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Saints hire former FBI director to take top-to-bottom look at organization

Louis  Freeh, Ken Frazier AP

After an offseason marred by a pay-for-performance/bounty scandal and subsequent allegations of G.M. Mickey Loomis having the capacity to engage in illegal wiretapping, Saints owner Tom Benson wanted clarity as to the goings-on within his team.

He’s getting it from former FBI director Louis Freeh.

A league source recently tipped us off to Freeh’s involvement with the team.  Freeh, who now runs his own investigative firm and law practice, was retained in late April to conduct a top-to-bottom investigation of the Saints, focusing initially on the wiretapping allegations.  Eventually, we’re told, Freeh will turn to the bounty case.

Team spokesman Greg Bensel acknowledged and explained Freeh’s involvement.

“Serious allegations have been made about our organization this off-season; we take these allegations very seriously,” Bensel said via email.  “As a result, we have hired the Freeh Group, founded by former director of the FBI and former federal judge Louis Freeh.  Mr. Benson moved quickly to hire them and has spared no expense to get to the bottom of these allegations. We have given the Freeh Group complete access to our team and all of the individuals who have been associated with this news story.”

The findings of Freeh’s investigation aren’t currently known.  The wiretapping allegations against Loomis, first reported in April by John Barr of ESPN, have yet to gain any real traction with law enforcement.

Coincidentally, Freeh has drawn praise in the past from former federal prosecutor Mary Jo White, whom the NFL has hired to provide an independent review of the bounty evidence.

“Louis is, probably more than anything else, an investigator’s investigator,” White said, per the Wall Street Journal.  “He is very hands-on, and he was very hands-on as a director of the FBI.”

Last year, Penn State hired the Freeh Group to perform an independent investigation regarding the Jerry Sandusky case, and the years of apparent cover-ups.  As of last month, more than 400 interviews had been conducted.

The difference between White’s role with the NFL and Freeh’s role with the Saints is that White reviewed the product of the league’s investigation.  Freeh is actually conducting the investigation.  Unlike White, who had a pre-existing relationship with the NFL, Freeh enters the picture with no prior relationship to worry about maintaining, which allows him to be truly independent and thorough and, ultimately, successful in getting to the truth.

That’s apparently want Tom Benson wants:  the truth.  Regardless of whether he, or anyone else, can handle it.

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58 Responses to “Saints hire former FBI director to take top-to-bottom look at organization”
  1. weepingjebus says: Jun 8, 2012 11:13 AM

    I assume Freeh was seen 10 minutes later running from the building, covered in green Exorcist vomit and screaming “Burn it, burn it all!”

  2. CKL says: Jun 8, 2012 11:13 AM

    The wiretapping thing seems to be the product of a disgruntled ex employee/contractor IMO. If Loomis were REALLY listening in, that apparatus would have been redone after the Superdome was refurbished. It wasn’t.

  3. hedleykow says: Jun 8, 2012 11:14 AM

    A bench beneath a single light bulb hanging from a cord is all that remains in the Saints locker room.

  4. saintsfan26 says: Jun 8, 2012 11:16 AM

    Searching for truth. I like it.

  5. jason1980 says: Jun 8, 2012 11:17 AM

    Former FBI agent??? Goddell follows his gut, and bringing down the Saints organization is his goal. Only problem…..the Saints will rock the NFL this season. Goddell will spare no expense to crush the aspirations of the New Orleans Saints, owner Tom Benson says, not so fast. This is far from over.

  6. thankheavenfornumberseven says: Jun 8, 2012 11:18 AM

    I don’t think Freeh can be truly independent because he’s being paid by the Saints.

  7. farty5 says: Jun 8, 2012 11:19 AM

    Wouldn’t announcing this compromise his ability to search for stuff, since everyone now knows he’s looking?

  8. dapros says: Jun 8, 2012 11:21 AM

    Unless Freeh substantially refutes the NFL’s claims about the Saints organization, its pretty unlikely we will ever lay eyes on his final report.

  9. jerrysandusky1 says: Jun 8, 2012 11:25 AM

    Former director of the ‘Alphabet Boys’ (FBI)??

    All that means is for the right price he will do anything you ask.

    This whole case stinks of corruption.

  10. jacobslatter says: Jun 8, 2012 11:30 AM

    Federal Breast Inspectors (snort, chortle) :)

  11. jetropolitans says: Jun 8, 2012 11:31 AM

    isn’t this getting a little bit ridiculous?

    overreacting, much?

  12. wjoinfo says: Jun 8, 2012 11:33 AM

    It was found out that the ex-employee who made the claims had stolen the evidence along with the other misc. items he was originally terminated for…Hope the thief and liar gets charged for his slander and also the dufus that reported it as fact….

  13. upperdecker19 says: Jun 8, 2012 11:35 AM

    Was special agent Johnny Utah unavailable for the gig?

  14. wjoinfo says: Jun 8, 2012 11:36 AM

    By the way Thank heaven, I guess you don’t believe Goodell and Mary Jo White can be objective because they get paid by NFL………….

  15. sportsmeccabi says: Jun 8, 2012 11:37 AM

    Don’t worry guys. Peyton Hillis will do it.

  16. cwmorga says: Jun 8, 2012 11:39 AM

    @thankheavenfornumberseven says: Jun 8, 2012 11:18 AM

    I don’t think Freeh can be truly independent because he’s being paid by the Saints.
    —————–

    He’s reporting to Benson, so he has no reason not to be truthful. Benson can choose whether or not to release the findings.

  17. jason1980 says: Jun 8, 2012 11:41 AM

    For the right price, a la Mary Jo White, and the former FBI agents working for the NFL. They are paid to promote Goddell’s point of view, so where does this case go from here? The NFL is so mucked up right now, the litigation alone will keep them mired in court for the foreseeable future. What a tangled web you have woven, Mr. Goddell, good luck fixing this mess you have created.

  18. olcap says: Jun 8, 2012 11:44 AM

    saintsfan26 says: Jun 8, 2012 11:16 AM

    Searching for truth. I like it.
    ———————-

    Hope you still say that if Freh concurs everything that the Saints have been charged with.

    But, I suspect that outcome will initiate a whole new offensive against Freh. I just hope Freh leads an honest and trustworthy investigation.

  19. darthsaint says: Jun 8, 2012 11:47 AM

    You guys continue to make me laugh. So a prosecutor on the NFL payroll is more reliable than the former director of the FBI?

    My god, I seriously had hope that most of you still had some common sense. But your hatred for any team not your own obviously blinds you completely.

    Benson hiring this guy is a great move. If he finds issues that need to be fixed, then Benson fixes them. This group had to be silly expensive, yet benson hired them. Is that not the correct move by an owner?

    However, if he finds the real facts around what has or has not been going on with the Saints, quit acting as if this holds no merit. This guy is hired for a one time assessment. He doesn’t have a longterm job with the Saints. He isn’t going to risk his credibility our that of his investigative business for a one time contract.

    Slow your hatred just enough that your brain begins to function just a bit.

  20. winningisabrees says: Jun 8, 2012 11:49 AM

    I understand what some are saying about the findings of this guy will be bias, because the saints hired him. BUT somebody has to pay for services rendered.

    If you dont question, monthly job reports, unemployment rates, or BP oil spill conclusions, then there is no way you can question this groups findings.

    I think since the NFL has been given the freedom to say anything and slander anyone without providing evidence, the Saints should be able to do the same. This is about to get ugly, if your team ever had a pay for performance program (i still refuse to call it bounty), i would be really concerned, this investigation will be far reaching.

  21. theandy59 says: Jun 8, 2012 12:00 PM

    I’m willing to give Benson the benefit of the doubt that he really does want to know what’s going on with his franchise and that this isn’t a PR stunt, or a rigged investigation. Assuming that to be true, the next step he should take is to declare that any employee of the organization, regardless of title or importance, will be terminated immediately for failing to cooperate with the investigation, lying to investigators, withholding evidence from investigators, or acting in any way that hinders the investigation.

  22. xxwhodatxx says: Jun 8, 2012 12:01 PM

    olcap says:
    Jun 8, 2012 11:44 AM
    saintsfan26 says: Jun 8, 2012 11:16 AM

    Searching for truth. I like it.
    ———————-

    Hope you still say that if Freh concurs everything that the Saints have been charged with.

    But, I suspect that outcome will initiate a whole new offensive against Freh. I just hope Freh leads an honest and trustworthy investigation.

     ———-

    I think he’ll want to investigate how many times you can misspell his name in three sentences. Gotta be a record.

  23. kodakinvegas says: Jun 8, 2012 12:03 PM

    You pay me 1 Mil and I promise you 10-20 pages of GREAT INDEPENDENT PUBLIC RELATIONS REPORTS that proves nobody was guilty of anythjng. Up to and including Gregg Williams whose directives caught on tape were simply mis-interpreted and sensationalized. The 10K that Vilma was handing out wAs for crippling the devasting effects of poverty in NOLA. I there come to an independent conclusion that the Saints are indeed Saints and the NFL along with Roger Goodell are most likely attempting to dis-credit the organization, etc, etc. Give me my Mil now Mr Benson or I’ll blow the lid off the whole thing. Thank you sir

  24. thankheavenfornumberseven says: Jun 8, 2012 12:05 PM

    jacobslatter says:Jun 8, 2012 11:30 AM

    Federal Breast Inspectors (snort, chortle)
    _______

    I think you meant Female Body Inspectors. Now you know why you never got a laugh with that bit.

  25. saintsfan26 says: Jun 8, 2012 12:06 PM

    Olcap says:

    Hope you still say that if Freh concurs everything that the Saints have been charged with.

    But, I suspect that outcome will initiate a whole new offensive against Freh. I just hope Freh leads an honest and trustworthy investigation.

    ____________________

    Ive been saying it since day 1 bro. The punishments have already been handed down. Im still waiting to see the proof that will justify the punishments. Havent seen it yet.

  26. sdb0ltz says: Jun 8, 2012 12:09 PM

    Wow. What a mess in New Orleans.

    Brees better think twice about signing that contract. He should do his best Pete Carroll impersonation and blow town before the hammer the comes down.

    Man I feel bad for their fans… but I wont lie. I’d trade all this for a Super Bowl ring ANY day. Yeah I said it.

  27. hedleykow says: Jun 8, 2012 12:19 PM

    The FBI guy was really hired to provide an explanation that will satisfy Drew Brees.

  28. folkcrusader says: Jun 8, 2012 12:19 PM

    It makes sense. Obviously the NFL is not going to share all of the factual information they have with Benson. At some point Benson just needs to say “I don’t know if there’s fire but there is a hell of a lot of smoke” and get to the bottom of things. The reality is he’ll probably get more information this way then he would from the NFL.

  29. makimaguro says: Jun 8, 2012 12:23 PM

    Cleveland did the same thing years back – has worked well for them!

  30. athoula707 says: Jun 8, 2012 12:31 PM

    Just wast of money.

  31. sj39 says: Jun 8, 2012 12:33 PM

    The bounty system was despicable behavior indeed but doesn’t even come close to the level of cheating to gain an advantage as what the Patriot’s did. I’m no fan of either team but considering what has been done to the Saints the Patriots got a slap on the wrist.

  32. Wisconsin77 says: Jun 8, 2012 12:37 PM

    An investigator self-hired by a team to investigate alleged abuses by said team.

    Seems legit.

    I’m sure his final report will be fair and impartial.

  33. mark0226 says: Jun 8, 2012 12:37 PM

    This is a private organization hiring a contractor to audit his investment. The report will be private for Benson’s eyes only, so he can clean up the mess and avoid future distractions and bad PR that devalue his investment. This isn’t about negating the NFL investigations.

  34. thankheavenfornumberseven says: Jun 8, 2012 12:39 PM

    wjoinfo says:Jun 8, 2012 11:36 AM

    By the way Thank heaven, I guess you don’t believe Goodell and Mary Jo White can be objective because they get paid by NFL………….
    _____

    Uh, yes. That should be obvious.

  35. thankheavenfornumberseven says: Jun 8, 2012 12:40 PM

    cwmorga says:Jun 8, 2012 11:39 AM

    @thankheavenfornumberseven says: Jun 8, 2012 11:18 AM

    I don’t think Freeh can be truly independent because he’s being paid by the Saints.
    —————–

    He’s reporting to Benson, so he has no reason not to be truthful. Benson can choose whether or not to release the findings.
    ________

    You don’t think he’ll be under a little pressure to release the findings now that everyone knows the investigation is being conducted?

  36. purpleguy says: Jun 8, 2012 1:06 PM

    Good move by Benson. Whether Goodell has a vendetta against the Saints or not, there sure has been a lot of crap going on with that team, from bounties, to ticking off their QB, vicodin theft, wiretapping claims, employee turnover due to Benson’s kid, blah, blah, blah. They should hire someone to just get it all to stop already.

  37. vikingsfanintexas says: Jun 8, 2012 1:08 PM

    sdb0ltz says:Jun 8, 2012 12:09 PM

    Wow. What a mess in New Orleans.

    Brees better think twice about signing that contract. He should do his best Pete Carroll impersonation and blow town before the hammer the comes down.

    Man I feel bad for their fans… but I wont lie. I’d trade all this for a Super Bowl ring ANY day. Yeah I said it.

    ***********************************

    I’m with you 100%.

    If anyone thinks the Saints are the first team to get caught doing something that helped them win they’re just stupid.

    Pushing past the edge of legal within the rules has always been done and always will be.

    And yep… I’d trade the trouble for the ring. No question.

    Now what the Saints fans need to do is read the press release the Saints issued back in April. It’s on the Saints website. They took full responsiblilty and vowed a bounty program would never happen again.

    It happened… you won… stop whinning about getting caught and enjoy the Super Bowl win!!!!! No one can or will take it away from you… so man up like your team did.

  38. mitchdms says: Jun 8, 2012 1:09 PM

    People with their preconceived notions and predetermined opinions are out of control. The unreasonable hatred by people who have just fractions of a story is insane.

    What is the harm in doing this for Benson? That Freeh concurs with the NFL investigation? Guess what, Benson and the Saints organization have already been punished. If Freeh disagrees? The NFL won’t care, and again, the Saints have already been punished.

    Owners are naturally shielded from the deep inner workings of their teams. This is a chance for Benson to get a clearer picture of his team, avoid and surprises, and to show the league that he is going to take a proactive approach in the future. Nothing more and nothing less.

  39. goodolebaghead says: Jun 8, 2012 1:11 PM

    Just wanted to put this out there: From day one of the accusations, Benson has opened his doors and gone out of his way to cooperate with the NFL. The only people that didn’t were advised by the NFLPA not to, so you can’t put that on the team.

    From day one, Goodell (NFL) has ‘leaked’ accusations and circumstantial evidence that has all been shot out of the water and has been nothing but secretive about what info he actually has.

    But that’s cool, keep hating on NOLA, only going to make each W next year feel so much better.

    IMO, this is Benson basically getting his team a bumper to bumper inspection to look for any other things that might jump out and mess him up in the future. I don’t think he knew this was going on still, and I think he’s tired of surprises. Despite a troubled past, I am very glad to have Benson as my team’s owner. Not a lot of other teams could have held it together during this trying time.

  40. cowboyscanada says: Jun 8, 2012 1:18 PM

    This should be paid for by an indepedant party. Any findings could be taken as tainted because the Saints are footing the bill.

  41. 2sausage11 says: Jun 8, 2012 1:20 PM

    sj39 says:
    Jun 8, 2012 12:33 PM
    The bounty system was despicable behavior indeed but doesn’t even come close to the level of cheating to gain an advantage as what the Patriot’s did. I’m no fan of either team but considering what has been done to the Saints the Patriots got a slap on the wrist
    ————————————

    Shut up already

  42. silentcount says: Jun 8, 2012 1:21 PM

    Don’t be surprised if the conclusion to all this is there was no “Bounty system to intentionally injure players for money” as Goodell publicly accused the Saints of. Instead, it’ll show there were verbal jokes about pay for good legal plays, as was common for most teams. This is what the coaches admitted to and Goodell added his words to what they apologized for. Goodell’s hidden agenda to severely punish a team as a public symbol of his “safety concerns”, came at the price of fabricating a “safety villain.” He should have stuck to the judge and punish system already in place — refs on the field watching your every move. Players and fans will accept a team’s punishment when there are video replays of the infraction. Not this “thought police” thing by one man with no evidence and who can’t be challenged. It’s just not a fair system based on the severe financial and reputation damage it can do to individuals who didn’t actually deserve it.

  43. 805_9er says: Jun 8, 2012 1:31 PM

    Good luck with this, Aints!

    This is the guy who was running the FBI while the 911 attack was being planned.

    In a sane country he’d be in prison for incompetence…

  44. pftcensorssuck says: Jun 8, 2012 1:32 PM

    Just thinking out loud here, but if the Saints truly knew they did nothing wrong, what would there be for this guy to “investigate” in the first place?

    File this hiring under “Window Dressing”.

  45. jason1980 says: Jun 8, 2012 2:07 PM

    How do you haters say “SUPER BOWL CHAMPS 2009″?
    Loyal Saints fan….Lol

  46. goodolebaghead says: Jun 8, 2012 2:11 PM

    It blows my mind how poor some of the reading comprehension is for you guys…

    Let me state it in Elmo terms. Please read the rest out loud in Elmo’s voice so you can understand.

    Mr. Benson wanna make sure he do things legit. Mr. Benson tired of his employees running illegal payment program, and Mr. Benson tired of heresay from NFL and players. Mr. Benson gonna get to the bottom of this on his own, and decide what to do then. Elmo think this investigation have nothing to do with showing the truth to anyone but Mr. Benson himself. Today’s episode was brought to you by the letters N, F, and L*

  47. dexterismyhero says: Jun 8, 2012 2:32 PM

    @winningisabrees says:Jun 8, 2012 11:49 AM

    I understand what some are saying about the findings of this guy will be bias, because the saints hired him. BUT somebody has to pay for services rendered.

    If you dont question, monthly job reports, unemployment rates, or BP oil spill conclusions, then there is no way you can question this groups findings.

    I think since the NFL has been given the freedom to say anything and slander anyone without providing evidence, the Saints should be able to do the same. This is about to get ugly, if your team ever had a pay for performance program (i still refuse to call it bounty), i would be really concerned, this investigation will be far reaching.
    =================================

    Again, there were other teams. They were told to stop. They did. Your team didn’t. Go to Pat O’Briens and have a hurricane drink or something.

  48. samapoc says: Jun 8, 2012 2:32 PM

    House of Lies style consultants making bank off the NFL. So ridiculous.

    Plus this is being reported pretty late in the game if the firm was hired over a month ago.

  49. sj39 says: Jun 8, 2012 2:41 PM

    2sausage11, nope, it’s never going away.

  50. psdaleno says: Jun 8, 2012 2:47 PM

    Wow! I’m not a Saints fan but some people commenting on this love drama.

    A) If the owner doesn’t do anything, then he is hiding something. B) If he hires an investigator, then whatever the conclusion is can’t be accurate cause the investigator was paid (being paid for work?….what an evil thought).

    Actually, I am suspicious cause he hired an investigator out of the yellow pages. Oh wait, the dudes a former federal judge and former director of the FBI! Stop being paranoid.

  51. cwwgk says: Jun 8, 2012 3:21 PM

    Mr. Benson has been curiously silent during this whole affair, aside from his organization’s statement in which they apologized for operating a bounty program. It would seem Mr. Benson has now spoken rather loudly with his actions. He doesn’t know if he can trust his own people so he brought in a heavyweight (at considerable expense) to help figure it out.

  52. geauxsaintsforever says: Jun 8, 2012 3:46 PM

    psdaleno says:
    Jun 8, 2012 2:47 PM
    Wow! I’m not a Saints fan but some people commenting on this love drama.

    A) If the owner doesn’t do anything, then he is hiding something. B) If he hires an investigator, then whatever the conclusion is can’t be accurate cause the investigator was paid (being paid for work?….what an evil thought).

    Actually, I am suspicious cause he hired an investigator out of the yellow pages. Oh wait, the dudes a former federal judge and former director of the FBI! Stop being paranoid.

    ___________________

    Thanks psdaleno. It’s refreshing to read a comment on here that’s actually well presented and rational.

  53. jason1980 says: Jun 8, 2012 4:17 PM

    @cwwgk…..it seems like you are privy to Mr. Benson’s inner thought processes. You are one awesome dude, for crying out loud, give us a break. This investigation is going to be thorough, and it’s my guess that the investigators will be talking to players and personnel around the league, current and former. Goddell wants this to be about the Saints and only the Saints, don’t think so. This is why Mr. Benson has been silent about Goddell’s “alleged bounty” scheme, the exposure that this reports gets will rock the NFL to it’s core. Poke the dog often enough, he will soon become annoyed and bite. Welcome to Who Dat Nation.

  54. seahulk9 says: Jun 8, 2012 4:29 PM

    its quite sad when an organization has to hire an outside source to police their own internal behavior….it seems things are falling apart piece by piece. go saints!!!! maybe this guy can figure out why the hell you haven’t signed drew brees yet.

  55. seahulk9 says: Jun 8, 2012 4:32 PM

    can you please stop calling it the “alleged” bounty scheme….perhaps websters dictionary can assist you in the definition of the word. Your team screwed up bad….accept it and move on

  56. thegreatgabbert says: Jun 8, 2012 4:46 PM

    J. Edgar Hoover didn’t return their calls.

  57. thegreatgabbert says: Jun 8, 2012 4:47 PM

    The Untouchables meet the Unmentionables.

  58. 2sausage11 says: Jun 9, 2012 7:52 PM

    sj39 says:
    Jun 8, 2012 2:41 PM
    2sausage11, nope, it’s never going away.

    My issue is not about people stiil running their mouths about the PATS. It’s stupid comments about that being worse. Let me ask you and I’ll wait for an answer How many players could have been injured one game or lost their career from being filmed?

    Let me also ask you this. Would you rather be shot with a video camara or shot with a gun?

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