Which should make you more suspicious of the agency than anyone else. They could have fixed it all with a detailed press release and a show of documentation. As it is, they claim to have acted in a manner that would have required such documents to exist. If they aren't there, cry foul until they do or hang themselves further. In that respect, the WT article was part of the process. Do you think we would ever find out the truth without the publicity?
These lynx threads have been long on blanket condemnation of envirofascists, which is fine & true. But I saw precious little analysis of the actual facts of the story. Which is why I started this thread in the first place. OK?
My concern with your posts has been that they betrayed too much of a propensity to give the agencies the benefit of the doubt (much less the Seattle Times). The tone you assumed seemed more likely to suppress exposure of facts than reveal them.
It also seems as if you hold the belief that it is possible to reconstruct an objective truth. I doubt that it is. I understand your interest in obtaining facts, but now that so much time has expired with these people still at work, still having the opportunity to alter, produce, or destroy evidence, would you trust the documents they produce now?
The problem is, the agency probably isn't trustworthy (at least, that is my experience). So how do you get facts when that agency is conducting their own investigation while obstructing any independent verification? How do you force that oversight without shining the light of publicity on them? How does one do that without either speculating or going with what little one has? Lacking hard facts, probability is all we do have and maybe all we will ever get.
Some may call that unethical as a standard by which to impugn these biologists, and in an isolated case it surely would be. Please note however, that ALL the requirements (and then some) for a case of circumstantial evidence appear to be in hand: motive, means, and opportunity, to which we can add prior record (on the part of agency personnel) and the resistance to external examination of the witnesses and evidence. Under such circumstances as those, taking immediate action to suspend the employees is not only appropriate, it shoud be mandatory. Once it was a criminal investgation, the agency would have to submit the evidence to an independent party. The USFS certainly hasn't made a practice of giving landowners that benefit of the doubt before assessing fines!
I'd just be happy to find out who it was Audrey Hudson meant put the hair on the scratching posts vs. who put them in the vials. Presumably what paperwork there was originally still exists, and the WA people's claim that the planted fur was labeled with a "safe" ID could be verified. That would be something.
Meanwhile, on the other thread, No More Gore Anymore pointed out that if they were suspicious of false positives coming from the lab, they should've planted a bobcat sample to see if the lab would score that as a lynx. That makes perfect sense! (& therefore hurts badly the biologists' claim, especially since it was 3 different groups of people supposedly making the same logical error.)
Thanks for your thorough responses. It's been a fascinating discussion. I have faith the truth will pretty much get shaken out of the mix eventually.