Editor’s Note: J. Gary DiLaura is a legendary FBI agent [He helped break the Timothy McVeigh case; was involved in the John Gotti arrest; and, in the old tradition of the FBI, collared bank robbers after shootouts, setting a record one year for most bank robbers caught in NYC]. He advised me on the investigation of “The Lost Women of Nxivm”. He is an opinionated man, with deep-seated political views. In the following post, he explains something about his career, and then gives his opinion of former FBI Director James Comey’s handling of the Hillary Clinton case.
J. Gary DiLaura
I was an active FBI Agent for almost three decades and, at one time or another, worked on most all of the violations James Comey committed.
Mostly, I worked robbery cases, bank robbery, truck hijacking (Gotti Crew), kidnapping. I also worked on Hobbs Act cases – political corruption, mail fraud, wire fraud and my favorite, RICO.
That’s how you learn the federal rules, evidence rules, interview rules, and techniques.
I worked on all aspects of wiretap cases (Title 3) from monitoring, to transcription of pertinent conversations, to affidavits, and warrant applications.
I wrote more search warrants in one year that most agents wrote in a career. My last year on the BR Squad in the New York Office (NYO) I was credited with 57 arrests on my cases and in my second year on the NYO Truck Squad, I received the “coveted” Hemmings Truck award for $1.5 million in recoveries.
I am an experienced FBI agent who knows the law and the rules and regulations agents MUST abide by. I know and understand fully the consequences that apply if you violate your oath after your sworn affidavit for a search warrant (Title 3 wiretap is a search warrant). The only way you learn is to sign!
As a first-year rookie in Charleston SC, a sleepy hollow until “we” arrived… that’s first office agents Dennis, Jim, and yours truly.
We arrested about 300 fugitive deserters in that year.
I arrested a Marine deserter, unusual because Marines seldom desert. This kid had 4, AK 47 entry wounds on his chest and 4 exit wounds on his back. He was facing the enemy when he went down! I felt terrible arresting this kid and told him so and asked: “Why would you desert, you’re a hero”?! Of course, a woman was involved.
I asked what he wanted and he said, “An honorable discharge”. I said I didn’t know what, if anything, I could do to help him but would try.
A while later, the Marine Officer I spoke to called me and told me the young Marine’s charges would be dropped, his medals restored and an honorable discharge was in his future.
The young man called and thanked me and then went on to “give me something”.
He said a guy from Charleston he knew brags that he’s wanted all over the south for armed robberies. The “bragger” told my “new source” that the previous October, in the Bronx, this other guy took down a Deli and returned gunfire to an NYPD uniform cop who walked in responding to the stick-up. The police officer went down, hit hard.
I immediately contacted the New York Office and our switchboard lit up. My source was right on the money and there were witnesses who said the shooter had been in the area several times before. Through due diligence, I was able to ID the shooter as being wanted; he was an Identification Order Fugitive (IO Fugitive) under a different name (That’s 1 step below FBI Top 10). IO’s are the Wanted Flyers you used to see in the Post Offices!
First Office Agents were not allowed to work IO Cases as a rule, too dangerous, but the SAC made an exception since it was my case. With that, I gave the case agent in NYO, the IO number and, in a photo spread, the witnesses ID’d him as the shooter. The police officer had died from the gunshot wounds.
This IO is a COP killer! NYO sent us an Unlawful Flight Warrant (UFAP-Murder) and we grabbed him the next day after a brief fight, which he lost after he tried to pull a gun.
How dangerous are IO Fugitives? I worked with two FBI Agents who were shot point-blank by IO Fugitives. One was my friend, Dennis, with whom I worked so closely in Charleston. Thank God, he survived.
A short time later, a five-year agent, Ray, and I worked through the night on a phone call from NYO. This time after hours and with leads on a kidnapping case out of Brooklyn NY, of a 5-year-old little girl by the name of Tondaleya Jones.
This was a national news lead story, all over the front pages. As we worked through the night, we believed we had her located but couldn’t get help and couldn’t wait even if we could as we had “tipped” our hand in the last interview. So, we rushed to the address we had just developed. The lights were on inside at 2:30 AM, not a good sign.
We hit the front door, met by the Mrs. of the house. She was lying to us so I told Ray we have to enter and pushed our way in. I took the upstairs with gun and flashlight in hand as she hollered out, “Look in the first bedroom on the left”.
I turned on the light to see a little girl about five in a crib that was way too small. I told her not to be afraid, “I’m a policeman”.
I asked her for her name and she said, “Tondaleya Jones”. Covering the door, I moved to the crib where she jumped into my arms and wrapped her arms and legs around me, shivering from fear and she said, “Please don’t let me go”. That I’ll never forget. I was so lucky to have been a part of those cases as a rookie but it got even better.
Before I left Charleston, my partner, Dennis, and I arrested a bank robber who robbed a bank in Myrtle Beach one hour earlier and headed for his hometown, Charleston. He was ID’d by tellers as a “Trustee” from the prison.
While the senior agent had his Calvary head south, Dennis and I headed north. If they would have looked at their watches they would have realized the bad guy hadn’t reached Charleston, so I grabbed a map, plotted which way I would have gone and we caught him, shotgun and all the bank proceeds.
That’s three cases that most agents NEVER get in a career, an IO Fugitive and COP killer, a kidnap victim, and a bank robber in my first office!
Every Monday morning in the New York Office, 15 new Agents transfer in and all 15 go to the Applicant Squad or Security Squad, for 30/60/90 days of orientation, to learn how to survive in the NYO without getting killed! Security and Applicants are so safe, many Agents go out unarmed, breaking a “fire-able” Rule. No pun intended.
When I walked into Assistant Director John Malone’s Office, three agents from my new agent class were already seated. Malone gave his welcome speech and sent 14 Agents to the Applicant Squad and sent me to the Truck Squad (John Gotti’s Crew) and the most desired “heavy” squad in the NYO.
That raised some eyebrows and put me on the spot with the other agents. Then, after we were dismissed, Malone said for me to wait.
I thought I was already in trouble but had no idea why Mr. Malone said that. Before I arrived, he spoke to Director J. Edgar Hoover after he learned that I, the first office agent who was responsible for solving both the police killing case and the Jones kidnapping case was transferred to the NYO.
Mr. Malone said that Director Hoover told him to do something for me and thank me for my accomplishments. I sure didn’t want either Security or the Applicant Squad.
My luck continued. The very first week on the 40 man truck squad, Supervisor Toy Fuson, from whom I learned a great deal about being an agent, sent me on a raid of a house in Yonkers that Gotti used as a “drop” for stolen goods, “swag”.
As I stood as “front perimeter watch,” a Ryder truck pulled up. I could tell that it was loaded. I was paired with an experienced agent, John, a great agent with lots of experience. I hollered to John to back me up and approached the 24-foot long truck. I ordered the driver to pull over.
He said, “Sure”, swung to hit me, missed and took off. I had the car keys, so I gave chase while John got help. The guy bailed after 3-4 blocks and the foot chase was on when I heard another agent hollering for me to STOP.
I did, as my bad guy ran away. This agent, Jimmy Woods, probably saved my life. He was out of breath having run the 4 blocks! He explained that we NEVER chase anyone at night, down dark streets or alleys, alone. NEVER. It’s much too dangerous and we will find him another time.
This truck had the proceeds of three recent armed hijackings, all assigned to agents of the squad. Five days on the job and my luck continued on. More important though, the “runner”, according to an informant, was a well-known thief by the name of Tony Coo-Coo, like the clock, and he had a loaded 1911 colt 45 auto pointed at me through the truck door and if I had stepped on the running board he would have shot me through door! As a side note, months later my partner, Steve Gilkerson, an ex-Marine captain and Vietnam survivor and I arrested Tony. I warned the Marshals that Tony is “nuts” and warned Judge White to keep the cuffs on.
The Judge ordered the cuffs removed and Tony thanked him by jumping on the counsel table in front of the bench and choked the judge by the throat, until the Marshal pulled him off! We had to watch for an escape attempt and stayed on our side of the bench.
The Judge didn’t believe us…oh well!
That’s how my career started, and how we learned how to become criminal investigators as opposed to security agents…big difference.
I am not disrespecting the job our security, counter-intelligence agents do. But I’ll say this: the agents who work terrorism cases carry guns, full-auto guns and I consider terrorism a criminal violation called “terrorism” and security as collecting Intel.
For instance, I consider the work that Andrew McCabe and Peter Strzok did to be intel.
I also think that the audacity of former FBI director James Comey, in a “matter of fact” manner, telling President Trump in January 2017, that he knew the dossier was “salacious and unverified” as if it was okay and a well-known fact, and you know what?
It probably was when Comey signed the FISA warrant on Carter Page in October 2016!
If I knew that the FISA affidavits and applications were not just lacking in merit, but also based upon unverified, fraudulent information, then Comey, Yates, Rosenstein, Strzok, McCabe and all the other signors knew.
Signing those documents is a big deal that we, FBI agents, don’t take lightly. There is NO chance in hell that they didn’t know Hillary paid for the dossier!
I am telling you this so you can get a feel as to why I and other real agents resent what Comey, McCabe, Strzok, Page, Baker and the others, some of whom are CIA, NSA and State Department officials, did to unseat a duly elected president and soil the name of the FBI!
James Comey is the only one in the FBI who could transfer the Clinton or any other criminal case to FBI HQ. Every single criminal case has an Office of Origin (OO). The OO is the boss of the case and in criminal investigations is ALWAYS an FBI Field Office like NYO or Miami and never FBI HQ. Why?
Because FBI HQ has NO investigative staff. It’s that simple! Comey wanted COMPLETE control over the Clinton case, so Comey, and nobody else made HQ the Office of Origin. That’s a “micro-manage” decision if ever there was one!
He also made FBI Agents with no criminal experience (McCabe and Strzok) assistant directors for a reason. They would not know the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, they would not know the Due Process or Best Evidence rules; they would not know the laws that govern or the rules and regulations and on and on.
For example, you cannot allow a defendant’s attorney to sit in on his client’s interview. Nothing good can come from that! McCabe and Strzok allowed five lawyers to sit with Hillary. Understand, this is my opinion, based upon what they did and my best guess, I never heard anything within the agency about their experience or accomplishments, which must be few to none.
No criminal agent I ever knew would violate the Constitution, our Rule of Law or their oath to “enforce the laws of the United States”, the way they did. Never!
Hillary’s name was not in the title of the “Hillary” investigation. That’s an intentional and blatant attempt by Comey to illegally try to obstruct her investigation, by trying to reduce her responsibility for her own criminal acts.
That’s obstruction by a government official. There are rules that apply to interviews of “subjects” that are substantially different from other types of interviews! Nobody but James Comey, himself could do that to the Hillary investigations.
Possible subjects cannot sit in on another subject’s interview, like Cheryl Mills did on Hillary’s interview. Mills is also a lawyer and a witness in Hillary’s cases!
Comey knew all of that. His claim that he relied on “experienced” agents to do the right thing is a blatant lie. Strzok and McCabe both testified that Comey directed them to leak info on pending cases to the press. Comey said he didn’t.
I will bet anybody that Comey is the liar on that one.
The FBI does not investigate “Matters”, we investigate Criminal Cases. So what Comey wants you to believe is that:
- He did not move one of the biggest cases in US/FBI history (Hillary, the former Secretary of State), to FBI Headquarters, so he could control everything. Something that had NEVER been done before! Somebody else did it and he doesn’t know who.
- Comey did not remove or intervene in the title of the Hillary case, by not naming Hillary the subject in the Hillary case. Someone else did and he doesn’t know who.
- He did not tell the “boys” (McCabe and Strzok) to allow 5 lawyers and witnesses and other subjects to sit in on the Hillary interview. Someone else did and he doesn’t know who.
- He didn’t pick two men with no criminal knowledge to run the biggest criminal case in recent history…he did that because he didn’t know that they were inexperienced men who knew nothing about criminal cases.
- He didn’t tell McCabe to violate the Best Evidence rules and withhold evidence found on the “Weiner’s” computer. McCabe never said anything about the incriminating evidence found against Uma Abedin and Hillary directly.
If McCabe and Strzok and Page and Baker don’t come clean and smarten up, they deserve what they get!
Wiretaps are the most intrusive form of a search warrant. These men cannot be allowed to violate US citizens’ civil rights against illegal search and seizure and the FISA trust. That’s why there are civil and criminal penalties. It’s serious!