Investigators and prosecutors

Investigators and prosecutors

Block, George

“In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate, yet equally important groups-the police who investigate crime and the district attorneys who prosecute offenders.” -From the introduction to “Law and Order,” NBC TV.

It could be argued that too many Americans learn all they know about law and medicine from television dramas, but we all have learned that we need both investigators and prosecutors in our criminal justice system. Perhaps Dick Pound and Terry Madden, chairs of the World AntiDoping Agency (WADA) and the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), respectively, could sit in front of an A&E “Law and Order” marathon and explain how they intend to apply this concept to sport.

Pound sounded like he got it.

In an April 20, 2002 speech to the Canadian Olympic Committee, he said that he was putting together a confidential committee of journalists, (current and former) coaches and athletes, along with medical professionals, to track doping trends by developing a massive, unofficial data bank. Unfortunately, all that was missing from Pound’s plan was an actual investigator!

Pound had proposed tapping into and collecting data from the international rumor mill, but stopped short of saying that WADA was going to hire a retired Interpol officer (for example) to staff this committee and follow up on its leads. Pound and WADA stopped just short of real action.

At least Pound understands that he needs “intelligence.”

“Tell me what is going on so we can direct (WADA’s) research and detection programs at it,” he said.

No Inves tive Ann

Publicly, Terry Madden, the veteran prosecutor who leads USADA, doesn’t seem to get it.

He has repeatedly stated that USADA does not have an investigative arm. It is surprising to everyone who has observed and interacted with Madden that he has this critical blind spot. His background would indicate both a respect and an understanding of the need for investigation, but that has not been the case. Madden has yet to follow Pound’s lead and announce the hiring of a retired FBI agent to head an investigative arm of USADA.

His (stated) reluctance has been that any information developed by following anonymous leads would not be admissible as evidence (although test results developed from this information would be). Others say it is a more pragmatic result of the limitations of USADAs funding. There isn’t enough money to research the known methods fully, so why bother committing limited resources to chasing unknowns.

Privately, Madden stated that “USADA follows up-confidentially-on credible information received anonymously or not.” He further stated that he welcomes credibly-sourced information and encouraged this magazine to publish both his office phone (719-785-2002) and his e-mail (

When pressed, Madden emphasized that this information is investigated, but that those investigators are not USADA investigators. He said that he could “obviously” not say whose investigators those were, although he did say that he was not aware of any follow-up by WADA in developing an investigative arm.

Those most immersed in the “drug wars” view committed, professional investigators as the critical, missing piece of the international strategy. Victor Lachance, president of the Canadian Center of Ethics in Sport, said, “A search for knowledge at the source of the problem is just as important as testing for cheaters, who represent the symptoms. You can’t look at testing as the solution.

“We faced a similar situation after the Ben Johnson affair. We felt we needed to understand the problem. We had literature, but we needed more. We were able to interest people in talking to us. Of course they weren’t going to talk to me, so we had to find people they would talk to.”

A source inside WADA disagrees: “What you are really talking about is not investigation, but intelligence. There is a difference. Our-the world’s-system of doping control is not conducive to investigation. It is more like traffic court.

“In a criminal setting, the law recognizes a range of circumstances and punishments. In sport doping, there is strict liability and standard penalties. We can’t tell an athlete who tests positive, for example, that if she cooperates with the investigation, we can reduce her penalty.

“She could then give us evidence on the entire supply chain and system. The investigators could then follow that evidence to uncover additional violations and additional evidence. That is investigation. It could be a productive strategy, but it is not the strategy the world has agreed upon.

“We are basically a world traffic court. We announce the speed limits (acceptable blood or urine levels), then set up speed traps at known and unknown points on the roads to an Olympic medal. If you are caught, you are issued a ticket and receive a standard fine (penalty).

“Look at the issues inside your country (the USA) right now. The FBI was used to investigating crimes that had already occurred. They were completely unequipped and untrained to develop intelligence.”

American And-Doping Efforts

John Leonard, executive director of the American Swimming Coaches Association (ASCA), has been the acknowledged point man in the American anti-doping efforts. Leonard says that although we have built a nice stool, what is needed is a chair:

“The first critical leg of an anti-doping strategy is effective rules. Thanks to Rich Young (an attorney who consults for FINA, the IOC and USA Swimming, among others), FINA and the IOC have done a good job with this. We are about 98 percent there.

“Out of the rules comes testing. Again, on known substances, we have made excellent progress. All of the steroids and EPO have excellent tests. We’re nowhere on Human Growth Hormone right now, but we are OK on the others. We have quality of testing.

“Once you have good rules and good testing, you need good prosecuting. Terry Madden has developed sound case strategies, and he is successfully prosecuting cases. This is true now both nationally and internationally, with WADA and USADA and even the CAS (Court of Arbitration for Sport).

“What is missing is the fourth leg, what to test for. That is where the investigator comes in. To this point in histroy, the best indicator of where doping will appear is where past dopers have migrated. Follow the ex-East Germans. They have found their ways to China, Eastern Europe, South Africa, etc. But there is no formal tracking system.

“You can do the same thing with Human Growth Hormone. Follow the tracks of past users through China, Italy, Major League Baseball. It isn’t difficult. Amateurs have succeeded, basically, because eventually, these types like to brag, but amateurs have no authority or resources to follow up.

“That is the bottom line. There is no follow-up. There are no professional investigators to whom amateurs can turn over partial evidence. There is no one to inform about credible rumors. There is no one to follow up.”

That sounds frighteningly similar to the American intelligence system prior to 9/11. We remember those results.

George Block is past president of the American Swimming Coaches Association (1997-98).

Copyright Sports Publications, Inc. Oct-Dec 2002

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