Tuesday, July 22, 2008

New suit seeks FBI papers withheld from Congress

Carlos Marcello (1910-1993)

Gregory Scarpa (1928-1994)

A new suit is being filed seeking information from the FBI concerning longtime New Orleans crime boss Carlos Marcello, who died in 1993. This information was previously withheld from Congress during their investigation of the murder of JFK. It seems as if the FBI is also in violation of the JFK Records Act as all material relevant to the assassination of John F. Kennedy was to have been released to the JFK Review Board in the 1990's. Here are some excerpts from the Times' story:
"The lawsuit, filed in Federal District Court in Washington by the paralegal, Angela Clemente, asks the Federal Bureau of Investigation to make public any documents it may still hold related to the mobster, Gregory Scarpa Sr., who for nearly 30 years led a stunning double life as a hit man for the Colombo crime family and, in the words of the F.B.I, a “top echelon” informant for the bureau....In her suit, Ms. Clemente asked the bureau to release all papers connected to Mr. Scarpa (who died of AIDS in 1994 after receiving a blood transfusion), especially those related to Carlos Marcello, a New Orleans don suspected by some of having played a role in the Kennedy assassination on Nov. 22, 1963.
Ms. Clemente filed a Freedom of Information Act request for Mr. Scarpa’s file in April, and the F.B.I. acknowledged her request in a letter on June 9, saying that bureau officials would search their records for relevant papers. Ms. Clemente’s lawyer, James Lesar, said that the F.B.I. had not yet told her if it would release the file or not, but that under federal law, a lawsuit can be filed compelling the release of records 20 working days after such a letter is received....
In pursuing the Scarpa file and its potential to flesh out Mr. Marcello’s possible role in the Kennedy killing, Ms. Clemente is following a trail blazed in part by G. Robert Blakey, a professor of law at the University of Notre Dame who also served as the chief counsel and staff director to the House Select Committee on Assassinations, which from 1977 to 1979 investigated the killings of President Kennedy and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
While the Warren Commission said there was no link between Mr. Marcello and the president’s death, Mr. Blakey’s report to the House was considerably more circumspect, saying the F.B.I.’s “handling of the allegations and information about Marcello was characterized by a less than vigorous effort to investigate its reliability.”
Ms. Clemente is in possession of several heavily redacted papers from the Scarpa file, which suggest, however vaguely, she said, that Mr. Scarpa, who spied on numerous gangsters for the F.B.I., may also have spied on Mr. Marcello.
Professor Blakey, reached by phone at his office at Notre Dame on Monday, said he had seen the papers, adding that no matter what the unredacted versions might eventually reveal, he was convinced that he should have seen them 30 years ago, while conducting his Congressional investigation.
“The issue here is not what’s in them,” Professor Blakey said, “so much as that they seem to have held them back from me. I thought I had the bureau file on Marcello — now it turns out I didn’t, did I? So I’m not a small, I’m a major, supporter of what Angela is trying to do.”
This is the second time in a year that the FBI has suffered a major embarassment as a result of its relationship with Gregory "The Grim Reaper" Scarpa. In October of 2007 the Brooklyn D.A. dropped murder charges against a former FBI agent when it was learned that a mob moll had given contradictory testimony against the agent's involvement in Mafia hits. But the presiding judge blasted the FBI for its complete lack of ethics in its relationship with Scarpa.
""I was particularly struck by the testimony of Carmine Sessa, former Consigliere of the Colombo family and multiple murderer, and who testified that when he and his fellow mobsters were discussing the possibility that Greg Scarpa was an FBI informant, they ultimately discounted the idea, reasoning that it was impossible...that it would be antinomic for the FBI, charged with fighting crime, to employ as an informer a murderer as vicious and prolific as Greg Scarpa. Apparently, and sadly, organized crime attributed to the FBI a greater sense of probity than the FBI in fact possessed," wrote State Supreme Court Justice Gustin Reichbach.
"Not only did the FBI shield Scarpa from prosecution for his own crimes, they also actively recruited him to participate in crimes under their direction. That a thug like Scarpa would be employed by the federal government to beat witnesses and threaten them at gunpoint to obtain information regarding the deaths of civil rights workers in the south in the early 1960s is a shocking demonstration of the government's unacceptable willingness to employ criminality to fight crime. It is redolent of the current mindset of some in the government who argue that the practice of terror and torture can be freely employed against those the government claims are terrorists themselves: that it is permissible to make men scream in the name of national security. These are shortcuts that devalue legitimate police work, their yield is insignificant and the cost to the fundamental values they debase is enormous."


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