Wednesday’s is John “Ivan” Naimovich day, a Massachusetts State Trooper who investigated organized crime activities for most of his twenty-three years. He was indicted by the feds for a RICO violation and faced over 20 years in prison before being acquitted by a jury. I testified on his behalf being in the unusual position of a prosecutor testifying on behalf of a defendant in a federal RICO prosecution.
For the foreseeable future I will be discussing him on this day of the week. He is involved in this story as an example of what I believe is the FBI’s hypocrisy and willingness to go to any length to protect its informants, in this case Whitey Bulger and Stevie Flemmi.
If it were not for Naimovich I would not be writing this blog. My mystification as to the reasons behind his indictment prompted me to go to FBI agent John Connolly’s trial and to continue my interest in the events surrounding Whitey Bulger. It will take a while to get through this and to show its connection to Whitey. If you are not interested in this matter, then you may wish to skip reading the blog on Wednesdays.
Naimovich’s crime was the supposed leaking of information to organized crime people and the compromising of FBI investigations. The FBI alleged that he did this by using a bookie out of Canton, which is in Norfolk County, named Francis McIntyre. (I would subsequently indict him. When I left the office after a new DA came aboard, his case was still pending. I was told the FBI paid a visit to the new DA, a former fed, to intercede on McIntyre’s behalf.)
One of the problems with the FBI trying to prove this theory that Naimovich was tipping off the gangsters was that if he was doing it, even though an expert in organized crime matters, he proved quite inept. The operations that he was supposed to have tipped off seemed to have continued on as if they were not compromised and for the most part the raids that followed seem to be successful.
Having been involved in over a hundred organized crime investigations, I can tell you that when a leak occurs, you quickly know about it. The criminal target learning he is under surveillance will immediately change his operation, move his location and often destroy the incriminating evidence.
Here’s are four typical real life examples of what happens.
1. The state police put an electronic listening device (bug) into a location that was being used by the Winter Hill Mob and Italian Mafia. When they were listening to the communications being transmitted they heard the targets talking about what a good job the state police did in patrolling the highways and other complementary talk about the state police. The tenor of the conversation told them the bug had been compromised. After that the gangsters stopped using that location.
2. The state police surveil a bank of public pay telephones for several weeks. They saw the leaders of the Winter Hill Mob using these telephones continually over that period. They secured warrants to intercept their telephone conversations. The day they were ready to install the listening devices the gangster stopped showing up at the phones.
3. A raid is planned to take place and 16 places are scheduled to be hit. To insure the telephones are still located in these places and to double check their locations, a letter is hand delivered to the telephone company listing the 16 telephone numbers. The raids takes place after the information is confirmed. At none of the locations is any gaming apparatus found. (One person arrested will have a list of the telephone numbers in his pocket in the exact order they were given to the telephone company.) As soon as the information leaked, all 16 bookie offices cleared out all the incriminatory evidence.
4. The police in the early hours of the day while it is still dark take the target’s car from its parking spot and put an exact duplicate of the car there. The car is taken to a special garage where sophisticated tools are used to put a highly expensive bug into it that cannot be detected. The car is then returned and the substitute car removed. The next afternoon the gangster (in this case Whitey) leaves his condominium and drives off. A short while later the police captain in charge of the operation receives a call from the gangster telling him he knows the bug is in the car and asking him to come down and remove it.
Historically, a leak will undermine an electronic surveillance operation. The gangsters don’t sit around and continue things as usual if they know the cops are listening or are planning to show up. It is almost axiomatic that is how you recognize a leak by a change in the way the gangsters do business.
The FBI operations that Naimovich was alleged to have undermined were successful and resulted in grand jury hearings, indictments and incarcerations. Most of the evidence was where it was supposed to be. Persons intercepted continued their discussions as they always had. The person Naimovich was allegedly leaking the information to continued to incriminate himself. There were no outside indicia that would lead to the conclusion the investigations had been compromised.
Yet the FBI persisted in prosecuting Naimovich as if he had undermined these investigations. More to come.