refresh" a liar's memory? Several posts ago I mentioned that to get an accurate account of what goes on in a scripted Coeur d'Alene City Council meeting, you need to review the DVD (which the City charges $30 for). You certainly can't rely on the agenda for a heads-up, nor can you rely on the minutes for a complete account of the meeting. If you want to get a good laugh, get a meeting agenda, the DVD, and the written minutes of the meeting. The one I used was November 7, 2006. Since I spoke in the public commentary portion, there was nothing in the agenda, nor should there have been. Any similarity between the DVD and the minutes concerning my rant was purely coincidental. That's the real danger in someone relying on Coeur d'Alene City Council minutes as being a true and complete account of the meeting.

Several months ago we caught a different CdA City Councilman in a forgetful moment. He denied an item had even been presented and discussed at council. We showed him the minutes which reflected he was not only present at the meeting, he voted for the item!

3:58 PM, March 24, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Idaho corruption is an old story. What is missing is any action. Judges violate oathes, officials steer business to crinies or family, and nothing gets done.

4:44 PM, March 24, 2007  
Blogger Bill McCrory said...


I can't argue with you. It's little consolation that it's not only here, though. While we can't eradicate it completely, the best defense against it is an informed, active citizenry that documents and exposes it when they see it.

What Coeur d'Alene is faced with is every bit as difficult to penetrate as the Mafia was. There is a core group of citizens who grew up together here, attended high school together here, and came through some pretty economically depressing times together. Some of them have lived almost all their lives here. That creates a cultural solidarity that is very difficult to crack. It's also the exact condition that supports noble cause corruption and entitlement corruption. Entitlement corruption says, "We've struggled through this together, and now that we've achieved prosperity (albeit on the backs of other people and in some cases, illegally), we're entitled to take advantage of it."

Of course, there are some who are not natives who have bought their way into the inner core through (apparent) charitable giving and participation. They are the predators. They will turn against and dime out the natives if the going gets tough.

4:59 PM, March 24, 2007  
Blogger Starr Kelso said...

Bill, have you ever read Big Trouble by J. Anthony Lukas? I never really understood Idaho, even growing up in Wallace, (well that probably explains why in and of itself seeing as how that area is it's own little world) until I read that book. Another interesting read, if you can even find it...years ago I could only find one tattered paperback in a Boise Library...is The Boys of Boise. Oh, if you have time, I guess you could read the Prince Report...many of the names are the same and it is up-to-date... and it should still be on line at the Idaho A.G.'s site.

What with the new revelations regarding the 8 U.S. Attorneys that were fired, I think the picture is becoming clear on why none of the people named in the Prince Report were ever prosecuted by the Assistant U.S. Attorney from Oregon...Garten. I think he saved the job of his boss...who incidently, I was told by an attorney who should know, was the one who got Monica to talk.

12:04 AM, March 25, 2007  
Blogger Bill McCrory said...


Thanks for the references to the two books. I'll try and get them through the Hayden Branch library (yeah, I'm cheap).

The University Place Management Review Report (Prince Report) may be available on the AG's website, but I got my copy from the Idaho Board of Education website. Of course, you're right about quite a few names being the same. After all, CCDC was the mentor for LCDC. Ryan Armbruster is LCDC's attorney and one of LCDC's two registered lobbyists. The other registered lobbist is Teresa Molitor who, not coincidentally, is also an attorney at (you guessed it) Elam & Burke. Imagine that!

Though I was born and raised in Palouse, WA, I spent a great deal of time in Idaho until after graduating from college. Our school in Palouse competed in athletics with Potlatch, and my grandparents had a small farm near the Kennedy Ford Grange. My great grandfather settled the area and deeded the land for the Kennedy Ford Grange. (I've still got a copy of the deed in our safe deposit box along with his unCivil War discharge papers.) What really struck me was the difference in attitudes toward education between similarly sized communities in eastern Washington and northern Idaho. Even in our little farming community, kids were encouraged to work toward college or, if not that, go in the military and get away from Palouse for a while. Of course, many hoped their kids would eventually return. Some did, some didn't. But the prevailing attitude in northern Idaho seemed at the tme to be quite the opposite: "You don't need no education, kid. You'll always have a job in the mines or the mills." Well, that didn't quite work out, but some of that attitude still prevails. Maybe the next generation will reach reconciliation.

6:58 AM, March 25, 2007  

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