How Witness Protection Works


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Josh Clark

Hey, and welcome to the podcast. I'm Josh Clark. That there is Charles W. Chuck Bryant!

Chuck Bryant

That there.

Josh Clark

That there. Down the road a piece, etc.

Chuck Bryant

Yes. I am down the road a piece.

Josh Clark

I'm sure you are, Chuck.

Chuck Bryant

I wish.

Josh Clark

Have you ever committed a crime, Charles?

Chuck Bryant

I've never been caught or convicted of committing a crime, Josh.

Josh Clark

But you have.

Chuck Bryant

I have never been convicted of a crime.

Josh Clark

Nice, Chuck. Chuck is big on CYA.

Chuck Bryant

Everyone has made a right on red when they shouldn't have. Sure, yeah, I've committed a crime.

Josh Clark

Everyone who listens to this podcast knows that I started out early as a thief and stopped shortly afterward. Remember the firecrackers in the Pac Man shirt?

Chuck Bryant

Ah, yeah, sure. Shoplifter!

Josh Clark

Yes. If you commit a crime, you've got your own thing going on. Right?

Chuck Bryant

Sure.

Josh Clark

But what happens if you witness a crime? You're just some innocent person, and you see somebody shoot somebody else in the head, and blood comes spurting out in like a big arc, and the eyes go glazed, and you're just standing there watching this, and you get a good look at the person who did it. What do you do?

Chuck Bryant

You get the heck out of there, you call the cops.

Josh Clark

Yeah, that's a good first step.

Chuck Bryant

And what may end up happening, and I think this is where you're going is you may end up a witness that has to go to court and testify against this bad person.

Josh Clark

Here's the thing. Part of our constitution - actually, I don't know if it's in the constitution, but let's say a general protection that any individual has is protection against being coerced into testifying against somebody. It's an individual's right to choose whether or not you want to testify. And a lot of people choose not to.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, very much.

Josh Clark

It's a big problem, actually. There's a lot of people who do witness crimes who just say, "I'm not doing it."

Chuck Bryant

Don't want to get involved.

Josh Clark

Exactly. One of the reasons why is because there is a long-standing tradition of witnesses being murdered when they testify or agree to testify.

Chuck Bryant

Especially in circumstances where you're dealing with - is it gangs or drugs or racketeering?

Josh Clark

Crime.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, but some of the heavy hitters.

Josh Clark

Sure. I mean if you're going to go up river for 20 years and you've already killed a bunch of people, what's one more witness?

Chuck Bryant

Exactly.

Josh Clark

So the US Federal Government - and actually, some other countries have this as well.

Chuck Bryant

I looked into that.

Josh Clark

Did you? What did you come up with?

Chuck Bryant

Well, we'll get to that later.

Josh Clark

Okay. They have something called the Witness Protection Program.

Chuck Bryant

Right, commonly thought to be called The Witness Relocation Program.

Josh Clark

That's kind of an aspect of the larger program. Right?

Chuck Bryant

Exactly.

Josh Clark

So let's go back to the 1960s.

Chuck Bryant

Okay, so we're the guys that are dressed funny in 1960.

Josh Clark

Exactly, and I haven't figured out yet if people can see us, can't see us, or just ignoring us.

Chuck Bryant

I think we're observing.

Josh Clark

Okay. So Chuck, it's the 1960s.

Chuck Bryant

Yes.

Josh Clark

John F. Kennedy's father, Joseph, has just stolen the presidential election for him. And he's put his brother Bobby in as attorney general. They have turned on the very mafia that helped get them New York, I think Illinois, some key states in the presidential election, and now, up to this point, there was no mafia. It was an unrecognized entity. It existed, but as far as the federal government was concerned -

Chuck Bryant

It wasn't named.

Josh Clark

Including and especially J. Edgar Hoover, it wasn't real. Organized crime in the United States wasn't real, and there certainly wasn't a mafia. Well, Bobby Kennedy comes in and is like, "There is a Mafia, No. 1, and No. 2, we're going after them." And so the Kennedy administration goes after organized crime. They very famously started interviewing crime bosses, some of whom said that they were patriotic Americans because they pay their taxes, that kind of thing. And the mafia becomes part of the collective consciousness of the United States. Right?

Chuck Bryant

Yes.

Josh Clark

By 1970, there was actual real strides made in combating organized crime, one of which was the organized crime act of 1970.

Chuck Bryant

The Organized Crime Control Act.

Josh Clark

Thank you, Chuck.

Chuck Bryant

Just to be specific.

Josh Clark

Which was introduced by who? Arkansas Senator -

Chuck Bryant

John McLellan in '69.

Josh Clark

Yes, he had an aide who actually drafted the legislation for him.

Chuck Bryant

That would be G. Robert Blakely.

Josh Clark

Yes.

Chuck Bryant

And it was a large bill, so what he did, and like many bills, there's a lot of things kind of snuck in there. Not snuck in there, but inserted. He inserted a little thing about witness protection for the first time officially.

Josh Clark

Thanks to a guy named Gerald Shur who created the Witness Protection Program.

Chuck Bryant

He was a US attorney.

Josh Clark

He had the ear of Blakely.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah and he was US attorney under Bobby Kennedy.

Josh Clark

And so in this provision of - or in this act of 1970, there's a provision that says the attorney general can basically allow the federal government, I guess the marshal service is named in it, to protect any witness by any means they need to.

Chuck Bryant

Yep.

Josh Clark

So there you go. That's a pretty wide latitude.

Chuck Bryant

That's how it starts.

Josh Clark

It was revised in 1984 to include family members as well.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, the comprehensive crime control act of '84.

Josh Clark

Right. And it's been going ever since then.

Chuck Bryant

Better known as Van Halen 1984. I think that's the -

Josh Clark

That's the alternate name for it. Sure. Man, you just made me want to do the robot.

Chuck Bryant

Which you just did.

Josh Clark

I did. Didn't I? So Chuck - we've got the witness protection program. Everybody knows about it. It's been part of popular culture since its inception.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, movies especially.

Josh Clark

Yeah, the Alan Alda movie Betsy's Wedding, My Blue Heaven.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, one of your favorites. Right?

Josh Clark

I love that movie. I know you don't like it.

Chuck Bryant

I - it's not that I didn't like it. I didn't like Steve Martin. I didn't buy his character.

Josh Clark

Your nuts. You weren't supposed to buy his character.

Chuck Bryant

I know, I know.

Josh Clark

Steve Martin doing a Mafioso. That in and of itself is comedy!

Chuck Bryant

That makes me a schmuck.

Josh Clark

Not necessarily. Everyone is entitled to his own opinion. Here at Stuff You Should Know, our motto is to each his own. So you're fine, Chuck.

Chuck Bryant

Thank you.

Josh Clark

But there was another little movie that is arguably the greatest gangster movie ever made, possibly better than The Godfather.

Chuck Bryant

That's a tough one.

Josh Clark

It is, but the fact that it's even competing with The Godfather says a lot about it. That movie is a little Martin Scorsese movie called Goodfellas based on real life events.

Chuck Bryant

Based on a book called Wise Guys.

Josh Clark

By Nicholas Polacchi.

Chuck Bryant

Yep. And based on a famous rat snitch called Henry Hill who Ray Liotta played in the film! And Henry Hill was a real dude, and he really did snitch on the - what was the family? The Luchesy crime family! And he took the stand and was in the witness protection program for a while. He's clearly not anymore because he's on Howard Stern all the time.

Josh Clark

No, but he was in the witness protection program. He was a problem child, from what I understand, and ladies and gentlemen, may I announce Mr. Charles W. Bryant doing a dramatic reading from the movie Goodfellas. Silence, please.

Chuck Bryant

We ran everything. We paid off cops. We paid off lawyers. We paid off judges. Everybody had their hands out. Everything was for the taking. And now, it's all over. That's the hardest part. Today, everything is different. There's no action. I have to wait around like everybody else. Can't even get decent food! After I got here, I ordered spaghetti with marinara sauce, and I got egg noodles with ketchup. I'm an average nobody. I get to live the rest of my life like a schnook.

Josh Clark

Thank you, Charles.

Chuck Bryant

That is the last scene from Goodfellas when Ray Liotta goes out to get the paper in the housecoat.

Josh Clark

Right before he imagines Joe Pesci just shooting up the place.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, such a classic.

Josh Clark

So you can tell from that passage - brilliant, by the way, buddy.

Chuck Bryant

Thank you.

Josh Clark

You can tell by that passage that witness protection is not a lot of fun, necessarily.

Chuck Bryant

No.

Josh Clark

Especially if you are a high flying Mafioso. You have to go become some regular Joe in Tempe.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, absolutely.

Josh Clark

Chuck, I'm about to blow your mind, my man.

Chuck Bryant

Oh, I been waiting on this.

Josh Clark

My Blue Heaven, also based on Henry Hill.

Chuck Bryant

Was it really?

Josh Clark

Do you want to know why?

Chuck Bryant

I don't know.

Josh Clark

In 1987, Nicholas Polacchi married one Nora Ephron, the screenwriter -

Chuck Bryant

Shut up.

Josh Clark

No, I kid you not. I went back and cross referenced this.

Chuck Bryant

Really?

Josh Clark

Yes. Those two got married in 1987. Nora Ephron who wrote My Blue Heaven! Both movies were based upon joint interviews they conducted with Henry Hill.

Chuck Bryant

No kidding.

Josh Clark

I kid you not.

Chuck Bryant

Did she write My Blue Heaven?

Josh Clark

Uh huh.

Chuck Bryant

Did not know that.

Josh Clark

Yeah. So there you go. There's a cocktail party tidbit.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, that's good. Did not know they were married. Are they still married?

Josh Clark

Yeah, as far as I know.

Chuck Bryant

Or did he have her rubbed out.

Josh Clark

Not yet, but she does know too much by this time.

Chuck Bryant

She's got some concrete boots with her name on them.

Josh Clark

All right, so Chuck, let's talk about the actual witness relocation program, which in the industry, is called WITSEC.

Chuck Bryant

Yes, it officially took hold in 1970.

Josh Clark

Yeah, we got to that part already.

Chuck Bryant

And since then, hush your mouth, there have been more than 7,500 witnesses and 9,500 family members have entered this program and been protected and relocated by the US marshals.

Josh Clark

Right, and by family, Chuck means by marriage or blood. Not by crime family.

Chuck Bryant

Right, of course. Like hide my wife and kids along with me. Right?

Josh Clark

Yeah. Okay, so who is eligible, Chuck?

Chuck Bryant

Well, you have to apply, and the -

Josh Clark

Can't you just see the application?

Chuck Bryant

Yeah. Ultimately, the attorney general gives the stamp of approval, but they take certain things into account like what you're going to testify against.

Josh Clark

Right, it's got to be big.

Chuck Bryant

Sure.

Josh Clark

And probably, there also can't be any other witnesses that have the same information as you.

Chuck Bryant

That don't need to be - because it costs them money. So I got the idea that they want to try to avoid it if possible. But if you have the information and you're guaranteed to show up and testify and you definitely are going to need protection because of this testimony, then there's a good chance that you might be accepted.

Josh Clark

Usually, it covers people who have information big time about organized crime, racketeering, major drug offenses, terrorist activities.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, that's kind of a new on the scene.

Josh Clark

That is new. And also fairly new on the scene are people who are members of gangs that have information about gang members. That's a big one, too.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, I think a lot of them are - fit that mold these days.

Josh Clark

Right. So a prosecutor trying a case has a witness, puts in an application on his or her behalf to the justice department. They have a special bureau called the office of -

Chuck Bryant

Enforcement Operations. The OEO!

Josh Clark

Right and they get with the Federal Marshall Service, and basically, all these agencies come together, interview the person. They create a dossier on the potential witness.

Chuck Bryant

I love that word, by the way.

Josh Clark

Thank you. And one of the things that they come up with is what kind of a threat that person will pose to his or her new community.

Chuck Bryant

That's something I never thought about.

Josh Clark

Well, you clearly haven't seen My Blue Heaven then, buddy. A lot of times, these people are criminals themselves, and just because the government is moving you doesn't mean you're a reformed person. Although, we should say there is a recitativism rate of 17 percent in the witness relocation program.

Chuck Bryant

Right. If you were a criminal and you're turning states evidence, you're protected. There's a 17 percent chance that you will go on to commit a crime while under protection.

Josh Clark

That is a bonehead word. Isn't it?

Chuck Bryant

Yes.

Josh Clark

Compared to paroled cons, that's not too bad considering that it's 40 percent.

Chuck Bryant

Yes, there's a 40 percent chance that they'll go on to commit another crime while on parole or off parole.

Josh Clark

So it's not too shabby, and so far, 10,000 - I believe more than 10,000 criminals have been convicted from witness testimony from witnesses in the witness relocation program.

Chuck Bryant

Eighty-nine percent chance - or 89 percent success rate of conviction when they're using someone who is turning states' evidence.

Josh Clark

Which is why it's going on still and why it has such a spectacular budget? Apparently, this year, or in 2008, it had a $38 million budget.

Chuck Bryant

Really?

Josh Clark

The Marshal's office did just for witness relocation.

Chuck Bryant

Don't you get 60 grand a year?

Josh Clark

Yeah, let's talk about that, Chuck. So let's say that you've been enrolled in the program. You've been accepted. What happens is -

Chuck Bryant

Well, you get a t-shirt that says, "Witness protected person."

Josh Clark

Do you remember that Simpsons where they go in the witness relocation program?

Chuck Bryant

Yes, I do.

Josh Clark

And did you see that Onion article I sent you?

Chuck Bryant

I did. The witness protection parade!

Josh Clark

Yeah, FBI cancels annual witness protection parade.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, that was good.

Josh Clark

So you've been enrolled in the program, you moved out to Tempe, and you are living a new life. You're no longer living a life of crime, so you're a criminal, or you were a normal person, and you don't have your job any longer.

Chuck Bryant

No, you've got to get a new job.

Josh Clark

To get to this point, to get to Tempe from say Philly, there are some things you have to do first.

Chuck Bryant

Let's say Detroit.

Josh Clark

Okay. To get from Detroit to Tempe, there are some things you have to do first. No. 1, if you have outstanding debts, you got to pay them first.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, see, this is something I never would have thought of. I would think maybe they would just kind of settle those. Because what if you can't pay your debts!

Josh Clark

I imagine that if you had good enough information, they'd pay them for you. But I think that part of the program is they want you to do that if you can, and I imagine they would know if you have the money or not. But yeah, you have to pay your outstanding debts. They will change your name.

Chuck Bryant

You get to pick it, though.

Josh Clark

You do get to pick it.

Chuck Bryant

Which surprised me?

Josh Clark

They suggest that you keep the same initials and or the same first name.

Chuck Bryant

That surprised me, too.

Josh Clark

Well, think about it. I mean if somebody is like, "Hey, Johnny." And you look, but that was your old name, but your new name is Fred, you don't want to do that.

Chuck Bryant

Oh, sure. Yeah, but it also makes you easier to find once they put out this alert that, "Hey, they're probably going to have the same initials and maybe the first name."

Josh Clark

Sure, but who wants to go to Tempe?

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, that's a good point.

Josh Clark

So you have to clear your debt, they change your name, you get all sorts of new records, new birth certificate, new social security card, and all of this is handled on the down low, but there are records of you changing your name, changing your social security number, but it's all sealed.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, I mean apparently, it happens just like a regular name change, but they seal it off instead of allowing it. It's not public record anymore.

Josh Clark

Once you get to Tempe, you are given housing or they help you find housing.

Chuck Bryant

I think it's a temporary thing at first while - they just want to get you taken care of immediately, and then later on, they will help you out with your ultimate living out your life scenario.

Josh Clark

Right, and to help you live out your ultimate life scenario, how much do they get a year did you say, Chuck?

Chuck Bryant

$60,000, they're called subsistence payments, or on average 60,000 per year.

Josh Clark

And I didn't see in the article that they ran out ever.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, I couldn't determine whether or not once you get your job - I didn't know if that was tide you over until you got a stable career or if that was for life.

Josh Clark

I don't know.

Chuck Bryant

I don't know either.

Josh Clark

Which one could argue, and I'm sure many critics have, but basically, this is the government paying for testimony.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, sure. I never really thought about that. But you have to try to get a job, or you can be dropped.

Josh Clark

You can be dropped, or they can stop giving you the subsistence payments.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, I think that's what happens.

Josh Clark

But you can go onto Welfare if you want.

Chuck Bryant

Right, but they try - the marshals are responsible for - I think they said they have to give you one job opportunity. They have to bring you one job opportunity.

Josh Clark

All right, so Chuck, like you said, they get you out of Detroit to Tempe as fast as they can. They get you whatever temporary housing until you can find real housing. You're getting 60k a year, and you're trying to find a job, but sometimes, trials drag out for a while.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah.

Josh Clark

What do they do? I mean do they just leave you alone?

Chuck Bryant

No.

Josh Clark

What happens when it comes time to go to trial?

Chuck Bryant

This is the most dangerous part. Kind of like stealing a nuclear weapon! The easiest time to steal one is when it's in transport. Same with a protective witness, protected witness! You've got 24 hour protected custody around the area of the trial, to and from the trial, clearly, and they use all kinds of little tricky ways to make sure that you stay alive.

Josh Clark

Right, Gerald Shur wrote a book called WITSEC. Remember, he's the founder of the Witness Protection Program.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, he did.

Josh Clark

And in it, he talks about how witnesses were delivered by fishing boat.

Chuck Bryant

I like that one.

Josh Clark

By mail truck.

Chuck Bryant

Armored car.

Josh Clark

Yeah. And actually, they often use armored cars as decoys while they bring a witness in a normal car to a trial.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, he did that famously with mafia member Joseph Barbosa who -

Josh Clark

Don't you kind of have to say it like that?

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, clearly, if your name is Joseph Barbosa, you're born to be in the mafia.

Josh Clark

It occurred to me right now we're really treading on thin ice. We might get greased by the FBI, marshals, or the mafia. So they cover you before trial. They cover you after trial, especially during transport. And then after that, all you have to do is - if you remain in the program, you can remain in it for the rest of your life, and you just check in once a year, I believe, is what it is. Unless you're moving that kind of thing!

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, and you definitely have to let them know when you're moving.

Josh Clark

So it's not just that they move you to the dumping ground of Tempe. There are some rules to follow, and we should say that the marshal service is quite fond of pointing out that no one who has ever followed the rules of the Witness Protection Program has ever been killed.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, Josh, there are two rules, actually, which is you can never go back to where you were originally from, and you can't get in touch with friends and family members from your past life.

Josh Clark

And apparently, it's getting more and more difficult to get people to follow the rules, which -

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, why is that?

Josh Clark

Apparently, people are dumber than they used to be.

Chuck Bryant

Sort of. What the deal is from what I read is the nature of the crimes these days with gang members and the like, you're getting younger and younger people turning states evidence. So it's not like the old days of Sammy the Bull Gravano was like in his 50s, and he turns states evidence. What was the story you sent from Newsweek? That one girl was 17.

Josh Clark

Seventeen. She was a member of, I think, MS12, which is Hispanic gang.

Chuck Bryant

In Virginia.

Josh Clark

I think it's all over the place, but she was based in Virginia.

Chuck Bryant

Right. And she apparently had a very vivid memory.

Josh Clark

What's that quote? That quote is beautiful.

Chuck Bryant

Yes, her court appointed lawyer said, "She wasn't just a witness. She was like the Rain Man of witnesses."

Josh Clark

Yeah, she liked to talk.

Chuck Bryant

So she spilled it, bro.

Josh Clark

She did, and the relocated her.

Chuck Bryant

Successfully.

Josh Clark

To Kansas City, I think.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, they moved her to Kansas City, she did a good job for a little while, and then she was like, "Oh, I miss my friends, lol. Let me get back in touch with my friends."

Josh Clark

And had them come out and visit.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah.

Josh Clark

At one point, her handler came out to check on her, and apparently, her handler was supposed to be her stepfather, and she hid her MS12 friends in the bathroom of the weekly hotel they had put her up in while he visited. So she wasn't really trying to stay alive very hard.

Chuck Bryant

She wasn't. And you know what?She didn't.

Josh Clark

No, she didn't, actually.

Chuck Bryant

She went back home.

Josh Clark

Yes, she got homesick and lonely and went back to Virginia, and what, two days later, they found her floating in a river. I think some other person in the Witness Relocation Program, an official of it, called her a fatality waiting to happen.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, they knew she wasn't in for the long haul.

Josh Clark

So it is becoming increasingly difficult to protect people. But the - as we said, the marshals have a really good budget. They are what's been called the gold standard of witness protection. If you go down to the state and local level, if you're a witness seeking protection, you're probably going to die.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, there are - few states have their own programs that don't cover federal crimes.

Josh Clark

Some have pretty good ones. I think usually up to about 500,000 is about as much as a state throws into witness relocation. And remember, you have to be testifying in a federal trial to get witness protection from the US marshals. If it's just a state or local trial -

Chuck Bryant

It's Gomer at the sheriff's office.

Josh Clark

Exactly. You're getting that level of protection. From what I understand, most of the protection you can expect will be to be put up in a weekly motel for a couple of weeks until the trial.

Chuck Bryant

Good luck.

Josh Clark

And a bus ticket out of town.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah.

Josh Clark

Maybe a security deposit for down payment on an apartment somewhere else. That's about it.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, and that's when Javier Bardem shows up at your door with a cattle killer.

Josh Clark

Yeah, and as a result, a lot of witnesses are murdered every year in state trials. And New Jersey, apparently, won't work with anyone who has a criminal record. So prosecutors are like, "This guy can shut the case, but he wants witness protection, and you won't give it to him because he sold crack before or something."

Chuck Bryant

Dude, New Jersey, I lived there. They didn't have - or at least where I was, they didn't have county sanctioned waste disposal, so it was literally like The Sopranos. The trash guys would come, and it would be like Luchonies' Trash Service on the side of the truck.

Josh Clark

We are so dead.

Chuck Bryant

And these guys would get off the truck and remove your trash, and I always remember thinking, "Wow, that's an excellent front."

Josh Clark

So that's it for Witness Protection. You can read the article on the site by typing in Witness Protection in the handy search bar at HowStuffWorks.com. We're sorry we don't have a lot more to present to you, but it's kind of a hush hush program.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, they do have other programs in the rest of the world. We briefly mentioned that. Canada has it, New Zealand. I think Jamaica has one that's reportedly not very good. And what else! South Africa and Kenya, New Zealand, oddly! China.

Josh Clark

You already said New Zealand.

Chuck Bryant

Well, it's even odder now, I think. And Israel has one that's slated to start next year. So good luck, Israel.

Josh Clark

Yeah, good luck with the Witness Protection Program. Let's see. I guess since I already said handy search bar, and then Chuck started up again, that means it's time for listener mail.

Chuck Bryant

I'm gonna call this listener mail from Jordan. How is that for straightforward? Josh, you may remember recently that we did a show on the Clovis people.

Josh Clark

I do remember.

Chuck Bryant

Do you want to recap that briefly?

Josh Clark

Sure. The Clovis people were thought, for a long time, to be the first inhabitants of the Americas that they came around about 12,000 years ago. And then a discovery - no, I'm sorry, 10,000 years ago. And then a discovery of a site in Chile, right?

Chuck Bryant

Yes, Monte Verde.

Josh Clark

Uncovered people who had lived there 12,000 years ago, completely turning the field of anthropology on its ear.

Chuck Bryant

So Jordan is an archaeologist in Kansas. He writes in. He just graduated from UK. Go Jayhawks. I'm a longtime listener. I loved your podcast about the first Americans. It was entertaining and well researched. There was one mistake, however, I can't let go as an archaeologist working on the planes. Josh mentioned there was no evidence of Clovis people on the planes to explain how they traveled from the Bearing Land Bridge all the way to Chile. Clovis sites are found throughout the plains, but there are not as many of them as in other regions of North America.The problem is that - and here is where he starts to nerd out a little bit. The problem is that Paleo-Indian records on the plains are deeply buried due to massive sedimentary deposition following the Clovis time period. This means that most of the known sites are in valleys where streams have down cut and exposed the deep sediments on the banks containing the Clovis deposits. So basically, the record could be several records deep and only easily seen in cut bank exposures. That leads to sampling bias when compared to regions east and west of the Great Plains, a minor quibble, I will admit.So he wrote in, and I wrote him back, and he wrote back again and said that if you're interested for context, there are a lot of pre-Clovis investigations currently going on all around North America. In fact, a major research area here at KU is searching for pre-Clovis, and there are a lot of sites in North America that are convincing, just they're not Monte Verde. So he said that the Bearing Land Bridge - his theory is that there were quite a few treks across that by different peoples during various peoples.

Josh Clark

I just wrote an article on evolutionary geneticists who found evidence of an evolutionary bottleneck at the Bearing Land Bridge.

Chuck Bryant

Oh, really?

Josh Clark

So yeah, that supports what we were talking about, or what the Clovis police say.

Chuck Bryant

Jordan, good luck, brother. And keep up this Indiana Jones stuff.

Josh Clark

Yes, very thrilling life, that of an archaeologist.

Chuck Bryant

I imagine.

Josh Clark

If you want to correct Chuck and I, it's not that hard, you can send it in an e-mail to Stuff - hold on. You thought I was going to give the e-mail address. Didn't you?

Chuck Bryant

I thought.

Josh Clark

Nope. First, I want to say if you have a spare $25.00 lying around and you feel like saving the world with it, go to our Kiva team.

Chuck Bryant

Yes.

Josh Clark

That's a micro lending website that helps entrepreneurs in the developing world and in the United States. Right?

Chuck Bryant

Right.

Josh Clark

You can find our page www.Kiva.org/Team/StuffYouShouldKnow. And again, if you want to send us an e-mail, now you can send it to StuffPodcast@HowStuffWorks.com.

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