Commentary and information about public safety and security, intelligence and counterintelligence, open government and secrecy, and other issues in northern Idaho and eastern Washington.

Location: Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, United States

Raised in Palouse, WA. Graduated from Washington State University. US Army (Counterintelligence). US Secret Service (Technical Security Division) in Fantasyland-on-the-Potomac and Los Angeles. Now living in north Idaho.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Put Up or ...

A few people who read this blog realize I write it mainly to provide information for some students at Eastern Washington University (EWU). I am an unpaid volunteer guest lecturer, not an employee or a contractor at EWU. Neither the school nor any instructor who invites me should be held accountable for anything I post on this web log. I should.

I've received a comment critical of my Saturday blog post titled The (non)Faces of Organized Crime in Northern Idaho. The commenter asked why I didn't include examples of some of the points I raised. Since the questioner wasn't specific about what s/he sought, I'll give two examples from the news.

One example is nearly twenty years old, but it demonstrates the point that organized crime is willing and able to compromise reputable and distinguished news organizations. The news media compromise was reported by Los Angeles Business Journal reporter Benjamin Mark Cole in his July 13, 1987, story titled Barry Minkow's favorable treatment in press exposes reporters' own vulnerability to fraud - ZZZZ Best Company Inc. Cole reported how various Los Angeles news media, identified in the link, had been so predisposed to report good news about whiz-kid Minkow, they failed to ask the right questions that would have revealed the organized crime financing behind Minkow's business. The reputed organized crime figure was Jack Catain.

The second example comes from a Sunday, April 8, 2007, Washington Post newspaper article by John Solomon and Peter Barker. The article was headlined White House Looked Past Alarms on Kerik. The article reports that former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and now US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales urged President Bush to appoint Bernard Kerik to the Cabinet-level post of Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. The Washington Post story reports that during Kerik's vetting process

They (the White House) learned about questionable financial deals, an ethics violation, allegations of mismanagement and a top deputy prosecuted for corruption. Most disturbing, according to people close to the process, was Kerik's friendship with a businessman who was linked to organized crime. The businessman had told federal authorities that Kerik received gifts, including $165,000 in apartment renovations, from a New Jersey family with alleged Mafia ties.
This example is not intended to prove that Bernard Kerik was co-opted by organized crime. It does show, however, that organized crime is willing and able to reach out for and maybe influence public officials, including a (former) top law enforcement officer in the New York City Police Department. To loosely paraphrase a line from the theme song of the 1977 Martin Scorsese film New York, New York: If they can do it there, they can do it anywhere.

"Anywhere" includes northern Idaho. Anywhere.


Blogger Dogwalkmusings said...

If the students want examples in their own back yard they may find this link to the Idaho Observer of interest.

It talks of Indian Casinos and their relationship with organized crime.

1:30 PM, April 10, 2007  
Blogger Bill McCrory said...


Thanks for the link. The tribal casinos have long been recognized as fertile ground for such traditional organized criminal enterprises as money laundering. Most of the Vegas, Reno, and Atlantic City casinos go to extremes to prevent their businesses from being exploited by OC. The tribes have every reason to be concerned, as do the communities that interact with them and surround them. The tribes have got to be vigilant.

1:41 PM, April 10, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ZZZZBest is a classic. Minkow's Bankruptcy shows the trail of mob-connected bankers that were involved in the fraud.

Bill - Why did you disable comments on the original article?

7:56 PM, April 10, 2007  
Blogger Bill McCrory said...


Several people commented on the earlier post. I subsequently changed its content. Someone reading their comments after the changes would have incorrectly assumed their comments were associated with the revised post. To avoid inaccurately attributing their former comments to the latter post, I disabled the comments.

8:04 PM, April 10, 2007  

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