TESTIMONY OF RALPH SALERNO
Mr. SALERNO. I do.
Chairman STOKES. You may be seated. The Chair recognizes counsel for the committee, Mr. Gary Cornwell.
Mr. CORNWELL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Salerno, when did you first become a consultant on organized crime to this committee?
Mr. SALERNO. I began in late October or early November of last year.
Mr. CORNWELL. Prior to that time, what experience or training had you had with respect to organized crime?
Mr. SALERNO. I entered the New York City Police Department in mid-September of 1946. A planned 3-month program of training in the police academy was interrupted in November of 1946 when I became one of a small group of men who were interviewed and selected to be used in an undercover operation involving an organized crime assault which resulted in murder in New York City. From that time throughout the remaining 20 years that I spent with the New York City Police Department, my entire career I was engaged in investigations relating to organized crime.
Mr. CORNWELL. At the time of your retirement, what was your position?
Mr. SALERNO. I retired as a supervisor of detectives in the Central Investigation Bureau, which is the organized crime investigation unit of the New York City Police Department.
Mr. CORNWELL. During your tenure with the New York City Police Department, did you ever have an occasion to discuss organized crime with any underworld members?
Mr. SALERNO. Yes. That was something that during those years was a common occurrence. We would bring in people so involved into our office for conversations, discussions, interviews, if you will. We would interview them in the hallways of the courthouses, when there was a court appearance that we had caused to occur. We would talk to them in the street. We would talk to them in their neighborhoods, we would talk to them in their homes. So that I can say that literally I have had hundreds of such conversations.
Mr. CORNWELL. During that period did you have a chance to review conversations of such persons that may have been obtained by electronic surveillance?
Mr. SALERNO. Yes. The State of New York has had legal authority for the issuance of ex parte orders for electronic surveillance since 1939. That was a very useful technique which was widely used in the New York City Police Department during the 20 years that I have served.
Mr. CORNWELL. After the 20 years of experience investigating organized crime with the New York City Police Department, you retired in 1966. After that point, did you continue to be in any way involved with the subject matter of organized crime?
Mr. SALERNO. Yes; all of my professional work in the intervening 12 years has been with this subject. I worked largely as a consultant to various bodies. I did return to a more active role in 1973 and 1974. In those 2 years I became the chief racket investigator in the district attorney's office of New York County, one of the five in New York City, and I served in that capacity for 2 years. My remaining time has been as a consultant. Part of that time is given largely to the training of other law enforcement officers on all levels of government, through some 35 States of the United States and in four Canadian provinces, and in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. In addition to that, I have served as a consultant for government and nongovernment bodies addressing the subject of organized crime.
Mr. CORNWELL. Please give us a brief resume of the committees or commissions that you have served as a consultant at any time since 1966?
Mr. SALERNO. Yes, sir. I served as consultant to the President's Commission on Violence. My work there was a paper on the use of violence and fear in organized crime activities and matters. I was a consultant to the President's Commission on Campus Unrest. My work there dealt largely with police intelligence procedures and how they were utilized. I worked for the National Council on Crime and Delinquency from 1967 through 1969. In 1970 I spent a year consulting with the Hudson Institute in Westchester County, N.Y., which is a policy research center. My work there was as part of a study on the problem of narcotics in the State of New York. I spent 1976 as a consultant to the Citizens Campaign Against Bootlegged Cigarettes. My work there was in describing the problem caused by the almost total establishment of an illegal distribution system for smuggled or stolen, certainly untaxed, cigarettes and the invasion of the legitimate distribution network in that industry all along the eastern seaboard.
Mr. CORNWELL. In addition to your experiences as a consultant, have you ever qualified as an expert on organized crime in the courts?
Mr. SALERNO. Yes; I have been qualified as an expert for testimony in Federal courts, in the courts of some five States, and these have been in matters of criminal cases and in civil litigation. I have been accepted as an expert for testimony concerning organized crime in two Canadian provinces, the Province of Alberta and I have testified in the Province of Quebec.
Mr. CORNWELL. You also served at one time on the President's Crime Commission, is that correct?
Mr. SALERNO. Yes; I served on the Organized Crime Task Force of the President's Crime Commission while still a member of the New York City Police Department. That was in 1966.
Mr. CORNWELL. And in addition to testifying as an expert on organized crime in the various Federal and State courts you mentioned, have you ever testified on that subject before any legislative bodies?
Mr. SALERNO. Yes; more than one-half dozen times before legislative committees of the Congress of the United States, in both Houses. I have testified before legislative bodies of some 10 States.
Mr. CORNWELL. Would you simply name some of those?
Mr. SALERNO. Beg pardon?
Mr. CORNWELL. Would you simply identify some of those legislative bodies for us?
Mr. SALERNO. Yes, sir. While still with the New York City Police Department, three detectives and myself were assigned with the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, chaired by Senator John McClellan. Over a period of months we prepared for it a presentation on organized crime. The specific assignment that I had from the New York City Police Department was to look into all matters that would be revealed by Joseph Valachi in his testimony before that Senate committee. We were to independently investigate in an attempt to prove or disprove anything that he might have said that we could gather evidence concerning. I have also appeared before a committee chaired by Senator Smathers, which was looking into the problem of loansharking. I have appeared twice before House committees chaired by Mr. Dante Fascell. I appeared before the Crime Committee that was looking into organized crime, chaired by Mr. Pepper. I have appeared in legislative bodies in the States of Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, California, Indiana, and Ohio.
Mr. CORNWELL. Have you ever written any books or articles on this subject?
Mr. SALERNO. Yes; I wrote a book which was entitled, "The Crime Confederation," published by Doubleday in 1969. The subtitle of that book is "La Cosa Nostra and Other Allied Operations in Organized Crime." I have done a number of magazine articles for public press as well as for professional journals.
Mr. CORNWELL. Mr. Salerno, this committee has received evidence from and concerning Carlos Marcello and Santos Trafficante. Are you familiar with those individuals?
Mr. SALERNO. Yes; I am familiar with them and I have been for some 21 years.
Mr. CORNWELL. The committee, in part, has received testimony of Mr. Trafficante. For example, among his testimony, he stated that he did not know Jack Ruby or Lee Harvey Oswald, and his testimony, although not directly but at least indirectly, perhaps, bore on the question of whether or not he or his associates may have had the motive or opportunity or means to assassinate the President. Would you tell us whether or not you have any information which might shed light upon the questions that we just noted?
Mr. SALERNO. Yes. I think I have a considerable amount of evidence for this committee to consider in trying to evaluate both method, means, all three--methods, means or certainly motive on the part of Mr. Trafficante or people known to be associated with him ....
Mr. CORNWELL. Tell us what you know about those two individuals which might shed some light upon that subject.
Mr. SALERNO. Well, I indicated that I became aware of Mr. Trafficante some 21 years ago. That particular occurrence was one that took place in the State of New York on November 14, 1957, which I note is the eve of Mr. Trafficante's birthday. He gave it as November 15. At that time, the New York State Police discovered a meeting of a large number of people, some 63 were actually identified at that time. The people involved knew that they had not completely identified all of the people present. If I may, I would like to make use of an exhibit at this time to be able to discuss the Apalachin meeting with you.
Mr. CORNWELL. May we have JFK exhibit F-547A displayed?
Mr. Chairman, may we have JFK F-547A admitted into the record at this time?
Chairman STOKES. Without objection, it may be entered into the record. [JFK exhibit F-547A follows:]
JFK EXHIBIT F-547A
Mr. SALERNO. That is a map of the United States, Mr. Cornwell, which indicates the areas from which people who were known to have artended came from--northern California, southern California, State of Arizona, the Rocky Mountain State of Colorado, Missouri, Dallas, Tex., Tampa, Fla., the Middle West, the New England States, the Middle Atlantic States, so that quite candidly it can be labeled a national meeting. At that time, a great deal of attention was given to it, in an analysis of what was there in an attempt to try to discover why they might have been there. Many of the people who were there fit the phrase "known to the police." They had criminal arrest records, they had criminal conviction records. That record since that time, 21 years ago, has become even more extensive, and I think it is a fair characterization today to say that there is very little doubt that that was a national underworld meeting. One of the people identified at the location in Apalachin, N.Y., had given the name of Louie Santos and he gave an address of a hotel in Havana. In trying to pursue exactly who this person was, two of the officers of the New York State Police made an identification of Mr. Santos Trafficante from photographs of him as being the person who had given the name of Louie Santos. So that we can then see that he has associated with all of the people who were there. People such as Vito Genovese, a man who died in a Federal prison in the 9th year of a 15-year term for dealing in heroin. Mr. Carmine Galante was at that meeting. He was sentenced to 15 years for dealing in heroin.
Mr. John Ormento, who was at that meeting, is still serving a 40-year sentence for dealing in heroin. Mr. Trafficante, in his testimony today, indicated that he was a partner of Joseph Stassi in a casino in Havana. Mr. Stassi has been sentenced to Federal prison for dealing in heroin. Mr. Trafficante here, in his testimony, acknowledges a long-time friendship over a period of years, one in which the people involved could have great confidence in themselves with Sam Giancana. Mr. Sam Giancana has been the victim of a homicide and has been killed. Mr. Trafficante indicated in his testimony here this morning that he knew John Roselli, that he had dinner with that gentleman 3 weeks before he was killed, his body dismembered and stuffed into an oil drum and thrown into the sea only to come up in Biscayne Bay. My unit in the New York City Police Department on September 22, 1966, interrupted a luncheon in a restaurant known as Stella in queens County, N.Y. Mr. Marcello was present at that luncheon. Mr. Trafficante was present at that luncheon. I would like to at this time introduce an exhibit of the seating arrangement of that particular meeting, if I may.
Mr. CORNWELL. I would like to use that exhibit. I would like to have you describe that in more detail in a moment. Let me ask you before we go to the exhibit, if we might, you have indicated this was the point in time in which your attention was focused upon Mr. Trafficante.
Mr. Chairman, I request JFK exhibit F-619, a photograph of Mr. Trafficante, be entered into the record.
Chairman STOKES. Without objection, so ordered. [JFK exhibit F-619 follows:]
JFK EXHIBIT F-619
Mr. CORNWELL. What subsequently; did you determine to be the nature of Mr. Trafficante's relationships with these kinds of people that you have just named?
Mr. SALERNO. Certainly his presence with them classifies him as an associate of such persons. He goes into business with them in a gambling casino. He will be in New York quite some distance from his home with an interesting assemblage of people that we know a great deal about. He is at an underworld meeting, a national underworld meeting in New York so that we came, in the New York City Police Department, to certainly agree with diverse other law enforcement agencies that Mr. Trafficante was an organized crime leader, the leader of a criminal organization in the State of Florida.
Mr. CORNWELL. You state that he is the leader of an organized crime organization in Florida. Before we go further, would you tell us what that term means in the context that you have used it? What is organized crime?
Mr. SALERNO. Organized crime sometimes has many different meanings to different people. There have been some successful attempts in some legal definitions of the phrase "organized crime." The Congress of the United States, in the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970, very clearly defined what would be considered Federal violations of law in terms of organized crime gambling. In that instance, the Congress set forth the standard of five or more people being involved, the volume of the gambling reaching or exceeding $2,000 per day and requiring that evidence show that the particular gambling operation was in existence for 30 days or more. That is organized crime gambling in its legal definition. In one professional conference that I have attended, organized crime was described as a self-perpetuating, continuing criminal conspiracy for profit and for power using fear and corruption and seeking immunity from law. I think one of the best ways to describe organized crime or to have it understood is in a way that was described by scholars at Cornell Law School, in an institute where prosecutors from around the United States are trained. In that instance, they set forth three ways in which organized crime can manifest itself and be recognized. The descriptions given are: Organized crime as a venture; organized crime as an enterprise; organized crime as a syndicate. And the different ways in which. the manifestation comes are these: An organized crime enterprise is a day-to-day, ongoing business that is illegal in its nature because it is supplying some illegal service or some illegal product. Two examples of that would be a sizable gambling operation that would meet the Federal definition as legally defined on a day-today basis. Offering the illegal service of accepting wagers, a group of criminals who would conspire to do so on an ongoing basis, supply narcotics to procure it, to cut it down to a street level quantity and then enter it into a distribution system. That would be an organized crime enterprise. Organized crime can also involve itself as a syndicate, a criminal syndicate. As a syndicate, organized crime will exercise various forms of control which are not unlike those of Government. They will set standards. The payoff price on the numbers shall be this and it shall not be higher and it shall not be lower and they impose that standard on their own group and on others in an area where they exercise a sphere of influence. They will collect taxes, if you will, although the legal definition of that collection of taxes would be extortion, but they are playing a quasi-government role. You can also have an organized crime venture, a single occurrence which, per se, is not organized crime. Bank robbery. Not every bank robbery can be described as organized crime; but where the members of an organized crime syndicate will either inspire, will set the plans for and then participate in the profits from that bank robbery, that particular bank robbery would be an organized crime venture. I think, Mr. Cornwell, I have an even better example for you of an organized crime venture. When Mr. Trafficante joined with Mr. Giancana and joined with Mr. Roselli and joined with representatives in the CIA in a plot to kill Premier Castro, that was an organized crime venture, a single occurrence.
Mr. CORNWELL. Which of the types of organized crime that you just described is it that Santos Trafficante and Carlos Marcello are associated with?
Mr. SALERNO. They are leaders of an organized crime syndicate, each of them, in their home areas. I have some evidence that I would like to offer you now. This is a conversation that was overheard in which Mr. Santos Trafficante was involved and upon which no questions to him have been based. This was found in the FBI file which now is labeled, La Cosa Nostra file. The conversation took place in a restaurant in Florida in 1963 and the quote of Mr. Trafficante reads thus: Let me tell you this. This is what happens to me. Now, I don't give a (obscene) about the S. & G. I know when I'm beat, you understand? I got a numbers office in Orlando. They grab everybody, forty or fifty people. Forty or Fifty thousand in bond. They have no evidence, but when they get through, it costs thousands. I got another office in St. Cloud, Fla. You can't even find St. Cloud on the (obscene) map, but the (obscene)"G" found it. Kennedy's right-hand man, he goes through the (obscene) nigger town. Must have been 2,000 niggers, and makes a (obscene) big raid over there. Just a start, any (obscene) place that they found a phone connection in there from Tampa. * * *
Mr. Trafficante in that conversation is describing his interest in an organized crime enterprise.
Mr. CORNWELL. What, if any, real evidence is there that the syndicate that you say Marcello and Trafficante run in their respective areas, exists much less that they are members of it.
Mr. SALERNO. I think at this date the evidence is overwhelming. It is certainly more than sufficient to convince the prudent man that we speak of in legal and court terminology. I think in order to give you an understanding of that, I just have to dip back for a moment, briefly, into history. The particular criminal syndicates that Mr. Marcello and Mr. Trafficante belong to are syndicates which have set a requirement that membership shall be limited to people who are of Italian extraction on both sides of their lineage. In sociological studies that have been made, we do note that the overwhelming majority of population, immigrants who have come to the United States from Italy, came from the southern part of that nation. That's the agricultural part of the nation, the more economically deprived. So that's where we got most of our Italian population. I think there is a very long and a very clear record that many of those people made great contributions to their new country, the United States. Unfortunately, in mass migration of that type, some people will come in who have a criminal background. We know historically from scholarly studies, that in the southern part of Italy, three secret criminal societies exist in the area around Naples, it had the name of Camora, in what is the heel and the toe of the Italian boot, if you look at a map of Italy. That is the region of Calabria. They had a similar criminal organization very closely akin to the Camora. It had the name of the Honored Society, although the Italian police today will refer to that organization back there in Italy as the Calabrian Mafia today. The word Mafia itself was the name given to criminal societies on the island of Sicily. Some of these people connected with those societies came into the United 387 States. They began to continue their criminal career. It is almost natural that their first victims were their own fellow Italian immigrants. There's an apocryphal story of the son of one such being accused of that fact, that his father had victimized his own fellow Italian immigrants. His response is said to have been, "Well, of course it had to have been that way. My father didn't know how to say stick um up in English. Who else could he rob? One of the things that played a role, one of the things that played an important role, I believe was the national prohibition era. It called for the expansion in the number of people who would be required to either help import, to manufacture, to distribute and sell so that those Italian immigrants were widely accepted by like criminals who had come from other backgrounds, whether they were Jewish gangs or the Irish gangs that we have established existed back in that time period. In his testimony in 1963, Joseph Valachi told us that at the end of the prohibition era, in the years 1930 and 1931, among the diverse Italian groups, there were differences that resulted in gang wars, but certainly by 1932, they had all joined together in a single Italian segment for organized crime. Therefore, it's technically, perhaps, incorrect to use the word Mafia. Some people hold that that can only be applied to Sicilians. The group has others than Sicilians in it and that is the organization that the FBI has documented is now called La Cosa Nostra. I would like to point out, I have a copy of an affidavit that was sworn to by an FBI man in the courts of Ohio just last year in December of 1977. This affidavit by special agent Michael Kehoe was one of a number that were filed in court proceedings which resulted in convictions for homicide. The sworn document indicates very clearly that that particular organized crime syndicate as still being extant in the area surrounding Cleveland, I am sorry to say, Mr. Stokes. There are a series of killings there in a gang war, and he indicates terminology and facts, indicating that what I have been describing to you is still something that is current. I suggest perhaps, Mr. Cornwell, I can make that part of the record.
Mr. CORNWELL We have a copy of that marked for identification as JFK exhibit F-553, Mr. Chairman. May we have that entered into the record at this time?
Chairman STOKES. Without objection, it may be entered into the record at this time. [JFK exhibit F-553 was marked for identification and entered into the record.]
JFK EXHIBIT F-553
Mr. CORNWELL. Much of what you told us, Mr. Salerno, relates to the prohibition era, which, of course, we may be familiar with from television, Al Capone, Elliot Ness, that sort of thing. You also mentioned the FBI just last year filed an affidavit indicating the existence then of the same phenomenon. However, we are most interested in the 1960's, the early 1960's. What evidence is there during that period that the La Cosa Nostra was a viable entity?
Mr. SALERNO. Well, the Apalachin meeting that I mentioned certainly raised some 1,000 questions in the minds of the public, the press, in the minds of the police and in the minds of other Government officials. I think in the 20 years since that occurrence we have answered many of those questions. One of the reactions that took place in Government as a result of the Apalachin meet ing was a reaction within the FBI. At the suggestion of Mr. Clyde Tolson, Director Hoover commissioned their research unit to prepare two monographs, one on the Mafia in Sicily; the second on the Mafia within the United States.
Mr. Hoover also caused to be created within the FBI something that came to be known as the top hoodlum program. The first targets were the people at the Apalachin meeting, but it was not restricted to them; it was expanded to include many of their criminal associates. That was an ongoing program in which the various field offices of the FBI throughout the United States were required to assign personnel to keep abreast of these criminals, their activities, of course, with a point of view of possible prosecution, but certainly with an intelligence gathering operation to find out more about them, what they were doing and what could be done about it.
Mr. CORNWELL. By 1963, had the FBI reached any conclusions as to the scope of La Cosa Nostra on a national level?
Mr. SALERNO. Yes; very definitely. The top hoodlum program in 1961 with the advent of the Kennedy administration under the leadership of Robert Kennedy as the Attorney General, somewhat escalated programs throughout the Department of Justice and in other Federal agencies. In the files of the FBI, you will note that it is at that time period where the top hoodlum program becomes something else, it is then labeled the criminal intelligence program. There is in the file under the date of June 21, 1961, a directive from Mr. Hoover to 10 field offices of the FBI to create special squads where the total assignments of the agents will be to the development of informants, people who can tell them about this particular criminal organization. The FBI had, under its top hoodlum program in 1959, begun the installation of some electronic surveillances. The files of the FBI reflect that on such an electronic surveillance where the target was Sam Giancana in Chicago that he is making some reference back to this Apalachin meeting. He indicates that there is in existence a small control group that establishes policy and makes decisions. The electronic surveillance indicates that he, himself, is a member of that group. He uses the term "the commission," to describe that group. He names a number of other people who have membership in the commission. That caused the opening of a file in the FBI which was initially labeled "The Commission, et al." That is the same file that I have made reference to under its current title La Cosa Nostra file. That file was begun in 1959. So we have some 20 years of evidence gathering, a great deal of escalation, more electronic surveillances in 1961 than there may have been prior to that. Certainly the application of greater resources of manpower are manifest in the files of the FBI. Confidential sources of information in FBI files are labeled by numbers, CH-T-1. CH designates the field office of Chicago. T-1 would be an important and principal source of information in that file in the Chicago area. You can see a great expansion of the T numbers, the number of sources that the FBI is getting information from in that file expands greatly in 1961. So that by 1963, the FBI has a very complete and a very accurate picture of who is doing what and where. they are doing it. I would suggest to you, and for the consideration of this committee, that the picture that the FBI had and could have in 1963 is greater than that which we probably have today.
Mr. CORNWELL. You have caused an exhibit to be made so that you can illustrate the conclusions that the FBI had reached by 1963; is that correct?
Mr. SALERNO Yes; I do.
Mr. CORNWELL. We have marked that as JFK exhibit F-547B for identification-May we have that displayed and admitted into the record at this time, Mr. Chairman?
Chairman STOKES. Without objection, it may be entered into the record. [JFK exhibit F-547B was marked for identification and entered into the record.]
JFK EXHIBIT F-547B
Mr. SALERNO. Mr. Cornwell, could we have the other one the La Stella meeting?
Mr. CORNWELL. May we have JFK exhibit F-550 also admitted into the record at this time?
Chairman STOKES. Without objection, it will be entered into the record at this point. [JFK exhibit F-550 was admitted into the record.]
JFK EXHIBIT F-550
Mr. CORNWELL. Perhaps, Mr. Salerno, if you could, would you explain what conclusions the FBI came to by 1963 based upon the extensive program of surveillance, physical, and electronic that you just described?
Mr. SALERNO. Yes; this is the map of the United States. The various locations show where the FBI established that organized crime families, which is the term used for the particular subdivisions within this criminal syndicate and representing in themselves criminal. syndicates. The people whose names and photographs appear across the top are the people serving on the control body known as the commission in 1963. Thomas Lucchese in New York City; Joseph Zerilli in Detroit, Raymond Patriarca in Providence; Joseph Bonnano of New York City; Stefano Maggadino of Buffalo; Carlo Gambino of New York City; Sam Giancana of Chicago; Vito Genovese of New York City; and Mr. Trafficante's associate, Angelo Bruno of Philadelphia. The other photos are those of family leaders. You will note Mr. Carlos Marcello here in New Orleans. Mr. Santos Trafficante given as the leader of La Cosa Nostra family in Tampa. I call to your attention the fact. that every one of the areas represented at the Apalachin meeting is an area from whence they came.
Mr. Cerrito of San Jose is known to have been at the Apalachin meeting. Mr. Licata's predecessor in Los Angeles, De Simone, was at that meeting. Mr. Colletti of Colorado was at that meeting. Mr. Civella of Kansas City was at that meeting. Mr. Civello of Dallas was at that meeting. Mr. Giardano of St. Louis was at that meeting. Mr. Marcello was not identified as being at that meeting. Later FBI intelligence indicates that he was represented in that instance by his brother whose photograph is on the next exhibit.
Mr. Trafficante, using the name of Louis Santos was at that meeting. Mr. Scalish was at that meeting. Mr. La Rocca was at that meeting. Mr. Bufalino was at that meeting. Mr. Colombo's predecessor, dead by 1963, was at that meeting. Mr. Bruno's predecessor, Joseph Ida of Philadelphia was at that meeting, but shortly thereafter he couldn't take the heat and he decided to get out of the kitchen and moved to Italy for permanent residence, therefore, making a seat open and Mr. Bruno succeeded him in that position.
Mr. Genovese was at that meeting. Mr. Giancana described his attendance at that meeting; Mr. Gambino was at that meeting; Mr. Maggadino of Buffalo, although that is some distance from Apalachin, N.Y., his sphere of influence reaches there and he was considered to be the host of that particular meeting. Mr. Bonnano was at that meeting. Mr. Patriarca was at that meeting. Mr. Zerilli never got to the meeting. He got as far as Binghamton, N.Y., where the FBI established that he rented an automobile. It was his drivers license that was used, it was his signature that rented the automobile. He probably heard of the aborting of the meeting while en route and did not return to Binghamton but returned the car to a Hertz office in Brooklyn and then went back home. So there is no question that it is this organization that was having a meeting back in 1957, by 1963, that's an established fact that I don't consider debatable. They established that there were families, that this was the ruling body of the commission, that those families that do not have a leader who is on the commission can have their interests represented for them before the commission. The Milwaukee family, Madison Rockford are really considered to be satellites to the Chicago organization. So it is the leader from Chicago who would represent their interests. On the far west coast we know that the southern California family would be represented on the commission through Mr. Lucchese; San Francisco and San Jose represented on the commission by Mr. Bonnano. The FBI's knowledge was very very, very complete. Their establishment of the group, hierarchical structure and methodology was complete. I mentioned the La Stella restaurant. I would like to point out for the committee that the seating arrangement here-there were, of course. no seating cards on that luncheon table--yet, the seating arrangement is formal as it could be if the Chief of Protocol for the State Department had, in fact, put place cards there. Mr. Mike Miranda is at the top---
Mr. CORNWELL. Mr. Salem before you tell us about the particular seating arrangement. the committee may not be familiar with the background of that meeting and how it was discovered and the extent it was discovered. Would you just give them a brief background?
Mr. SALERNO. I think that meeting was discovered and how it was discovered is a very fine example of good police intelligence work. Mr. Lucchese one of the leaders of one of the five families located in the city of New York had been stricken and taken ill. We were able to learn that the prognosis was very bad for him, that he had an inoperable brain cancer and could not be expected to live more than 3 to 6 months, which turned out to be the case in fact. The assignment given within my unit was "OK, if what we believe is true and he is in fact, the leader of a Cosa Nostra family, what should happen next?"( We felt that we could determine that some people would have to do different things, the people who ordinarily, the very limited number of people who would meet with and report to the family) (leader would now have to report to someone else. So one intelligence target was who will that next person be. And we were able to come up with a very well educated guess which, over a period of years was a sound one. We established that Mr. Carmine Tramunti would be the leader of that family. I might add Mr. Tramunti is now in Federal prison doing a 15-year term for dealing in heroin. The second prognosis that was made, the projection from analysis was that if, as the FBI and other law enforcement agencies had determined, that the methodology is that when one family leader passes on or is no longer the family leader, that the person who will be nominated from within his family group must have the advice and consent of this board before that nomination is, in fact, confirmed, that there would have to be a meeting of top leadership people in La Cosa Nostra. What we did in the New York City Police Department was target several people who would most likely attend such a meeting. One of them was the host here, Mike Miranda. He was at that time one of the troika who was minding the store for Vito Genovese doing time for heroin. We decided to watch Mike. It was while we were in the process of doing that, that we saw him go to this restaurant. We saw Mr. Carlo Gambino arrive with an associate, Joseph Gallo. Fortunately, one of the young officers assigned to that had seen Mr. Trafficante on one occasion and knew him by sight. When he saw an out of town leader he immediately did what all good cops do, you call the boss and find out what you should do. We contacted the prosecutor who indicated that he had a current matter before a grand jury where these people could very well offer some evidence or advice to the deliberations of that grand jury. He instructed us to bring them all in so that they could be made material witnesses, and that was done. I recall that the court fixed the sum of $100,000 bail for each of the 13, and a bail bondsman came in in very short order and posted $1.3 million bail. He was asked to inform the court for the record what collateral, if any, he had obtained and he said that he was out on the limb for $1.3 million on the basis of their promise topay.
Mr. CORNWELL. So after feeling there must have been a meeting coming, you went to the restaurant and you found the individuals inside seated in a pattern that is demonstrated by the exhibit?
Mr. SALERNO. Exactly as it is shown here, he is an acting family leader and was the host, so he sits at the top of the table. Those people on his immediate right and left, Carlos Marcello, Santos Trafficante, Tommy Eboli, Joseph Columbo, Carlo Gambino are family leaders. It would appear those on the next level of hierarchy sit at the other end of the table. This is Anthony Carolla. In all likelihood he is the person who would pick up the check. The bosses never pay when these people get together. It is always the henchmen. This man is the underboss to Carlo Gambino. This man is the counselor to Carlo Gambino. Those peers are sitting together here. This is Anthony Carolla and a complaint that he might have had with Mr. Marcello is one of the best educated guesses as to the reason for the meeting. This gentleman is from New Orleans and this is Mr. Marcello's brother. Dominick Alongi usually drives Tommy Eboli. He is probably here because he is Frank Gagliano's cousin and this is an opportunity for him to reunite.
Mr. CORNWELL. You told us what the conclusions were of the FBI by 1963 as to the national configuration of the Cosa Nostra, and you told us that the conclusions appear to you to be very reliable, having been based on physical and electronic surveillance. Would you tell us in more detail what the nature of that electronic surveillance was?
Mr. SALERNO. Yes, sir. In the staff work that was done for the committee we know that the electronic surveillance was national in scope. We know that there were electronic surveillances in the State of California. We know that there were electronic surveillances in the Middle West. We know that there were electronic surveillances in New England and a great many in the New York and New Jersey areas, as well as the one that I read to you, which shows coverage of some kind in the State of Florida. The electronic surveillance was national in scope. There is a development of live informants, that program became known as the TE informants--top echelon informants. I have been able to determine from my analysis of the records in which it is indicated that a top echelon informant would be considered to be a person who was in fact himself a member of the organization. So that the FBI was able in a relatively short period of time to "turn around" people, was the professional expression used, and their information was coming from directly within the organization by people who were themselves members. In addition to that, I think we would add that. the FBI maintained liaison with other Federal agencies that had interests in these individuals and the many local police departments, so that there was an accumulation of a great deal of data upon which they could establish their findings.
Mr. CORNWELL. With respect to the electronic surveillances, are you aware of any official statement that the Department of Justice or the FBI had made concerning the scope and use of an electronic surveillance during that period?
Mr. SALERNO. Yes, sir. I have an excerpt from a submission that was made by the Department of Justice in a legal matter. The case was Black v. The United States, which was being heard by the Supreme Court. At that time, it was indicated in a memorandum filed by the Department of Justice, I am quoting now: Under departmental practice in effect for a period of years prior to 1963, and continuing into 1965, the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation was given authority. to approve the installation of devices such as that in the question for intelligence and not evidentiary purposes, when required in the interests of internal security, including organized crime kidnappings and matters wherein human life might be at stake.
Mr. CORNWELL. You told us about the extent of the surveillance and the conclusions of the FBI, but more specifically, is there direct evidence which was obtained from the surveillance which would specifically confirm the existence of La Cosa Nostra during the time period?
Mr. SALERNO. Yes; I think what was then a unique occurrence that took place in 1963, enabled us in our research work to see that very clearly. In April of 1963, there was a member of the Carlo Gambino La Cosa Nostra family named Carmine Lombardozzi. His father had passed away, and as was not unusual in those days, law enforcement people were going to cover the wake and the funeral to see what kind of intelligence they might gather from who came, who opened the car door for whom, who jumped up and gave his seat to the other guy, and that type of thing. As the funeral cortege was entering the church for appropriate services, one FBI man, who was present on the scene, with an attache case, that was in fact a camera, was assaulted by two young men, or three young men, who broke from the funeral cortege. The FBI man was assaulted while he lay on the ground with both fists and feet. His weapon was taken from him and the youths joined the group of people walking into the church. There were some negotiations with the pastor of that church and he asked for 10 minutes to look into the matter and he came out with the FBI man's pistol, which was returned to proper authority. That occurrence was rather unique. It seems to be a break in well-established, understood, though never spoken or written rules. The rule seemed to be between law enforcement and people in organized crime that we were all total Professionals and that no feelings were to be personalized. Therefore, law enforcement involved in that field would consider it an abrogation of the rules if some personal animosity were directed at themselves, members of their family, and organized crime expected the same thing. They expected their wives and their children not to be bothered in any way by law enforcement unless they were engaged in criminal activity. That was a detente. It was an understanding which seemed to have been broken. That was a matter of some concern to people in the FBI and other law enforcement people, that were aware of the thing. What followed I think we can get right from the lips of people involved in organized crime. I have three electronic surveillances which will indicate what resulted therefrom, and more important, it will show you a communications network around the United States. That single occurrence and what followed is going to be described to you now from three electronic surveillances, one in Brooklyn, one in the city of Philadelphia, and one as far away as Buffalo. I think this is a good time to put into the record the caveat that in looking at electronic surveillances one must deal with them professionally. You just have to understand that it is human beings talking. Some human beings brag, some human beings will escalate a story in the retelling. You will see that happening here in one instance. So I think there has to be a great deal of care, caution, and responsibility exhibited in reviewing electronic surveillances of this type. The first was from an electronic surveillance pursuant to a court order which was executed by the members of the New York City Police Department in May 1963. The occurrence had taken place in the third week of April. This is within a matter of weeks. The people involved, Peter Ferara, who was a Capo, and the Carlo Gambino LCN family, and Michael Scandifia, who at that time is an acting Capo.
MIKE. He was told specifically * * *
PETE. To come and see me?
MIKE. You're a captain. No, they don't want to come to you. They don't want to come to you to embarrass you with your daughter.
PETE. Who did they tell that to?
MIKE. They told that to Freddy.
MIKE. They don't want to embarrass you. Three of them called. To him. They said, "We don't want to go to Petey Pumps, we don't want to embarrass him with his daughter."
PETE. They already did.
MIKE. They already went to you * * * er * * * this week * * * this is the bullshit.
MIKE. They don't want to give you no * * * in other words, they are telling you they don't want to embarrass you. In other words, they won't go to the convent. Well, I would say, right now, they are giving you the zing. You want us to go to the convent? You want us to embarrass you? Well, then, see that the right thing is done.
MIKE. Actually, what it boils down to, they're looking to use a stick. "But now we'll go on midnight raids. We'll do this, we'll do that, we'll do the other thing. You're a Captain. You belong to Carl's Family".
PETE. Well, previous to that he hands me Carlo's picture. "You know him?" I said, "Sure I know him". "How long you know him?" "I know him twenty, thirty years".
MIKE. They didn't expect you to say nothing.
PETE. "Can you tell us anything about him?" "The only thing I could tell you about him is that he is a business man, been in business all his life. Brought up four kids. They had a good education. They're all in business. They all went to college and married a profession. I said, what else could you ask for? He's got a nice family". See what they do * * * they want to get a message through. I mean get a messagethrough someplace. There's no question about it.
MIKE. They want to put the heat on you, me.
MIKE. Because here's the proof of it. They've gone to every Captain.
MIKE. And they call them "Captains". One guy said "Foreman" And the other guy said "Capo Regina". I mean they're going right to each head. To the head of everybody they're going to. But for them to say this, when he told me this, I said "Jimmy, I think he already saw them".
MIKE. "I think he already saw them" I said. Now to put the heat on him to go to his daughter, I said, this don't make sense to me. I said, "Where the (obscene) does this come into the picture?" Now they don't want to embarrass you.
PETE. What are they going to embarrass me for? What can they do? Go up there?
MIKE. Well, God forbid! They can't * * * they can't throw her out.
MIKE. They couldn't throw Albert's brother out. How are they going to throw her out?
PETE. Nah. They can't throw her out.
MIKE. Embarrassment, that your daughter is a nun. I mean, Jesus Christ! it's supposed to be an honor.
PETE. They can't do nothing. They won't do nothing.
MIKE. Dirty (obscene)! Now that they bring out everything Pete, the Cosa Nostra is a wide open thing.
MIKE. It's an open book.
PETE. It's an open book.
MIKE. Pete, you know as well as I do, familiarity with anything whatsoever breeds contempt. We've had nothing but familiarity with our Cosa Nostra * * * if it brings up sides what the hell are we supposed to do? I only know one thing Pete. The Cosa Nostra is the Cosa Nostra. You just do what the (obscene) bosses tell you!
JFK EXHIBIT F-548
Mr. SALERNO. This is an example representative of an organized crime family. The positions that I have named for you are shown. The boss at the very top. The second in command is the underboss or sottocappo. The counselor is not in the direct chain of command. He is an adviser. He is usually an older member. To a large extent, he is an historian. He will base his advice on things that happened in the past, whether they worked out well or not. While he is supposed to advise and be available to any member of the family, the fact of the matter de facto comes out that he is usually a very close friend of the boss and most of the advice he gives is to the boss's advantage rather than anyone else. The next level of command are the lieutenants, captains, and the anglicized word taken from caporegime. Then you have the individual units of soldiers who are governed by a capo. The interesting thing here is that all of the soldiers are not of equal importance, 430 all of the soldiers do not have the same kind of income. It is entirely dependent upon their own abilities to create and to get involved in illegal activity. One soldier may simply have as his income a sinecure. He has a job with a construction company and he couldn't find the offices of the construction company or any building sites, but he gets a check which keeps him. The next soldier in an alphabetical listing might very well be a multimillionaire who would have 20, 40, or 50 people working for him in different operations. So that beyond soldier, it goes out of the family or parallel to the family and they can have associates who are not necessarily of Italian origin. They can be of any race or color or religious affiliation. They will participate in violence and threats in many types of activities, in labor racketeering, to intimidate legitimate industry, they may invest in legitimate industry, they have illegal activities, gambling, narcotics, loan sharking, are always on such a laundry list and there will also be a constant methodology of attempting to corrupt police, prosecutors, any person in government who might be harmful to them or helpful to them if his efforts can be negated.
Mr. CORNWELL. What, if any, is the purpose for the layering or number of positions between the boss and the ultimate activities that are affected by organized crime at the bottom of the chart?
Mr. SALERNO. Well, this was stated in his testimony by Joseph Valachi and is confirmed by everything that law enforcement people have been able to find. The real main purpose for this hierarchical structure is to protect the boss. All of the responsibility, all of the risk in the activities flows down from the boss and the farther away he can get from the illegal activities that are committed down here, the less likely anyone is to get evidence which can be used in a court of law and convict him of a violation of law. So the responsibility and the risk is all down here at this end of the chart and most of the money flows upward toward that end of the chart. It is a form of protection, and insulation of the people on the higher level.
Mr. CORNWELL. With that being the case, what would you assess as the significance of the testimony then from Santos Trafficante that he did not know Jack Ruby if the committee wishes to explore the issue of whether there could be any connection between Ruby's activities and Trafficante?
Mr. SALERNO. That could be a truthful statement without it having any particular significance. It is quite possible for a leader of a family, such as Mr. Trafficante is, to have people engaging way down here in some illegal activity, the two never having met, the two not even being aware of the other's existence or names.
Mr. CORNWELL. Similarly, let me ask you what, if any, significance might be derived from the evidence, if it is to be believed, that the contact between a person such as McWillie and Trafficante was not close or intimate?
Mr. SALERNO. I think I would give the same answer that it is not necessary for someone up at this end of the chart to be personally acquainted with a nonmember associate in order to have that person discharging the wishes of the man at the top of the chart. That can be handled through intermediaries.
Mr. CORNWELL. What, if any, fact would you expect with respect to the knowledge of a person, such as McWillie, or anyone else that might be similarly situated, with respect to Trafficante? How much knowledge would you expect that type of individual to have?
Mr. SALERNO. I would say in view of the testimony that I have heard, that Mr. McWillie was engaged in the casino gambling industry in Havana as a manager and that Mr. Trafficante was an entrepreneur in three or four such establishments, they are in the same field, I am certain that they would know each other.
Mr. CORNWELL. With La Cosa Nostra, would you expect that all of the positions in that chart would be occupied by Italians?
Mr. SALERNO. The positions within the family; yes. But in an enterprise or in a venture, they would not be restricted to working with other Italians who are members of that family. They might be working with anyone from any kind of national background or religious affiliation.
Mr. CORNWELL. The bottom portion of the chart reflects that the organization crime family you have been describing will use violence and threats. Will you tell us in more detail what in your experience, the nature of such violence and threats consist of?
Mr. SALERNO. Yes; there is such a thing as a typical or representative gangland homicide. I would like to point out that killing someone is an ultimate weapon that is used by organized crime. If it is possible to achieve that which they seek to achieve with a warning, with a threat, with a slap in the face, with some lesser violence, they will utilize that. Violence is restricted. Peter Ferraro, that was mentioned earlier in my testimony, one time on electronic surveillance, felt that America should take note of the fact that if it wasn't for us, these are his words, "If it weren't for us, there could have been 20 Chicagos." He is talking about, apparently, the St. Valentine's Day homicide--seven people killed all at one time. The fact of the matter is, and I put this in my paper for the President's Commission on Violence, that as crime got better organized, gang wars certainly diminished. I would think that homicides in toto probably were less following the prohibition era than the were during the prohibition era. However, the definition of the President's Commission on Violence also included fear, and I think that the fear of organized crime has been on a constant increase in the United States for the last. 50 years, and you can see that fear, as against the actual violence of homicide, working against each other. If the fear is sufficient to achieve their goals, you don't find that many homicides. It is when the fear will not work that the homicide will be engaged in. Now, with regard to organized crime murders, I am sure, one logical question is, how do you know so much about organized crime murders? How does the FBI know so much about organized crime murders? Well, we know a great deal about them in many, many ways. For example, one way in which we have learned about organized crime killings are from the killers themselves, people who have confessed their participation and are even going beyond that and willing to testify against others who were involved. Abe Relis, in "Murder, Inc.," described a number of murders committed in and around the city of New York and at least one in the city of Los Angeles. Joseph Valachi, in his long recitation before a congressional committee, included the details of a number of murders. Joseph Luferelli in New York City confessed the details of his own participation in the murder of Joey Gallo. We have the court testimony of Joseph Barboza regarding homicides that he committed and the evidence was given against Raymond Patriarca and others in New England. The FBI affidavit that I mentioned in a Cleveland case was substantiated in great part by the confession of one Raymond Ferito of Erie, Pa., who was brought into Cleveland to participate in a bombing, and he implicated others, including James Fratiano who himself is now in the care, custody, and control of the Federal Government while he is divulging a great deal of his knowledge about organized crime, including a number of homicides. We had a man named Harold Koenigsberg who told the FBI about a great number of murders that he had been involved in and even drove with them to a chicken farm in New Jersey where he buried the bodies. And several bodies were disinterred and identifled. We have a case in Kansas City where four young men were hired to do a contract hit and they confessed their guilt and implicated the others who were involved. So we have a great deal of knowledge about killings and right from the lips of the killer. We also, through electronic surveillance, have been able to hear the confessions, if you will. It seems that people who might be planning at this moment to do a homicide, while they are waiting for their opportunity, will engage in reminiscences of the past in which they discuss other homicides. The FBI got one exactly like that in the city of Miami from an electronic surveillance put in on Jackie Cerone, David Yaris, and other Chicago hit men who were planning a murder down there but began to discuss a homicide that they had committed back in the city of Chicago. Exactly the same type of thing has happened on an electronic surveillance in New Jersey on Angelo "Gyp" DeCarlo which was put into a court record and is now in the public domain. Peter Ferraro, once again, was planning one homicide and while discussing that went into a recital of past jobs they had done. There are many examples of that.
Mr. CORNWELL. From such sources of information, would you simply tell us the basic characteristics of organized crime's use of violence and very briefly illustrate that with a few examples.
Mr. SALERNO. Well, an organized crime hit is used for a number of reasons. It may be used to maintain internal discipline and loyalty to the leadership within the group. It may be use to limit evidence gathering possibilities through the intimidation of informers, witnesses, and victims of their crimes. It may be used to influence the outcome of a criminal justice matter, if they can induce fear in a witness, in the jurors, in court officers, in the police, or prosecutors. Homicides will be used in guaranteeing the success of some illegal operations. Gambling; gambling is an illegal business engaged in by organized crime where a great deal of credit is extended. That business could not exist unless debtors knew that they were expected to pay. Loan sharking is based entirely upon "your body is the collateral," as one loan shark put it. Extortion, labor racketeering are also conditioned upon fear. These are the characteristics that will be found in a representative gangland homicide. No. 1, it must have approval and authorization of people of some rank. Now, such a person is faced with something of a dilemma. I think he enjoys the power that is thus vested in him, the power of life and death, if you will, but he does appreciate that in legal terms he will be just as guilty as the actual killers, and thus, when he approves of the issuance of what is known as a contract to kill, he will very probably be seeking to limit the vulnerability that he might feel and, therefore, he will most likely limit his role to giving that authorization to one close trusted person. We have come to call that person the expediter. He is responsible for seeing to it that the murder is accomplished, and he is given the widest latitudes in how this is done. No. 1, he could do it himself if he elected to. He could recruit others and he could join with the others in accomplishing the desired act. Although the expediter has the option of doing it himself, and that would limit the conspiracy to just two persons, the authorizer and the expediter, this is the least likely possibility that he would follow. He is not entirely impervious to the fact that layers of insulation can be used as a valid form of protection against direct evidence. The most likely thing is that he will pass the contract on to others. He cannot divest himself of the responsibility for the ultimate success or failure. He may subcontract the matter out to a subexpediter to carry it still further or he may directly recruit the "hit" team himself. Now, you have the hit men, these are the actual killers. They will be recruited, if possible, from felons who have demonstrated some successful ability in the past. Within the archives of organized crime, doing a successful hit was always considered to be a way of "earning your bones." And that's an expression that means you will be welcomed into membership in the criminal organization or, if you are already involved, you earn a position of trust from a grateful leadership. Persons who will be doing their first hit will more than likely be part of the team where there are some more experienced members. The method that is employed may vary although the most popular is murder by gunshot fire from handguns. In recent years. it has been noted by people who professionally deal with organized crime, that a new type of handgun seems to have come into popular and frequent use and that is a .22-caliber pistol with a silencer. There has been some speculation that maybe a single hit team that likes .22-caliber pistols was being widely employed throughout the country. My own opinion is that gangland killers have simply learned what other assassins have known for a long time. And that is, that if you get close enough, a .22-caliber pistol will kill just as effectively as a shotgun and a magnum and it is much quieter about doing it. In addition to handguns, there are sometimes variances you will find dependent upon individual tastes, local customs are perhaps dictated by special circumstances. Killers in Chicago have traditionally favored the use of a shotgun. Youngstown, Ohio, in the past, and Cleveland in the mid-1970's, utilized dynamite and other explosives. Rifles have been employed when conditions made it difficult to get close to the victim. This is often the case during a gang war. Knives, ice picks, strangulation by garroting have also been employed. Then in addition to the weaponry that is used, you will find that there is usually more that one executioner; most likely two. If they are using handguns, they will decide whether they are going to act simultaneously in their gunshot fire or one may be the covering backup man for the other, and after reviewing hundreds of these cases, the record shows very clearly that the imported, out-of-town killers is overwhelmingly the exception rather than the rule.
Mr. CORNWELL. Mr. Chairman, at this point, I think that we might want to break for lunch and come back and continue at a later point.
Chairman STOKES. The committee at this time will stand in recess until 1:30 this afternoon. [Whereupon, at 12:25 p.m. the committee recessed, to reconvene at 1:30 p.m.]
Chairman STOKES. The committee will come to order. Counsel, Mr. Cornwell, may proceed.
Mr. CORNWELL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Salerno, prior to the lunch break you had described for us what the FBI had learned through their program of physical and electronic surveillance in the early sixties, and the broad outlines of La Cosa Nostra in this country as it existed during that period of time, together with a description of the way it operated, its discipline, its hierarchical structure, and its use of violence, and the means that it used to carry out such violence. Let me direct your attention at this time to the question of motive. If the organization was such that it could have carried out an assassination, did it, nevertheless, have the motive to do so in 1963?
Mr. SALERNO. Yes sir. We have obtained some data in which we can actually quantify that and I can show it to you with the help of an exhibit I made.
Mr. CORNWELL. At this time, Mr. Chairman, may we have admitted into the record two exhibits which have been marked for identification as JFK F-551 and F-552. Chairman STOKES. Without objection, they may be entered into the record at this point. [The above referred to JFK exhibits F-551 and F-552 follow:]
JFK EXHIBIT F-551
JFK EXHIBIT F-552
Mr. SALERNO. In addition, sir, what is shown on these charts, the intelligence gathering confirms their reactions to what is demonstrated here. You see the chart is just about self explanatory. The first one indicates organized crime indictments and conviction, and with the advent of the Kennedy administration there is an almost, constant rise up through 1963. The charts here are the Organized Crime Section of the Department of Justice. This relates to the number of attorneys in the Organized Crime Section of the Department of Justice, the number of days they spent in field work, the number of days before grand juries in the presentation of evidence, and the number of days in court and legal litigation.
Mr. CORNWELL. You have told us that the electronic surveillance confirms this. Very briefly, would you summarize for us, if you can, what was learned from that surveillance about just how bad the Kennedy administration's organized crime program was hurting La Cosa Nostra during these years?
Mr. SALERNO. It manifests itself in the strongest language against President Kennedy and Robert Kennedy. I would describe it as being antagonistic and very unhappy with the President of the United States. With regard to the Attorney General, it is bare hatred.
Mr. CORNWELL. The prosecution, the pressure, was disrupting their operations, was it?
Mr. SALERNO. Yes, to a considerable degree. I will give you just a few examples. Electronic I surveillance in casinos in Nevada. Four casinos had been skimming. One casino $700,000 per year. The others were averaging well beyond $1 million per year skimmed out, not declared for tax purposes, either to the Federal government or to the State of Nevada. That was realized to be in jeopardy when they discovered some electronic surveillance in the accounting offices of those casinos. To give it very briefly, Mr. Cornwell, the end of an era had come and they recognized it. If you were an organized crime leader of an organization that many people did not believe existed, very few priorities were being directed toward you, if your activities criminally stayed close to what people call victimless crimes, you had almost the perfect crime accomplished. You are the leader of a group that no one believes exists and you are making millions of dollars from operations that not too many people complain about. That was coming to an end. So a tremendous financial empire was being very seriously threatened.
Mr. CORNWELL. You mentioned that you had a number of specific instances where this phenomenon was discussed over the electronic surveillances.
Mr. Chairman, we have marked those, or some of those examples for JFK exhibits F-604 to F-618, F-620 to F-622, and F-625 to F-643. May we have those admitted into the record?
Chairman STOKES. Without objection, they may be entered into the record at this point. [The above referred to JFK exhibits F-604 to F-618, F-620 to F-622, and F-625 to F-643 follow:]
JFK EXHIBIT F-604
JFK EXHIBIT F-605
JFK EXHIBIT F-606
JFK EXHIBIT F-607
JFK EXHIBIT F-608
JFK EXHIBIT F-609
JFK EXHIBIT F-610
JFK EXHIBIT F-611
JFK EXHIBIT F-612
JFK EXHIBIT F-613
JFK EXHIBIT F-614
JFK EXHIBIT F-615
JFK EXHIBIT F-616
JFK EXHIBIT F-617
JFK EXHIBIT F-618
JFK EXHIBIT F-620
JFK EXHIBIT F-621
JFK EXHIBIT F-622
JFK EXHIBIT F-625
JFK EXHIBIT F-626
JFK EXHIBIT F-627
JFK EXHIBIT F-628
JFK EXHIBIT F-629
JFK EXHIBIT F-630
JFK EXHIBIT F-631
JFK EXHIBIT F-632
JFK EXHIBIT F-633
JFK EXHIBIT F-634
JFK EXHIBIT F-635
JFK EXHIBIT F-636
JFK EXHIBIT F-637
JFK EXHIBIT F-638
JFK EXHIBIT F-639
JFK EXHIBIT F-640
JFK EXHIBIT F-641
JFK EXHIBIT F-642
JFK EXHIBIT F-643
Mr. CORNWELL. Apart from, I take it, the fear that the organized crime element in this country had that the Kennedy administration was destroying them, as demonstrated by this surveillance, was there any realistic expectation if they had done something so drastic as to kill the President, and there I take it, by doing so remove his brother from the position of Attorney General, and take the two of them out together, would that have in any way helped them? What realistic expectation was there that the pressure to prosecute the Cosa Nostra would have diminished by such an act?
Mr. SALERNO. Two things which we learned toward the answer. No. 1, was their expectation; they from time to time advised that, but I think more to the point is the actual record of what transpired in this effort following the assassinations. We will add some data to the existing charts and you will be able to see exactly what did happen following the assassination of President Kennedy. All of the lines which you saw in a growing and radical increase up to 1963 go into decline, some of them a radical decline, the assassination of the President.
Mr. CORNWELL. If then there were facts which could have created a motive, if there were means in the control of organized crime, can you tell us was the electronic surveillance of the FBI, which you received, adequate to give some answers to the question of whether or not La Cosa Nostra as an institution, in other words. La Cosa Nostra at the commission level, at the governing body level, could have considered or sanctioned the assassination of the President or of Lee Harvey Oswald?
Mr. SALERNO. My professional opinion, based on the electronic surveillances and other evidence available, is that it is more than sufficient to give a reasonable answer to that question. The question is that all of that evidence gives no indication at all that the national commission of La Cosa Nostra directed, approved or in any way was concerned with the assassination of President Kennedy.
Mr. CORNWELL. Would it be possible that some member, some leader, may have undertaken such a thing without the Commission's approval?
Mr. SALERNO. Yes; it is very possible and as a matter of fact, at that particular moment, in November of 1963, there was an example of it. At that time the national commission was having a great deal of difficulty with one of its peers, Mr. Joseph Bonnano. He was violating, probably for the first time, the authority of that commission. He had been ordered to appear before it three times to explain his actions. He was refusing to do so. He had taken action which would have required commission approval without having that commission approval. They were asking him to account for this and he was totally ignoring their authority. So there was an actual example of one such family leader violating what has been the rule up to that time, and unilaterally taking some serious actions which were of concern to them.
Mr. CORNWELL. Very briefly, if you are able to, will you tell us how it is that in the early 1960's an organization which, according to your testimony, is characterized by discipline, strict control, rules, and regulations, and has at its disposal violence, could have been in such a condition that one of its members could be uncontrollable or could do things which were not sanctioned by the commission?
Mr. SALERNO. I believe that the conditions that existed in 1963 were reflective of the effectiveness of the Federal drive during 1961, 1962 and for most of 1963. The normal smooth operation, which had existed for more than 30 years, were interrupted. The cracks were beginning to show in many, many ways. There was a gang war for the first time in many years in New York--the Gallo Profaci war. You-had the actions of Joseph Bonnano, which I have mentioned. You had a plan on the part of one leader, Joseph Magliocco, to assassinate two. of his fellows, Carlo Gambino and Thomas Lucchese. So that the smooth functioning machinery of a well-oiled machine that had been in high gear for more than 30 years was beginning to show cracks, sluggishness, interruption of its normal activities.
Mr. CORNWELL. What was the predominant reason that the events occurred in the early 1960's, that there was this sort of crack in the discipline in organization?
Mr. SALERNO. You had the total penetration of the organization, informants from within the ranks that they had become aware of. I indicated that in 1963 bugs were discovered in Las Vegas. This gave rise to their expectation that there probably were many, many more throughout the United States. You had some other things that were pertinent and relate to that--the gang war which had begun. One highlight, which took place in the congressional halls here in Washington, just 6 weeks before the President's assassination, was the public testimony of Joseph Valachi, something which Attorney General Robert Kennedy characterized as the greatest intelligence breakthrough in the history of organized crime in the United States.
Mr. Valachi's testimony had been preceded by that of the Attorney General. He was asking the Congress to consider more effective laws to be used against organized crime. As bad as their condition was then, it would appear that it could get worse. He had asked the Congress to authorize an electronic surveillance law, he had asked the Congress to authorize an immunity statute which would compel testimony. So that in November of 1963 the picture was a very bleak one for them.
Mr. CORNWELL. If then the pressures of Bobby Kennedy and the President during those years had created such conditions within La Cosa Nostra they found themselves unable to control the various families, the question then arises, could a member of that organization, such as Trafficante or Marcello, or perhaps even an associate such as James Hoffa, have been involved with the ELSURS, the electronic surveillances which were conducted, adequate to answer the question of the possible involvement of men like that?
Mr. SALERNO. No. The electronic surveillances would not have been helpful in the cases that you cite, sir. The intelligence program was a laudable one. I would even use the word magnificent. But as in any intelligence program, while the overall effort may be very good, there are some weak spots, and in the three cases that you mentioned, Mr. Trafficante was never in that time period the direct target of an electronic surveillance for an extended period. He did show up in conversations a few times where someone else was the target. There was no electronic surveillance on Carlos Marcello. There was no electronic surveillance on James Riddle Hoffa.
Mr. CORNWELL. Thank you. I have no further questions.
Chairman STOKES. Mr. Salerno, you were here this morning and heard Mr. Trafficante testify that his role in the assassination plot upon Fidel Castro was that of being an interpreter. Would you tell us please, whether a man who holds the position that you have described hereso eloquently and articulately would perform the role of an interpretor in that type of assassination plot?
Mr. SALERNO. No sir; he would not.
Chairman STOKES. What then would his role be in such a plot?
Mr. SALERNO. Sir, based on my knowledge of the three individuals who were working with the CIA, I believe that the first approach was in fact made to Mr. Roselli. Mr. Roselli could not and would not have entertained agreeing to work for the CIA or taking any action With the CIA without the permission of his superior, who was Sam Giancana. I think Sam Giancana's role was to approve Mr. Roselli proceeding further.
Mr. Roselli would not have been in a position to go to someone of the rank of Mr. Trafficante without the intercession, without the permission of Giancana. I believe Giancana's real role was, No. 1: to approve Roselli's working with the CIA, No. 2, to approach his peer, Mr. Trafficante, and ask, for his cooperation.
Chairman STOKES. Now, as you heard Mr. Trafficante's testimonythis morning with reference to what his relationship was with these two men, Roselli and Giancana, over the period of years, did you?
Mr. SALERNO. Yes, I did.
Chairman STOKES. And based upon what you heard, is that the true relationship that he had with those two men?
Mr. SALERNO. No; not at all. I think it would be true that he may not have engaged in any one particular organized crime venture with them, but he was part of the organized crime syndicate that they were a part of.
Chairman STOKES. Would his role have been as he described here today, that he performed these acts out of his patriotism for the country?
Mr. SALERNO. No. I think Mr. Trafficante's testimony here has got to be evaluated in the light of so much other evidence. If you were going to believe Mr. Trafficante, then Mr. Aleman is mistaken or he is a liar. If you are going to believe Mr. Trafficante, then the official from the CIA, who has given a sworn deposition, is either mistaken or a liar. If you are going to believe Mr. Trafficante, then his associate, John Roselli, and what he has revealed about that particular enterprise, is a liar. It would be necessary to believe that the Government of Spain will waste 12 men per day and the resources necessary to follow and keep Mr. Trafficante under surveillance when there is no need to do that. You would have to believe that various levels of government in the United States have wasted taxpayers' money in trying to follow Mr. Trafficante night and day when there is no need for that. So, I think that you have to evaluate his testimony in view of all of the other evidence, and I think it would be at least naive to accept it at face value.
Chairman STOKES. Moving over to another area for a moment, when I look at the chart there with reference to organized crime program, where immediately after the President's death there is this sharp decline in terms of the program under Attorney General Robert Kennedy, it just strikes you that this is a very striking type of thing. Can you comment further and tell us to what do you attribute that fact and the program just fell apart?
Mr. SALERNO. I think all of those charts, and my own personal recollections of what happened then, reflect that the success that you see manifested there was not only the work of the individual policemen and the agents but the leadership position that Robert Kennedy took and afforded the entire program. Following the death of the President, my unit in the New York City Police Department was not reduced. FBI men were not transferred en masse to do something else, but the leadership was not there, the driving force was not there, the commitment in government at a very high level was not there, and I believe that is reflected in those charts more than anything else.
Chairman STOKES. Thank you. My time has expired. The gentleman from North Carolina, Mr. Preyer.
Mr. PREYER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. As I understand it, Mr. Salerno, you have testified that the Cosa Nostra had the means to carry out something like the assassination and you have given us a description of those means and its organization, and you have also indicated that you thought it has the motive to carry it out. You introduced a number of exhibits into evidence which we haven't had the opportunity to go over in detail. But looking through the exhibits that I have here, there is just one which I would like to call attention to, which seems to me related strongly to the motive angle, and I would like to ask you to give us a little description of it. It is the one that states on February 8, 1962, Angelo Bruno and Willie Weisburg discussed the Kennedys. This is at page 1 under tab ELSURS re Kennedy.
Mr. SALERNO. Yes sir.
Mr. PREYER. At that meeting Weisburg says this:
See what Kennedy done. With Kennedy a guy should take a knife, like one of the other guys, and stab and kill the ( --- ) where he is now. Somebody should kill the ( -- ). I mean it. This is true, honest to God, it is about time to go. But I tell you something, I hope I get a week's notice, I will kill, right in the ( ---- ), in the White House. Somebody has got to get rid of this ( --- ).
And then Bruno responds to Weisburg's statement with the following story. What I would like to ask you is to briefly tell us who Angelo Bruno was at the time, who Weisburg is--incidentally this is JFK exhibit F-618--and then if you would, give us Bruno's response to Weisburg's statement, that somebody's got to get rid of this (------) and just explain to us what your understanding of his response is.