Feature Articles

December 2008

License to Kill:

Greg Scarpa and the FBI

By J. R. de Szigethy

Part Eight: The "Four Questions"
* * *


     Just days after Americans observed the 45th anniversary of the murder of President Kennedy, Forensic Intelligence Analyst Angela Clemente received over 1,000 FBI documents awarded to her by a Federal Judge in response to Clemente�s Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking secret FBI files regarding Mafia figures Greg Scarpa and Carlos Marcello. Scarpa was a Colombo Family hitman protected from Prosecution most of his adult life because of his work as an FBI Informant, and Marcello was the New Orleans-based Godfather of the American Mafia Family whose operations were centered in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Texas. These documents were among those subpoenaed by a Congressional Committee in the 1970s which was investigating the possibility that Marcello was in some way involved in the murder of the President. Chief Counsel to that Committee was G. Robert Blakey, best known as the author of the RICO statutes which have become the most effective legal tool available to Prosecutors in the fight against organized crime syndicates. The documents Clemente has obtained were never turned over by the FBI to Congress, yet even without those documents, the Committee concluded that while Lee Harvey Oswald was involved in the murder of the President, it was "probable" that he did not act alone. Clemente will now examine these documents to determine whether the information contained in them offers evidence that tends to prove or disprove alleged involvement of members of the American Mafia in the murder of the President.

     From the moment that the handcuffed Oswald was murdered in the custody of the Dallas, Texas police, an event broadcast live on national television, a majority of the American people have indicated to pollsters their belief that more than one person was responsible for the murder of the President.(1) Kennedy had been elected President in 1960 by one of the narrowest margins in U. S. history. Kennedy�s opponent, Richard Nixon, had the substantial resources of the Teamsters Union backing his election bid, secured through his close associate Jimmy Hoffa, the Teamsters President. Unfortunately for Hoffa, Kennedy was elected and he selected his brother Robert as Attorney General, who targeted for prosecution Hoffa and his associates Carlos Marcello, Sam Giancana, the Godfather of the Chicago Mafia Family, and Santos Trafficante, the Godfather of the Mafia Family based in Tampa, Florida. Hoffa would eventually be sent to prison, but was freed by a Presidential order by Richard Nixon once he became President. Hoffa�s freedom was short lived, as the corrupt Labor boss soon disappeared in a case of murder that has yet to be solved. Sam Giancana was murdered in June, 1975 in a case that has yet to be solved.

     Of these four men, Carlos Marcello had a very personal motivation to seek the murder of the President, regarding Bobby Kennedy�s arrest of Marcello, upon which he was deported to the jungles of South America. Born Calogero Minacore in Tunis to Sicilian parents, Marcello had entered into the United States with his parents in 1911. In his teens Marcello entered into a life of crime and began to build a criminal organization that evolved into an American Mafia Family, based on the Sicilian model. An unapologetic racist, Marcello began importing drugs into this country, which were sold to African-Americans. Once convicted of drug trafficking, Marcello�s criminal lawyers, in an attempt to prevent his Deportation, obtained a fabricated birth certificate which falsely claimed Marcello had been born in the South American country of Guatemala.

     Marcello�s command of the English language was primitive, although the Godfather was fond of reciting Benjamin Franklin�s famous adage: "Three can keep a secret if two are dead!" In actuality, the Mafia Family Marcello headed was one of the least violent in America. A key reason was a lack of competition; New York City, for example, has 5 Mafia families in operation, with a 6th, the DeCavalcante Family, headquartered across the Hudson River in New Jersey. There is a long history of these families fighting against rival families as well as against members of their own families, the result of which has been scores of Mafia murders during the past 100 years. The necessity to accomplish the murder of any given individual gave rise to the "Hitman," contract killers who specialized in such lethal arts, among them the Colombo Family�s Greg Scarpa, who, according to Court testimony, murdered over 50 people, the Luchese Family�s Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso, whose hit list exceeded 30, Sammy "The Bull" Gravano of the Gambino Family, who admitted to 19 murders, as well as "Mafia Cops" Lou Eppolito Sr. and Stephen Caracappa, convicted of the murders of 8 people and suspected in at least a couple more.

     The comparative non-violence of Godfather Marcello�s empire also was a result of his almost complete control of Judges, politicians, and members of law enforcement, which he maintained through the practice of bribery, a tradition that had been deeply entrenched in Louisiana and surrounding States for many decades. Although Marcello was a suspect in a few unsolved murders in his territory, his Mafia Family had not nurtured and trained a single, professional hitman during his long reign. Thus, if Marcello needed the services of a skilled and experienced hitman, he would have been compelled to seek out such a man from within the ranks of other American Mafia families, a scenario that is not uncommon in American criminal history. Godfather Marcello did in fact have contacts with New York Mafia families, primarily with Frank Costello, the Genovese Family Godfather who joined with Marcello in establishing gambling rackets, centered around the installation and maintenance of slot machines, as well as the fixing of horse races. Costello also had close ties to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, whom, according to numerous biographers, was addicted to gambling on horse races.

     And, whenever necessary, Carlos Marcello had access to the best criminal lawyers that Mafia money could buy, chief among them G. Wray Gill, who utilized the services of a private investigator, retired FBI Agent Guy Bannister, and David Ferrie, a pilot who served with Lee Oswald in the New Orleans Civil Air Patrol.

     Back during the 1950s and 1960s, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover took the public position that the American Mafia did not exist. Echoing the blatantly obvious false premise of his Boss, Regis Kennedy, Hoover�s Agent in New Orleans, maintained that Carlos Marcello was nothing more than a "tomato salesman." District Attorney Jim Garrison, who would later be exposed as being a corrupt puppet of Marcello, also implausibly claimed that organized crime in New Orleans did not exist.(2)

     Once Attorney General, Bobby Kennedy begged to differ, and had his agents arrest Carlos Marcello and deport the Godfather to the country of his alleged birth, Guatemala. Literally dumped into the jungles of South America, Marcello somehow fought his way out of this dilemma, possibly with the help of pilot David Ferrie, and soon returned to the United States. Once back home in the swamps of Louisiana, the Godfather reportedly vowed Vengeance against the Kennedys, uttering the following Sicilian curse: "LIVARSI NA PIETRA DI LA SCARPA!" (rough translation: "Take the stone from my shoe!")(2)

     On November 4, 1963, Robert Kennedy�s Justice Department began it�s prosecution against Marcello for falsification of his Guatemalan birth certificate. The Verdict of "Not Guilty" came in on the afternoon of November 22, 1963. On that afternoon the Attorney General was having lunch at his home outside Washington with several members of his Mafia prosecution team, including Robert Morgenthau. Kennedy received a phone call from J. Edgar Hoover. The FBI Director casually informed the Attorney General that his brother had just been shot in Dallas, Texas. Most Americans were deeply shocked, saddened, and troubled by the brutal murder of the young President, but not so J. Edgar Hoover. On the very next day, as FBI Director, Hoover should have been at FBI headquarters in Washington working 24/7 to help solve the murder of the President. Instead, Hoover and Clyde Tolson chose to drive to Baltimore - at taxpayer�s expense - where the two men gambled on the horse races.

     FBI Director Hoover was an avowed racist who ordered his Agents to undertake illegal acts of harassment against Black Americans, and as a result some such men were framed for crimes they did not commit. On such case involved a decorated Vietnam Veteran, Elmer Pratt, who spent 27 years in prison for a murder he was falsely convicted of. The FBI and the City of Los Angeles later settled Pratt�s civil suit, with the City paying Pratt $2.75 million and the FBI paying $1.75 million. Other Blacks targeted by Hoover included accomplished athletes Jesse Owens, Joe Louis, and Muhammad Ali, as well as civil rights activists such as the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Ironically, in recent years, it has become made public that on at least 2 occasions, Hoover utilized the full resources of the FBI to solve cases of violence regarding men involved in the struggle for civil rights for African-Americans. The first revealed was that of the disappearance in 1964 of three members of the Congress of Racial Equality. The story, first reported in the New York Daily News, and later corroborated in testimony in Brooklyn State Court, regarded how FBI Director Hoover, responding to enormous pressure from President Lyndon Johnson, ordered Greg Scarpa Sr. sent to Mississippi, where the Mafia hitman/ FBI Informant tortured a local resident at gunpoint into confessing his knowledge of the murders of the three missing men.

     As reported in a New Yorker Magazine exposé in 1996, Hoover next utilized Greg Scarpa to solve the murder of Vernon Dahmer, who was murdered by members of the Ku Klux Klan by their setting his house on fire in rural Mississippi in 1966. J. Edgar Hoover ordered Scarpa sent to Mississippi, where Scarpa and at least one FBI agent kidnapped a local resident, and, under threat of murder by Scarpa�s gun, obtained a confession, thus solving the case.(3) The historical evidence in the regards to these two cases is clear; Hoover could not have cared less about the murders of these young men, and only utilized the resources available to him - including Greg Scarpa - in order to satisfy President Lyndon Johnson, and thus retain his position of power as FBI Director.

     In contrast, there was a crime during that era committed against a man whom Hoover deeply respected and cared about; Army General Edwin T. Walker. The General was part of an extended circle of men in the 1950s who shared with Hoover three defining personality traits; each man was a devout racist, openly expressing their hatred of Blacks, each driven by a paranoid obsessive belief that Communist plots were rampant throughout America, and each man led a secret, closeted gay lifestyle. The members of this coven included Senator Joseph McCarthy, Mafia lawyer Roy Cohn, the Reverend Billy James Hargis, a Fundamentalist televangelist, and General Walker. All 5 men had played a central role in the �witch hunts� of the 1950s during which they briefly captivated most Americans, who first paid attention to, and ultimately rejected, their various, often outlandish claims about Communist plots. General Walker would later be lampooned in the dark humor film classic "Dr. Strangelove," in which World War III is brought about by General Jack "D." Ripper, (Walker), who is driven mad by his belief that his "precious, bodily fluids" had been ruined by the addition of fluoride to the American drinking water supply, a popular "Communist plot" disseminated by General Walker and Reverend Hargis during that time.

     It was General Walker�s attempt to indoctrinate the troops under his command with such propaganda that led to the Kennedy Administration�s actions against him, resulting in his resignation from the Army in 1961. Months later, General Walker was back in the news when he ran for the Democratic Nomination for Governor of Texas, losing to John Connally, who went on to be elected Governor. In September of 1962, General Walker joined with Governor Ross Barnett who literally stood in the door of the University of Mississippi to prevent African-American James Meredith from enrolling as a student. In the riots that followed, in which the General played a leadership role in instigating, 2 people were killed. Bobby Kennedy ordered General Walker arrested on 4 Federal counts, including advocating the violent overthrow of the government of the United States. Kennedy also ordered General Walker taken to a military hospital, where he was held for a week for psychiatric evaluation. Such actions by Kennedy, however, backfired, with Walker�s supporters Ironic yet plausible contention that Kennedy had violated General Walker�s �civil rights.� Kennedy was further rebuffed when the Grand Jury refused to Indict Walker, despite the evidence of his public calls over public radio stations for citizens to resort to violence in order to keep Black Americans from enrolling in the University of Mississippi.

     In February, 1963, General Walker and Reverend Hargis launched a nationwide anti-Communist, pro-Segregation tour called "Operation: Midnight Ride," a series of lectures that attracted many thousands of Americans. Thus, General Walker returned to his home in Dallas a national figure in the anti-Communist movement. Among those paying attention to Walker�s rising star was Lee Harvey Oswald. Oswald had by that time led a troubled past. Not yet 25 years of age, Oswald had grown up in New York City, Dallas, and New Orleans, his uncle being a minor figure in Godfather Marcello�s gambling rackets. At 17, Oswald joined the United States Marine Corps, studied the Russian language, and, after leaving the Marines, defected to the Soviet Union. Ordinarily, the Soviets in those days would have seized upon the propaganda value of a disaffected American who sought a "better" life under Communism, but the Soviets made little use of Oswald, apparently due to the perception that Oswald had little to offer in skills, intellectual property, or public relations value. Oswald then returned to the United States, bringing with him his young Russian wife, Marina.

     As a result of the Soviet Revolution of 1917, many aristocrats of the Russian Society were faced with the choice of either fleeing with their lives - and little else in their possession - or face the Fate of execution, as befell Czar Nicholas and his family. A similar Fate was visited upon those men and women of accomplishment in the European countries that fell under Communist domination after World War II. Thus, such displaced individuals congregated in cities foreign to their births, notably Paris and New York City. There, the displaced refugees, many of whom found themselves suddenly impoverished, banded together in their common aim to undermine and eventually destroy Communism and thus effectuate their triumphant return to their homelands. Dallas, Texas was among those American cities that housed a small but cohesive group of such like-minded people. The displaced immigrants from the Soviet Union were sometimes referred to as the "White Russians," and among those such residing in Dallas was a man named George de Mohrenschildt, who worked in the petroleum industry. Thus, it was only natural that a young woman, Marina Oswald, a recent immigrant from Russia, along with her husband, would establish contact and interact with the Russian exile community of Dallas.

     It was on an evening in which such members of the Dallas Russian community had gathered for socializing that Lee Harvey Oswald expressed to de Mohrenschildt, among others, his vehement hatred of General Walker, whom he regarded as a demagogue. Then, on an evening in mid-April, 1963, according to Marina Oswald�s later statements to law enforcement, her husband rushed into their modest home in a state of excitement and anxiety, hurriedly switching on the radio. Oswald told his wife he had attempted to murder General Walker, and had immediately after firing at him fled the scene, burying his rifle underground in the event he had succeeded. However, according to Mrs. Oswald, her husband was dismayed and disappointed when no reports came across the radio indicating that Dallas� leading anti-Communist icon had been murdered. The bullet that had been fired at General Walker had grazed the wooden frame of the window of Walker�s house, sending it in a spiraling trajectory that deflected it from it�s intended target. On a later evening, George de Mohrenschildt and his wife visited Oswald and his wife, upon which de Mohrenschildt, suspecting Oswald in the attempt on General Walker which had been widely reported by the Media, half-jokingly asked Oswald how was it that he could have missed in taking his shot at General Walker?(4) Oswald then turned to his wife with an accusatorial look, which suggests two things:

     1. Oswald suspected his wife had told someone else about his confession to the attempt to murder General Walker.

     2. Oswald�s alleged behavior suggesting that only his wife knew about his attempt on the murder of Walker can be interpreted to mean that Oswald acted alone in the attempt to murder Walker, thus no one other than his wife could have told others. This interpretation is also of importance to those investigators who have surmised that if Oswald acted alone in his attempt to murder General Walker, he also likely acted alone in his attempt just months later to murder the President.

     Two respected investigations of the murder of the President would conclude that Oswald did in fact act alone in both attempts at murder. The first was laid out in meticulous detail by investigative reporter Gerald Posner, in his acclaimed 1993 book �CASE CLOSED." Posner�s book detailed substantial evidence that New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison was a criminal, corrupted by members of the Carlos Marcello organized crime syndicate. Garrison�s failed attempts, through the subornation of Perjury and intimidation of "witnesses," to implicate the CIA in the murder of the President also, conveniently, deflected attention away from the non-related crimes committed by both his Godfather, Carlos Marcello, and the FBI, his former employer. In 2003, Peter Jennings narrated an ABC News documentary on the murder of the President which included computer-generated graphics which analyzed the evidence and concluded that there was just one gunman, and three bullets, involved in the crime scene at Dealey Plaza. The ABC News documentary also examined numerous flaws and inaccuracies in the motion picture "JFK," Director Oliver Stone�s rehash of the claims made years earlier by Jim Garrison.


     "Soccer Mom" Angela Clemente never intentionally set out to investigate the murder of President Kennedy. What she and her colleague Dr. Stephen Dresch set out to accomplish was the examination and analysis of evidence relating to corruption within the United States law enforcement community. Both discovered evidence of such that has now been well publicized and documented, the recent conviction of a Boston FBI Agent for his role in a Mafia murder being just one example. The focus of both investigators was Greg Scarpa, one of the most prolific contract killers in American History who was on the payroll - and evident protection from prosecution - of the FBI. It was FBI documents that led Ms. Clemente onto the path of a man she had never heard of - Carlos Marcello - with the documents revealing some sort of flow of information between Marcello, Scarpa, and the FBI.

     Now, Clemente is following this new stream of information alone, without the guidance of the late Dr. Dresch, and without the considerable resources available to Professor Blakey�s Congressional Committee some three decades ago.

     Many questions will likely arise from the examination of these documents for Ms. Clemente to pose and seek answers to:

Among them:

     1. What was the information culled by Greg Scarpa, in regards to Godfather Carlos Marcello, during the time Director Hoover instructed his subordinates to utilize Scarpa to obtain information on Godfather Marcello and his American Mafia Family?

     2. Whom, besides FBI Director Hoover, and former FBI Agent Jim Garrison, disseminated false and inaccurate information to various individuals, in the Media and law enforcement, the result of which falsely implicated the CIA in the murder of the President?

     3. Who are the men who were members of the Marcello Mafia syndicate, and who also worked as secret FBI Informants? Documents obtained by American detail two such men, who are only identified by their secret code numbers. These documents are dated in the 1970s, long after Marcello Mafia Family associate/FBI Informant Jack Ruby, had died while in prison.

     4. Did J. Edgar Hoover direct that Greg Scarpa be sent to Dallas, Texas in 1963, to participate in the investigation of the attempted murder of General Edwin Walker, and, if so, did Scarpa locate the man he was looking for?


License to Kill: Greg Scarpa and the FBI
Part Seven: Racism and The FBI

License to Kill: Greg Scarpa and the FBI
Part Six: The "Mistress of Manipulation"

License to Kill: Greg Scarpa and the FBI
Part Five: Giuliani and the G-Man

License to Kill: Greg Scarpa and the FBI
Part Four: No Jury for Agent DeVecchio

License to Kill: Greg Scarpa and the FBI
Part Three: A Troubled Prosecution

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

License to Kill: Greg Scarpa and the FBI
Part One: Reversal of Fortune

Mob War! Part Three: Mob Murders Investigations Continue


1. The Kennedy Assassination, a Special Report by ABC News, 2003.

2. Mafia Kingfish, by John H. Davis, Penguin, 1989.

3. "The G-Man and the Hitman," by Fredric Dannen, The New Yorker, December 16, 1996.

4. Case Closed, by Gerald Posner, Anchor Books, 1994.

J. R. de Szigethy can be reached at: .

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