- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 14, 2003

BOSTON, Jan. 14 (UPI) — A congressional panel's draft report accuses the FBI and Justice Department of knowingly using killers as informants, and failing to fully cooperate with the committee's investigation.

The Committee on Government Reform concluded the handling of gangland informants by the Boston FBI and federal prosecutors was "one of the greatest failures" in the history of federal law enforcement.

The full committee was expected to vote on the draft report in the next few weeks.

Obtained by both the Boston Globe and Boston Herald, the report concludes federal law enforcement, through its actions from 1965 to the present, did "incalculable damage to the public's respect for the rule of law."

Citing instances in which "critical documents" had been withheld from the committee, the report said the Justice Department "failed to take its responsibilities to assist Congress as seriously as it should have."

There was no immediate comment from the Justice Department or the Boston FBI office.

"There's substantial evidence, overwhelming evidence, not just from the efforts of this particular committee, that the FBI is in need of radical reform," Rep. William D. Delahunt, D-Mass., told the Globe.

Delahunt, who participated in the committee's hearings, said there still exists a "culture of concealment" within the FBI that allowed its informants to commit murder and innocent men to go to prison for crimes they didn't commit.

The report cited the 1965 gangland slaying of Edward "Teddy" Deegan. In that case, false testimony by mob hit man Joseph "The Animal" Barboza sent four men to prison to await execution for a crime they didn't commit.

Two of those men died in prison, but two others — Joseph Salvati and Peter Limone — had their convictions overturned in 2000 after it was disclosed the FBI never turned over to defense attorneys documents that proved Barboza, who turned government witness, framed them on the stand.

The report said then FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover knew that New England mob boss Raymond Patriarca gave Barboza and FBI informant Vincent "Jimmy the Bear" Flemmi the approval to kill Deegan.

Although Hoover had information that implicated Patriarca, Flemmi and Barboza in the slaying, they were never prosecuted.

"Federal officials appear to have taken affirmative steps to ensure that the individuals convicted would not obtain post-conviction relief and that they would die in prison," the report said.

It also said FBI agents and prosecutors "appear to have tolerated, and perhaps encouraged, false testimony" in the Deegan case.

The report is titled: "Everything Secret Degenerates: The Justice Department's use of Murderers as Informants."

The report also disclosed that a witness in a 1973 car-bombing case, former mob associate Robert Daddeico, was offered $15,000 by the FBI a few days before he was called to testify before the committee.

According to the report, Daddeico, who was placed in the witness protection program 30 years ago, provided the committee with information "that false testimony was suborned by prosecutors."

The report questioned the timing of the payment, but did not say why the money was offered or if Daddeico accepted it.

The committee also wanted to probe deeper into the FBI's handling of two other underworld informants, fugitive James "Whitey" Bulger and Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi, but agreed to delay that because a special Justice Department task force is conducting an investigation.

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