Moose's Book Adds Nothing To the Story


September 15, 2003, 11:19 PM
Moose's Book Adds Nothing To the Story
By Marc Fisher

Sunday, September 14, 2003; Page C01

His great love in life is being a leader, a chief of police, a force for fairness. But he quits that work to write a book that pushes no cause, fights no battles, lifts no veils.

Charles Moose comes off in his new book as a man of contradictions: the former Montgomery County police chief relishes the limelight but denounces the news business as a dishonest racket. He makes the rounds of the TV celebrity shows but accuses an entire industry of conducting a vendetta against him. He boasts about meeting Barbara Walters, but defends his decision to withhold information that arguably could have opened the door for the public to help stop the snipers.

In "Three Weeks in October," Moose never reveals why writing this book was worth giving up his job as chief. He dismisses the question in a single sentence: "I did not see how I could continue to be police chief after the questions that had been raised about my ethics and my conduct."

Moose has written a sometimes pained, sometimes angry, often defensive book that is short on new information and surprisingly lacking in insight into either the sniper investigation that brought him to national fame or the impressive career that he put on hold for this shot at fortune.

The Moose in this book is a good and honest man who elects not to question the investigation he led. He is driven by a desire to achieve with integrity and a passion to stand tall against the arrows of racism, yet the story he tells is surprisingly flat, even banal. Although he has angered prosecutors by failing to live up to his promise to show them his manuscript, he has been true to his word that he would not write a single sentence that could jeopardize the cases against the two sniper suspects.

Moose recounts incidents in which his public outbursts embarrassed his department and himself. "I lost my temper," he writes of one incident. "I just went off," he says of another. "I was upset," he says of a third. And then, just a few paragraphs later, he concludes that his obituary will take note of his temper and that that is "a lie and it's wrong."

After reading his book, I do not know any significant fact about the snipers or the investigation that I had not read in the newspaper over the past year. Moose's account does not seek to capture the terror we felt last fall. Nor does it say much about those who worked round-the-clock to sift through the frustrating mountains of leads.

Instead, the chief devotes his most detailed passages to telling of his own rise through the ranks and ripping the jackals of the news media at every opportunity.

Moose obsesses over his transformation in news reports from heroic protector of a frightened public to the guy who cried at a news conference and failed to take advantage of the killers' efforts to reach out to police.

"I don't know why the media turned on me," he writes, "but they did. Maybe they were upset like I was. Maybe they were angry and frustrated, like I was."

Moose is most animated when he rages against the press. He seems proud of the tongue-lashing he delivered to WUSA-TV (Channel 9) and The Washington Post after the two news outlets reported that the killers had left a tarot card at the scene of the shooting of a middle school student in Bowie. "It was a real tirade," he writes. "I lost my temper. I said things that I had always wanted to say to the media."

A letter from the snipers blamed police for the last five killings, saying investigators should have taken their calls more seriously. Moose has a different culprit in mind: "I am absolutely certain that the leak of the tarot card . . . was a contributing factor in the five shootings that were still to come."

I read this book looking for the Charles Moose I didn't know when I blasted him in this column for his injudicious tirades. All I found in these 319 pages is a man like many of us: He wants to be loved. He's angry when people see him as a collective noun -- a cop or a black man -- rather than Charles Moose. He'd rather move on than examine what he's done. All of which makes him perfectly human. I just don't understand why he wrote the book: You read it and you don't know him any more than you did before.


Former Montgomery County police chief Charles Moose discusses his book

Charles Moose
Former Montgomery County Police Chief
Monday, September 15, 2003; 11:00 AM

On Monday "Three Weeks in October: The Manhunt for the Serial Sniper" by former Montgomery County police chief Charles A. Moose will be available to the public. When did it first become apparent that the city was dealing with a serial killer? What was it like to be the focus of the media glare during the ordeal? Is the alarm raised by prosecutors who fear the book's contents could jeopardize the trials of the suspected snipers justified?

Chief Moose was online to take your question on his book and the sniper shootings.

The transcript follows.

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September 15, 2003, 11:21 PM
see also:

Moose Book Describes Anguish and Success
Former Police Chief Emotionally Addresses His Youth, Sniper Case, Resignation

By Matthew Mosk
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, September 13, 2003; Page B01

Former Montgomery County police chief Charles A. Moose found relief but little joy in the resolution of the sniper manhunt and felt deeply hurt by the wave of criticism that drove him from office this summer, according to a new book he has co-written.

Standing Wolf
September 15, 2003, 11:38 PM
Is this when I'm supposed to care? I didn't miss my cue, did I?

4v50 Gary
September 15, 2003, 11:56 PM
ghost write? :)

'Scuse me while I go back to some book written by some guy who died nearly a century ago. Then I get to read another book by some another dead dude who did some pretty interesting things.

September 16, 2003, 06:09 AM
Moose's Book Adds Nothing To the Story

It's only natural his book adds nothing to the story given that he added nothing to the investigation.

I read a lot of books, but I think I'll pass on this one.

September 16, 2003, 06:49 AM
Not even if it`s in the dollar bin at Ollie`s Bargain Store.:cuss: The man is a disgrace to LE.

September 16, 2003, 10:02 AM
No offense intended to the LEOs here, but I think the story that (prolly) isn't being told in Moose's book or anywhere else is how a couple of nutcases could tie up law enforcement agencies from 3 states in knots for three weeks. The utter simplicity of their criminal plan meant they could have walked away from all this at any moment. The only reason, IMO, that they got caught at all was that they turned out to be incredibly stupid, and some trucker heard something on late-night talk-radio (not at a Moose press conference) that turned out to be the lucky break that brought them into justice.

The only reason I'm bringing this up is that this "Sniper Scenario" is something that the Islamist fanatics we're now at war with could use to tie up the whole country, if done right. As long as the snipers don't start charging things on stolen credit cards, and talking to the media or the police, I don't think it would be difficult to bring this type of terrorism to our shores at will. IMO, Moose's book is an effort to cash in on his 15 minutes of fame, and he's entitled to get as much as he can. That being said, I have no interest in his book. However, this whole episode ought to, but probably won't, make the lefties think again about their position that the "Police should have caught the bad guys earlier". It is painfully easy for a determined, smart bad guy to achieve success.

This is one of the reasons why I CCW.

September 16, 2003, 10:32 AM
Moose's Book Adds Nothing To the Story

How could we have known that ? ? ?

This is just another thing that will never make it into my "shopping cart".
Not Now. Not ever.

September 16, 2003, 10:39 AM
Did anyone REALLY think he had additional insight into the investigation EVEN NOW?....:scrutiny:

'Bout sums it up...:rolleyes:

September 16, 2003, 07:44 PM
this is chief moose. Uh, sniper? If you can hear me would you please call us and turn yourself in, we are having a terrible time finding you by ourselves."

now thats some serious investigatin'...

all i can say is that as the owner of a white full size ford van and a .223 bushy, i'm sure glad i was nowhere even remotely near the area during that time.


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