I wrote on July 3 about the one great commandment in the FBI: “Don’t Embarrass The FBI.” I tell how I named my book: “Don’t Embarrass The Family” when I heard Frankie Salemme, the former boss of the New England Mafia, testify he told his guys they could do anything they wanted as long as they did not embarrass the Mafia. It occurred to me at the time that John Connolly was on trial because he embarrassed the FBI. In truth, nothing he did of substance was not known to all in the Boston FBI office and most at FBI headquarters in Washington, DC, sometimes called by FBI agents “The Seat of Government.” Connolly only had to walk the plank when all his actions became public. It seemed strange that the FBI and Mafia operated by the same guiding principle.
I don’t think I’ve read a book by an FBI agent where it was not made clear that an FBI agent could do anything as long as it was kept in house. It was not the corruption in the FBI that was wrong, it was opening that corruption to public view that was the great evil.
Pause for a second and consider what that means. The ultimate goal of what Congressional patois calls “the finest federal law enforcement agency in the world” is to hide its misdeeds from the public. Each man and woman in that agency operates according to that principle. Its public be damned attitude strikes at the heart of a true democracy yet the FBI agents who write about it seem to think there is something praise worthy about this act of public deceit.
The Oxford English Dictionary’s first definition of hypocrite is: “One who falsely professes to be virtuously or religiously inclined; one who pretends to have feelings or beliefs of a higher order than his real ones; hence generally, a dissembler, pretender.”
I’ll talk about this more as I go along. I’ll point to the many books where the term is used as the lodestar which all agents follow. The July 3 post mentions how Boston ASAC (assistant agent in charge) Fitzpatrick said it is the creed agents live by.
This is so much so that in 1972 an agent of eight years, Bernard F. Conners wrote a comical novel called Don’t Embarrass The Bureau. Victor Navasky who wrote about RFK, Kennedy Justice, is reported to have written that Conners’s book, “especially the first 50 pages, will teach you as much about the FBI as any non-fiction book, and it’s a lot more exciting.”
It’s not a pretty picture.