Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Reason #172: The Ten Most Wanted

I'd always figured that the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list was just a qualitative thing - whomever had been on the lam for the longest time, or had the highest reward amounts, or something like that.

But apparently not just anybody gets to enjoy one of the top spots. After Bin Laden was killed last May, and Whitey Bulger was arrested less than two months later, no one moved into their spots right off the bat.

When someone from the list is captured or killed (or in some cases, demoted), the FBI's 56 field offices submit replacement candidates to HQ staff, who then select a candidate and forward them to FBI's Directors for approval. The selection is based on a handful of different criteria, sensibly including whether the individual's case would stand to benefit from the publicity boost that would come from being on the list.

How it was determined that the hunt for Osama Bin Laden needed a publicity boost, I couldn't tell you.

In any event, while Whitey Bulger's spot is still open, Bin Laden has now been officially replaced - by a guy named Eric Justin Toth, who's wanted for possession production of child pornography.

Not to diminish the ghastliness of child porn, obviously, but it's hard not to see it as some form of progress when the guys you most want to catch aren't terrorists, but good, old-fashioned pedophiles. Godspeed, you sick bastard.

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