October 25, 2007

Rudy Targeted By The Mob

Rudy Giuliani wins admiration from people because of his leadership in the 9/11 attacks, but that pales in comparison to his showdown with the Mafia. As a US Attorney, Giuliani led the federal effort that broke the back of the Mob in New York City, a dangerous undertaking at the time. Newsday reports just how dangerous it got:

The bosses of New York's five Cosa Nostra families discussed killing then-federal prosecutor Rudy Giuliani in 1986, an informant told the FBI, according to testimony Wednesday in Brooklyn state court.

But while the late Gambino crime boss John Gotti pushed the idea, he only had the support of Carmine Persico, the leader of the Colombo crime family, according to the testimony.

"The Bosses of the Luchese, Bonanno and Genovese families rejected the idea, despite strong efforts to convince them otherwise by Gotti and Persico," said an FBI report of the information given by informant Gregory Scarpa Sr.

Information about the purported murder plot was given to the FBI in 1987 by Scarpa, a Colombo captain, according to the testimony of FBI agent William Bolinder in State Supreme Court in Brooklyn.

The contract would have coincided with Rudy's breakthrough prosecution of the Mafia. The Commission Case targeted high-level Mafiosi for the first time, breaking the executive structure of the Mob and decapitating it. Three of the five heads of the ruling families went to prison for life, including Persico, whose enthusiasm for the hit is understandable in context. Paul Castellano didn't make it to trial; Gotti hit him before he could be convicted.

This underscores the personal danger that Rudy and his entire team risked during these prosecutions. The Mafia plays for keeps, or at least they did then. They would never have discussed a hit on a law-enforcement officer unless he posed an existential threat against their organization, which also underscores how effective Giuliani was in prosecuting organized crime syndicates.

That doesn't make him the most qualified candidate for the Presidency, but it counts for some consideration, especially in his capacity to fight for American security. I profess to some curiosity, however, about how this information suddenly came to light after 20 years of confidentiality.


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