bureaucracybusters

Posts Tagged ‘NAPOLEON BONAPARTE’

DUMBOCRATS AND THEIR COMPUTERS

In Bureaucracy, Business, History, Politics, Social commentary on April 13, 2018 at 12:06 am

On July 22, 2016, Wikileaks released 19,252 emails and 8,034 attachments hacked from computers of the highest-ranking officials of the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

The emails were exchanged from January 2015 through May 2016.

These clearly reveal a bias for Hillary Clinton and against her lone challenger, Vermont United States Senator Bernie Sanders.

One email revealed that Brad Marshall, the chief financial officer of the DNC, suggested that Sanders, who is Jewish, could be portrayed as an atheist. 

Sanders’ supporters had long charged that the DNC and its chair, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, were plotting to undercut his campaign. Now thousands of them were outraged to discover that their fears had been confirmed.  

The leak came at a disastrous time for Hillary Clinton, the former First Lady, United States Senator from New York and Secretary of State under President Barack Obama.

About to receive the Democratic nomination for President, she found herself charged with undermining the electoral process. 

Wasserman-Schultz proved the first casualty of the leak, resigning from her position as chair of the DNC and saying she would not open the Democratic convention as previously scheduled.

Related image

Debbie Wasserman-Schultz

As for Clinton: Her campaign manager, Bobby Mook, blamed the Russians for the leak. Their alleged motive: To help Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Cyber-security experts believed the hackers originated from Russia—-and that Russian President Vladimir Putin may have authorized it.

His alleged motive: Trump had repeatedly attacked United States’ membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Trump believed the United States was paying an unfairly large portion of the monies needed to maintain this alliance—and he wanted other members to contribute far more. He made it clear that if they didn’t—and if he was elected President—they would be on their own if attacked by Russia.

Trump took to twitter to offer his take on the release: “How much BAD JUDGEMENT was on display by the people in DNC in writing those really dumb e-mails, using even religion, against Bernie!”  

Related image

Bernie Sanders

Which brings up the obvious question: Why was such sensitive information entrusted to computers that could be hacked? 

This is not the first time a major corporation or government agency has fallen prey to hackers.

Name-brand companies, trusted by millions, have been hit with massive data breaches that compromised their customers’ and/or employees’ most sensitive financial and personal information.

Among those companies and agencies:

  • Target
  • Kmart
  • Home Depot
  • JPMorgan/Chase
  • Staples
  • Dairy Queen
  • Anthem, Inc.
  • Sony Pictures
  • The U.S. State Department
  • The Pentagon
  • The Office of Personnel Management

Perhaps the most notorious target hacked was Ashley Madison, the website for cheating wives and husbands. Launched in 2001, its catchy slogan was: “Life is short. Have an affair.”  

On July 15, 2015, its more than 37 million members learned that highly embarrassing secrets they had entrusted to Ashley Madison had been compromised.

This included their sexual fantasies, matching credit card transactions, real names and addresses, and employee documents and emails.

A website offering cheating services to those wealthy enough to afford high-priced fees is an obvious target for hackers. After all, its database is a blackmailer’s dream-come-true.  

And the same is true for computers of one of the two major political parties of the United States. 

Among the secrets unearthed in the WikiLeaks document-dump: Plans by Democratic party officials to reward large donors and prominent fundraisers with lucrative appointments to federal boards and commissions.

Most of the donors listed gave to Clinton’s campaign. None gave to Sanders.

According to Ken Boehm, chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center, a government watchdog group: 

“The disclosed DNC emails sure look like the potential Clinton Administration has intertwined the appointments to federal government boards and commissions with the political and fund raising operations of the Democratic Party. That is unethical, if not illegal.”  

Centuries before the invention of computers–and the machinery needed to hack into them–Niccolo Machiavelli offered cautionary advice to those thinking of entering into a conspiracy.  He did so in his masterwork on politics, The Discourses.  

Niccolo Machiavelli

Unlike his better-known work, The Prince, which deals with how to secure power, The Discourses lays out rules for preserving liberty within a republic.

In Book Three, Chapter Six (“Of Conspiracies”) he writes:

“I have heard many wise men say that you may talk freely with any one man about everything, for unless you have committed yourself in writing, the ‘Yes’ of one man is worth as much as the ‘No’ of another. 

“And therefore one should guard most carefully against writing, as against a dangerous rock, for nothing will convict you quicker than your own handwriting.”

In 1804, Napoleon Bonaparte, then First Consul of France, ordered the execution of the popular Louis Antoine de Bourbon, Duke of Enghien, claiming that he had aided Britain and plotted against France.

The aristocracy of Europe, still recalling the slaughters of the French Revolution, was shocked. 

Asked for his opinion on the execution, Napoleon’s chief of police, Joseph Fouche, said: “It was worse than a crime; it was a blunder.”  

This may prove to be history’s verdict on the storing of so many incriminating computer files by the DNC.

THE FIRST RULE OF CONSPIRACIES–AND COMPUTERS

In Bureaucracy, History, Military, Politics, Social commentary on July 26, 2016 at 12:15 am

On July 22, Wikileaks released 19,252 emails and 8,034 attachments hacked from computers of the highest-ranking officials of the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

The emails were exchanged from January 2015 through May 2016.

These clearly reveal a bias for Hillary Clinton and against her lone challenger, Vermont U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders.

One email revealed that Brad Marshall, the chief financial officer of the DNC, suggested that Sanders, who is Jewish, could be portrayed as an atheist. 

Sanders’ supporters have long charged that the DNC and its chair, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, were plotting to undercut his campaign. Now thousands of them are expected to descend on the Democratic convention as furious protesters.  

The leak could not have come at a worse time for Hillary Clinton, the former First Lady, U.S. Senator from New York and Secretary of State under President Barack Obama.

About to receive the Democratic nomination for President, she finds herself charged with undermining the electoral process. 

Wasserman-Schultz has proven the first casualty of the leak, resigning from her position as chair of the DNC and saying she would not open the Democratic convention as previously scheduled.

Related image

Debbie Wasserman-Schultz

As for Clinton: Her campaign manager, Bobby Mook, blamed the Russians for the leak. Their alleged motive: To help Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Cyber-security experts believe the hackers originated from Russia–and that Russian President Vladimir Putin may have authorized it.

His alleged motive: Trump has repeatedly attacked United States’ membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

He believes the United States is paying an unfairly large portion of the monies needed to maintain this alliance–and he wants other members to contribute far more. Otherwise, if he is elected President, they would be on their own if attacked by Russia.

Trump took to twitter to offer his take on the release: “How much BAD JUDGEMENT was on display by the people in DNC in writing those really dumb e-mails, using even religion, against Bernie!”  

Related image

Bernie Sanders

Which brings up the obvious question: Why was such sensitive information entrusted to computers that could be hacked? 

This is not the first time a major corporation or government agency has fallen prey to hackers.

Name-brand companies, trusted by millions, have been hit with massive data breaches that compromised their customers’ and/or employees’ most sensitive financial and personal information.

Among those companies and agencies:

  • Target
  • Kmart
  • Home Depot
  • JPMorgan/Chase
  • Staples
  • Dairy Queen
  • Anthem, Inc.
  • Sony Pictures
  • The U.S. State Department
  • The Pentagon
  • The Office of Personnel Management

Perhaps the most notorious target so far hacked is Ashley Madison, the website for cheating wives and husbands. Launched in 2001, its catchy slogan is: “Life is short. Have an affair.”  

Ashley Madison - Ashley Madison Agency

On July 15, 2015, its more than 37 million members learned that highly embarrassing secrets they had entrusted to Ashley Madison had been compromised.

This included their sexual fantasies, matching credit card transactions, real names and addresses, and employee documents and emails.

A website offering cheating services to those wealthy enough to afford high-priced fees is an obvious target for hackers. After all, its database is a blackmailer’s dream-come-true.  

And the same is true for computers of one of the two major political parties of the United States. 

Among the secrets unearthed in the WikiLeaks document-dump: Plans by Democratic party officials to reward large donors and prominent fundraisers with lucrative appointments to federal boards and commissions.

Most of the donors listed gave to Clinton’s campaign. None gave to Sanders.

According to Ken Boehm, chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center, a government watchdog group: 

“The disclosed DNC emails sure look like the potential Clinton Administration has intertwined the appointments to federal government boards and commissions with the political and fund raising operations of the Democratic Party. That is unethical, if not illegal.”  

Centuries before the invention of computers–and the machinery needed to hack into them–Niccolo Machiavelli offered cautionary advice to those thinking of entering into a conspiracy.  He did so in his masterwork on politics, The Discourses.  

Niccolo Machiavelli

Unlike his better-known work, The Prince, which deals with how to secure power, The Discourses lays out rules for preserving liberty within a republic.

In Book Three, Chapter Six (“Of Conspiracies”) he writes:

“I have heard many wise men say that you may talk freely with any one man about everything, for unless you have committed yourself in writing, the ‘Yes’ of one man is worth as much as the ‘No’ of another. 

“And therefore one should guard most carefully against writing, as against a dangerous rock, for nothing will convict you quicker than your own handwriting.”

In 1804, Napoleon Bonaparte, then First Consul of France, ordered the execution of the popular Louis Antoine de Bourbon, Duke of Enghien, claiming that he had aided Britain and plotted against France.

The aristocracy of Europe, still recalling the slaughters of the French Revolution, was shocked. 

Asked for his opinion on the execution, Napoleon’s chief of police, Joseph Fouche, said: “It was worse than a crime; it was a blunder.”  

This may prove to be history’s verdict on the storing of so many incriminating computer files by the DNC.

A REMEDY FOR BLACKMAIL

In Bureaucracy, History, Law, Law Enforcement, Military, Politics, Social commentary on April 18, 2016 at 12:06 am

On May 28, 2015, Hastert, the former Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives (1999-2007) was indicted for violating Federal banking laws and lying to the FBI.  

He had tried to conceal $3.5 million he had paid since 2010 to a man whom he had molested as a high school student. The student had been on the wrestling team that Hastert had coached.

The relationship had occurred while Hastert was a teacher and wrestling coach at Yorkville High School in Yorkville, Ill. 

Later, in 1981, Hastert entered Congress. 

On October 28, 2015, Hastert pleaded guilty to structuring money transactions in a way to avoid requirements to report where the money was going.  

Dennis Hastert

“I felt a special bond with our wrestlers,” Hastert wrote in his 2004 memoirs, Speaker: Lessons From Forty Years of Coaching and Politics. “And I think they felt one with me.”

Apparently that “special bond” extended to activities outside the ring.

In the pre-sentence  report, Justice Department prosecutors charged that Hastert had abused four young boys when he was their wrestling coach.  One was only 14 years old.  

Hastert had claimed that a coach should never strip away another person’s dignity.  

But, said federal prosecutors, “that is exactly what defendant did to his victims. He made them feel alone, ashamed, guilty, and devoid of dignity.”  

Hastert’s sentencing, delayed because of health problems, is now scheduled for April 27.

Thus, irony: By giving in to blackmail, Hastert:

  • Lost $3.5 million;
  • Unintentionally engineered his arrest and indictment; and
  • Ensured that his darkest secret would be revealed.

There is a lesson to be learned here–one that longtime FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover well understood: Giving in to blackmail only empowers the blackmailer even more.

As William C. Sullivan, the onetime director of the FBI’s Domestic Intelligence Divison, revealed after Hoover’s death in 1972:

“The moment [Hoover] would get something on a senator, he’d send one of the errand boys up and advise the senator that ‘we’re in the course of an investigation, and we by chance happened to come up with this data on your daughter.

“‘But we wanted you to know this. We realize you’d want to know it.’ Well, Jesus, what does that tell the senator? From that time on, the senator’s right in his pocket.”

“Boy, the dirt he [Hoover] has on those Senators!” John F. Kennedy–a former Senator now President–gushed to his journalist-friend, Benjamin C. Bradlee.

Kennedy soon came to know that even Presidents could be targeted for blackmail.

In May, 1962, Hoover privately informed Kennedy that the FBI had learned that Judith Campbell, the mistress of Chicago Mafia boss Sam Giancana, had another bedmate: JFK himself.

John F. Kennedy, J. Edgar Hoover and Robert F. Kennedy

Hoover had feared being retired by the President’s brother, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. It had been RFK who had ordered Hoover to attack the Mafia as he had long attacked the Communist Party USA.

Now, as a result of that anti-Mob effort, the FBI had picked up evidence linking the President with the mistress of a top Mafia boss.

Hoover’s tenure as FBI director was thus assured–until his death on May 2, 1972, of a heart attack.

Narcotics agents have their own methods of blackmail in dealing with informants.

When a drug-abuser and/or dealer is coerced into becoming a “snitch,” the narcotics agent orders him to call another user/dealer he knows.

The agent then tapes the call–and makes sure his new informant knows it.  From that moment, the “snitch” knows there’s no way out except cooperating with his new master.

The only effective way of handling blackmail was demonstrated by Arthur Wellesley, known to history as the Duke of Wellington.

The Duke of Wellington

In 1815, he had defeated Napoleon at the battle of Waterloo, ending France’s longstanding threat to England.  With that victory came the honors of a grateful nation.

Then, in December, 1824, Wellington found himself the target of blackmail by Joseph Stockdale, a pornographer and scandal-monger.

“My Lord Duke,” Stockdale write in a letter, “In Harriette Wilson’s memoirs, which I am about to publish, are various anecdotes of Your Grace which it would be most desirable to withhold….

“I have stopped the Press for the moment, but as the publication will take place next week, little delay can necessarily take place.”

Wilson was a famous London courtesan past her prime, then living in exile in Paris.  She was asking Wellington to pay money to be left out of her memoirs.

From Wellington came the now-famous reply: “Publish and be damned!”

Wilson’s memoirs appeared in installments, naming half the British aristocracy and scandalizing London society.

And, true to her threat, she named Wellington as one of her lovers–and a not very satisfying one at that.

Wellington was a national hero, husband and father. Even so, his reputation did not suffer, and he went on to become prime minister.

Click here: Rear Window: When Wellington said publish and be damned: The Field Marshal and the Scarlet Woman – Voices

Dennis Hastert, former Speaker of the House, might now wish he had followed the example of the Duke of Wellington.

His reputation might have been trashed, but he wouldn’t now be facing prosecution.

A NEW WAY TO VASTLY REDUCE CRIME

In Bureaucracy, History, Law, Law Enforcement, Politics, Social commentary on October 14, 2015 at 2:03 am

For decades, the rhetoric of the Cold War has carried over into the debate over policing.

“Hawks” on the Right have demanded a “hard” approach to law enforcement, emphasizing punishment.  “Doves” on the Left have pursued a “soft” line, stressing social programs and rehabilitation.

But it isn’t enough to be “hard” or “soft” in pursuing the goal of a safe, law-abiding society.  It’s necessary to be “smart” above all.

If you can’t eradicate evil, then you should try to direct at least some of its elements into a safer path.  This especially true for those effrots directed against violent criminal gangs.

According to the FBI:

  • Some 33,000 violent street gangs, motorcycle gangs, and prison gangs with about 1.4 million members are criminally active in the U.S. today.
  • Gangs are responsible for an average of 48 percent of violent crime in most jurisdictions and up to 90%  in several others.
  • Many are sophisticated and well organized; all use violence to control neighborhoods and boost their illegal money-making activities, which include robbery, drug- and gun-trafficking, fraud, extortion, and prostitution rings.
  • Their revenues climb into untold billions of dollars each year–all of it tax-free.

Click here: FBI — Gangs

These gangs aren’t going to disappear, no matter how many of their members die or wind up in prison.

The time has come to apply the time-tested principle so well known south of the border: “Pan o palo.”  Or: “Bread or stick.”

In short: Rewards or punishments.

As in a legalized competition for the title of “State Gang Champion.”  This would work as follows:

  • Each state should invite its resident gang members to take part in a series of competition for the title of “State Gang Champion.”
  • These would be modeled on competitions now existing within the National Football League–a series of playoffs to determine which two gangs will duke it out in the “Super Rumble.”
  • These competitions would be completely voluntary, thus eliminating any charges of State coersion.
  • They would be modeled on the country’s current mania for “Ultimate Warrior” contests for kickboxers and bare-kunckled fighters.
  • Contestants–as many as a score or more from at least two opposing gangs–would meet in a football-sized arena.
  • No firearms would be allowed.
  • Contestants could otherwise arm themselves with whatever weapons they desired–such as baseball bats, swords, axes, spears or chains.
  • Everyone who agreed to participate would automatically be granted immunity for whatever carnage they inflicted.
  • The object of these contests would be to officially determine which State gang was the “baddest” for the year.
  • Tickets could be purchased by fans looking for an afternoon’s festival of gore.
  • Television networks could–and no doubt would–vie for rights to film the events, just as they now do for “pay-for-view” wrestling or boxing matches.

Related image

A modern-day Coliseum

There are several reasons why many–if not most–gangs would want to participate in such contests.

  1. They would be able to eliminate members of rival gangs without risk of prosecution and imprisonment.
  2. They would be able to gauge–through the heat of combat–the toughness of their own associates.
  3. They would gain at least temporary stardom–just as successful gladiators did under the Roman Empire.
  4. The winning gang would gain official status as “The Baddest” gang in the State.

On the last point: Napoleon Bonaparte created the Order of the Legion of Honor, distributed 15,000 crosses to his soldiers and called his troops the “Grand Army.”

When someone criticized him for giving “toys” to his war-hardened veterans, Napoleon replied: “Men are ruled by toys.”

And for the State there would be gains as well:

  1. These contests would literally eliminate a great many gang members who cannot be removed any other way.
  2. Police and prosecutors could concentrate their limited resources on gangs that refused to participate or were deemed to pose a major threat.
  3. Millions of dollars in State revenues would be generated through ticket sales and the buying of pay-per-view rights.

Admittedly, many law-abiding citizens would be repulsed by the carnage that would result from implemting this proposal. But these are generally the people who disdain boxing or wrestling contests anyway.

But given our increasingly jaded and violence-prone society, most of them would eventually tolerate it as an effective way to simultaneously raise badly-needed tax revenues and reduce the size of criminal gangs.

Republican politicians would find this an especially attractive proposal, since it adheres to the two concepts dear to the hearts of all Right-wingers: Killing people and making money.

In short: With sufficient creativity and ruthlessness, it should be possible to reclaim control of our streets from the evils of gang violence.

A NEW APPROACH TO GANGBUSTING: PART TWO (END)

In Bureaucracy, Law, Law Enforcement, Politics, Social commentary on April 4, 2013 at 12:01 am

There is a phrase that’s well-known south of the border: “Pan, o palo.”  Or, in English: “Bread or  stick.”

And this, in turn, comes down to: Behave well and you’ll get this nice reward.  Behave badly and you’ll get your head beaten in.

In my last column I discussed the need for brandishing the stick when dealing with powerful street gangs such as the Aryan Brotherhood.

It’s the Brotherhood that’s suspected of being responsible for murdering two Texas prosecutors since February.

In this column I want to discuss creatively using the carrot to at least partially control gang violence.

It’s essential to remember the following:

  • Some 33,000 violent street gangs, motorcycle gangs, and prison gangs with about 1.4 million members are criminally active in the U.S. today.
  • Gangs are responsible for an average of 48 percent of violent crime in most jurisdictions and up to 90%  in several others.
  • Many are sophisticated and well organized; all use violence to control neighborhoods and boost their illegal money-making activities, which include robbery, drug- and gun-trafficking, fraud, extortion, and prostitution rings.

These gangs aren’t going to disappear, no matter how many of their members die or wind up in prison.

For decades, the rhetoric of the Cold War has carried over into the debate over policing.

“Hawks” on the Right have demanded a “hard” approach to law enforcement, emphasizing punishment.  “Doves” on the Left have pursued a “soft” line, stressing social programs and rehabilitation.

But it isn’t enough to be “hard” or “soft” in pursuing the goal of a safe, law-abiding society.  It’s necessary to be “smart” above all.

If you can’t eradicate evil, then you should try to direct at least some of its elements into a safer path.  Thus:

  • Each state should invite its resident gang members to take part in a series of competition for the title of “State Gang Champion.”
  • These would be modeled on competitions now existing within the National Football League–a series of playoffs to determine which two gangs will duke it out in the “Super Rumble.”

vs.

  • These competitions would be completely voluntary, thus eliminating any charges of State coersion.
  • They would be modeled on the country’s current mania for “Ultimate Warrior” contests for kickboxers and bare-kunckled fighters.
  • Contestants–as many as a score or more from at least two opposing gangs–would meet in a football-sized arena.

A modern-day Coliseum

  • No firearms would be allowed.
  • Contestants could otherwise arm themselves with whatever weapons they desired–such as baseball bats, swords, axes, spears or chains.
  • Everyone who agreed to participate would automatically be granted immunity for whatever carnage they inflicted.
  • The object of these contests would be to officially determine which State gang was the “baddest” for the year.
  • Tickets could be purchased by fans looking for an afternoon’s festival of gore.
  • Television networks could–and no doubt would–vie for rights to film the events, just as they now do for “pay-for-view” wrestling or boxing matches.

But would hard-core gangs even consider participating in such a series of contests?

Yes–most gangs would want to do so.  Here’s why:

  1. They would be able to eliminate members of rival gangs without risk of prosecution and imprisonment.
  2. They would be able to gauge–through the heat of combat–the toughness of their own associates.
  3. They would gain at least temporary stardom–just as successful gladiators did under the Roman Empire.
  4. The winning gang would gain official status as “The Baddest” gang in the State.

On the last point: Napoleon Bonaparte created the Order of the Legion of Honor, distributed 15,000 crosses to his soldiers and called his troops the “Grand Army.”  When someone criticized him for giving “toys” to his war-hardened veterans, Napoleon replied: “Men are ruled by toys.”

And for the State there would be gains as well:

  1. These contests would literally eliminate a great many gang members who cannot be removed any other way.
  2. Police and prosecutors could concentrate their limited resources on gangs that refused to participate or were deemed to pose a threat.
  3. Millions of dollars in State revenues would be generated through ticket sales and the buying of pay-per-view rights.

Admittedly, many law-abiding citizens would be repulsed by the carnage that would result from implemting this proposal.   But these are generally the people who disdain boxing or wrestling contests anyway.

But given our increasingly jaded and violence-prone society, most of them would eventually tolerate it as an effective way to simultaneously raise badly-needed tax revenues and reduce the size of criminal gangs.

Republican politicians would find this an especially attractive proposal, since it adheres to the two concepts dear to the hearts of all Right-wingers: Killing people and making money.

In short: With sufficient creativity and ruthlessness, it should be possible to reclaim control of our streets from the evils of gang violence.

A NEW APPROACH TO GANGBUSTING: PART ONE (OF TWO)

In Bureaucracy, Law, Law Enforcement, Politics, Social commentary on April 3, 2013 at 12:00 am

A Federal prosecutor has withdrawn from a large racketeering case involving members of the Aryan Brotherhood, citing “security concerns.”

The Dallas Morning News reported that Houston-based assistant U.S. attorney Jay Hileman announced his withdrawal in an email.

The news comes days after Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, were shot and killed during Easter weekend in their home near Dallas.

Mike McLelland

In February, Mark Hasse, an assistant prosecutor in McLelland’s office, was gunned down in a parking lot about a block from his office at the Kaufman County Courthouse.  Hasse was a veteran prosecutor of organized crime cases.

Although no suspects have been positively identified, state and Federal investigators believe that the Aryan Brotherhood might be responsible for these attacks on prosecutors.

Such attacks–and the withdrawal of a federal prosecutor for fear of becoming a target–are unprecedented.  And clearly law enforcement needs to take a new and creative approach to attacking street gangs.

According to the FBI:

  • Some 33,000 violent street gangs, motorcycle gangs, and prison gangs with about 1.4 million members are criminally active in the U.S. today.
  • Many are sophisticated and well organized; all use violence to control neighborhoods and boost their illegal money-making activities, which include robbery, drug- and gun-trafficking, fraud, extortion, and prostitution rings.
  • The FBI is redoubling its efforts to dismantle gangs through intelligence-driven investigations and new initiatives and partnerships.

Obtaining timely and accurate intelligence about gang activities is, of course, an absolute necessity.  But there are two approaches the FBI and other law enforcement agencies should be applying.

These amount to using both the stick and the carrot.

First, the stick: An all-out declaration of war on any criminal foolhardy enough to directly attack law enforcement authorities.

Consider these past two examples:

In April, 1963, FBI agent John Foley was conducting surveillance at the Brooklyn funeral of Carmine “The Doctor” Lombardozzi, a capo in the Gambino Mafia Family.

Suddenly, four mobsters knocked Foley to the ground, then severely beat and kicked him.

For the FBI, this was unprecedented: It had long been known that organized crime was too smart to attack or kill law enforcement officers–especially Federal ones.  The resulting heat would simply be too great.

The FBI retaliated by launching an all-out war against the Gambinos.  Agents leaned heavily on the cartel’s boss, underboss, counselor and lieutenants.

The Bureau also intensified its use of illegal electronic surveillance against the mobsters.   Even law-abiding relatives of the Gambinos—one of these a nun, the other a priest—found themselves interrogated.

Angelo Bruno, the boss of the Philadelphia crime syndicate, unwittingly informed a hidden microphone on how the FBI brutally drove home the message to “boss of all bosses” Carlo Gambino:

BRUNO: They [the FBI] went to Carlo and named all his capos to him….The FBI asked him: “Did you change the laws in your family, that you could hit FBI men, punch and kick them? 

“Well, this is the test—that if you change the laws, and now you are going to hit FBI men, every time we pick up one of your people we are going to break their heads for them.”  

And, really, they picked up our guy, they almost killed him, the FBI.  They don’t do that, you know.  But they picked up one of his fellows and crippled him. 

They said, “This is an example.  Now, the next time anyone lays a hand on an FBI man, that’s just a warning.  There’s nothing else we have got to tell you.”  And they went away.  

Word traveled quickly through the nationwide organized crime network—and its leaders decreed there should be no further assaults on FBI agents.

Still, some mobsters apparently didn’t get the word.

During the 1960s or early 1970s, FBI agents monitoring a wiretap on a mob family in Youngstown, Ohio, heard something truly disturbing.

Several Mafia members were discussing putting out a contract on a local FBI agent they especially disliked.

“How many hit men do we have?” asked one.

“Three,” said another.

They made arrangements to meet and discuss the matter again the next day.

The FBI agents monitoring the wiretap immediately flashed an urgent warning to the Bureau’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.

No less an authority than J. Edgar Hoover, the legendary director of the FBI since 1924, ordered that a “message’ be sent to the mobsters.

That night, about 20 large, heavily-armed FBI agents barged into the penthouse of the local Mafia boss.  Some agents tipped over vases, others dropped lit matches on the luxurious carpeting, and one of them even urinated in a potted plant.

“You may have three hitmen,” one of them told the mob boss, “but Mr. Hoover has thousands.”

The FBI agent thought to be the target for a rubout was never bothered.

In my next column I will discuss the option of the carrot.

%d bloggers like this: