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Pistone, an F. Joseph D. Pistone served in the FBI for 28 years, including six years of undercover life in the New York Bonanno crime family, where he operated as a jewel thief under the name Donnie Brasco.
Due to his undercover work, more than members of the Mafia were put behind bars. Pistone was born in Pennsylvania, where he also spent his childhood. Then, he moved to New Jersey. In New Jersey, he graduated from high school and college, where he majored in social studies. Pistone always wanted to be an F. I agent, and he decided to join Naval Intelligence in order to gain three years in law enforcement to enter the FBI. At the beginning of his career in the FBI, Pistone was assigned to do street work.
He worked on a lot of prostitution cases. He also worked on robbery cases. His first long-term undercover assignment that led to his work with the Mafia was in Tampa, Florida. Pistone penetrated a ring of thieves that stole cars.
Pistone was introduced to the gang as a car thief under the name Donnie Brasco. Under this name, he infiltrated the Mafia later on. The FBI wanted to undertake a long-term undercover operation against the Mafia. The FBI administration chose Pistone to infiltrate the mob because he had conducted many short-term undercover operations, as wellas and the long-term Florida operation that was described previously.
He was also picked because he was Italian. Since the members of the mob were Italians, it would make infiltration easier. It was decided that Piston had to create a new identity to penetrate the mob. He decided to retain his previous name, Donnie Brasco. The FBI also created his background.
Thus, Donnie Brasco became a jewel thief and burglar. As a jewel thief, Pistone had to obtain appropriate experience. Pistone took gemology courses and worked with experts of a famous jewelry company in New York City. Pistone describes that it was a very secret operation known only a few people. After all these precautions, Pistone was ready to start his undercover work. When Pistone started his undercover work, he created a list of places where wise guys, or men connected with mafia, were hanging out.
Mostly, these places were bars and restaurants located in midtown and lower Manhattan. He did not want to visit mob joints in Little Italy because it would be too obvious that he was undercover. A person could not hang out there without knowing someone. Pistone cruised these mob joints every day so that people became accustomed to him. Pistone says that the most important that was not to push things too much; he had to do everything gradually. He visited these places to have dinner and to say hello to the bartender without much talking and asking questions because a person who asks many questions looks suspicious, and this kind of person cannot be trusted.
Most of the time Pistone listened and watched, until some wiseguys became used to him and even started to greet him. Over a period of time, he hinted to them that he was a jewel thief.
He brought them different pieces of jewelry confiscated by the FBI, so that the wiseguys could help him sell them. One of these made guys, Albert, introduced Pistone to some active members of the Colombo crime family. One of these Colombo men, Jilly, had his crew in Brooklyn.
Jilly and his crew hung out at their store on 15th Avenue and 76th Street in the Bensonhust section, and agent Pistone started to hang out with them. All merchandise in the store was cheap because it was stolen. All day they played cards and drank gin, and at the night they went out to rob warehouses, docks, and houses. It was a routine that was repeated each day.
Pistone became trusted among the mob, and got acquainted with many made guys. He was a hit man in the Bonnano family. Pistone spent most of his time with Lefty. Due to Lefty, Pistone was able to organize the liquidation of the Milwaukee crime family. It was a successful project which severely damaged the Mafia in New York and Florida. The FBI already had enough evidence to build up court cases, and agent Pistone was ordered to withdraw from operation.
As a result, Donnie Brasco ceased his existence. Due to agents like Pistone, the FBI has established a reputation as one of the best intelligence organizations in the world.
In my eyes, Pistone is really heroic because after the end of this undercover work, his personality did not change. There have been many instances when agents could not handle the tremendous pressure and internal tensions while working undercover. They became addicted to drags and alcohol, which they considered as an escape from the constant stress they were subjected to every day. In contrast, Pistone became neither a drug addict nor an alcoholic.
He also has remained a faithful husband and good father. Next, Pistone managed not to be emotionally involved with such mobsters as Lefty and Sonny Black, although, he had very close relations with them.
These words indicate that Sunny Black had some special feelings towards Pistone. Sonny Black and Lefty were really broken up when they learned the real identity of Pistone. These relationships also left their sign on Pistone. However, he was able to suppress his emotion because he knew that despite of his feelings towards both men he could not jeopardize the whole operation.
Moreover, these men were mobsters and they had to be punished. Despite all internal and external tensions, Pistone was able to end his undercover job and remain a family man and a law-abiding citizen. ReferencesPistone, J. Donnie Brasco. New York: Signet.
The Internet Movie Script Database (IMSDb)
Pistone, an F. Joseph D. Pistone served in the FBI for 28 years, including six years of undercover life in the New York Bonanno crime family, where he operated as a jewel thief under the name Donnie Brasco. Due to his undercover work, more than members of the Mafia were put behind bars. Pistone was born in Pennsylvania, where he also spent his childhood. Then, he moved to New Jersey. In New Jersey, he graduated from high school and college, where he majored in social studies.
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