New York FBI: In Bed With Mob & CIA
Report by Sander Hicks
by The New York Megaphone, debut issue, June/July 2006
On June 16th, 2006, citizen
researcher Angela Clemente was found knocked out and strangled to within an
inch of her life in Brooklyn. Her independent research had led to the March
30th indictment of Lindley DeVecchio, a Mob/FBI scandal that is the New York
FBI’s biggest ever. DeVecchio, a retired FBI agent, was accused of four
murders, rubbing out the opponents of Mafia don Greg Scarpa, Sr. To date,
The New York Post has done a commendable
job on the story, while The New York Times has all but ignored it.
Perhaps because there’s more to
this scandal than one man gone bad. This story has connections to the defining
events of our times: the 9/11 attacks, and their often-ignored predecessor, the
’93 World Trade Center bombing. It turns out DeVecchio is a part of a network
that goes all the way back to Iran/Contra.
When a decorated FBI agent,
Richard Taus, working under DeVecchio, started to expose this network, Taus
ended up in jail. He’s been there since 1991.
“It’s been a 16 year nightmare,”
Taus’s son David told The Megaphone in
the harsh noonday sun outside the New York State Appellate courthouse. The date
was May 9, 2005. The family had spent $300,000 on lawyers, trying to get dad
out of jail. They just had their first appeal in a long while. But the judges
themselves had made hostile statements.
Richard Taus was a top
investigator in the New York FBI’s Counter-intelligence Division. In 1991, he
was sentenced to a record-breaking 32 to 90 years for questionable charges of
pedophilia. Supporters claim he was railroaded for doggedly investigating a
CIA-linked operation involved in narcotics, Iran/Contra, and the Mafia. Angela
Clemente visited Taus in prison, as part of her DeVecchio research.
The retired, Mafia-linked,
ex-CIA asset George Hebert admits to The Megaphone that there is more to the Richard Taus story than
meets the eye: “[Taus] was playing around and wasn’t listening to the right
people. They had their own agenda. Once Taus got locked up, I stayed away. You
have to understand, these people play for keeps.”
For 20 years, the Richard Taus
story has remained underground, too weird for New York newspapers.
DeVecchio: Worked for the Mob
and the CIA
Lin DeVecchio allegedly helped
have 18-year old Patrick Porco shot, when Porco witnessed a murder by Scarpa’s
stepson. When girlfriend-to-the-mob, Mary Bari, turned FBI informant, it was
DeVecchio who helped have her slain in a bar. The list goes on. It’s the mob
connection that has captivated the media’s attention, at least thus far.
But there’s more to the story.
According to The New York Post, DeVecchio was also the guy the CIA called in
1983 when they needed someone to go undercover to wiretap a rogue CIA asset
making death threats in prison. The year 1983 is significant: at that time DeVecchio
was Richard Taus’ supervisor at the FBI. DeVecchio interfered with Taus’
investigation of CIA/mob/narcotics and weapons trading on Long Island. But Taus
kept digging, and in exchange, had his life ruined.
Ten years later, Brooklyn
District Attorney Charles Hynes indicted DeVecchio, tipped off by Angela
Clemente, and journalist/author Peter Lance.
DeVecchio is cited 12 times in
Richard Taus’ recent jailhouse memoir, FBI, CIA, the Mob and Treachery. A
helicopter pilot in Vietnam, Taus was shot down nine times. Surviving the
crashes implanted a sense of mission, and thanks to a special dispensation from
President Johnson, Taus adopted a Vietnamese orphan, whom he named David.
Taus was recruited into the FBI,
and by 1979, had made the Foreign Counter-Intelligence division. In the early
’80s, Taus worked alongside future FBI Director Louis Freeh on one of the
biggest busts of drug money laundering ever—the ironically named “Pizza
Connection” case. The case broke open and temporarily shut down sections of the
Sicilian heroin trade, which were laundering profits through pizzerias in New
York City and the Midwest. The Mafia in this case had connections to the
Italian government, and according to some, the CIA.
Dossier on “The K-Team”:
Clowns with Connections to Protect Them from the Law
According to an unpublished
paper by U.K. Iran/Contra scholar John Simkin, “A significant degree of
policy-forming leadership” during the Iran/Contra scandal was ‘privatized,’
passing to an assortment of fringe forces represented by such notables as
Singlaub, Secord, and Clines, who...provided the basic framework within which
Reagan, McFarlane, and Casey acted, with North and Poindexter featured as
But who were the “handmaidens”
of North and Poindexter? That would be people like the “K-Team,” a Freeport,
Long Island group of intelligence sub-contractors, wanna-be spies in trench
coats and dark glasses, getting in over their heads in dangerous waters. The
“K-Team” were true believers in Ronald Reagan’s vision of democracy versus an
“evil empire” but their methods were unorthodox. They gathered intelligence on
Central America and the Caribbean by hanging out in Brooklyn bars. They were
handed major responsibilities for Reagan’s 1983 invasion of Grenada. In fact,
they found someone to install as the new president, post-invasion, but their
candidate chickened out.
A veteran member of the the
Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the precursor to the CIA, Priscu was
president of Castle Securities, a stock brokerage in a bad neighborhood. Taus
suspected it of being a CIA front. Taus found Priscu through his work on the
Pizza Connection case, specifically, Taus’ stakeout of a Mafia-linked cheese
company that was dealing narcotics.
Kattke was a textbook “Soldier
of Fortune” ripped from the pages of the magazine. When his handlers at CIA
wanted his K-Team to kill some Grenadian drug dealers in the Bronx and steal
their money, Kattke agreed it was a great way for the Team to raise some funds.
Richard Taus knew Kattke from their Army Reserve unit, where Kattke was in U.S.
Army Intelligence. Kattke’s day job “cover” was a maintenance man at Macy’s.
Today, nobody knows where Kattke is or if he’s still alive.
[Correction: His son told this reporter that he's still alive, but promises to deliver an interview have yet to pan out...]
Hebert went to college with
Richard Taus at Pennsylvania Military College (today, Widener University).
Hebert describes himself as “very close to Reagan” after the Grenada invasion.
In 1985, Hebert pressured Taus to stop investigating them. Hebert today tells The
Megaphone: “Exactly what [Taus’s] game was
only God knows. I think he was convicted for being a child molester, but I’m
not even 100 percent sure of that. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about this
whole game, that the truth most times never reaches the surface.” Hebert
describes a time in which he was “hung out to dry” by CIA, “set up on gun
charges,” around the time of Clinton’s invasion of Haiti, in 1994. That was the
end of his dalliance in “black ops.”
Taus’s investigation climaxed
the fourth time he flew to Fort Lauderdale in April, 1985. Taus there
identified Oliver North standing alongside Contra leader Adolf Calero,
accepting delivery of some mysterious air cargo. A Lockheed plane had just
touched down from Honduras, and was sitting pretty under armed U.S. military
guard. Taus flashed a badge, poked around on the tarmac, and asked questions.
Back in New York, he was reamed out for being there. Suddenly, the U.S.
Attorney’s office denied his wiretap requests on the K-Team.
Earlier, the FBI had helped Taus
develop a “cover” as a soccer coach and founder of the Freeport Sports League,
in order to get close to the K-Team. As a soccer coach, Taus was looked up to.
Kids from broken homes saw him as a surrogate father. But Taus’s days as a
soccer coach, a dad, and a free man were numbered.
When Taus arrived at FBI
headquarters, on the Nov. 4, 1988, he was detained and questioned until 2:30
a.m. His FBI superiors, including Special Agent Carson Dunbar, and Lin
DeVecchio, put him under interrogation. The FBI later claimed that a feverish
Taus confessed to a sexual relationship with four boys in his Freeport Sports
League. Taus’ attorney, Anthony Lombardino, would later attempt
(unsuccessfully) to strike that confession from evidence. Taus was not advised
of his legal rights, and did not have counsel present. Taus claims the
confession is a fabrication.
Simultaneous with the
interrogation, a separate FBI team illegally searched Taus’ home in Freeport.
The FBI claims it found nude photos of a young, male family friend. Taus claims
the photos were planted. The FBI interviewed the boy’s mom, Lucy Moore, who
stated she didn’t believe anything improper was going on. Prosecutor Kenneth
Littman withheld her interview from the defense.
The prosecution accused Taus of
27 counts of first, second, and third-degree sodomy, sexual abuse, and
promoting the sexual performance of a child. Originally, these counts came from
10 different youngsters, but the contradictory testimony of five of the boys
had to be thrown out. Two of the kids never appeared at trial, but testified
through recorded statements. In similar child abuse cases afterwards, The Wall
Street Journal reported that any kind of witness testimony from child victims
was not reliable. No psychologists or pediatricians corroborated the alleged
abuse. No medical evidence was submitted. No parents testified.
Taus’ lawyers could not view
their client’s FBI “time and attendance” records, which may have further
contradicted the allegations. The FBI and the prosecution communicated
throughout the trial, but the defense was prevented from discovering what was
said. The transcripts show a belligerent Judge Baker, occasionally yelling
things at the defense counsel, “You owe me money!” Baker was forced to retire shortly
after the trial. The Taus family believes Judge Baker was suffering from
Taus always claimed he was
innocent. But his bargain-basement attorneys were unwilling to argue that the
accusations were prompted by Taus’ investigation into global politics. Instead,
the defense decided to argue that Taus was suffering from post-traumatic stress
disorder (PTSD) from Vietnam. Taus was sentenced to maximum security prison,
with the longest sentence ever for sexual abuse in Nassau County: 32 to 90 years.
Taus filed a federal habeas
corpus brief in August 2002, requesting a declaration of mistrial for withheld
evidence, juror misconduct, and judicial bias. According to sources on the
jury, juror Nancy Dillon told the jury she should be disqualified, since DA
Dennis Dillon was a close, blood relation. Carol Lewis also claimed the jury
“read newspaper accounts of the trial daily,” which may have biased jurors.
Local newspapers at the time of Taus’ trial were in a frenzy of accusation,
since child sexual abuse was a hot, nationwide scandal in the early ’90s.
At Taus’ 2005 appeal, Judge John
M. Walker (a cousin of President George Walker Bush) stated matter-of-factly
that juror misconduct “would not have changed the outcome in this case” in
light of the “overwhelming evidence” of Taus’ guilt. Taus attorney Marjorie
Smith was badly prepared and rude to reporters. After a swift hearing, Taus’s
appeal was denied.
Taus’ story is a lesson in how
one good book can alter the course of history. Peter Lance is a journalist and
author of a major study on the NY FBI: Cover Up: What the Government is Still
Hiding About the War on Terror (Regan Books, 2003). Lance won five Emmy awards
while at ABC News. His new revelations lend an eerie credibility to what Taus
charges: deep corruption in the NY FBI. In Lance’s book, either arrogance or
deliberate malfeasance from the NY FBI was at fault in the 1993 World Trade
Center bombing. And that 1993 bombing led directly to 9/11.
The radical Islamists of the
Jersey City Mosque, run by “Blind Sheikh” Omar Abdul-Rahman, pulled off the
1993 WTC bombing. But the Jersey City mosque was well penetrated by informants
and double agents, namely Emad Salem and Ali Mohammed. According to audio
tapes, FBI informant Salem tried to stop the bombing in 1993 before if
happened. Another of Richard Taus’ former bosses, Carson Dunbar, suppressed
agents who were trying to use Emad Salem’s warnings.
Dunbar was transferred out of
FBI and made a superintendent in the New Jersey State Police, in 1999. But back
in 1988, Dunbar was the FBI agent who took Taus’s“confession” and testified
against him at the pre-trial hearing.
In 1998, the CIA admitted it was
“partly culpable” for the 1993 WTC bombing. This admission surfaced in a UK
newspaper but has never before appeared in a U.S. paper.
[Our source: The Independent,
12/1/1998 “Terror Blowback Burns CIA,” by Andrew Marshall]. The spiritual
leader of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, “Blind Sheikh” Abdul-Rahman, was
given a tourist visa to enter the U.S. in 1990, despite being on the U.S.’s
terrorist watch list, for three years prior.
Taus is not the first to have
allegations land on him in the middle of a sensitive investigation into
national intelligence activities. Captain Brad Ayers and UN Arms Inspector/DIA
agent Scott Ritter have also experienced similar character assassination for
Today, Richard Taus works inside
the prison for $7.25 a week, doing inmate counseling. At Lindley DeVecchio’s
arraignment, on March 30, 2006, a desperate gaggle of retired and current FBI
agents packed a Brooklyn courtroom. About 47 agents exhibited a rambunctious
display of solidarity with the accused. Five FBI agents put up DeVecchio’s
Perhaps they had good reason. In
FBI, CIA, the Mob and Treachery, Taus’s co-author Rodney Stich writes that he
“received letters from Gregory Scarpa, Jr., in early 2005, where he gave me
details about how FBI agents, including DeVecchio, gave his father the names of
government informants, and that his father would then murder the people.”
Notice the plural in Scarpa’s use of the term “FBI agents.” According to inside
sources, like Taus, Stich, and Scarpa, Jr., the DeVecchio case is just the tip
of the iceberg: FBI corruption in the New York office is rampant. A growing
number of researchers and citizens groups are recommending an outside body,
vested with subpoena power (perhaps by the Brooklyn District Attorney’s
office), be formed to look at NY FBI’s role in 9/11, the 1993 WTC bombing, and
the Richard Taus case. Many call for a new trial for Taus.
During the arraignment, the FBI
was vocal in its derision of the prosecution. As DeVecchio left the courtroom,
a phalanx of stone-faced FBI agents marched alongside him. DeVecchio would not
answer questions from reporters, including questions from The Megaphone about Richard Taus, or the CIA. The reporter on hand
from The New York Times found those questions laughable. But which paper has
handed in deep coverage of this scandal?
FBI personnel shoved aside
author Peter Lance, and punched photographer Robert Stolarik. The FBI’s Chris
Mattiace later bragged on lindevecchio.com, “a few reporters received a few
body checks out on the sidewalk.” The statement was later removed.
It was not the FBI’s finest
hour. NYC’s top cops looked like a criminal organization out of control.
But now that DeVecchio is in
custody, can a new trial for Taus be far off?
—Sander Hicks is publisher of Vox
Pop, and author of The Big Wedding: 9/11, the Whistle-Blowers and the