Feature Articles

March 2007

License to Kill:

Greg Scarpa and the FBI

By James Ridgway de Szigethy

Part Three: A Troubled Prosecution
* * *

     Prospects are looking better for beleaguered retired FBI agent Lindley DeVecchio, who is under indictment in Brooklyn State Court for allegedly assisting Colombo Family hitman/FBI Informant Greg Scarpa in the commission of four murders; in the space of a few weeks, four associates of the Brooklyn District Attorney��s Office have been involved in public scandals, the cumulative effect of which may be to undermine the confidence of DeVecchio��s jury pool in the integrity of that office��s prosecutions. While Judges routinely admonish jurors to decide a case only on the evidence presented at trial, jurors frequently bring to Court negative preconceptions of members of law enforcement that can impact their decision making process.

     Two of the four associates had a direct role in the DeVecchio prosecution. The first to find himself in trouble was retired NYPD Detective Tommy Dades, who is something of a legend in law enforcement circles. Dades is credited with re-opening the investigation of "Mafia Cops" Lou Eppolito, Sr. and Stephen Caracappa, which led to their indictment on drug trafficking, bribery, and murder charges. Dades performed this valuable work post-retirement as an Investigator for the Brooklyn D. A.��s Office. However, that case was taken over by the Feds in the Eastern District, who secured convictions on all counts of murder and bribery - only to have the convictions overturned by Federal Judge Jack Weinstein on the issue of expired statutes of limitations.

     Dades also performed valuable investigative work on the DeVecchio case. After DeVecchio was indicted last year, supporters of DeVecchio, most notably those that run a website - Friends of Lin DeVecchio - blasted Dades and the Prosecutor in the case - Michael Vecchione, for their pursuit of a book deal on the subject of the ��Mafia Cops.�� DeVecchio��s supporters maintain that the information that led to his indictment - previously reviewed by the Feds - was used to bring about the indictments as a result of the motivations of several people pursuing book deals on this sensational case, Vecchione and Dades among them.

     Dades�� troubles descended upon him on the evening of December 19th. Dades had a long-time friend, retired Brooklyn Detective Peter Mangano, whose father Nicholas had been arrested in a Mafia insurance fraud scam. Mangano perceived that Dades had not used his influence in the District Attorney��s office to negotiate a significantly reduced charge against his father. Mangano was out drinking that evening with several friends, including a neighbor of Dades, Thomas Ippolito, reportedly fired from the NYPD in 1999 for having sex with a 17-year-old prostitute inside Brooklyn��s Central Booking building. Also among the group was Ippolito��s tenant James Coletta, whom Dades had spent considerable time with encouraging him to beat his heroin addiction. After angry cell-phone exchanges that night regarding the elder Mangano��s case, Mangano and his friends came looking for Dades. (1)

     Thus, two carloads of angry men pulled up outside the Dades family home on Staten Island. Facing a beating - or worse - by the mob, Dades pulled out his NYPD revolver as a warning for Mangano and his friends to disperse. At that point Coletta jumped Dades from behind. The two men then fell, crashing against a concrete planter. At least one member of Mangano��s mob would later claim that Dades kicked Coletta.(2)

     Coletta initially refused medical treatment and it��s likely his intoxication on alcohol and drugs masked the seriousness of his injuries. Rushed to a local hospital hours later, Coletta died from internal bleeding. After examining Coletta��s broken ribs and ruptured spleen the local Medical Examiner ruled Coletta��s death a homicide and that the injuries were consistent with having been kicked. Coletta��s heroin-induced cirrhosis of the liver was also determined a contributing factor to his death. At press time for this Feature Dades was awaiting the decision of the Grand Jury as to whether the Detective would be charged with a crime in Coletta��s death.

     For many years the citizens of Brooklyn as well as the Media have been preyed upon by self-appointed ��community activists�� who claim to represent the majority views of their constituencies, with the issue of police misconduct - real or imagined - their rallying point. For such people, the tragedy of the Dades incident offered up all the elements of a story that presented a negative image of those in law enforcement; a vindictive cop whose father was Mobbed-up; a cop forced off the job by a sex scandal; his tenant, a heroin addict, who gets killed by a legendary police officer. For those who had long followed the scandals of Brooklyn��s troubled 70th and 62nd Precincts, the Dades tragedy was eagerly devoured.

     And, in quick succession, Brooklynites would be exposed to three more scandals in the law enforcement community. The next to emerge was also related to the DeVecchio prosecution, involving an Assistant District Attorney, Maria Biagini. To strengthen their case against DeVecchio, the D. A.��s office had conducted interviews with a convicted Mafia associate, placing Biagini in charge of guarding the criminal. The convicted con-man then conned his way into Biagini��s affections, and the ADA had to resign once it became known that she had plotted with the criminal to smuggle his sperm out of prison for the purpose of creating a love child between the two. While the Dades story was regarded as a tragedy, many in Brooklyn found humor in this latest scandal, which became the talk of the town. As if these two cases were not bad enough, two more cases of alleged impropriety emerged during this short period of time. One involved Assistant District Attorney Sandra Fernandez, who was fired for allegedly providing to her fiancé - a former Brooklyn prosecutor now working as a criminal lawyer - information on prosecution witnesses that were to testify in a case in which the lawyer/boyfriend represented the Defendant in the case. Also, an Investigator in the Brooklyn D. A.��s office received a minor reprimand for not reporting immediately to District Attorney Charles Hynes the fact that she had continued to receive phone calls from a criminal she was put in charge of during an investigation.(3)

     Thus, within the space of a few weeks, the District Attorney found three of his employees the targets of investigations; Tommy Dades, brought before a Grand Jury for the Staten Island District Attorney��s office, Sandra Fernandez, a target of investigation by the Queens District Attorney��s office, (acting as Special Prosecutor), and Maria Biagini, the subject of an investigation by the FBI.

     To make matters worse, the New York Post reported that District Attorney Charles Hynes was coming out with a book, a work of fiction entitled "Triple Homicide," about two cops caught up in corruption. Suddenly, the claims by DeVecchio��s supporters that his case was tainted by ��book deals,�� resonated with some followers of this sordid tale.

     DeVecchio��s supporters have their own book deals, and one, "Donnie Brasco: Unfinished Business," has just been released by it��s author, legendary FBI agent Joe Pistone. In the book, Pistone reveals new information about his many years infiltrating the Bonanno Mafia Family under the identity of "Donnie Brasco." Agent Pistone utilizes this public platform to champion his friend Lin DeVecchio and attempt to discredit those involved in the case, notably Prosecutor Vecchione and Forensic Intelligence Analyst Angela Clemente.

     However, agent Pistone may not be the most effective person to vouch for a fellow agent accused of four counts of Mafia murder, given that in his book Pistone admits to his commission of numerous crimes, including the hijacking of trucks, warehouse burglaries, administering beatings to within an inch of their lives of Mafia associates on the orders of his Mafia superiors, and searching the streets of New York with the intent of murdering Mafia associate Bruno Indelicato.

     Pistone��s criticism of Clemente is ironic given that, long before the current scandals erupted in Brooklyn, Clemente proposed legislation - now being considered by members of Congress - that would make it illegal for a member of law enforcement to have an sexual relationship with a prisoner or witness. Clemente is better known as the ��soccer mom�� who, along with Dr. Stephen Dresch, analyzed the available evidence regarding DeVecchio, Scarpa, and the Colombo Family War of the late 1980s and early 1990s that left at least 12 people dead. Clemente��s and Dresch��s investigation entailed the interviewing of over 60 people over the course of several years. After presenting their conclusions to member of Congress, the results were then turned over to the Brooklyn D. A.��s office, leading to the indictment of agent DeVecchio.

     Ironically, the claims by DeVecchio��s supporters that the Brooklyn D. A.��s office is prosecuting an innocent man on murder charges is the same sort of story that will likely be found in the book on the Mafia Cops due out shortly by Vecchione and Tommy Dades. In recent years, several people have been exonerated after being convicted of serious crimes by prosecutors in Brooklyn. One such case involved the 1986 murder in Brooklyn of 27-year-old Virginia Robertson, the daughter of a Brooklyn police officer. The case was investigated by Detective Lou Eppolito, at the time assigned to the notorious 62nd Precinct. Based on Eppolito��s investigation, a local resident, Barry Gibbs, was identified as the perpetrator and convicted by a Brooklyn jury. Gibbs always maintained his innocence and that he had been framed by corrupt police officers. For 19 years, Gibbs wasted away in a prison cell with diminishing hopes of ever being freed.

     Then came Tommy Dades�� investigation of Mafia Cops Eppolito and Caracappa, which had some unforeseen consequences. In March, 2005, agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration raided the Las Vegas home of former Detective Eppolito after arresting him, his son Anthony, and his former partner Stephen Caracappa on drug trafficking charges. Eppolito and Caracappa were also accused of participation with the Mafia in numerous murders. Inside Eppolito��s basement agents found the case file on the Barry Gibbs prosecution.

     Gibbs had been convicted primarily on the testimony of one man, Peter Mitchell, who claimed he saw a man in a park dumping the slain body of Virginia Robertson. Mitchell had picked Gibbs out of a police line-up as that person and testified as to such at Gibbs�� trial. However, once confronted two decades later by Federal agents, Mitchell claimed he had been coerced by Detective Eppolito into falsely identifying Gibbs.

     Charles Hynes was not the District Attorney in the original trial of Gibbs and his office took immediate action to free Gibbs once the evidence was seized from Eppolito��s home. Thus, Gibbs was a free man during the sentencing proceedings of Eppolito and Caracappa in the Courtroom of Federal Judge Jack Weinstein. With Eppolito on the Witness Stand trying in vain to talk his way out of the dilemma of his own creation, Gibbs stood from his seat in the public spectator��s bench and shouted obscenities at Eppolito. As Gibbs was being ejected by Court Officers, Gibbs received the enthusiastic cheers of many of those in attendance, among them Eppolito��s own son, Lou Eppolito, Jr.

     The Courtroom of Judge Weinstein was also the setting for a proceeding which impacts upon one of the four counts of murder agent DeVecchio is accused of, that being the 1984 murder of 31-year-old Mary Bari. In 2004, Judge Weinstein issued a ruling against an Appeal by attorneys for Colombo Family members Vic Orena and Pasquale Amato after hearing testimony from Gregory Scarpa, Jr., who testified that his younger brother Joey Schiro planted guns under the porch of one of Orena��s friend, and that his father and his handler, agent DeVecchio were involved in the plot to frame the two men for a murder that Scarpa Sr. had committed. Judge Weinstein ruled that Scarpa Jr. was "not credible" in denying the Appeal for a new trial.

     Scarpa, Jr. also made some startling claims regarding terrorist Ramzi Yousef. Scarpa claimed that he was recruited by the FBI to spy on Ramzi Yousef while the two shared adjoining cells at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in 1995. Yousef is the self-admitted terrorist who had slipped quietly into the United States in 1992 on an Iraqi passport whereupon he put together the bomb that was used in the first terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. Yousef��s bomb was exploded on February 26, 1993 inside a rented Ryder truck in the parking lot underneath the North Tower of WTC. Yousef had chosen that location in the hopes that the bomb explosion would cause the North Tower to collapse upon the South Tower, murdering tens of thousands of people in the process. Yousef��s bomb, however, was not strong enough, but still murdered 6 people, injuring another 1,000.

     The Special Agent in charge of the New York office of the FBI at the time was James Fox. In December, 1994, two weeks before his retirement from the Bureau, Fox was Suspended by FBI Director Louis Freeh. Renown investigative reporter Gerald Posner would later report in his book ��Why America Slept�� that the suspension was in retaliation for Fox��s expressed views that the government of Saddam Hussein was involved in the bombing of the World Trade Center.

     After the bombing, Ramzi Yousef used his Iraqi passport to quietly slip out of the United States, eventually taking up residence in the Philippines, where he joined up with the Islamic terrorist organization Abu Sayyaf, which was being funded by Osama bin Laden. With the support of these terrorists, Ramzi Yousef explored new methods of bomb making, most notably improvised bombs that could be disguised as common household items that could be smuggled onto a jet airliner. In December, 1994 Yousef boarded PAL Flight 434 in the Philippines, upon which he improvised a crude bomb based on a vial of nitroglycerin, with the detonator being a Casio watch timer. Yousef may have been a terrorist but he was no martyr, and, unwilling to be a suicide bomber, Yousef left the device behind to explode after he exited the plane. The bomb later exploded en route to Japan, killing one passenger but failing to explode the nearby center fuel tank as Yousef had planned. Yousef��s plan was for one dozen planes headed towards the United States to be blown out of the sky on a single day. Eventually, Yousef was captured and returned to Manhattan to stand trial for the first terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

     It was at that point that Yousef crossed paths with Greg Scarpa, Jr., who was being held in the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan while facing additional charges of drug trafficking, murder and racketeering. In yet another intersection between a case of the American Mafia and international terrorists, Scarpa would later claim that he was recruited by the FBI to spy on Yousef, photographing diagrams Yousef showed to him with a secret, miniature camera. Scarpa would also claim he told the FBI about a terrorist plot he learned of from Yousef against a Prosecutor and Federal Judge. Scarpa claimed that Yousef told him about the methods he and his fellow terrorists used, which included the improvisation of bombs aboard airliners using simple, commonly available components, some disguised as toiletries. Yousef was alleged to have also told Scarpa that a bomb could be secreted aboard a plane constructed inside a man��s shoe. Yousef also mentioned that England was the country through which terrorists would operate in their future attacks against America, which, he claimed, would continue as long as he and Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman remained incarcerated in the U. S. Scarpa Jr. claimed he was able to gain the trust of Yousef by pretending to be part of the "militia movement" that had included those involved in the Oklahoma City bombing.

     Few journalists would criticize Judge Weinstein when, years later, the respected jurist would dismiss the fantastic claims of Scarpa Jr. by denouncing him as "not credible." Despite the fact that he was not convicted of murder, Greg Scarpa, Jr. was sent off to "Supermax," America��s most-secure Federal prison buried deep beneath the Rocky Mountains in Colorado.

     That should have been the last anyone ever heard of Greg Scarpa, Jr. However, in August, 2006 authorities in England arrested a cell of Islamic terrorists who were just days away from carrying out a series of suicide bombings of jet airliners en route to the United States.

Forensic Intelligence Analyst Angela Clemente and renown investigative reporter Peter Lance would both obtain and analyze "FBI 302" reports of information obtained from Yousef and forwarded to the FBI by Scarpa Jr. The methods of the terrorists in England of improvising such bombs onboard an airliner, utilizing common, household items, were identical to the intelligence given to the FBI by Greg Scarpa, Jr. a decade earlier, Clemente and Lance would conclude. Lance��s analysis of the FBI reports on Scarpa are to be found in his new book, ��Triple-Cross.��

     Suddenly, Greg Scarpa, Jr. was credible. This newfound respect, however did not stop the website in support of agent DeVecchio from demanding that the Brooklyn District Attorney��s Office indict Scarpa Jr. for the 1984 murder of Mary Bari. In Count One of the indictment against him, agent DeVecchio is alleged to have supplied information to his Informant Greg Scarpa, Sr. indicating that Mary Bari was providing information to the FBI in regards to her former boyfriend, Alphonse Persico. At the time Persico was on the lam and Scarpa, Sr. was believed to fear that Bari��s alleged co-operation with the FBI could lead the authorities to his whereabouts. Thus, on September 25, 1984, Scarpa lured Bari to his Brooklyn headquarters, the ��Wimpy Boys Social Club,�� under the guise of offering employment to her as a waitress. Once inside, Scarpa and accomplices, including his son, Greg Scarpa, Jr., allegedly wrestled young Bari to the floor, whereupon she was shot several times in the head with a handgun. Scarpa and crew then dumped Ms. Bari��s body on the streets of Brooklyn as if it was trash, an indication of the Mafia��s contempt for those who co-operated with the FBI. Apparently, what no one in the Colombo Family knew was that Scarpa himself was an FBI Informant, and that was how he was allegedly able to obtain the information regarding Ms. Bari.

     Greg Scarpa Sr. first caught the attention of the FBI - and it��s Director J. Edgar Hoover, sometime in the early 1960s, perhaps earlier. As a young man, the brutal thug had become one of the youngest ��Made�� members of an American Mafia Family ever. Hoover had reached the zenith of his career during the 1950s ��witch hunt�� of alleged Communists within the State Department led by his associates Senator Joseph McCarthy and his right-hand man lawyer Roy Cohn. It would be many years later before it was revealed that all three men were closeted homosexuals, and that Cohn and Hoover enjoyed the services of male prostitutes supplied to them by the Mafia. If Hoover was being blackmailed by the Mafia - as some evidence to emerge in recent years has suggested - Hoover himself was a master blackmailer, using his army of FBI agents to spy on politicians - even Presidents - in order to obtain the ��dirt�� on them he perceived he needed in order to stay in power.

     Hoover had, according to historians, compiled such negative information on the man who would become President in 1961, John F. Kennedy. The new President, however, made the unprecedented act of appointing his brother - Robert Kennedy, as Attorney General, making him, effectively, Hoover��s ��boss.�� Thus, there developed a deep-rooted feeling of antagonism and mistrust between Hoover and Robert Kennedy. That hostility only intensified after the President��s assassination when Bobby Kennedy found himself sandwiched between the new President, Lyndon Johnson, a Hoover ally, and Hoover himself.

     Still, Hoover had to ��deliver�� when called upon and a crisis arose in 1964 that prompted Attorney General Kennedy to apply pressure on the Director of the FBI. That event was the disappearance and presumed murders of three civil rights workers in Mississippi who were members of CORE, the Congress of Racial Equality. Robert Kennedy demanded of Hoover that he utilize all of his resources in solving the murders and at that point Hoover ordered the young and vigorous Greg Scarpa to be flown down South with an FBI agent. There, Scarpa kidnapped a local member of the KKK and placed the FBI agent��s service revolver into the mouth of the captive, threatening that he would blow the man��s brains out if he did not reveal what he knew about the three missing men. The Klansman complied with Scarpa��s death threat, the bodies were recovered, and seven locals were eventually convicted for violating the worker��s civil rights.

     As a result of Scarpa��s work in this case, the FBI literally gave him a ��License to Kill,�� as the FBI protected Scarpa from prosecution of a myriad of crimes, including drug trafficking, credit card rip-offs, gambling, bribery, and multiple murders over the course of several decades. In 1981 Scarpa was taken over by a single control agent, Lindley DeVecchio. Despite an arrest by agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms in 1975 for illegally running guns in the State of Maryland - for which agent DeVecchio received a slap on the wrist - DeVecchio alone was given control of Scarpa, despite FBI standards that required two agents to ��handle�� an Informant such as Scarpa, who was clearly a violent member of the American Mafia.

     After just 3 years of interaction with Mafia hitman Greg Scarpa, agent DeVecchio was himself able to successfully impersonate a Mafia hitman. DeVecchio��s target was Ed Wilson, a rogue retired Intelligence Officer who had been arrested for supplying plastic explosives and other bomb making materials to Libyan Dictator Muammar al-Qaddafi. The Justice Department wanted more evidence against Wilson, so DeVecchio approached Wilson claiming to be "Tony DeAngelo, Mafia Hitman." "Tony" offered to murder key members of the Prosecution against Wilson in exchange for money, which Wilson arranged to be delivered through his son. Wilson was convicted for murder solicitation in New York and weapons trafficking in Houston, although Wilson is now a free man, his Houston conviction vacated by a Judge after evidence of prosecutorial misconduct was discovered.(4)

     Greg Scarpa, Jr. is not the only associate of the Colombo Family whose criminal dealings has intersected those of international terrorists. Consider the case of Dennis Pappas, an accused money launderer for the Colombo Family. On February 18, 1996, the New York Daily News stunned America with a sensational story of a plot by Iranians to detonate a conventional bomb above New York containing nuclear waste, an event that would render a large part of Manhattan and surrounding areas un-inhabitable for decades. Such an event would have produced mass panic throughout America, requiring the evacuation of the financial district of New York, one result being the collapse of the stock market and the nation��s banking system. The Daily News got the story from Dennis Pappas, who said he was asked in 1993 by agents of FBI Counter-Intelligence to help them bug a building purchased by the Iranians involved in the plot. Pappas said that at first he agreed, then later backed out of the plan, fearing the Iranians would harm his family.

     Pappas was arrested in July, 1995 and charged with being the "financial consigliere" of the Colombo Mafia Family. Despite his never before having been arrested nor charged with a violent crime, Pappas was denied bail. The Judge in his case then placed him under a gag order "for reasons of National security." Before the gag order was imposed, Pappas had complained about his treatment to reporters at the Daily News, who were able to independently corroborate key claims about his story. Dennis Pappas was held for over two years before he went to trial, the longest such detention without bail in U. S. history for someone accused of non-violent crimes. The Prosecution admitted in Court documents that Pappas had in fact been recruited for a "national security project," but would say little else. While his attorney tried to portray Pappas as a victim of the FBI, it was perceived by some following his case that he had compromised an important investigation of international terrorists, and in doing so had betrayed his country. Pappas would later accept a plea bargain in his money laundering case.

     Pappas�� claims required a re-examination of terrorist acts during the latter part of the 20th Century, most notably the December, 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, which exploded shortly after takeoff from London��s Heathrow airport, raining down it��s human cargo upon the town of Lockerbie, Scotland. Among the 259 aboard were 35 college kids from Syracuse University and 4 U. S. Intelligence Officers engaged in the battle to rescue American and British hostages then being held by Islamic terrorists in Lebanon. These same terrorists had previously kidnapped, tortured, and murdered William Buckley, the CIA��s Station Chief in Beirut, as well as carrying out the 1983 suicide bombing of the Marine Corps barracks in Beirut, which killed 220 Marines, 18 Navy personnel, and 3 Army soldiers.

     Originally, Iran was considered the likely country that bombed Pan Am Flight 103, given that earlier in 1988 the United States Navy battle cruiser Vincennes had accidentally shot down an Iranian airliner, killing all 290 people aboard. Although the U. S. government immediately issued an apology over this tragic accident, the government of Iran, then led by the Islamic cleric Ayatollah Khomeini, swore they would "avenge the blood of our Martyrs!"

     It would later be established in a Scottish Court of Law that a spy for Libyan Dictator Muammar al-Qaddafi was responsible for the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103. Qaddafi eventually accepted responsibility for the bombing and the government of Libya offered over $2 billion as a settlement to the families of those murdered onboard the tragic flight.

     Thus, the Iranian ��dirty bomb�� plot, foiled by FBI Counter-Intelligence a decade ago, appears to be the act of vengeance plotted by the government of Iran in retaliation for the shooting down of the Iranian airliner. The government now in charge, consisting of the successors to the Ayatollah Khomeini, the Islamic cleric who seized control of Iran in 1979, holding 52 Americans hostage for 444 days, may still consider they have yet to avenge the deaths of those who died long ago on that doomed airliner. Iran is today nearing the ability to produce conventional nuclear weapons, a matter of grave concern for both the United States and Israel. In 1981, Israel learned of a similar program by Iraq and bombed and destroyed the Osirak nuclear facility near Baghdad. Israel was universally condemned by countries around the world, including France, which sold the nuclear reactor to Saddam Hussein. However, 8 short years later, Iraq was found to indeed be involved in a ��weapons of mass destruction�� program, when Saddam Hussein ordered the use of poison gas on innocent Kurds in the Northern part of Iraq. Although the evidence of the genocide attacks would take many years to develop and be analyzed, by the time the evidence was indisputable, those countries that had been so critical of Israel��s attack on the Osirak nuclear facility were curiously silent.

     The government of Iran��s hostility towards Israel is particularly evidenced by the two-day conference held last December in Tehran which brought together from around the world those who claim the Holocaust of Nazi, Germany did not occur. Iran has also been implicated in supporting terrorists within Iraq in recent years, the first credible compilation of such evidence presented in the book "Milan-Baghdad" by Stefano Dambruoso and Guido Olimpio. Dambruoso had success in the early 1990s prosecuting Mafia figures in Sicily and began investigations of international terrorists in a new post that began in Milan in 1996. Dambruoso��s book is notable for it��s development of evidence that the government of Iran has been providing support to numerous terrorists in Iraq, most notably Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian-born terrorist best known to Americans for his brutal beheading of kidnapped American civilian Nicholas Berg, which was broadcast by the terrorists on the Internet. Al-Zarqawi also ordered the assassination of U. S. Diplomat Laurence Foley, who was gunned down outside his Amman, Jordan home in 2002. Al-Zarqawi was killed by a U. S. air strike in June, 2006.

     Another Italian Mafia Prosecutor who has made the switch to investigating international terrorism is Armando Spataro, although in this case, Spataro is chasing the guys who may have been chasing the ��bad guys.�� Spataro has set off an international spectacle by indicting 25 operatives alleged to having been working for the CIA who are accused of kidnapping an alleged terrorist, Abu Omar, and returning him to Egypt, where he was allegedly interrogated by Egyptian authorities. Spataro has also indicted a high-ranking Italian Intelligence officer who allegedly authorized the alleged illegal extradition of Omar back to Egypt. Omar alleges he was tortured for 2 years by Egyptian authorities before they let him go.

     This story is a sensation in some European countries, particularly in those where anti-American sentiment is common and where the American concept of the ��presumption of innocence�� is not a part of their culture. In America, the story has generated little public interest, and undoubtedly some Americans will probably conclude that if the story is true, such tactics are justified to prevent another 9/11.

     The chief legal advisor for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has stated publicly that the U. S. will not extradite the accused alleged operatives to Italy to stand trial. Spataro could still take the case to trial, prosecuting the alleged operatives ��in absentia.�� Such a trial would certainly garner worldwide attention, particularly if Omar testifies, which would provide an opportunity for interested parties to determine if Omar is an "innocent terrorist," a "terrorist wannabe," or neither.


     In his new book, agent Pistone makes it clear that he believes the ends justifies the means, and those ��means�� of his undercover work included the murder that he was willing to commit in order not to blow his cover. In the ��end,�� Pistone��s ��means�� resulted in over 100 convictions of American Mafia criminals, with Pistone becoming a national hero and the subject of a successful Hollywood movie based on his career, which graphically detailed how he risked his life for America on a daily basis.

     While the crimes that agent DeVecchio are accused of are very serious - murder, after all, in any civilized country, is the ultimate crime, the most serious threat to Americans is to be found from without, not within, where terrorist organizations and terrorist regimes seek nothing less than to kill us all.

To be continued

Related Features by this author:

License to Kill: Greg Scarpa and the FBI
Part Two: Gangsters With Badges

Partners in Crime: The Mafia Cops
Part Seventeen: Getting Away With Murder?

Crime Scene: World Trade Center

Mob War! Part Three: Mob Murders Investigations Continue


1. New York Post, "Cop Vs. Cop Fury," December 26, 2006

2. Staten Island Advance, "Former cop could face charges in fatal melee," February 7, 2007.

3. New York Post, "Love & Law Furor," February 20, 2007.

4. "The G-Man and the Hitman," by Frederick Dannen. New Yorker Magazine, December 16, 1996.


James Ridgway de Szigethy can be reached at

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