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PBS, "Inside the FBI" documentary series, outlines

By Dr. Jeremy Lewis.  Revised 13 Oct. 2011

Fighting the Family | The Price of Progress | Fedoras to Flak Jackets | Surveillance 

Fighting The Family

NYC Mafia.
1976 Undercover investigation became long term.

  • Italian agent became full member of Bonnano family, as "Donnie Brasco," almost a "made man".
  • Authorized to commit crimes -- but not violence. Being "made" required killing a mobster.
  • Had to pull out after 6 yrs.
  • Hoover's failure to investigate organized crime despite 1934 RICO statute, until his death, 1972.
    Gambling, homosexuality? Avoidance of corruption?
    Appalachia, NY late 1960s break:
    • troopers stumbled on national mafia convention in small town motel;
    • proved national conspiracy.
    • Hoover was criticized for denying existence of national mafia.
    FBI's Anti-mafia intervention:
    • Obliged to send SAC Roemer to bug Giancana's HQ, Chicago mob.
    • Mobsters sang in return for lesser sentences.
    • 1960s major jailbird testified before Senate: Joseph Valachi identified members throughout US.
    RICO statute required totally new mode of investigation: pattern of crimes, not just individual crimes. 

    Fulton Fish market, NYC example, 1984-: 

    • Union seamen fish workers in mafia. 
    • FBI managed to get order against certain individuals entering the market.  Added inspectors to enforce the court order. 
    • LCN = La Cosa Nostra
  • LCN organization chart shows which capi & soldiers have been convicted, hampering family as a unit.  Neil Welch (NY office) emphasizes need to continue.
  • Some adaptation by LCN, so FBI must keep up pressure.

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    The Price of Progress

    FBI using computers increasingly instead of staff time.

    • fingerprints, files, info system to solve murders (e.g. recreate crime with computer simulation of bullet angle striking body, show inconsistencies with story of accidental shooting by gun collector).
    NCIC data bank of crime stats, stolen property.
    • Introduced by Hoover 1967 but depends on accurate input. Example of inaccuracy: Terry Dean Rogan's wallet stolen by criminal, still having trouble with false entries referring to him. Sued police because FBI puts onus on user of false info, not guaranteeing own accuracy.
    Privacy, integrity of data?
    • FBI says very difficult to hack, no evidence of hacking to date.
    • But Schweitzer says easy to get crim history by faxing friends inside; he revealed sources and methods of getting FBI info in plea bargain with FBI.
    White Collar Crime.
    • Bank fraud, embezzlement: $200 Bn cost to economy /yr. Recovered $3 Bn worth of property last year. Steal 10x more than street criminals. 
    • 1/3 of FBI staff time. 
    • Having to use sting & undercover work because white collar criminals clever. Cannot entrap, only act in concert with criminals. 
    • Ct ruled against FBI for posing as hit man and setting up young man (Micheal) to buy service. 
    • Waco siege killed 75 but FBI cleared of blame and special agents received award. Inward looking clique.
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    Fedoras to Flak Jackets
     nots by Nick Lancaster (Fall 2011)

    The modern FBI came from Hoover's vision. The FBI was the catalyst for a new breed of law enforcement

    • The FBIs jobs is to only chase the most dangerous and wanted criminals
    • Violent  crime grew in the late 80s and is now the number one crime
    • The FBI really grew and broke out during the 20s due to criminals and bank robbers such a Baby Face Nelson and John Dillinger
    • Hoover had great pull in the federal government and if you were to cross Hoover you would no longer be able to find a job with the federal government (ex. Agent Shaw) . In his late years Hoover became very authoritarian and prevented change in during his administration of the FBI
    • [first 15 minutes]
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    notes needed

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