Israel Keyes Interview, May 29, 2012
Israel Keyes is believed to have committed multiple kidnappings and murders across the country between 2001 and March 2012. This is an interview investigators conducted with Keyes following his arrest in March 2012.
BELL - Officer Jeff Bell, Anchorage Police Department
PAYNE - Special Agent Steve Payne, FBI
RUSSO - Assistant U.S. Attorney, Frank Russo
KEYES - Israel Keyes
BELL One of the lawyers got you this (laughs)
PAYNE ISRAEL how you doing?
KEYES All right.
RUSSO Hey ISRAEL how you doing?
KEYES All right.
RUSSO FELDIS is, uh, back east in some meetings…
KEYES Oh, okay.
RUSSO …this week but, uh, we figured it’d be a good opportunity to sort of update you on some of the developments in Vermont.
RUSSO Okay. Uh, they’re gonna go through their usual advisement that’ll be first.
KEYES All right.
PAYNE Um, ISRAEL, you know, we’re recording things here so got the, uh - uh stuff on. I just wanna confirm some of the stuff that we talked about at the jail. Um, we didn’t interrupt a meeting with your attorneys when we, uh, arrived there today did we?
PAYNE Okay, and it’s your choice to come here as always. And you’re here voluntarily is that correct?
PAYNE Okay. Um, and you understand we can’t talk about anything that has to with Samantha KOENIG, um, if we do or if you start talking about that we’ll have to stop the interview and transport you back to jail. You understand that right?
PAYNE Okay. Um, gonna run through your Miranda, uh, rights here real quick. I know we’ve been through these, uh, quite a few times, um, but we’ll run through ‘em again. Before we ask you any questions you must understand your rights. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can be used against you in court. You have the right to talk to a - a lawyer for advice before we ask you questions. You have the right to have a lawyer with you during questioning. If you can not afford a lawyer one will be appointed for you before any questioning if you wish. Uh, if you decide to answer questions now without a lawyer present you have the right to stop answering questions at any time. Uh, do you understand these rights as I’ve explained them to you?
PAYNE Okay. And with this advisement in mind are you willing to waive your rights and speak with us today?
PAYNE Okay, um, as you know you’ve got, uh, standby counsel that’s been appointed in this matter. I believe it’s, uh, Rich CURTNER and, uh, Jacqueline WALSH. Do you have any desire to have either one of those - either one of them present today?
RUSSO Or any attorney whatsoever?
PAYNE Okay. Um, are you - have you been taking any medications or any other substances…
PAYNE …here in the last 24 hours?
PAYNE Are you having any difficulty understanding where your at, what’s going on?
PAYNE Okay. All right, I think that, uh, takes care of things so I’ll turn it over to FRANK.
RUSSO So I just wanted to update ya on where we were and where we are now with the discussion with the state authorities in Vermont. You know, we talked about trying to get that agreement with them.
RUSSO Um, and we do have a letter. And I’ll exp- I’ll show you the letter and give you some time to read it. Uh this date- letter’s dated May 23 of 2012 which was last Wednesday. But since this point we’ve had some opportunity to discuss the contents of the letter with Vermont, um, and they still stand by everything in the letter. And I can certainly share ya, uh, share with you emails, uh, of - to that effect. But lemme let ya read this thing. Copies for you guys too.
RUSSO So I think pretty good letter.
KEYES I think I know that attorney.
KEYES Yeah. Thomas ESQUIRE (phonetic).
RUSSO Thomas - Thomas DONOVAN?
RUSSO Goes by DJ.
KEYES I think - his name looks really familiar I think he was on my land deed or something. That was years and years ago.
RUSSO Really? Um, so anyway here’s my take on - on the letter.
RUSSO Um, I think it’s - it really accomplishes everything that you want and that we want. Um, but as I told you like last week this isn’t a legal document.
RUSSO It’s not a, uh, you know, it’s not like it creates rights or you can enforce it or anything. But what this is - is a showing of good faith. You know, by - by the Vermont authorities.
RUSSO And they’re basically saying hey we’re on board, um, as long as ISRAEL is cooperating with you, you know, we agree to do those things.
RUSSO Which effectively, you know, prevents them from running to the press and charging you under the state law because after all they know this letter’s out here.
RUSSO So, you know, it - it would be political suicide if they tried to do anything with your case…
RUSSO …without at least consulting with us first. So this is, you know, in - in - in my mind a home run. Um, I - I remember last time, you know, you said something about showing it to your attorneys, I mean, do you want them to look at this or do you wanna…
KEYES If you could forward them - email them a copy of that…
KEYES …um, yeah, that would be good I guess. It - it seems that the letter is addressed to, uh, Kevin FELDIS.
KEYES So, I mean, that makes me feel better. Obviously it’s addressed to - if it’s addressed to me I can’t really put any stock in it…
KEYES …but, you know, if it’s - if it’s communication between the two of them then that’s good. And I also noticed that it’s, uh, written by the state attorney, um, versus fed- federal attorney but you said that the - no wait now the state - now so that’s - that’s the prosecuting attorney…
KEYES …for the - for the county or the district or…
RUSSO That’s for the - the state of - the state of Vermont.
KEYES So she’s federal?
RUSSO No she’s a state prosecutor.
KEYES Oh, okay.
RUSSO So she is, uh, under the states attorney here is Tom, TJ DONOVAN and so this is the Chittenden County prosecutors office they handle all state crimes committed in Chittenden County. Which my understanding that’s where Essex is, right next to Burlington.
RUSSO So, you know, in terms of federal prosecutors, you know, they’re within Department of Justice anyway. So, you know, we’re on the same team so to speak as them.
RUSSO It was just a matter of the state and locals. And, you know, I’ve been emailing back and forth with these people, um, I can share that with you, uh, some of it but I just wanna make clear I mean, you certainly - I can - I can email that to your standby counsel no problem. Um, are you okay talking about this letter, um, today without them present?
KEYES Yeah - yeah I don’t mind talking about it I just, uh, wanted to have them review it.
KEYES To see what - get their take on it.
KEYES I wasn’t even gonna ask them for their advice just see what they had to say about it so.
RUSSO It’s up to you as to whether or not - take their advice...
RUSSO …from it but, you know, like I said this isn’t like a legally binding contract…
RUSSO …I don’t think anybody’s gonna contend it is. It’s basically, you know, just a document that…
KEYES It just puts some of the facts on the table.
RUSSO It puts the facts and their intentions on the table which…
RUSSO …is really what, uh, it was a huge burden that came off of us last week when we got this, um, obviously, you know, ‘cause we’ve been telling them you didn’t want publicity you wanted to kinda keep it low profile…
RUSSO …um, you know, the - the incident last Wednesday kinda complicated things for us because then we, you know, they were basically wondering well does he want no publicity or sounds like he does. So that was their (chuckles) perspective on things. So I spent some time, um, chatting with Mary MORRISSEY, um and she’s the - the prosecutor here and, you know, she copies the Essex police chief and the other detective on the case too - on the CURRIER case. Um, but basically, you know, they’re - they’re, uh, requesting, you know, the email is, you know, they - they certainly may have other questions about the CURRIER case…
RUSSO And so they were wondering hey, you know, would it be okay to conference them in? Uh, I said we could talk about that in a - in a conference call tomorrow, uh, as to what kinda questions they had for you and we could always run those by ya. But basically this - after the incident last Wednesday we were able to kinda go talk to them again and explain, you know, I listened to your conversation with JEFF and STEVE on…
RUSSO …Thursday and it - it seems clear that you’re still on board with…
RUSSO this sort of agreement.
RUSSO And I told that to them and saying look this was just a sort of a crime of opportunity the escape thing and he’s serious about, uh, about cooperating. So I confirmed that to them and they confirmed today that, um, you know, they are, uh, you know, they’re still on board. Uh, if you wanna see that I’m happy to show it to ya, if you want.
KEYES Uh, sure. I take a look at it.
RUSSO So it leaves out the bottom which is my sort of long hand - long winded explanation of what happened.
BELL That starts at the bottom, right?
RUSSO Yeah, well that’s the bottom question to her and she basically says in there do you need me to send another letter, like an updated date on the letter?
RUSSO I said, you know, I think this email is sufficient.
KEYES All right, well sounds like we’re making progress so.
RUSSO I think so. I mean I think this is, uh, a great amount of progress. Where we are and I think, you know, it - it’s gonna help us move the ball forward. Um, you know, just to sort of reiterate they basically have said and agreed that, um, they know it’s important to you to sort of avoid media attention to, um, that -that you don’t want law enforcement identifying you in connection with the CURRIER matter. That they’re prepared to do. Um, and they’re prepared to continue cooperating and in exchange you’re agreeing to be truthful about other crimes…
RUSSO …and other bodies. And in here they specifically mention the name of the victim in New York.
KEYES Right. They wanna know…
KEYES …about that.
RUSSO So a- as it says…
BELL Kinda close to them.
RUSSO And I have a conference call tomorrow with them and I’d like to be able to tell them that you’re continuing to cooperate and you’ve provided that information.
KEYES I do wanna continue to cooperate, um, I’m having some issues as far as, uh, this is somewhat of a unrealistic expectation on my part but I was thinking there might be a way to disclose all this information to you, and to the FBI. And to some way ensure - somehow ensure that, uh, we could work out some sort of agreement that, you know, I give you all the answers on these cases and - and, uh, you know, families get closure and you find as many - as many of them as possible. And, um, and in return for that, you know, I, you know, I don’t plan on being around a whole lot longer but a really big concern to me is, um, you know, my kids gonna be around. I - I don’t want her to like type my name into the computer and have it pop up like…
KEYES …you know, that - you know, I already know stuffs gonna come up I know that.
KEYES But, um, I just, uh, try to minimize that at this point I guess. Is wha- is what I was hoping to do and, um, apparently it’s gonna be really difficult, uh, to get that assurance. So I’m trying to, you know, figure out a way we can still do that. Um, uh, I think there is, you know, I have a few ideas on - on how we can work it out but, uh…
PAYNE What are your ideas?
KEYES Well I (chuckles) I’m not sure if they’re feasible yet. I’ve - I’ve been, you know, talking to different people about it from the - from what can happen - from a I guess a legal perspective. You know, it’s one thing to - to make assurances, you know - you know, that’s - that’s great I mean if we get some of this stuff on the table for now it helps us deal with the problems for right now but, um, you know, down the road that’s what I’m concerned about. I’m not gonna be around, you know…
KEYES …which is fine I’m - I’m - but that doesn’t, uh, doesn’t change the fact that, you know, like just because - just because I’m not connected with it right away it could happen later and, uh…
KEYES So I’m trying to I guess maybe cover myself that way as much as possible and still get you what you need.
RUSSO Yeah, I mean, I think, um, you know, sort of the plan I drafted up, I mean, this is sort of a - a good starting point. Your right, I mean, no one can guarantee you that your never gonna be connected to some of these things. Um, what we can do to respond to some of this is create this sort of snowball effect of the jurisdictions.
RUSSO And we started with Vermont, I mean, we know even though we gave Vermont the information up front, we know it’s - it’s possible.
RUSSO Because we just did it and it will be even - we’re in a better position in other jurisdictions when we go to them and say all right look we’ve got Vermont down, we’ve got a body in New York, um, either get on board or were not gonna play with ya. Um…
RUSSO It creates this snowball effect where the momentum - and no one’s gonna try and get in the way of that. So, I mean, you know, sort of the plan we sorta lined out for ya it was my hope that - that’s something we can use as a model. We used Vermont as a model and now it’s - it’s certainly it’s working. We’re taking a big step in Vermont saying all right you know what, you guys obviously it’s - it’s KEYES who’s solving at least the CURRIERS crime and we’re gonna defer to Alaska and we’re gonna, sort of, give you what you need but in return, you know, we’re not gonna - we’re not gonna say anything - we’re gonna keep things under the radar. We’re not gonna link it publicly and we’re not gonna make a splash in the media which I think is, I mean, as far as law enforcement guarantees or insurances it’s as good as it gets.
RUSSO And I think, um, you know, we can do this. We can continue on doing this because, I mean, we’ve been doing a good job in Vermont - Vermont’s been doing a great job. And I think, um, you know, they’re aware of New York now too and that’s quite frankly what got them over the line.
RUSSO Remember we were talking to ya we’re like give - give us something to take to Vermont.
RUSSO And when we got New York - we went to Vermont and said, you know, because of your cooperation we got New York. And then that immediately generated this letter of - of intent. So, but in order to kinda keep I think Vermont on board it - it certainly would be nice to kinda say all right, you know, based upon your letter we also got, you know, the name - the name, of a - of a victim.
RUSSO The location of a body and, you know, we already have their assurance about the CURRIER matter you don’t have to worry about what’s happening with that because that’s all tied up in this and we can do the same thing with the New York victim.
KEYES Right. Where are they at with the, I mean, did they find the bodies yet or?
RUSSO I think it’s a - it’s like a football field where the stuff they’re going through.
PAYNE Yeah, they’re making - they’re making progress but it’s just a - it’s…
KEYES It could still be like a couple weeks or something.
PAYNE Yeah, it definitely could.
BELL They’re not gonna stop.
PAYNE This, uh, you know…
PAYNE One of the best analogies I’ve heard for it is it’s more like an archeological dig, uh, now it is just kinda tossing things…
PAYNE …until you find what you think you’re looking for.
KEYES Yeah, that’s a lot of trouble to go to. I almost feel guilty (chuckles). Costing the tax payers a lot of money to find them (chuckles).
BELL But that…
KEYES Coulda just kept my mouth shut (chuckles).
BELL But that’s how committed that, you know, the FBI…
KEYES No I understand they, you know…
BELL They just wanna…
KEYES Well it sounds like they’ve got it. They’ve got the area, they just gotta find it now.
PAYNE They - they’re very confident of that and they’ve been finding things that are in the right time frame and…
PAYNE …are, you know, from, uh, residences and businesses in that immediate area. So they’re confident they’re in the right area but as you can imagine it’s something that they’re trying to do precisely and…
KEYES Um, and there hasn’t been - I haven’t honestly I haven’t had access to any new stories related to that. I saw the one that you showed me when they started to dig.
BELL That’s the last one.
BELL I’m Google - I Google it almost everyday. There’s nothing…
KEYES They haven’t they’re - it’s kind of a dead story at this point.
BELL …no more releases.
BELL So, I mean, I think what I heard to is you - you’re - you’re wanting to take responsibility. Your plan is to take responsibility if you can figure out how to do this without getting the recognition. Which is kinda like…
KEYES Yeah, my…
BELL …what’s going on with Vermont.
KEYES Right. My concern - the problem is nowadays, uh, the more stuff my name is attached to the more likely it is that somebody’s gonna try to do some kinda stupid freaking TV special or, you know - you know how it is. Nowadays like with all this true crime bullshit that people are obsessed with and that’s, uh - I’m not even so concerned at this point about, uh, you know, ‘cause so far I feel like we have been able to work within the guidelines of what we both said we would. Uh, but I’m - I’m, yeah, I am concerned about that. About someone connecting the dots on this and, um, I - I don’t know how like the right - there - I know there’s certain privacy laws but I know that, you know, for the most case they’re not going to apply to me. And, uh, so I know that, um, at some point it’s pretty likely that if someone tried hard enough they could, you know…
PAYNE Not - not - not so much because this is - you got a couple of things sorta working in our favor on this. One it’s an ongoing investigation…
PAYNE …and so that right there is gonna limit the amount of information that’s gonna be released. Um, and two it’s an ongoing federal investigation and we play by a whole different set of rules than most of the states out there and so media agen- media outlets don’t have the same ability to come in and sort of force us if you will to disclose information, uh, that they might be able to get away with - with state local agencies.
KEYES Right. Yeah, I can see that. That they would have more to go up against but, um, there’s also, I mean, um, if I’m dead then the investigation from the federal governments point of view is pretty much closed.
PAYNE Not necessarily. I mean, we’re gonna do what we need to do to tie up the loose ends and to the extent that we can do that with your assistance like we- we’ve talked in the past. If - if we go at this as a team and we have the benefit of your information it allows us to go hunting with a rifle instead of a shotgun.
PAYNE And there may be things that we wind up having to follow up on down the road, um, when you’re no longer in a position to assist us but…
BELL Yeah, our idea is to - is to do this with you so that…
BELL …it’s focused. And - and we won’t - and - and it’s not gonna get anywhere near like it is in Vermont because we’ve all learned from…
BELL …from that stuff. But the - the way to get it like that is for us to have to try and figure it out ourselves. And that’s what we’ve been, I mean, and you know that. You know exactly what, uh…
BELL …what we’re faced with and what kind of publicity we’re all gonna be faced with and - and questions that we’re gonna have to answer and the - these other agencies are gonna be asking us. And those are the things that we’re trying to avoid knowing that you’re the only one that can help us keep this to a - as little publicity as possible. It’s - it’s up to you.
KEYES All right, well…
BELL And so that’s - that’s where we’re at with…
PAYNE And the reality is if - if we’re not able to do this with your assistance I can’t imagine being able to do this without generating a fair amount of publicity. I just don’t think it’s possible ‘cause it’s gonna be too large in scope and it’s gonna involve too many - too many jurisdictions and too many agencies.
PAYNE I’m just being honest.
KEYES Yeah, I - I mean, I know - I know you’ve gotta move along with your investigation. And, uh, unfortunately due to my own actions recently I, uh, somewhat complicated matters for me. So, um, not surprisingly now there’s something else I want out of this (chuckles) but I don’t know if I’m even supposed to talk to that - about that yet because I, uh, I haven’t even found out like what the options are so. Um…
BELL Something that you can talk about and it’s not related to…
KEYES No it’s just like the, uh, the level of restriction they have me on at the jail makes a, I mean, namely like, uh, like my so called rec time is now fresh air time because I go out like this. So, leg irons and stuff. No more running in circles. I guess they figured they’d make me fat…
BELL Just shuffled out.
KEYES Yeah, they - they keep me in my cell enough I’ll get fat and I wont want to run anymore (chuckles). But, um, yeah, I - I know this - I know that’s unrelated to anything we’ve talk about so far obviously it’s a new situation but it doesn’t really change the fact it’s an everyday…
BELL It sucks.
KEYES …reality for me so. So I’m trying to f- figure out what - what if any options there are regarding…
BELL Within that - within the system?
KEYES Yeah, so. Anyway, um, that and like I say, I, um, I think so far, yeah, things are - have worked fine. I, uh, but, yeah, I am concerned about, um, not so much the right - like right here and now publicity I think we can keep that…
KEYES …under wraps to a large extent. I’m more worried or - if it’s possible I intend to do something - take steps to minimize the down the road publicity.
BELL For XXXXX?
BELL I understand that.
RUSSO Yeah, and, um…
KEYES Because honestly you guys - I, you know - you know I mean there’s nothing - I’m - I’m not trying to get anything else out of this at this point. You know, and, uh, as much, you know, and I did say, you know, I wanted to just get this all cleared up and that way you’re not digging for who knows how many years down the road, you know, trying to connect the dots and just make it all go away. But, um, uh, but I don’t know I - I just have to figure out the best way to do that…
KEYES …to make it all go away (chuckles). To make it all over and…
BELL Well and I - I understand that to and you’ve heard me say this many - many times but the - at some point and time you may - your choices may - your choice may be, the reality could be that XXXXX and everybody else knows what you did based on what you said you did. Or everybody else including XXXXX gets to see the fiasco and the media frenzy that is created by law enforcement trying to figure out…
KEYES Right, speculation.
BELL …what - what you did. Speculating what you did. ‘Cause I told you, you know, on - on the one trip that we’ve looked at, um, surrounding New York we have ten viable - well people that are missing that we know of. Those are just the ones that are still reported that way. And so if we have to - and we know you didn’t do - do that. But that’s what - that’s what we’re looking at in - in - in each one of these…
BELL …these trips is we’re faced with if - if you don’t tell us, our options are to be public with that agency because we can’t ask questions…
BELL …and not expect questions in return. And so we’re - we’re - we’re really living up to our end of the bargain and - ‘cause at this point in the investigation if you weren’t cooperating with us this would already have been happening and the media frenzy would be crazy…
BELL …with us trying to figure it out. ‘Cause we do have enough information on - on your t- on your trips at least to do police work.
BELL Not that we’re gonna come like you - you don’t think…
KEYES No I - I…
BELL …we’re gonna find anything out but we have to try. And so I - I and I know that’s tough for you to think about and in the future is that the reality may be that, you know, one’s worse than the other obviously.
RUSSO Especially the one in New York, I mean, ‘cause the only reason we’re not just showing you a picture here is these guys and the FBI have been incredibly restrained about asking that part of the country for assistance. Because if they ask that part of the country for assistance the immediate re- response is going to be well what do you have…
RUSSO …who do you have? And so that’s the reason we’re not sitting here throwing, you know, pictures in front of you and going to you first. Because, you know, we understand you’re cooperating with us, Vermont understands it and that’s why they’re on board. And we’d just like to continue that effort instead of, you know, having this whole, you know, media frenzy too…
RUSSO …quite frankly. And, you know, with respect to XXXXX I mean there is that whole frenzy that’s gonna be created, you know, uh, if - if things slow down I think, um, you know, we - we touched on this last time is that there may be sort of some benefit at the end of this to well, you know, the media says that Israel KEYES killed 40 people which, you know, based upon some wild speculation as apposed to he killed 10 and then also gave closure to those families as his sort of last effort. I mean, and - and I know that doesn’t matter to you - it may matter to her.
BELL And, you know, we’re always gonna be bound to not talk about this just like we are now. And assume you’re not gonna be telling people details - other people that have, you know…
KEYES What do you mean - well I mean you do press releases all the time…
BELL Yeah, but you - but you - but you know that the details of this, uh, these investigation are right here, right now and that a lot of these details are- aren’t gonna be released.
KEYES Well that is my concern that, um, yeah, I - I how much - I don’t know. See I don’t know that because I - I mean I see, you know, I - I watch the news there - there are press releases that are done on other crimes so.
PAYNE Press releases thought are different than what I think you’re worried about and rightly so. Press releases are designed for - to help us gather additional information. And so our release of information while - while investigations ongoing…
PAYNE …is - is limited to the absolute minimum necessary to try and obtain the additional information that we’re seeking.
PAYNE Does that make sense?
KEYES Yeah, it makes sense.
PAYNE And as long as the investigations ongoing we’re not gonna be throwing out information just for the sake of throwing it out. That’s not the way we operate.
PAYNE I mean, you’ve seen specials on the FBI I mean come on, everybody talks about our secret files and how we never give up anything, right?
PAYNE There you go.
KEYES Well, yeah, I mean let’s - I like I say I wanna have a - a chance to - to talk about the letter with some people and I want to have a chance to, um, hear back on the other thing I’m not gonna hold my breath on that (chuckles) but wanna at least see what the options are. And, uh, like I say I would have preferred to wait until they find the bodies in Vermont but it sounds like that could be a while so I guess as long as we have that letter from them then, uh, you know, as soon as I have a chance to - to look it over or have other, you know…
KEYES …other people look it over then - then we can, uh…
KEYES …move on to the New York trip that, I mean, you guys already have I’m sure quite a bit of information on it so…
KEYES …probably have more than I remember at this point so (chuckles) except - I mean, except for (chuckles) certain details.
RUSSO Yeah, and - and we could have those too and so we’re just sort of holding that in abeyance while…
KEYES Yeah - no I understand.
RUSSO …we can (unintelligible). So that’s - that’s the only reason so, um, just so I’m clear I can tell Vermont tomorrow on this conference call that, um, you appreciate their letter and you intend to go forward with…
KEYES Yeah, we’ll…
KEYES …yeah, we’ll keep work- yeah.
RUSSO So it’s - it’s reasonable you wanna talk to some people about it.
KEYES I - I - I, yeah, especially I mean especially on the New York case ‘cause I’ve already given you so much information on it - it’s, you know, we gotta - can’t really stop on that one now so it’s…
RUSSO Okay. Um, one thing that might be helpful and I don’t think this is, uh, giving away anything so we can just start thinking along those terms. KEVIN is back east and sort of meeting of criminal chiefs and, um, it - it certainly would be nice for him to start networking whatever criminal chief he needs to, in terms of the New York thing. Now, you know, again I don’t - I don’t think that gives away anything you haven’t - you just told us the body is in New York. We wanna start striking up relationships with whatever criminal chief he needs to talk to or will need to talk to about the New York thing ‘cause you’ve already said you’ve committed the crime.
KEYES Yeah, but I mean I don’t wanna talk - I don’t wanna give out any more information on it. I mean, I understand…
KEYES …his point of view but it’s, you know, like I say it’s still, uh, frankly that’s gonna be too much if I - at this point. I don’t - I don’t wanna go there yet, um, until I…
PAYNE Even just to…
KEYES …until I find out where I’m at with - with what we’ve, you know, with the new developments so.
RUSSO Okay, what about, um, and - and I - I’m just thinking about his trip ‘cause he had asked me to come and ask you these things. Since he’s gonna be there, he’s also with the people in Washington. I mean, you’ve already talked to us about Washington and I think these guys have some…
KEYES Washington state?
RUSSO State, yeah. They have some pictures they wanna show you about that.
BELL Just to let you know that we did…
KEYES Oh, they found the boat.
BELL Boat has…
KEYES It’s had better days.
BELL That cover was a good investment though.
BELL Well it’s still on it.
KEYES Is it in good shape? (Chuckles). Looks like it’s a little leaky at this point.
BELL It was still in his driveway just, uh, just sitting there. He hadn’t touched it so.
KEYES Yeah, I had big plans for that boat but whatever (chuckles).
RUSSO What plans did you have for the boat?
KEYES Oh, I was gonna bring it up here but - bring it up here and put a new motor on it. But, um, then decided it was time to leave Alaska anyway so I probably would have picked it up eventually.
KEYES It’s been there for a long time. Six or seven years. Anyway…
RUSSO So the thing about Washington is a little - a little simpler from his perspective. There’s only two federal districts there eastern and western. So eastern is more like Tacoma and Yakima. Western is Seattle.
RUSSO And, uh, Tac- and, uh, Spokane…
KEYES Where is the dividing line?
RUSSO It’s Spokane Yakima and then there’s Seattle Tacoma there to the western.
RUSSO Um, you know, I think he’d like to be in a position to just sort of just chat very briefly with one of those criminal chiefs if not both if he needs to - to sort of lay the foundation.
KEYES Well the problem I have with talking about anything related to Washington is, um, I’m not playing ball with the right people because those - I’m almost positive they’re not gonna be federal.
KEYES In case they’re not federal cases.
PAYNE Why do you think that?
RUSSO I - I think KEVIN explained to you that…
KEYES Just like different stuff that happened so.
RUSSO Okay. Well, I mean, I think KEVIN explained to you that the jurisdiction that we can exercise is pretty expansive especially if it’s, you know, part of a - a common scheme…
RUSSO …and traveling…
KEYES No I - I understand that but again we’re - this is gonna be hard to talk about without getting into stuff we’re not supposed to talk about. But, um, uh, depending on things, you know, the way things pan out, you know, the things we’ve already talked about then, uh, I may need those details, uh, of the Washington cases that, um, that I would be better served to wait (chuckles) you know to, um, if that’s where - the route I have to go. I mean - if you know what I mean it’s, uh….
RUSSO Mm-hm - mm-hm. I think I do. I - I’m not sure I mean I know we’ve talked a little bit about…
KEYES Because, yeah, because like there’s a big difference between state and - and federal it seems and it seems like Washington…
KEYES …might be a state that…
RUSSO But that’s something that we can sort of start working on in the background just so you know. I mean, I’m not asking you - you know, here now today but that’s something that usually does require cooperation between even the federal districts. Even if they’re state things…
KEYES So you’re saying there’s two dis- I’m sorry, two districts…
RUSSO There’s two districts in Washington.
KEYES Federal districts?
RUSSO Yeah. So there’s two federal districts that would probably just sort of broach with it. One in - in, uh, Spokane and Yakima are the main offices in the one. And then Seattle and Tacoma are the western district. So that’s just a dividing line I don’t know exactly where it is but pretty much, you know, Seattle and Tacoma is where most of the crimes are. Everything…
KEYES Like Ellensburg or?
RUSSO Yeah, I think that’s - that’s Ellensburg is, uh…
KEYES Ellensburg is west or east?
RUSSO No, east.
RUSSO I think it’s east. Ellensburg is sort of outside of Yakima.
KEYES (Chuckles) you’re gonna need both districts then (chuckles).
KEYES ‘Cause I don’t, yeah (chuckles).
RUSSO Well it’s, I mean, it’s something I mean the good thing about Washington is we have some pretty good relationships with both US Attorney’s there and, you know, both criminal chiefs so.
KEYES Yeah, I don’t, yeah - no I understand what you’re saying but, um, that was a few years ago so. But, no I, um, it just seems like I might end up having to talk to like state people there, I don’t know.
RUSSO I don’t know either but I mean the good thing is the federal people have their counter parts, you know, like Vermont was pretty connected with the Chittenden County folks, you know…
RUSSO …we can sorta get them on board and - and makes the transition easier sort of, uh, move forward in their jurisdiction if - if that’s the way you choose to go. Obviously everybody would have to be on board anyway so…
RUSSO …um, that’s - it’s useful for him to sort of give ‘em a heads-up.
PAYNE And it - I think FRANK can correct me if I’m wrong obviously but I think the sooner that, uh, they have that opportunity the less likely you are to kinda get drug from one jurisdiction to another because they’ll already be things in place.
KEYES Yeah - no I, um, I’m a little - my concern at this point is, uh, not knowing like I say how current things are going to pan out, um, the information that I still have, uh, could come in handy (chuckles) if…
KEYES …I need it, um, and if I give it out now before I mean I, yeah, I don’t think I’ll need it in that respect but, you know, you never know.
RUSSO Mm-hm. No.
KEYES I don’t know - I don’t know what’s gonna happen. And, uh, and if I give it all out now particularly, you know, anything about Washington, uh, that could seriously compromise, uh, my options - future options.
RUSSO I think, um, sort of the - and I can sorta bring that back in at some point obviously, you know, we can take this staggered approach which I think is probably a good one. To go to different places if we do ‘em one at a time. But, um, the plan that we propose to you is to do exactly that. So like you sorta do the New York one we make sure we have everybody on board in the New York one, whatever jurisdictions we need to. Get that information agreement in place and then we can move on to Washington.
RUSSO Now Washington, you know, basically will have the same agreement and then, you know, it could be an option that you could always use later down the road if you don’t like the way things are - are going you can ask us to simply say hey, you know, there’s that thing in Washington that I helped you on can you, you know, reach out to those people again and - and see what they’re willing to do? So the- there is that. I mean I - I - I get you with you don’t wanna kind of, you know, sort of give away cards but I think the - the plan that we’ve proposed to you is sort of a - like a one at a time staggered approach where we eventually get…
RUSSO …to where we need to be going. And it doesn’t…
RUSSO …like result in this land mass of publicity.
KEYES It’s - yeah, but it is gonna have to be spread out over the next who knows how long…
KEYES …because I don’t plan on, like I say, until certain issues - ongoing issues right now are resolved…
KEYES …I don’t plan on giving out all the in- that’s just, you know, well that’s not true, I mean, if I get, you know, I - who knows how - I don’t know how long this is gonna take I don’t - I don’t know.
KEYES You know, it - I - my impression is that there could be a pretty wide range of timeframes that could happen and, uh, but, yeah, first and foremo- you know, one step at a time. I’ve gotta - I’ve gotta have a chance to…
KEYES …to, um, tackle, you know, whatever new issues are on the table so.
RUSSO Sure. Um, yeah, and we - we can sort of review that and obviously you need to think about this. There’s one suggestion in the email about, you know, other details in the CURRIER, um, case that they may wanna know about and they wanna conference call in. Now that you have this letter, I mean, how do you feel about that?
KEYES That’s - I mean, with who? Is it with the state or?
RUSSO The local investigators.
KEYES So like the, uh, detectives on…
KEYES …that were on the case?
RUSSO Now it’s - we can do it two ways. I don’t know if they’re gonna have a lotta questions - if they - they have a few we can simply ask those and sort of get them the information they need, you know, um, but…
KEYES Is it gonna be just like a few people, I mean, you say conference call - is it…
RUSSO Just - just well whoever is on the other I don’t know who would be on the line, probably just the detective and the prosecutor.
RUSSO Uh, but that’s, you know, it’s up…
KEYES Yeah, I don’t - I don’t know I…
KEYES Seems like it’d be better - I don’t have a problem with that it’s just it seems like it’d be better if there’s not a ton of people on the - since we’re still trying to keep it on the down low it’s…
RUSSO Yeah, I mean it would only be people who were bound by this letter, if it is.
KEYES Okay, yeah…
RUSSO So these people would just be.
KEYES …no - I, like I say I feel like I’ve already given all the information they need but if they want more that’s fine, I mean…
RUSSO I think they had some follow up about what the house looked like and things like that that they, uh, they’re just dealing with some administrative issues on their end that they’re trying to release the house to the family and then they’re trying to get rid of the house. So they’re not gonna keep it the way it was so they just wanna make sure they document everything that they need to just…
KEYES Right, okay, yeah.
RUSSO I mean, given that they have this assurance that I - I don’t think it’s a problem but that’s up to you. And maybe they don’t have much but I’m gonna talk to them about that tomorrow.
KEYES Yeah, that’s fine. And, um, I, uh, like I say if - if you can forward that…
KEYES …um, I imagine very shortly I will have a chance to talk to them about it so.
RUSSO Yeah - yeah. Um, that’s fine.
KEYES Then there’s the issue with the US Marshals but like I say I don’t know if there’s anything that any of us can do about that.
RUSSO Yeah, I don’t know security is a difficult thing that they kinda basically tell us to mind our own business when it comes to security…
RUSSO …so it’s, you know, it’s usually that kind of thing, I mean, I don’t know it’s difficult, uh, situation given what happened.
BELL They’re - they’re responsible for you, I mean, in custody so they would have been - they would have looked pretty foolish if you’d gotten too much farther.
KEYES (Chuckles) yeah.
BELL So they’re probably not gonna - who knows. I doubt they’re gonna be open to much of your suggestions but I don’t know.
KEYES They’re not gonna take any of my suggestions? (Chuckles).
KEYES My suggestion seem to hold less and less water lately so (chuckles).
BELL I’m sure they’re very polite about it though.
KEYES They seemed all quite highly amused last time I was at the court house. Yeah, definitely seemed to have changed their protocol for the way they do things (chuckles).
RUSSO It really livened things up a little bit and we weren’t sure exactly, uh, how to deal with this situation with Vermont, you know, given that so.
KEYES Yeah, that was not well thought out on my part. As soon as these guys mentioned that I was like oh shit, one more thing I didn’t think…
KEYES …of before I did that.
RUSSO You seem to have a basic plan but just sort of the…
RUSSO …a to b and then…
RUSSO …the c is sort of left out there.
KEYES Yeah, well it wasn’t really like a high probability of success there in the best of circumstances so.
RUSSO Well, understood - understood. You know, obviously, uh…
KEYES Like half a football team of US Marshals between me and the door so.
RUSSO And - and Officer BELL.
KEYES Pretty sure I saw him come in at some point.
KEYES He’s claiming he didn’t but…
RUSSO (Chuckles). Do you have anything else, uh, you wanna talk about or questions you have on these other matters?
KEYES No I - I think the le- I mean from my perspective I think the letters good I, um, but, yeah, it’s, uh…
RUSSO I mean from my perspective…
KEYES I’m glad they’re still willing to work with me on it.
RUSSO Yeah, I mean this is a homerun from my perspective. Um, you know, and you certainly check it out these people are who they say they are and, uh, you know, if they wanna make a call to any of these people, you know, I’m sure that, uh, you know, they’ll - they’ll take the call and confirm that that’s, you know, their signature on the letter so.
KEYES But you - you did say that everyone on that…
KEYES …is with the state not with the feds.
RUSSO Yes, exactly.
RUSSO So the feds are ready, you know, we’ve been talking to them in the outset and they’re, you know, under the department of justice…
RUSSO …anyway so. You know, they’re - they have no problem they just wanna obviously…
KEYES And the state is - they’re the entity that’s more likely to wanna release information on me.
RUSSO Exactly, and I can tell ya, um…
BELL They were the ones responsible for the investigation.
KEYES So they’re - yeah.
RUSSO Yeah, lemme share this with ya, um, that I think is kinda important and to the model on how to deal with things. I - I know that, you know, obviously there are reporters that called maybe friends or family members of - of you, I think what happened on the outset is like we said, you know, we provided them with the information. They didn’t know what they were dealing with at first…
RUSSO …so they had no idea and I think someone spoke, you know, out of turn or out of school whatever you wanna call it. Maybe one person over there and now they’ve realized, oh shit, we shouldn’t have said what we said and - and they basically have shut it down. No one can confirm that story. So I think it’s incredibly helpful to have this sort of model going forward and to be able to tell them that look, you know, we wanna limit media attention…
RUSSO …with the New York victim, we wanna kind of, uh, keep things in - in one jurisdiction. We want FBI to handle it because we’re dealing with something that’s more than just your jurisdiction.
RUSSO But for all they knew that, you know, it was just, you know, Alaska and the CURRIERS and oh boy we’ve got some sort of - we’ve caught our - ourselves, uh, our suspect. They didn’t understand the big picture and I think that’s what happened because that was obviously a concern to us, you know, when we were sort of initially…
RUSSO …talking to them but I think when you get their perspective I think they - they realize that oh, you know, this isn’t something we - we should be doing and they - they realize the severity of it. And now I think we’ve got pretty good relationship with them. And, you know, we’re happy to talk to them as long as, you know, they’re on board they’re, you know, part of the team and again we’re just building momentum. And the next jurisdiction, you know, we can have Vermont and we’ve offered to do that and say…
RUSSO …well then we’ll reach out to the next jurisdictions simply and say hey, you know, we did this in our jurisdiction and it worked - and it worked well, you should too. And this way, you know, we’ve got state and local officers reaching out to the other jurisdiction the state and locals there and basically telling ‘em this is a good idea. So it really it gets the momentum but it snowballs and it can’t be stopped and no one’s gonna get in the way of it. So I think that’s the best way to control, you know, any kinda media attention here is just with the cooperation of law enforcement as a whole.
RUSSO I think, you know, we’ve been doing a good job of…
RUSSO …it and we can continue.
KEYES I mean at some point though I - I don’t, I mean, I haven’t felt like this so far but I - I mean I know you guys keep wanting information and - and, uh, like I’ve said I don’t wanna give out…
KEYES …everything all at once but, um, I just don’t want us to get in a situation where, you know, we reach an impasse and you’re like, okay, we’re gonna go and start doing press releases now or whatever and then I - and then I’m…
BELL Getting pissed off.
KEYES …gonna be all pissed off frankly and, uh…
KEYES …you know, and then so I mean I - that’s all I ask. I’m not saying this is gonna remain a compatible relationship obviously but, you know, if we can keep it at least an open communication…
BELL Well, and that’s why we’re frankly we came over there today and you told us you weren’t in a talkative mood and we - we…
BELL …still wanted to bring you over because we still wanna keep this…
KEYES All right.
BELL …this relationship going. You know we’re getting pressures - we’re all getting pressures from the powers to be that - that control us, our bosses…
KEYES Right, and that…
BELL …to get - to get information. You understand that. We - we…
BELL …all are - have jobs to do and so we just wanna keep the communication open with ya.
KEYES That - that - and that’s my, I guess that’s what I’m saying. I’m not so concerned about the people in this room…
KEYES …I’m concerned about people putting pressure on you to get the answers. I imagine they, you know, they don’t care about my agenda they want all the answers like…
KEYES …right now, you know, and I understand that but, um, I just hope it doesn’t come to that. I just hope it doesn’t come to like…
BELL I hope not too.
KEYES …a standoff, you know, type situation.
RUSSO Yeah, I think that, you know, this is a business deal. I think, you know, agent PAYNE explained it. It’s sort of, you know, it’s just a - it’s a business deal and it’s kinda strange because, you know, obviously we all have different interests but that’s usually the case in any kind of business deal is you have stuff that we…
RUSSO …want and we have, you know, things that we can assure you of that, you know, is of some value to you I think. And so in any kind of business deal like I said negotiations any good negotiations everybody walks away from the table, you know, not getting exactly what they want. And I think, you know, we’ve - we’ve basically been able to manage our supervisors that way by saying look he’s not gonna give us everything up front.
RUSSO Okay? He’s not gonna do it. But we’re able to kinda say hey but - but he will maybe give us one at a time and draw it our for a period of time to keep sort of the benefit of the bargain for us and not…
RUSSO …expending man hours and, you know, going through all the press and media and, you know, other local departments. So, yeah, we’re not getting exactly we want and you’re probably not getting exactly what you want.
RUSSO You’d probably like to not give us any of it.
RUSSO But, you know, it’s a business deal and, you know, we’re - we’re keeping up our end of it and I think we can continue to work together…
KEYES All right.
RUSSO …as long as we’re reasonable.
KEYES Yeah, I - I just - I just wanted to - I figured that was the case I just wanted to let you know that’s what I was thinking.
BELL But know that when we’re - while we’re doing what we’re doing our responsibilities and talking to you and trying to keep this going there are lots of other people out there investigating trips and airline tickets and phone logs and things like that, doing what police do and there’s gonna come a point and time where when that investigations reaches a point where they think they have some information that they need to act on where they’ll - they’ll that’s the timeline we’re gonna be pushed up against…
KEYES Right. All right.
BELL …is having them slow down.
KEYES Yeah. All right, well, um, yeah, and the only other thing is on a more personal note like I was saying earlier my, uh, my brothers are visiting this week and honestly, you know, like I say the - that whole thing last week I did not plan out very well, uh, but I would prefer to just try not to think about any of this stuff this week…
BELL So leave you alone?
KEYES …while they’re here. (Chuckles) not, I mean, it’s not that I don’t want to it’s just I guess I’m just juggling too many things in my head right now so, um, so, yeah, I - and then that’ll give me a chance to, you know, talk to people about that and a couple other concerns I have and, um…
KEYES But I mean for now - I mean for now I think we, uh, I - yeah, I’m just glad that they’re still willing to - to I’m just like - bottom line is I’m glad I didn’t hear about it on the news like the whole Vermont - I half expected them to do a press release…
KEYES …after that (chuckles).
RUSSO Yeah, I know and I think it’s a testament…
KEYES I, uh…
RUSSO …to the sort of relationships we’ve built over there.
KEYES Yeah, so I mean, yeah, as long as we can, yeah, keep that…
RUSSO So are they in town…
KEYES …keep it under wraps for now.
RUSSO …the whole - a whole week?
KEYES I think they leave on Sunday or Monday so.
RUSSO Yeah, so I mean it’s - it’s…
KEYES The - and I - the - the main - it’s not so much that wouldn’t wanna, you know, if it’s like a short - I don’t have a problem coming over and…
KEYES …you know, talking I - I just don’t wanna miss the time that they go over there to visit me or whatever.
KEYES So and I don’t even know how like what the times are that they have available so.
BELL Are they gonna be able to visit you daily? Do you know?
KEYES Yeah, probably. I would think so.
RUSSO Yeah, so I mean I think that’s just what I wanted to tell Vermont ‘cause they - you saw in that email they said, uh, you know, maybe you have some questions on Thursday or Friday. They’ve got some urgency about the house so I - I don’t know if it’s…
KEYES That’s fine, I mean…
KEYES Yeah, if…
RUSSO Yeah, if you wanna get a schedule about when they’re gonna come we don’t want it to interfere with that and we don’t want it to interfere with attorney visits.
KEYES Well, they’re Eastern time so if we did it in the morning that would be fine.
RUSSO Oh no, I’m talking about your family coming to visit.
BELL He doesn’t know. They don’t…
BELL they don’t - they don’t…
RUSSO But it may be possible…
BELL …they can’t schedule it.
RUSSO …later this week, I mean obviously we wouldn’t do it tomorrow or the next day but, um, you can sort of let ‘em know we could set a meeting for, you know, Thursday or Friday.
KEYES No that’s what I’m saying, if you wanna do a meeting, uh, I’m just saying morning would be better.
RUSSO Yeah, sure. Eastern time, yeah.
KEYES Like 9:00 or 10:00 our time.
KEYES And then that - ‘cause I know there’s no visiting over there that early and then, um…
KEYES …and then I would, yeah, still be around in the afternoon.
RUSSO All right well that makes sense then if we, uh, if they - they have some follow up and, you know…
KEYES Yeah, if they have stuff they need to get out of the way that’s fine. I - I mean…
PAYNE Do you have a preference Thursday or Friday?
KEYES No it doesn’t - I don’t think it matters.
KEYES I have to check my day planner.
BELL So you don’t get the normal exercise so they let you have the tennis shoes that torture you that you cant run or?
KEYES Yeah, uh…
KEYES …no I just started wearing - I don’t get to run anymore so my tennis shoes I don’t - I don’t lace ‘em up tight anymore so I just wear ‘em, you know?
BELL Mm-hm, your casuals.
KEYES They’re slippers now there not tennis shoes anymore (chuckles).
PAYNE So when you start lacing ‘em up we should be - we should pay attention?
KEYES Yeah, if they’re - if they’re too tight for me to slip ‘em on or slip ‘em - slip ‘em off then maybe I’m planning on doing a little running (chuckles).
PAYNE Fair enough.
RUSSO Okay, so I’ll email that to your attorneys and, uh, you know, maybe we’ll speak later this week.
BELL And we’ll try to hold off. If we do something it’ll be like Friday morning early that way we wont interrupt your family.
KEYES Yeah that’s - that’s fine. I would - I would think that would work fine.
BELL And then maybe by next week say Tuesday or so we could…
BELL …talk again. Okay.
BELL Well and I think, uh, if we’re done why don’t we let - get him a cigar and let ‘em…
BELL …since we got ya over here.
RUSSO Wow, cigar for nothing.
KEYES That was.
PAYNE I like to think it’s a cigar for good faith.
RUSSO That’s true.
PAYNE But ultimately that’s…
KEYES For good health.
PAYNE Ultimately that’s gonna be up to you ISRAEL.
RUSSO Yeah, okay.
KEYES No - look I mean if we can keep working on this then that’s…
RUSSO We’re working on our end.
PAYNE Yeah, we’ve done just about everything we can do at this stage. All right, hang tight and we’ll be right back with ya.
KEYES All right.
- 11.20.2023 — FBI Charlotte: Bus Video in Madalina Cojocari Missing Person Investigation
- 11.20.2023 — Inside the FBI: The Importance of Partner Engagement
- 11.06.2023 — Chicago Warns About Charity Fraud
- 11.03.2023 — Charlotte Field Office at Beacon Project
- 10.26.2023 — FBI New Orleans hosts Federal Law Enforcement Youth Academy
- 10.26.2023 — Inside the FBI Podcast: The Emerging Technology and Securing Innovation Security Summit
- 10.20.2023 — FBI Oklahoma City on Panel Discussing Osage Murders Case
- 10.19.2023 — Inside the FBI Podcast: The Osage Murders
- 10.17.2023 — Director Wray Discusses the Threat of Chinese Economic Espionage at Five Eyes Press Conference
- 10.17.2023 — Director Wray Discusses Potential Misuses of AI During the FBI's Emerging Technology and Securing Innovation Security Summit
- 10.17.2023 — Director Wray Characterizes the Threat China Poses to Innovation During the FBI's Emerging Technology and Securing Innovation Security Summit
- 10.14.2023 — The FBI Continues to Build Partnerships at IACP
- 09.29.2023 — FBI Phoenix Hosts New Agent Training Program for Indian Country
- 09.29.2023 — Operation Not Forgotten
- 09.28.2023 — Interview with Cindy Valle's Brother
- 09.28.2023 — Interview with Cindy Valle's Mother
- 09.15.2023 — Inside the FBI Podcast: The FBI's Safe Online Surfing Internet Challenge
- 09.09.2023 — Nationals Video 2023
- 08.29.2023 — FBI Director Christopher Wray Announces Major Operation Targeting the Qakbot Botnet
- 08.23.2023 — Little Rock Operation Cross Country 2023