The Tom Wales Case Is Still Open


Over the years I've mentioned several times the heartbreaking murder case of Tom Wales. That's him at right. He was a career federal prosecutor in Seattle, who at age 49 was shot dead in his home, by a rifleman through a window, as he worked at his computer at night. I knew him slightly; his brother-in-law is one of my closest friends but doesn't know I'm posting this.

Tom Wales was killed on October 11, 2001 -- nearly ten years ago. If the national media had not been all-consumed with the 9/11 attacks and their aftermath, this would have been a much bigger national story. From the start police assumed that he was shot because of one of the cases he was pursuing. He is thought to be the first federal prosecutor ever killed in the line of duty. For previous items on the case, see here, here, and here. Jeffrey Toobin did a very good article about Wales, the killing, and the still-inconclusive investigation in the New Yorker

Yesterday in Seattle, Attorney General Eric Holder declared that he considered the case still open and requested public help in developing new leads. There is a $1,000,000 reward for information that helps the FBI. Good for Holder, the Justice Department, and the FBI, in sticking up for one of their own. More from the FBI and from the Thomas C. Wales Foundation.

This week Tom Wales's children, Amy and Tom, released an online appeal for information and help. Please watch.

Thanks to BW in Washington state.
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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

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