Good afternoon. I am Frank Gannon and on behalf of the Richard Nixon Foundation I would like to welcome you to the 12th in our series of Nixon legacy forums. In these forums, alumni of the Nixon administration and others who were involved in the events and issues of those years from 1969 to 1974 share their experiences and observations. What it was really like to be there as participants day by day actually developing and shaping the programs and policies that are now studied by new generations as the stuff of history. We believe that as students and scholars begin to explore and examine the vast amount of archival materials, papers, and tapes and artifacts that are now available at the Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda, California, the Nixon administration will increasingly be seen, and particularly in its first term and particularly on the domestic side, as one of the most interesting, inventive, creative and yes, even enlightened of modern times. President Nixon’s foreign policy acumen has been widely recognized and some of the administration’s major domestic initiatives in the environment and welfare reform and healthcare reform. The de segregation of southern schools are increasingly acknowledged. But as today’s forum on the administration’s bold and effective approach to the problems of organized crime indicates, there were many other perhaps less visible but no less important programs and policies and initiatives being planned by able and motivated men and women, many of them very young men and women, in the White House and throughout the departments. Our next legacy forum will be on August 8th at the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda and I invite you to join us there. The subject will be the new federalism, President Nixon’s plan to share or return the power and resources of the federal government to the states. Past forum topics have included the environment, the creation of the Domestic Council and the OMB. Nixon’s Hispanic initiatives, the scheduling and use the president’s time, the effective scheduling and use of the president’s time and Watergate. Future forum topics will include the all-volunteer army, executive reorganization, women in the Nixon administration, Nixonomics or Nixon in the courts. All of our Nixon legacy forums are filmed and can be viewed at the foundation’s website Nixonfoundation.org Today we’re joined by C-Span, by the the C-Span cameras and we warmly welcome all the C-Span viewers. The Nixon Legacy forums are jointly sponsored by the Nixon Foundation and the National archives and it is my privilege to introduce the archivist of the United States, David Ferriero. Mr Ferriero served in top positions at the MIT and Duke University Libraries before being named the Director of the New York Public Libraries in 2004. In July 2009, President Obama nominated him to be the tenth archivist of the United States and he was sworn in the following November. Among his many responsibilities are the 13 presidential libraries. Allow me to introduce the Archivist the United States, Mr. David Ferriero.
Thank you Frank. Good Afternoon. the National Archives and Records administration is pleased to cosponsor the Nixon legacy forms with the Nixon Foundation. It is my pleasure to be with you here this afternoon. Our Presidential libraries are truly national treasures. They protect, preserve and make accessible to scholars and students and the general public the records and materials of 13 of the 44 men who served as president of the United States. Before the administration of President Franklin Roosevelt, the organized preservation of the president’s records didn’t exist. And much of our history had been scattered, or sold, or lost or simply succumbed to the unkindness of the inadequate storage. President, the Nixon Presidency was remarkable and uniquely documented and recorded. The Nixon materials are the fullest and the richest records of any administration in our history. With the opening of our new archival facility at the Nixon Library at Yorba Linda the last summer, scholars from America and all around the world will now be able to study the Nixon Presidency in full and in depth and in one place. In effect one-stop shopping for the Nixon Presidency. We hope and trust that as word of the richness of the material in Yorba Linda becomes more widely known, more and more people will travel there to study and learn from them. Nixon legacy forms provide fascinating and instructive insight into those eventful and important years from 1969 to 1974, years that are in many ways so near and yet so far from us today. Of course documents and tapes and other records are vitally important to knowing and analyzing and understanding what happened in the past and why. But these experiences and observations and memories of the men and women who were actually there, participating in the day-to-day development and planning, charged with the execution of the administration’s policies and in some cases dealing directly with the President himself, are no less important and compelling. The Nixon Legacy Forum Panels supply precisely that personal dimension to the unfolding of History. And on behalf of the National Archives I want to welcome you and thank you for being here this afternoon. Now it’s my pleasure to introduce the moderator for today’s legacy forum on how the Nixon administration combated organized crime, Geoff Sheppard. Geoff is a graduate of Whittier College, Nixon’s alma mater and the Harvard Law School. He spent five years on the staff of the Nixon and Ford White Houses, first as a White House fellow assigned to the Treasury Department and then in the White House as an Associate Director of the Domestic Council. Among his responsibilities there were the issues involving law and order. Jeff will lead today’s legacy forum and introduce today’s participants.
Thank you David. It’s a real pleasure to do these forums with the National Archives, because they have all the records. And you’ll see today we’ve really mined the records for what we are going to show you. We have TV clips from evening news and they’re not as we would say broadcast quality but we’re lucky we have them at all. We have papers, we have signing photographs, we have researched issue papers, and we have found charts that were used in Congressional hearings that the National Archives very kindly has made available to us, so we couldn’t do these forums without them. President Nixon ran as a law and order president and was elected as such. As we got into this topic we decided it was simply too large to handle in a single forum and currently we have it divided into four parts. One is reducing street crime, which is a real challenge because it really is a state and local responsibility. There’s going to be a second Forum on Nixon and the Courts and the work to change around the court system where we had a type of feeling that crime and lawlessness might have been society’s problem instead of the criminals and that was addressed to a large extent under the Nixon presidency. And we also found as we were researching this the origins of counter-terrorism. We had sky jackings, we had the beginnings of bombings and bombing issues. You’ll see it here as we go through some of this and of course, we have the effort to combat organized crime. Interestingly it is the effort to combat organized crime that came to fruition earliest. So it is entirely appropriate that this begins our panel, and the way we’re going to begin this is with a clip from the evening news, the most significant law, was the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970 and we have the news clips from all three national networks that we are going show you during the course of the program. This particular clip is from CBS and it features Mike Wallace and Dan Rather as young men.
President Nixon, today signed the major anti-crime bill he requested from Congress. Dan Rather reports.
The President went to the Justice Department to dramatize his signing into law of one of the most sweeping anti-crime bills in recent years. This law allows more wiretapping and electronic bugging, longer prison terms for Mafia style operations, the death penalty for bombings, and wide powers for FBI investigations on college campuses. After signing the law, President Nixon turned to Attorney General John Mitchell and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover and ordered them to begin immediately with vigorous enforcement.
Gentleman, I gave you the tools, you do the job. We will. Mindful that crime more the economy, more than Vietnam has become the issue that seems to concern most people most .
And that ends the clip from October 1970 as shown by CBS and while that’s the high point legislatively of the effort to combat organized crime, in fact the story starts much further back. We put up a slide here to show you. It began, from our point of view, way back in 1957, with the McClellan rackets committee in front of the Senate where they started investigating and publicizing the control exercised over labor by organized crime. It ends with the signing of the the criminal control act, but there’s also some things in between there is really two bills of significance, the 1968 Omnibus Crime Control Act, which our participants will discuss, and the 1970 Organized Crime Control Act. And then some that is really unique in these forums. It involves one key meeting which of course was the Mob Convention in Appalachia, in 1957, where there were over a hundred mobsters from around the country who were discovered in this remote hideaway and the police started writing down license numbers it was an absolute confirmation of national coordination by organized crime. And then we have two attorneys General, Robert Kennedy as Attorney General started in 1961 and John Mitchell as Attorney General started in 1969 and this is really intriguing. The men were prominent in different parties, they may have known each other but they are never known to work together on anything. You may have strong political views about either or both of them. I n their respective services, they were each the prime minister of the relative administration. They were the closest individual in the cabinet the President. But from our perspective, in combating organized crime, they were the greatest Attorney Generals in our lifetime. They took it personally. they were heavily involved and that involvement and personal attention made a huge difference . We are going to talk about all those things. I am going to leave this up while we move up to the members of our distinguished panel, and let me introduce them to you. I’m going a start with Professor Bob Blakey. Bob actually went to work at the Department of Justice when Robert Kennedy was Attorney General and he was in the Organized Crime Section. He’s deceptively young and has really become the single greatest academic expert on organized crime. He not only was chief council to the Senate sub-committee on criminal laws but he also was the chief council of the select House committee on assassinations. And he now teaches where he has been since 1980 at Notre Dame Law school and he’s written a whole series of articles on organized crime. Next to Bob is Wally Johnston. Wally also began his career as one of the honor student hirees right out of law school and into the Department of Justice and he went from there and he worked on the organized crime strike force in Miami. So you have two individuals with personal experience in prosecuting organized crime. Wally then went to the Hill and he was Sen. Huruska’s counsel, minority council of the same Senate subcommittee on criminal laws. Both of these men worked for their respective senators and these were the top staff individuals. Wally then went to become Associate Deputy Attorney General under John Mitchell. At one point he came over to the White House and was in charge of Senate congressional relations for the congressional relations staff and finally back to the Department of Justice. It was an eleven year run as Assistant Attorney General for Lands and Natural Resources so we have managed to find, Wally is also deceptively young, we have managed to find two people who worked together at this critical time. Pete Velde our third participant did really the opposite. He started working on the Hill for Bob Michael and then he came to the Department of Justice and he was associated with the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration for many many years as Associate Administrator and then as Administrator and then back to the Hill where he worked for Senate Judiciary. So we a re really very fortunate to have people here who know more about this unique time of coordination between the Executive and Congress on organized crime. We’re going to have each of them speak briefly to set up the situation. And in general Wally will speak first and talk about the need case, the problem of organized crime. Pete will talk about steps that were taken in the legislation and then Bob will talk about, in general about the result and the efforts and the effects that were achieved. So we’ll start with Wally
Thank you Archivist because we were able to recover what you’re looking at from the National Archives and a report that was prepared back in the 70’s under Bob Blakey’s aegis. But it represents the families in 1957 and in fact what we were looking at is how this criminal organization became involved in every aspect of our life throughout the nation today we don’t see it the same way we saw it back then. I have got a metaphor I think about, I think about a coaxial cable, and you touched on this as we began this conversation. Every culture is like those strands that you find within a fiber cable and Frank talked about civil rights and China and foreign affairs. One of the strands was organized crime. And the president was extremely focused on that during the campaign in 1968, before I was up on the Hill. I was running the strike force down in Florida myself. Let me see the next slide if you would. So basically, as we’ve gone through the process of setting up this panel there were two documents that were developed by President Nixon’s staff where he paid absolutely high attention and priority to organized crime as a campaign issue back in the ’68 elections. There were so many things going on, crime in the streets, social chaos, the civil rights movement crime, organized crime sometimes gets overlooked. But the fact is, it was a major problem in our nation and Nixon talked about it. (chart) Take a look at that. And you’ll see basically what he was saying during the campaign, I think, we got two of this, so, take a look at that and click it on to the next one as well, if you would. Now, I don’t have much time but I do want to refer to chapter 10 in Bob Blakey’s book. It was published in 1980. What Bob did in this book, “The Plot to Kill the President”, was to summarize the history of the organized crime challenge that our nation faced. I reread it on the airplane coming in here, did a super job and it relates back to that commission and talks about how Kennedy and then Mitchell reacted to the challenge. Well, it was not just Kennedy and Mitchell. It was Kennedy and Nixon and what I also brought along was, on May 2, 1969, Time article “Organized Crime Ganging up on The Mob”. 1969: “During his campaign Richard Nixon pledged to escalate dramatically the federal war on organized crime. Last week he announced his battle plan.” The battle plans that we will talk about today. But part of the way that worked out was through, as you point out, the prime minister. John Mitchell absolutely, unequivocally was the Prime Minister. I worked for him, I was in three different positions under his leadership. As James Rosen points out in his biography of Mitchell, Mitchell was a man of the law, and a man of integrity and a strong leader for the Department of Justice and he provided leadership with the Congressional leaders that we all worked for. John McClellan, Mr. Crime, he started in 1957. Roman Hruska the Republican teamed up with McClellan and with Mitchell. They formed a cohesive team that basically allowed these programs to move forward as they should. What we’ve got here is a signing ceremony. Nixon, Mitchell who right behind Mitchell is John McClellan. Over here we’ve got Roman Hruska. Next to him is Dick Poff. Very much part of this on the House side. So what we’ve got is basically the threat, we got the players, and we got the tools. Now, how did that all happen? And that’s what we are going to talk about today and I would pass the buck to Pete to provide a background.
Thank you Wally, Pete. Thank you Mr. Chairman and welcome fellow artifacts and relics from a bygone era. I’d like to start my remarks by being very specific and I allude to, an event that happened at 10 AM on June 29, 1967. And that’s when Roman Hruska introduced on the Senate floor a package of crime bills that were the work product of the recently appointed Republican task force, Congressional task force, on law and order issues. And he introduced three organized crime bills. First, for what really became the first draft of Title III, the wire tapping legislation. Secondly , the first iteration of what later become Civil Rico and then third, authorized the federal assistance for state and local enforcement to specifically focus on organized crime, intelligence activities and support. All those later became law in the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 . Simultaneously with the introduction of those bills at approximately the same time, citizen Nixon formed an advisory committee on law and order. And Bob and I had the privilege of actually serving as advisers while we were congressional staffers to that committee. But more importantly, Mr. Nixon who, after all, had been a senator for two years, had been the presiding officer of the Senate for eight years, was on a very personal first name basis with the congressional leaders who now are carrying a load to fashion these tools to fight organized crime. So you look at his message, nationwide radio message I believe in March 1968 it specifically referred to this congressional activity and these legislative initiatives. Shortly thereafter, there was a white paper issued by the Nixon campaign on organized crime. So this was still citizen Nixon doing this. Well, shortly thereafter, the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets act came up for consideration on the Senate floor. That legislation occupied the Senate in the midst of a congressional and presidential campaign for 3 1/2 weeks. Debate on all of these issues and others, Title I Federal assistance to State and local criminal justice, title III, wire tap, Title IV the first iteration of gun control legislation and others as well. I referred to the gun control legislation because that after Bobby Kennedy’s assassination in early June, the president signed Title IV into law along with the rest of the legislation. But the Congress revisited the issue and you had the Gun Control Act of 1968 the following September. That legislation provided a set of tools that stood the test of time now as being supremely helpful in fighting organized crime. Whether gangster weapons from the 30s, sawed off shotguns and so on, you had thousands of prosecutions against organized crime figures large and small based on the straightforward provisions of that gun control act. You possessed a sawed off shotgun with the barrel less than 18 inches. Well anybody in the jury can understand this was a bad guy for possessing a bad gun and that’s worth 10 or 20 years in a federal penitentiary. This was another piece of legislation that became very effective. Now we jump forward to the Nixon administration. April 23 1969, he sent a a special message to Congress on organized crime. We’ll hear more from Bob on that score. That message charged my agency, the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration, with building programs specifically to fight organized crime with State and local law enforcement partners and there is, if you can go back to that chart, you’ll see eight red dots and these represented LEAA regional offices. For example the Boston office set up the first regional organized crime intelligence system in cooperation with five state attorneys general. Florida, Chicago, St. Louis, New Orleans, San Francisco, Kansas City and so on. All of these major programs were developed with Federal assistance to martial State and local resources and assets to deal with it. The last thing I want to mention of course is civil RICO, the original draft of the Hruska Bill of June of 1967 became title IX of the Crime Control Act of 1970 . Bob and I worked on that legislation as it worked its way through Congress and Bob then became the leading authority on that subject. You can see a comprehensive approach on the part of Mr. Nixon personally and the Nixon administration… top priority, dedicating significant assets and resources, personnel to combat organized crime.
Thank you Pete, Bob?
This is a useful opportunity to talk to people in the next generation who can make an effort to try to understand these things. Firstly, I have to absolutely correct. These are Republicans, I’m a Democrat, dyed-in-the-wool Democrat, I worked for Robert Kennedy as a Democrat and subsequently I worked for John McClellan as a Democrat. It’s nice to talk about Democrats and Republicans, but what I think this panel will focus on is how Democrats and Republicans can work together which is probably not to… doesn’t illustrate what’s going on in our society today. Rosco Pound, who was the Dean for the Harvard Law School for 15 to 20 years and one of the leading authorities on crime and crime control among other things, he said that you needed four things for an effective criminal justice system: You have got to have good substantive law, you got to have a good procedure, you got to have good organization, and you got to have good people. Any one of those things are missing and you can’t make the thing work. I want to talk about all of those together and how they came together. But the most significant thing for me when I reflect back on my involvement in this is the people involved, and I want to focus on that. I was a staffer for John McClellan, and he was the Chairman of the rackets committee so called, and he was willing to take that when nobody else did and he conducted a nationwide investigation of unions and particularly the influence of organized crime in the unions. Let me drop a footnote here. I’m talking about one specific group in organized crime. It’s known in Chicago as the Outfit, in Buffalo as the Arm, the Cosa Nostra in New York, popularly it’s the Mafia. I’m not talking about Italian-Americans. When Joe Valachi testified before Congress, he said, “Senator, I’m not talking about Italians, I’m talking about criminals.” That’s my point. The Mafia does not exhaust all of the groups in organized crime. It just so happens that in 1963, which this chart represents, it was the largest single nationwide effective group in organized crime. It was put together in the 30s and from the 30s to Valachi’s testimony in 1963 nobody, 30 years, nobody said publicly there was an organized crime group. The sociologist, criminologist, all dismissed this notion of an organized in the sense of a group like The Mafia, Joe Valachi appeared before the McClellan committee, testified, identifying individuals and families, and this is what it looked like at this time. That this particular chart is based on FBI Intelligence after the Kennedy administration began, and I was in the meeting, Bobby Kennedy just exploded because he had been the Chief Counsel for the McClellan Committee and, he knew these people, he held hearings on these people, he looked at the files that the FBI had and they were largely empty of anything but newspaper articles, and he said to Courtney Evans his liaison, the substance of it was get off your duff and go get the information we need to do the prosecutions. The FBI did and the intelligence for the chart is up on the board. When I came into the department 1960, August of 1960. I went out to lunch with a man named Henry Petersen, he was the Deputy Section of my committee, of the Organized Crime and Racketeering Section, and I asked him, “Henry is there a mafia?” And he told me no, there are loose associations from place to place, but there is no, no organized crime in that sense. In June of 1962 we got in the organized crime section, we got what we called the commission report and we got to the Mafia looking like this. And the tools that we had available to us to investigate it were basically grand juries and some legislation that had been developed in the 30s. What was called the Hobbs act. The Anti-racketeering Act of 33. We went out and we thought it was successful, if we got a conviction of a mafioso. A conviction. When President Nixon issued this, crime statement that we referred to, he makes the point in that statement that the federal government with all its powers h ad not succeeded in destroying one of these families. There are 22 families in all the major areas of United States. The estimates were that there were approximately 5000 main members, not associates, main members, 5 families in New York City. And, we hadn’t destroyed one family from ’60 when Bobby Kennedy came in until ’68 when Nixon was elected and that was always thought to be the top organized crime drive of the Federal level. We were not successful. Period, end of story. That is kind of a background, but what happened is there was a coming together of planets if you will and they all lined up. John McClellan was interested in organized crime. He had investigated , he wanted to legislate. If you don’t have help across the aisle, you can’t do it by yourself. Two guys, John McClellan and Roman Hruska were like this on these issues. I have been in meetings with them, it’s as if they were a couple, believe me, they were not a couple. He would say one thing and the other one would repeat, finish the sentence. T hose two people came together, with John Mitchell and Richard Nixon and, Poff from the house. Those people sitting together said yes we can do this and these are the things we have to do. That’s a remarkable story, I don’t see it going on today. It led to the legislation, wiretap statute and in ’68, the Organized Crime Control Act in 1960, I’m sorry, in 1970 and you put them together and what difference did it make. We created a Witness Protection Program so people would be willing to testify against organized crime. We created the RICO act which authorizes investigations and prosecutions of organized crime. W e had wire tapping and electronic surveillance which is electronic substitution for witness testimony. We had the sentencing guidelines that authorized and indeed required appropriate sentences. We had the following impact from 5000 members, the Mafia is today approximately 1200. From 22 families all throughout the United States, none outside of New York. And of the five families in New York, there are probably two today that are good. It’s just not there anymore. Is that a success story, the answer is yes. Is it a permanent success story, the answer is no. If we don’t keep pressure on them they will reformulate and recreate what you see there. And one of the impacts of 9/11 is that the FBI had shifted it’s people, from organized crime, to terrorism. That is not a bad idea. The Mafia wanted the building and the terrorists want to blow it up, and if I have to choose between the two, I’ll take anti-terrorism any time. What we learned… there is no criminal group or terrorist group in the United States or, I frankly think, in the world that we do not now have the tools and we know the organizational techniques that we can’t destroy them. And who’s responsible for that? Nixon, McClellan, Hruska, Poff in the Senate, and then the House, and now, it depends on whoever runs the Department of Justice and the FBI as to whether it is done. So, that’s my part of the story. Thank you Bob, Now we have given you insights…we again decided because this was so wonderfully complicated… We are going to put together a study guide so we wouldn’t have to keep footnoting everything we were talking about on the different legislation and were going to put that together after the program is over. So if you really want to get into it, look for the study guide. Before we start the discussion, we are going to show you the second of the network’s coverage of the signing of the Organized Crime Control Act and you could see some differences. Remember with the first one, with CBS, you didn’t see much of the President’s speech, Dan Rather told you what was in the bill and you saw the actual signature. This is going to show you a little more of the speech itself but not have the same summary of the bill. It’s intriguing how the networks differed in their control and coverage. So let’s go to that.
“A few weeks ago law and order was an issue in the forthcoming elections. Now the epidemic of bombings has made it into the issue. It took Congress nine months to do it, but this week before adjourning it acknowledged the heat and passed the administration’s big anti-crime package. Today the President signed it. ABC White House correspondent Tom Jerrell reports.
The ceremony was in the Great Hall of the Justice Department, applauded with the President were the top federal lawmen including Attorney General Mitchell and FBI Director Hoover. Bipartisan congressional leaders were also present. The President described the bill as a tool which lawmen can now use to fight organized crime and terrorist bombers.
‘Now that they have these tools, I think that we can say that we shall now be able to launch a total war against organized crime and we will win this war. We pick up the papers and we see some sporadic incident without reason without cause, simply a terrorist activity which we have not been able to cope with adequately in the past. Now what this legislation does is to provide, where there is a Federal interest, Federal support for an installation and the Federal law enforcement officials will move in. This should be a warning to those who engage in these acts that we in this country, are not going to tolerate this kind of activity in the future. The full force of the Federal government and in particular the Federal Bureau of Investigation will be brought against these actions wherever there is a Federal interest. And I think that at this time to point up that the actions of the FBI in apprehending Angela Davies are a rather remarkable story again, in the long history of remarkable stories of apprehensions by the FBI, is an indication that once the Federal government through the FBI moves into an area this should be warning to those who engage in these acts that they eventually are going to be apprehended. This is a warning that by signing this bill, we are going to give the tools to the men in the Justice Department and the men in the FBI and we shall see that those who engage in such terrorist acts are brought to justice.’ The sweeping anti-crime measure which includes the death penalty for fatal bombing became law with the President’s signature. Immediately afterwords the President visited the headquarters of the District of Columbia Police Department. The President congratulated the men in uniform and their civilian support staff.”
So that involves the second segment now to open our discussion which is what we have come to hear. This comes across as a magic moment. When politics had been set aside and people really worked together to address this challenge. What was unique about that era, what enabled this to happen? Wally? I’ll start, The two senators we are talking about, McClellan and Hruska, were in the Senate and committed to it as an institution. They were in fact Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-dum. One was real focused on criminal law and one was real focused on criminal justice. But they did work in total harmony. Now having said that, I’d go back to about 1950, with the Kefauver hearings because in fact we’re watching the emergence of a criminal organization, the information about a criminal organization that was denied well into the mid-sixties by the FBI director, Mr. Hoover, but it was happening and with the prime ministers. They basically were of one mind about the objective. They weren’t arguing about the details. They basically had one thing in mind and they went and did it. Now I would let the historic record reflect that the successes were not achieved by the Department of Justice until Blakey and I were gone. That says in fact that our skills were better utilized elsewhere.
Well if Senator Hruska and McClellan got together and were connected as a team, how about you and Bob and Pete.
Let me kind of answer that. People sometimes say that I’m the guy that drafted the RICO. It is literally true. I did it on yellow sheets, legal pads at home. No. no. no. It was John McClellan. I didn’t do anything that I didn’t run by him and if he said no, that would be the end of it. When we processed, for example, when we processed the Organized Crime Control Act in the Senate, we didn’t have the civil RICO provision in it. And one of the reasons it was taken out, and this is a very personal one, Was because I didn’t know enough about antitrust and they were modeled on antitrust. Pete modeled them on antitrust for Hruska, I didn’t know enough that I could make a good recommendation for McClellan. When they got into the House the ABA came back and said, “Put them back in.” So we did. In the House, when I say we, Congressman Poff was coordinating with McClellan. Very unusual. Here’s the second ranking Republican in the House Judiciary Committee was on a day-to-day basis talking with Hruska and McClellan in the Senate with Senate. You don’t normally think of going this way. They went back in and the plan by Congressman Seller in the House was to kill the bill and the way Congressman Seller was going to kill the bill was in the committee. The Republicans in the House began developing a discharge petition for it, and the only way they could get credibility with a discharge petition was if the White House supported it. So this was now Nixon, some of the Senate people were putting pressure on Congressman Seller. His plan was to report the bill out and then kill it in conference. Everybody knows we’re going to have two bills and then there is a conference report. If the conference report never reports, that ends the bill. Seller was going to kill it … Seller never knew that McClellan and Hruska and Poff worked in the Judiciary Committee to get what they would have normally gotten at a conference. So the bill comes back over to the Senate and we send it directly. We…Senator McClellan walks out on the floor, Senator Hruska is out of the floor and they tell the Senate we got what we need, send it to the President. Now that’s unusual. I was there more or less from ’68 to the mid ’70s. That’s extraordinary for a way to get a bill through. It went. Could that have been done without the people? The personalities involved? The answer is, no.
Let me recap. I stumble through this. Manny Sellers of New York was Chairman of House Judiciary and Chairman of the subcommittee. You’d normally need four, you need minority and majority for both House and Senate. In this discussion he is odd man out. You got Hruska and McClellan in the Senate. That’s wired. You’ve got Poff in the House. That’s Republicans and Democrats. Conservative Southern Democrats, but Democrats. But he didn’t have that in the House. So in essence the challenge to get the bill out is to roll Manny Sellers. And the way you did it…you had a conference … without a conference. Right. The House version was the conference so the Senate just approved the House bill. And all coordinated with the Department of Justice. The Department of Justice was involved in all of it. Everybody but Seller and his counsel Ben Zillinko was in on it. He thought it was a traditional thing where they would report out and call for a conference. They were going to kill it in conference . When I talked to Zilinko, I said “Ben, I don’t think we will have a conference.” And it went right over to the president. Wally?
Let me shift gears. Two significant things happened under President Nixon. During this period of time we are talking about 1960 to 1975, there was a redefinition of the role of Federal criminal law. Virtually 95 percent of all criminal proceedings are State and are local. 5 percent are Federal. But what happened back in the early years, Hoover said we don’t have the tools. There was a law, I affectionately regard as ITAR, Interstate Transportation in Aid of Racketeering that was written during the Kennedy years t hat basically federalized certain State crimes that involve business activity. And it evolved to a point that we get wiretapping and RICO. Now the fact is that the wiretapping and the witness immunity and RICO in my mind are the major federal tools and there may be a lot more, like the gun control Pete was talking about. But for me, because that’s the framework of my own experience. But something else happened. In other words we were dealing with the federal jurisprudence that Bob and I were focused on. But the Nixon administration created a program where they substantially aided, upgrading State and local law enforcement. That’s what Pete was paying for. He was writing personal checks. The Law Enforcement Assistance Administration. One of the impacts of that a majority of states now have State racketeering legislation. A majority of states now have electronic surveillance. I would like to see the majority use them but they don’t. And if there hadn’t been not only the Feds doing it, but the Federal aid to law enforcement, t hat law enforcement activity of the state levels with the tools would not have happened. So, what you see is really unique. Where you have the House, the Senate, the President thinking about law enforcement tools, thinking about what the Federal role can be, thinking about what the State role can be, and stepping up to the plate and being willing to pay for it. And they did through the LEAA. It’s what I don’t see my government doing now. Seems all about lowering taxes, increasing services –that’s another story.
I would like to return first to a point that Bob made. As I recall, Sentora Hruska recommended a certain consultant to Sen. McClellan who later became the chief counsel of that subcommittee. There was strong bipartisan support.
Bob is Hruska’s creation? Well he was certainly his strong recommendation as an expert on organized crime and wiretapping. And although Hruska introduced the first wiretapping bill he essentially took the Blakey draft of it in June of ’67.
I’d worked for the Katzenbach Commission that studied crime in United States and organized crime and recommended to it a wiretapping legislation. The commission adopted the recommendation and then went over to the Department of Justice at that time was run by Katzenbach and ultimately Ramsey Clark who went right down the tubes. The Republicans in the House, with Poff and Sen. Hruska in the Senate, said ‘we want this on the table’. And so they took one of my drafts. Took a draft of mine and… but it was based in part off other people…. I don’t want to get to the point where I’m saying I did it all. I shamelessly plagiarized it from any source I could find. And then what happened is I did come to work for Senator McClellan and what he told me to do was to take my wiretapping bill which was an older one, take Sen. Hruska’s bill and merge them and that’s the one we were able to get through the Senate. And that was jointly sponsored by Hruska and McClellan…strong bipartisan support beyond those two. What comes through here, slightly different point. It’s not just you have this commonality of interest with the elected representatives, the senators and Congressman Poff, but you’ve got these staff people who were salted by the Department of Justice. You have got prosecutors like Bob Blakey and Wally Johnson who were on the front lines. You were running the strike force in Miami, you knew what tools you had, what you didn’t have, what worked, what didn’t work. We learned what, when I was in the department when Wally was in it, we saw the problem and we saw we didn’t have the tools to deal with it. Right? Absolutely. Well, we talk about the revolving door. And we mean people coming in to regulate the private sector going back out to the private sector. Here you had a completely different kind of revolving door. You had experienced prosecutors end up as Senate staff. How unique is that kind of revolving door? Now, in our case, it was unique because it was part of the chemistry that made it all work. Bob in his book, Chapter 10, suggests that the wind went out of the program after Kennedy was assassinated. The fact is the coterie of organized crime prosecutors became the significant practitioners at the criminal bar for the next 20 years. In another word that was an extremely successful program and it attracted pretty good attorneys. Now, we went to the Hill, but a lot of people went into private practice as defenders and prosecutors. I would call attention to a book by Geoff Sheppard that addressed this subject in great detail. How basically the prosecutors from the Department of Justice found their way into virtually every major criminal type of litigation for the next twenty, thirty years. You play a little unfair. But the point you made when we were talking about the book was Robert Kennedy had assembled the creme de la creme of lawyers in the Department of Justice. He was so intense and so interested in what was going on and he attracted really top people. Let me be bipartisan about that. When the Eisenhower administration came in, they had to deal with what was left over frankly from the Roosevelt and Truman. It was largely at the staff level a corrupt and incompetent Department of Justice. You could work in the Department of Justice and have an outside practice. The Eisenhower administration eliminated that and they put in what was called an honors program. Instead of recruiting people normally they would go to the best law schools, and get the best students. Those people were brought into the department. It wasn’t Bobby Kennedy, it was the people hired from law school on a nonpartisan basis based simply on merit and when the Kennedy administration came in he concentrated a number of those honors program people already solicited and put them into the section.
You had merit hiring because these were lawyers. These were licensed practitioners so you didn’t have civil service exams. No. You had been hired directly. This was merit hire from law schools.
And then they took us and put us down in organized crime section. And both you and Wally are from that program. And then of course we found out, you say we are supposed to chase organized, why don’t you give us the tools? We kind of knew what the tools were, we knew about RICO, we knew about wire tapping. But for McClellan and Hruska knowing, it wouldn’t have happened. When Nixon came in he would sign the legislation. And we didn’t have a president that would sign it before him. Let me tell you a very short story. John McClellan went down to the White House and met with Johnson and said you’ve asked me to represent you on the Hill with this federal aid to law enforcement. I’d like to have some criminal procedure legislation. I’d like to have a wiretap bill. If I can put it in the Law Enforcement Administration bill , will you sign it? And he said, “Yes, you sponsor the Federal Aid to Law Enforcement bill and if you can, in a fair fight, amend it for wire tapping, I will sign it.” Ramsey Clark didn’t know anything about this. Unless he sees this he won’t even know about it ever. He recommended to President Johnson that he veto the bill because it had wiretap in it. I showed the newspaper article to Sen. McClellan. He proceeds to tell me the story. He’s going to sign the bill. I don’t care what the recommendation is. I have deal with Johnson and Johnson will come true with it. When Nixon came in, he sends a message up, “I want this kind of legislation.” And if you go through the the Organized Crime Control Act, Nixon had recommended all the major provisions that are in the Organized Crime Control Act, including civil RICO.
The hit always is on these policy issues whether it was a confluence of others, or whether the President himself was personally invested and personally involved. In the course of our research and discussion I grandiosly said that organized crime wasn’t a campaign issue and Wally called me up and said,”Well, we have got the books, we have the statements, what else did you want?” Wally you have more.
You didn’t have to prompt me on this because I was picking up off Bob. Two weeks after I went from the criminal division to Hruska’s office…
There was shuffling of responsibilities and positions. The Senator called me and said,”I want you to supervise the summer intern I’ve got, David Eisenhower.” So Bob and I worked with Dave for 3 months on the Organized Crime Act and exposed him to the processes of the Federal Government. I never figured out how Eisenhower came to Hruska, but it was serendipitous because here was the President’s son-in-law, talking about organized crime, understanding it, meeting with J. Edgar Hoover, being educated in the complexities of this legislation and understanding the nature of the problem. And I cannot imagine that the President was not… Well I know the President was part of those conversations. We have this period from 1950 to 1970 where Nixon was part of the Senate. He is one of the members of that club. These are his friends. John Mitchell the strongman is his Attorney General.
I prosecuted under both Republicans and Democrats and in both situations I was made specifically aware that I should be totally non partisan and professional and play by the book. I did that for both administrations. The department was entirely nonpartisan in this regard. And that certainly was the case under John Mitchell as Attorney General. He let all of his key people in the department know this is a nonpartisan, by the book, Justice Department and you’ll act accordingly. He totally and particularly in my program where we were giving grant money to State and local law enforcement and most of it through block grants according to population formulas. That’s the way it was and we dealt equally with Republican and Democratic State and local administrations in the same exact way and that was at the insistence and I might say the leadership of the Attorney General who after all was a municipal bond lawyer, he knew State and local politics better than any other lawyer. And he really provided very senior advice and counsel to us young folks trying to distribute that money based on years of experience. And that’s exactly the way it was administered. I would also like to call attention to the fact that one of the programs that the Attorney General directed LEAA to initiate was called Criminal Justice Standards and Goals and several task forces were set up. One of those was on organized crime. And two of our participants here happened to be very distinguished members of that task force, which spent four years and came up with a report of several hundred black letter recommendations to guide and develop State and local anti-organized crime programs. And these folks provided direct leadership in that effort. And two of the recommendations were electronic surveillance, court-ordered electronic surveillance not without court supervision and racketeering type legislation. And then the LEAA provided money to assist State and local groups to do it. I had, not personally, but, I don’t remember whether he was a Republican or Democrat, a Senator in Florida hired me on an LEAA grant to go down to Florida and draft racketeering legislation. I went to Arizona on an LEAA grant to help to Bruce Babbitt, who was then the Attorney General of Arizona, put through racketeering type legislation. So, it was like integrated. Money was available, expertise was available, and people changed. Would that have ever happened without Nixon? Remember, I’m a Democrat. Would that have ever happened without Nixon? No. Would that have happened without Hruska, McClellan, and Poff? No Let me switch just for a second and go through what to me have been the three key new tools. We talk about them but we have not used examples of how they work. And Pete what I’d like you to talk about is the gun control stuff because in our prep you mentioned precisely how that was used and how effective that was. The 1968 Gun Control Act modernized two existing laws on gun control. One on sporting firearms and the other on machine guns and automatic weapons. Senator Hruska was the architect and draftsman of the automatic weapons legislation that had been largely rendered mute by several Supreme Court decisions that said you couldn’t have Federal registration of firearms and then tell State and local folks about and then prosecute as a matter of State law if you’ve registered under federal law. That was modernized. And then a whole new gamut of sentencing alternatives developed in the context of the gun control legislation and then a whole new category of federal criminal activity for possessing and transporting firearms across State lines by convicted felons, illegal aliens and so on. A whole new basket of tools to go after the bad guys.
Just to clarify. The way the game used to be played was the Federal government taxed the ownership of a machine gun so you had to pay the tax and the minute you pay the tax they told the state and the state would prosecute you. Slight Fourth Amendment problem Yes, and in addition LEAA provided funds for state and locals to modernize their gun control legislation. So you have concurrent jurisdiction in these heavy-duty criminal activities involving these firearms.
And since you had mandatory sentences that increased if you’ve been convicted before , it was a kind of multiplier. Well, amazingly, within the confines of one piece of Federal legislation you had the entire gamut of sentencing alternatives from indeterminate sentence, to minimum mandatory, to death penalty. So depending on the charge, you had a basket of prosecutorial and sentencing options. If you had a solder, a low-level person who is caught with a firearm, they could be going down for the last time and it would give you a greater opportunity to flip them. You had these things you could prosecute in order to go up the chain. Simple possession was a Federal felony offense, for example. Ten years just for that one offense. That was a very effective tool. Juries could understand it. Prosecutors had no problem proving prima facie cases. You’ve got that shotgun. It’s only got a 12 inch barrel. You’re in trouble . Yeah. Let’s go if you would, the value, the complication of wiretapping.. It’s simple for me, but let me make sure the record shows that Hruska and McLellan were key not only on the Authorization Committee, they were also Chair and ranking on the Appropriations Committee for Justice. Understand how interwoven this was. That’s where the money comes from. Not only did they have a handle on what the Justice Department was supposed to be doing, or could do, or should do, they funded it.
Senator McClellan was at that time the Chairman of Senate Investigations, the permanent subcommittee on investigations, they could investigate anything in the country. He made a major effort to spend time on organized crime, he then wanted to do some legislation. He got from Senator Eastland a subcommittee on crime. Wally was minority counsel and I was the chief counsel. He was deeply involved in five committees, I won’t name them all. He was also on Appropriations. McClellan and Hruska could investigate, legislate, and appropriate in the areas of crime and crime control and when they finally got someone in like Mitchell, instead of Ramsey Clark, you had it working. The system was not working against each other, the system was working in favor of it. I think it was, the planets came together very nicely. The people were there. Staff people were saying Senator, let’s do this, let’s do that. Writing articles. Nothing happened. You get the planets in charge. Our government actually works if you get the people to work together. It did in ’68, ’69, ’70 in a really remarkable way.
Let me make Wally go back to wiretapping, and I’m going to come to RICO so you get to think about your answer. Okay. For me, wiretapping was a key tool, RICO was another one, and witness immunity was the third, for me. Sure. But I dealt with the Mafiosi in the field. They were not nice people. They were anti-social. They had no limitations on their conscience. They would kill you and not blink an eye. Now having said that if at least the three of us remember quite c learly there was a code of Omerta. A code of silence. It wasn’t easy to flip them, it wasn’t easy to get them to testify. They didn’t care. They were totally without scruples and putting a squeeze on them was not simple. So, you had to figure out what were they talking about. And in fact, the constitutionally protected wiretapping was a critical tool. Why? Because you could figure out, you could get evidence. It’s that simple. And you were able to break down this code of Omerta. Now I don’t think another time and another story that it was impenetrable. Once they started to flip, they flipped. You mean there was no half way?
Let me give you a concrete example. They were prosecuting John Gotti who was the head of the family in New York. The underboss was a man named Sammy Gravano. They played tapes of John Gotti talking about how he didn’t trust Sammy the Bull anymore and he was thinking about killing him. The FBI agent played those tapes to Gravano, and Gravano suddenly decides, I’m better off with the government than with Gotti. He then testifies. And here you have a guy who’s killed I don’t know 15-20 people testifying against Gotti and company. Could you believe him? Not really, but now you have wiretap and bugging tapes that corroborated what he said. OK. And the tapes led to him flipping and then he gave you details that went beyond the stuff you got on the tapes. And you had a solid prosecution against John Gotti and other people, they’re gone. Between 1981 and 1991, 16 bosses were prosecuted. Principally through witness protection, wiretapping and RICO. And then the families you just take out the leadership of the families. It was in this period of time they had what they called the commission case the first prosecution of the heads of the families in New York. Prosecuted all at one time. And some of them got a hundred year sentences. How are you going to serve out a hundred year sentences? Right. How are you going to come back? It ‘s not a question of deterrence, it’s not a question really of punishment. It’s isolation. You put them away and they don’t cause you problems anymore. That was good people, good organization, good substance and good procedure. OK I want to drive this home, so the wiretap is not just the evidence it’s an element of the case because if you flip somebody, they can explain what’s really on the tape, you heard him say this, what he really meant was this. And you get it in because there is a conspiracy alleged. You don’t have a hearsay problem. A flipped witness explains the wiretap and how it fits in. You can have a comprehensive prosecution. And here’s what we had: 18 USC 1952 was the tool. Whosoever shall use the facility in interstate commerce to engage in unlawful activity shall be guilty and punished. An unlawful activity is a business enterprise involving gambling, arson, extortion or bribery. That was the tool we had thanks to Bobby Kennedy and because J. Edgar Hoover said I don’t have anything to work with. Now the fact is my experience with the FBI agents on the street was excellent. The people I had in Miami were creme de la creme of investigators. But they were directed as to what their priorities were. If you don’t have people paying attention to criminal activity, criminal activity will reemerge because we are talking about sociological phenomena.
One of the first prosecutions was in 1951. 1952 was the Redding dice game case. And all we had was FBI surveillance and two or three flipped witnesses. And we had a raid on the dice game case. We were not able to prove that the ownership of that dice game was by the Profaci family in New York. And the reason we didn’t have the ability to prove it is we didn’t have electronic surveillance of the communications between New York and Redding, Pennsylvania. So, you can get the guy rolling a dice or keeping the book but you can’t work up the chain. That is exactly right. All we got was what we could see on the place. And without the ability to listen to phones and bug cars and flip witnesses, you’d never get it back to Profaci in New York. That’s what wiretapping is. Easy in. We had cases sure, but I was getting me so will they weren’t at the highest levels. And just to reiterate because you made the point earlier but this is what was authorized, was court approved wiretapping. Absolutely. All right. The evidence was admissible. Since 1968 there has not been a major police scandal at the Federal or State level on electronic surveillance. You mean where it was abused? Yes, well, it wasn’t generally lawful and it was still done. Once the Federal statute went through that authorized it under the court order system, the police didn’t do it illegally to get evidence. They did it lawfully to get evidence Oh, I see. Sure, the statute that authorized the police to do it under very limited circumstances, had the result of them only doing it only under those circumstances and not abusing it. So, it was a positive privacy protective aspect. It wasn’t just law enforcement. It was a privacy protection aspect, people don’t talk about that too much. I’m going to switch now to RICO. What it was and how it worked. OK. The words are Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organizations. And the title is significant. The corrupt organizations are like the Mafia. And that was are Senator McClellan’s major concern and racketeer influenced organizations are legitimate businesses that in some sense had been taken over. That was Senator Hruska’s concern. What’s the bill all about? Well RICO is several different things at one time. First it is the theory of investigation. That is it redirected with the substantive law the way in which the FBI investigated cases. In the old days they investigated individuals for individual crimes. They could prosecute somebody for an individual crime and they did that occasionally. But that’s all you saw. When Rico came in, you had different elements in the crime. You have not only individual crime but you asked the question was that individual crime part of a pattern of crimes. And therefore the evidence of the pattern came in but that meant that the FBI had to go out and investigate them. One element of the crime is an enterprise. The definition is: whoever is employed by or associated with an enterprise engages in a pattern of criminal behavior. Criminal behavior meaning violence, provision of illegal goods and services, corruption. That meant the FBI had to go out and investigate enterprises. Wow! When I was in the department, I prosecuted Anthony Arcodo in Chicago…
Give us a year. …for tax evasion. This is in ’62. Got a conviction. Reversed on appeal for publicity. The publicity problem was the word ‘Mafia’ had been used in the newspapers, not in the court room. After RICO you could introduce Mafia words. This guy is not only involved in this crime, he’s involved in it as a capa regime in the Gambino family. So what was know in the newspapers was legally made relevant in the courtroom because it was an enterprise. Because it was an enterprise and because it was a pattern. That’s what … and the investigation had to be that way. That required Department of Justice and the FBI to change the way they investigated. It’s a theory of trial. It lets you not only put in the individual crimes, it’s the connection between the individual crimes and an organization of some sort. It’s also a theory of sanction. Investigation, prosecution, and sanction. It has in it provisions for forfeiture. In the old days we had fines that were discretionary in amount but fixed in number. Under the forfeiture provisions, it’s mandatory in application and flexible in the amount. You go into a drug transaction, you come up wit h a hundred thousand dollars, gross, not net, the government can forfeit the hundred thousand, either the actual money itself or anything that is a substitute for it. Literally it takes the profit out of crime. So it has a forfeiture notion and it has up to 20 years sentence. Normally you don’t need the death penalty. 20 years will do it if they serve most of them. It ‘s not only a theory of sanction for crime, its about civil RICO. This is Senator Hrusaka now, to be candid. Senator McClellan was not that concerned about civil RICO. When I was in the department, one of the principal unions we investigated was the Teamsters union. We got a conviction of Jimmy Hoffa. We got a conviction…. I go down the list of the Presidents of Teamsters Union. And my point is you convicted each one. And what happened to the Teamsters Union? Nothing. . Its stayed like it was. Civil RICO comes in and says that you can sue a corrupt union, substitute a government trustee for it and take out civilly all the mafioso. Example, one union in northern New Jersey, local 560, had had four or five prosecutions of leadership. One of them was when I was in the department, Provenzano. Provenzano went to jail and his brother went in. He went to jail and his sister-in-law went in. They put in a civil trusteeship over that union, It took 12 years to eliminate all the mafia in that local until finally, one day, they had a party, in which the federal court. Removed the civil… Absolutely now you had local 560 in northern New Jersey not being run by the mob. They turned… there were four major unions,the hotel and restaurant workers, the Teamsters, the laborers, the international longshoremen associations that there were multiple criminal prosecutions against and they remained mob-dominated. There is now a continued civil sanction on the Teamsters Union. It is to this day that it is not clean but I’m telling you under the current Jimmy Hoffa, Jr., it’s night and day than it than it was when I was there. The other three unions, you don’t even hear about the laborers, you don’t even hear about the hotel and restaurant workers. I think they’re clean, I could be wrong about that, but I think they are clean. And the longshoremen, they are still struggling with that. But the civil thing, not just put them in jail.
Just like you can take over a prison and bring it up to standard. Or take over a hospital and bring it up to standard. Or take over a school and desegregate it, bring it up to standard. You can through civil RICO takeover a union or any other business that is mob-dominated and clean it up civilly as well as criminally. That ‘s a remarkable piece of legislation that’s changed the nature of the game. So when you Senator Hruska…. When you make the point, and you gentleman have, that the tools were innovative then and remain effective today. Absolutely. If you don’t pay attention it will come back. We can’t do away with poverty and human frailty, but the tools still work. It’s a lot like garbage collection. Nobody expects to eliminate garbage. Everybody knows, but if you don’t clean it up it will build up. Organized crime control or any other kind of crime control. It’s just like garbage collection. Don’t expect it to be perfect. Know that if you don’t do it, don’t get people off the street that should be off the street…A small number of people commit most of the crime in this country. Not everybody. Identify them and take them off the street. Put them in prison so they don’t hurt other people. We’re running out of time. We could go on for a long time on this so we’re going to end our discussion. We have at the end the third of the national network’s coverage, and I just want to chat with you for a minute. I think some day we do a forum on the news coverage that existed at the time because there’s such a dramatic difference between what’s going on. This is going to be in NBC with David Brinkley, and remember back with Dan Rather, they told you about the bill and they show the President’s signature in his comment afterward. With CBS, that was CBS. With ABC they didn’t tell you much about the bill but they gave you a long segment of the President’s speech. This is NBC. David Brinkley is going to tell you about the bill. They are going to show a long segment of the President’s speech and then the signature and a little bit at the end. But I want to explain what’s going on so you can enjoy this with me. The President is speaking from a stand up microphone, there’s no podium, there’s no notes, you’ll notice David Brinkley when he’s talking he’s looking down and he’s got notes like I had when I was on the podium. The President doesn’t have that and there’s no teleprompter. He is concentrating on what he is saying he’s trying to make the point with words and he’s working on it, he is concentrating so much there’s almost no gestures. This is not a glib presentation this is a very serious item, serious issue and serious President. When he signs the bill, the talking points are over and the formal part of the presentation is over. And he turns and he shoves the bill at John Mitchell and J. Edgar Hoover and that’s ad libbed. That’s not planned. “Here’s the tool, go to work.” And only then Nixon turns back to the camera and you get the politician’s smile. I happen to remember this very distinctly. It’s the difference in the President seriously trying to communicate and then the pressure being off. There ‘s one other thing to watch. You can see Mitchell in the background, and it’s so intriguing because he’s bored. He’s not speaking. And I am reminded of Nancy Reagan… She would take a seat. She would look longingly and lovingly at her husband. She’s never let the smile go from her face. But watch Mitchell. Here we go. “Now there’s some new Federal laws on crime meant to deal with the Mafia and organized crime and whoever it is setting off bombs all over the country. For one thing, it sets the death penalty for any bomber causing a death and allows the FBI to work on bombings on college campuses. On organized crime, it is now illegal to use racket money to set up a legal business as the Mafia frequently does and a judge may now give an extra 25 years in prison to certain adults classified as dangerous offenders. Presumably that would be professional gangsters. President Nixon signed the bill today with J. Edgar Hoover there beside him. Last week, we saw bombings in California… We saw one in Cambridge, Massachusetts … it seems every day.. we see some sporadic incident without reason, without cause, simply a terrorist activity which we have not been able to cope with adequately in the past. We, in this country, are not going to tolerate that kind of activity in the future. The full force of the Federal Government and particularly of the Federal Bureau of Investigation will be brought against these actions wherever there is a Federal interest. This bill will help it will allow the FBI to move into cases on a positive basis where previously they have been able to do so only when asked to do so by the local law enforcement officials. I think that, at this time, to point out that the actions of the FBI in apprehending Angela Davis… again in the long history of remarkable stories of apprehensions by the FBI, is an indication that once the Federal government through the FBI moves into an area, this is a warning… By signing this bill we are going to give the tools to the men in the Justice Department and the men in the FBI and we shall see to it that those who engage in such terroristic acts will be brought to justice. (signing, applause)
Gentleman I give you the tools , you do the job. We will. And that concludes today’s forum. I want to thank everybody for coming. I enjoy doing these tremendously and today’s was particularly good because I think you got rare insight into what was going on behind scenes and behind the documents. If you have watched this forum, please look for our study guide and thank you again for coming.