above: Richard Taus graduating from military school

Lin DeVecchio

Richard Taus getting some "r&r" in Vietnam.

Greg Scarpa, Sr.

Taus got a special permission from LBJ to adopt David, his son, above, an orphan in Vietnam.

 

New York FBI: In Bed With Mob & CIA

Exclusive Report by Sander Hicks

Published 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.

Why?

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.

Until now.  

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 trustworthy “handmaidens.”

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.

Dan Priscu

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.

Kevin Kattke

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...]

George Hebert

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.”

Oliver North

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.

The Trial

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 alcoholism.

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.  

The Appeal

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.  

The Hope

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 turning whistle-blower.

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 bail.

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 Cover-Up.