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Chapter 3

Betting on Raindrops

Many apply, few are chosen.

That was the message continually drummed into us as new recruits. Nearly everyone interested in a career in law enforcement aspired to become a special agent of the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation, but only the very best could hope to have that opportunity. A long, proud heritage went all the way back to 1924 when an obscure government lawyer named John Edgar Hoover took over a corrupt, underfunded, and badly managed agency. And the same Mr. Hoover—by the time I joined, seventy-five years of age—still presided over the revered organization it had become, ruling as always with a square jaw and an iron fist. So we’d better not let the Bureau down.

A telegram from the director instructed me to report to Room 625 in the Old Post Office Building on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington at 9 a.m. on December 14, 1970, to begin the fourteen weeks of training that would transform me from an ordinary citizen into a special agent of the FBI. Before this I went home to Long Island, where my dad was so proud, he flew the American flag in front of the house. With what I’d been doing the last several years, I didn’t have any dress-up civilian clothes, so my dad bought me three “regulation” dark suits—a blue, a black, and a brown—white shirts, and two pairs of wing tips, one black and one brown. Then he drove me down to Washing ton to make sure I’d be on time for my first day of work.

It didn’t take long to become inculcated with FBI ritual and lore. The special agent leading our induction ceremony told us to take out our gold badges and stare at them as we recited the oath of office. We all spoke in unison, staring at the blindfolded woman holding the scales of justice while solemnly swearing to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. “Bring it closer! Closer!” the special agent ordered, until we were all staring at these badges cross-eyed.

My new-agent class was made up solely of white men. In 1970, there were few black FBI agents and no women. That wouldn’t really open up until after Hoover’s long tenure, and even from beyond the grave he continued to exert a ghostly and powerful influence. Most of the men were between twenty-nine and thirty-five, so at twenty-five, I was one of the youngest.

We were indoctrinated to be on the lookout for Soviet agents, who would try to compromise us and get our secrets. These agents could be anywhere. We were told particularly to beware of women! The brainwashing was so effective I turned down a date with an extremely good-looking woman who worked in the building who had actually asked me out to dinner. I was afraid it was a setup and I was being tested.

The FBI Academy on the Marine base in Quantico, Virginia, wasn’t fully built and operational yet, so we took our firearms and physical training there and the classroom work in the Old Post Office Building in Washington.

One of the first things every trainee is taught is that an FBI agent only shoots to kill. The thinking that went into this policy is both rigorous and logical: if you draw your weapon, you have already made the decision to shoot. And if you have made the decision that the situation is serious enough to warrant shooting, you have decided it is serious enough to take a life. In the heat of the moment, you seldom have the latitude to plan your shot or time to indulge in a lot of mental gymnastics, and attempting merely to stop a subject or bring him down is too risky. You do not take any unnecessary chances for yourself or a potential victim.

We were given equally rigorous training in criminal law, fingerprint analysis, violent and white-collar crime, arrest techniques, weapons, hand-to-hand combat, and the history of the Bureau’s role in national law enforcement. One of the units I remember best, though, came fairly early in the course of study. We all re ferred to it as “dirty-words training.”

“Doors closed?” the instructor asked. He then handed each of us a list. “I want you to study these words.” The list, as I recall, contained such gems of Anglo-Saxon usage as shit, fuck, cunnilingus, fellatio, cunt, and dickhead. What we were supposed to do was commit these words to memory so that if they ever came up in field usage—such as during the interrogation of a suspect—we’d know what to do. And what we were supposed to do was to make sure any case report containing any of these words was given to the office’s “obscene steno”—I’m not kidding!—rather than the regular secretary. The obscene steno would traditionally be an older, more mature and seasoned woman, better able to handle the shock of seeing these words and phrases. Remember, this was all men in those days, and in 1970 the nation al sensibility was somewhat different from what it is today, at least within Hoover’s FBI. We were actually given a spelling test on these words, after which the papers were collected and—I presume—graded before being burned in the metal trash can.

Despite this kind of silliness, we were all idealistic about fighting crime, and we all thought we could make a difference. About halfway through new-agent training, I was called in to the office of the assistant director for training, Joe Casper, one of Hoover’s trusted lieutenants. People in the Bureau called him the Friendly Ghost, but the nickname was definitely used ironically rather than affectionate ly. Casper told me I was doing well in most areas, but that I was way below average in “Bureau communications,” the methodology and nomenclature through which the diverse elements of the organiza tion communicate with each other.

“Well, sir, I want to be the best,” I responded. Guys this eager were described as having blue flames coming out of their asses. This could help you get ahead, but also made you a marked man. If a blue-flamer succeeded, he was headed for the top of the world. But if he screwed up, the crash and burn would be very long and very public.

Casper may have been tough but he was nobody’s fool, and he’d seen many a blue-flamer in his time. “You want to be the best? Here!” whereupon he threw the entire manual of terms at me and told me to have them all memorized by the time I got back from the Christmas break.

Chuck Lundsford, one of our class’s two Academy counselors, got the word on what had happened and came over to me. “What did you say when you went in there?” he asked me. I told him. Chuck just rolled his eyes. We both knew I had my work cut out for me.

I went home to my parents’ house for the holidays. While the rest of the family was making merry, I had my nose buried deep in the manual of communications. It wasn’t much of a vacation.

When I got back to Washington in early January, still sweating out the consequences of my blue-flame performance, I had to take a written test of what I’d learned. I can’t express how relieved I was when our other counselor, Charlie Price, told me I’d scored a 99 percent. “You actually scored a hundred,” Charlie confided to me, “but Mr. Hoover says no one’s perfect.”

About halfway through the fourteen-week program we were each asked our preference for a first field-office assignment. Most of the FBI was dispersed among fifty-nine field offices around the country. I sensed there must be some games manship in the choosing—a giant chess match between the new recruits and headquar ters—and as always, I tried to think like the other side. I was from New York and had no particular interest in going back there. I figured L.A., San Francisco, Miami, possibly Seattle and San Diego, would be the most sought-after postings. So if I selected a second-tier city, I’d be much more likely to get my first choice.

I chose Atlanta. I got Detroit.

Upon graduation, we were all given permanent credentials, a Smith & Wesson Model 10 six-shot .38 revolver, six bullets, and instructions to get out of town as fast as possible. Headquarters was always terrified that the raw new agents would get in trouble in Washington, right under Mr. Hoover’s nose, which would reflect badly on everyone.

The other item I was given was a booklet entitled “Survival Guide to Detroit.” The city was among the most racially polarized in the country, still reeling from the repercus sions of the 1967 riots, and could claim the title of the nation’s crime capital, with more than eight hundred murders a year. In fact, we had a gruesome pool in the office, betting on exactly how many homicides would be chalked up by year’s end. Like most new agents, I started out idealistic and energetic, but soon realized what we were up against. I had spent four years in the Air Force, but the closest to combat I’d been was in a bed in the base hospital next to wounded Vietnam vets when I had my nose operated on for football and boxing injuries. So until I got to Detroit, I’d never been in the position of being the enemy. The FBI was hated in many quarters; they’d infiltrat ed college campuses and had set up networks of urban informers. With our somber black cars, we were marked men. In many neighbor hoods, people threw rocks at us. Their German shepherds and Dobermans didn’t like us much, either. We were told not to find ourselves in some sections of the city without extremely heavy backup and firepow er.

Local police were angry at us, too. They accused the Bureau of “scooping” cases, putting out press releases before a case was complete, then adding police-solved crimes to the FBI’s own clearance-rate stats. Ironically, around the time of my rookie year, 1971, about a thousand new agents were hired, and the bulk of our practical street training came not from the Bureau but from local cops who took us under their protec tive wings. Much of the success of my generation of special agents unquestionably is attributable to the professionalism and generosity of police officers all over the United States.

Bank robberies were particularly prevalent. On Fridays, when the banks stocked up with cash to handle paydays, we averaged two or three armed robberies, sometimes as many as five. Until bullet-resistant glass became commonplace in Detroit banks, the murder and wounding of tellers was appalling. We had a case captured on a bank surveillance camera in which a manager was shot and killed at his desk, execution style, while a terrified couple sitting across from him, applying for a loan, looked on helplessly. The robber was unhappy that the manager couldn’t open the timed vault. And it wasn’t just bank officials with access to tens of thousands of dollars in cash. In certain neighborhoods, workers at places like McDonald’s were equally at risk.

I was assigned to the Reactive Crimes Unit, which meant, in effect, reacting to crimes that had already happened, bank robbery or extortion, for example. Within that unit, I worked with the UFAP Squad: Unlawful Flight to Avoid Prosecution. This turned out to be excellent experience because this squad always saw a lot of action. In addition to the office-wide yearly homicide pool, we ran a contest in the unit to see who could make the most arrests in a single day. It was just like the competitions car dealers run for who can make the most sales in a given time.

One of our busiest lines of work in those days was what was referred to as the 42 Classification: military deserters. Vietnam had ripped the country in two, and once most of these guys went absent from the service, they did not want in the worst way to go back. We had more assaults against law officers registered with 42 Classifications than with any other type of fugitive.

My first encounter with a UFAP came when I’d tracked an Army deserter to the service garage where he worked. I identify myself and think he’s going to come along quietly. Then suddenly, he pulls this filed-down, makeshift knife with a black-tape handle on me. I pull back, just narrowly avoiding getting stabbed. I lunge at him, throw him up against the glass garage door, then force him down on the ground with a knee on his back and my gun up to his head. Meanwhile, the manager is raising hell with me for taking away a good worker. What the hell have I gotten myself into? Was this really the career I’d envisioned? Was it worth continually risking my hide to bring in this kind of lowlife? Industrial psychology was looking awfully good.

Going after deserters often brought with it emotional turmoil as well as creating resentment between the military and the FBI. Sometimes we’d follow up on an arrest warrant, locate the guy, and grab him right on the street. Infuriated, he would stop us, rap with his knuckles on an artificial leg, and tell us he’d gotten a Purple Heart and a Silver Star for that in Nam. What was happening over and over was that deserters who either returned voluntarily or were picked up by the Army itself were routinely sent over to Vietnam as punishment. Many of these guys subsequently distinguished themselves in combat, but the military hadn’t told us anything. So as far as we knew, they were still AWOL. This aggra vated the hell out of us.

Worse yet was when we’d go to a deserter’s listed residence and be told by tearful and rightfully enraged wives or parents that the subject had died a hero’s death. We’d be chasing down dead men, killed in action, and the military never got around to letting us know.

Regardless of the profession you’re in, when you get out into the field, you start realizing all the big and little things they never taught you in school or training. For one, what do you do with your gun in various situations, such as while using a public men’s room stall? Do you leave it on your belt down on the floor? Do you try to hang it up on the stall door? For a while I tried holding it in my lap, but that made me very nervous. It’s the kind of thing each of us faces, but not the kind of thing you feel comfortable discussing with your more experienced colleagues. By the time I’d been on the job a month, it became a problem.

When I moved to Detroit, I’d bought another Volkswagen Beetle, the same kind of car, ironically, that was becoming the serial killer vehicle of choice. Ted Bundy had one and it was one of the ways he was ultimately identified. Anyway, I’d stopped in a local shopping center to go into a men’s store to buy a suit. Knowing I’m going to be trying on clothes, I figure I’d better leave my gun someplace safe. So I stick it in the glove compartment and head into the store.

Now, the VW Beetle had a couple of interesting characteristics. Since it was a rear-engine car, the spare tire was stored in the trunk in front. Since it was practically ubiquitous in those days—not to mention easy to break into—spare tires were an extremely common theft item. After all, just about everyone needed one. And last but not least, the trunk was opened through a switch in the glove compartment.

I’m sure you can guess the rest. I come out to the car and find the window broken. As I reconstruct this highly sophisticated crime, the tire thief breaks into the car, goes in the glove compartment to open the trunk for the tire, but sees there a much greater prize. I deduce this because my gun is gone but the tire’s still there.

“Oh, shit!” I’m saying to myself. “I’ve been on the job less than thirty days and I’m already supplying weapons to the enemy!” And I know that losing your gun or your credentials means an instant letter of censure. So I go to my squad supervisor, Bob Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick’s a big guy, a real father figure. He dresses dapper and is something of a living legend in the Bureau. He knows my ass is on the line and how bad I feel. The gun loss has to be reported to the Director’s Office, which is just great since that’ll be the first field entry in my personnel file. He says we’ve got to come up with something really creative, revolving around how I’m so concerned with maintaining the public peace that I didn’t want to take the chance of alarming anyone in the store if they suddenly saw a gun and thought they were being robbed. Fitzpatrick reassures me that since I’m not up for promotion for a couple of years, the letter of censure shouldn’t hurt me as long as I keep my nose clean from now on.

So that’s what I tried to do, though that gun continued to haunt me for a long time. The Smith & Wesson Model 10 I turned in to the Quantico armory almost twenty-five years later when I retired from the Bureau was actually the replacement of my original weapon. Thank God, that first gun never turned up in a crime. In fact, it essentially disappeared.

I lived with two other single agents, Bob McGonigel and Jack Kunst, in a furnished town house in Taylor, Michigan, a southern suburb of Detroit. We were great friends and Bob would later be best man at my wedding. He was also a maniac. He would wear crushed-velvet suits and lavender shirts, even during inspections. He seemed to be the only one in the entire FBI who wasn’t afraid of Hoover. Later, Bob went into undercover work where he wouldn’t have to wear a suit at all.

He had started out in the Bureau as a clerk, taking the “inside route” to become a special agent. Some of the best people in the FBI began as clerks, including several I selected for the Investigative Support Unit. But in certain circles, former clerks were resented, as if they’d had special preference to become agents.

Bob was the greatest I have ever known at “pretext calls.” This was a proactive technique we developed to catch offenders, partic ularly useful when the element of surprise was paramount.

Bob was an artist with accents. If the suspect was in the mob, he’d do an Italian accent. For the Black Pan thers, he could pass as a street dude. He also had a Nation of Islam persona, an Irish brogue, immigrant Jew, Grosse Point WASP. Not only did he have the voices down cold, he would alter the vocabu lary and diction to suit the character. Bob was so good at this that he once called Joe Del Campo—another agent you’ll read about in the next chapter—and convinced Joe he was a black militant who wanted to turn FBI informant. In those days, there was a lot of pressure to develop inner-city sources. Bob sets up a meeting with Joe, who thinks he’s onto something big. No one shows up for Joe’s meeting, and the next day in the office he’s really pissed off when Bob greets him with the pretext voice!

Arresting the bad guys was one thing, but soon I found myself becoming interested in the thought processes that went into the crime. Whenever I would arrest someone, I’d ask him ques tions, such as why he chose one bank over another or what made him select this particular victim. We all knew that robbers preferred to hit banks on Friday after noons because that was when the most money would be on the premises. But beyond that, I wanted to know what decisions went into the planning and execution of the hit?

I must not have seemed very intimidating. Just as they had in school, people felt comfortable opening up to me. The more I questioned these guys, the more I came to under stand that the successful criminals were good profilers. They each had a carefully thought through and well-researched profile of the type of bank they preferred. Some liked banks near major thoroughfares or interstates so that getaways would be easier and they could be many miles away before a pursuit could be orga nized. Some liked small, isolated branches, such as the tempo rary ones set up in trailers. Many would case a bank ahead of time to get the layout down, to find out how many people worked there and how many customers could be expected in the lobby at any given time. Sometimes they would keep visiting bank branches until they found one where no males worked, and that would become the target. Buildings with no windows out to the street were best, since no one on the outside could witness the robbery in progress and witnesses on the inside would be unable to identify the getaway car. The best practitioners had come to the conclu sion that a holdup note was better than a public announcement, waving a gun, and they’d always remember to take the note back before they left so as not to leave evidence. The best getaway car was a stolen one, and the best scenario of all was to have the car parked ahead of time so that it isn’t noticed pulling up. You walk up to the bank, then drive away after the job. A robber who’d been particularly successful at a particular bank might watch it for a while, and if conditions remained the same, he’d hit the same one again within a couple of months.

Of all public facilities, banks are about the best set up to deal with robbery. Yet I was continually amazed when I did follow-up investigations at how many would have neglected to load film in the surveillance cameras, how many had set off a silent alarm accidentally and then forgotten to reset it, or tripped it so often that the police would respond slowly because they figured it was just another accident. This was like hanging out a Rob Me! sign to a sophisticated criminal.

But if you started profiling the cases—I hadn’t attached this term to the process yet—you could begin seeing patterns. And once you began seeing patterns, you could start taking proactive measures to catch the bad guys. For example, if you started to see that a rash of bank robberies all seemed to fit together, and if you’d talked to enough perpetrators to understand what it was in each of these jobs that appealed to them, you could obviously and heavily fortify all the bank offices that met the criteria except for one. This one, of course, would be under constant police and/or FBI surveillance with plainclothes details inside. In effect, you could force the robber to select the bank of your choosing and be ready for him when he did. When this kind of proactive tactic was employed, bank- robbery clearance rates went way up.

Whatever we did in those days, we did under the looming presence of J. Edgar Hoover, just as our predecessors had since 1924. In this age of musical-chairs appointments and trial by public opinion, it’s difficult to convey the degree of power and control Hoover exercised, not only over the FBI, but government leaders, the media, and the public at large. If you wanted to write a book or a script about the Bureau, such as Don Whitehead’s huge 1950s best-seller The FBI Story, or the popular James Stewart movie based on it, or produce a TV series, such as Efrem Zimbalist Jr.’s The FBI of the 1960s, you had to have Mr. Hoover’s personal approval and blessing. Likewise, if you were a high government official, you would always have that nagging fear that the director “had something” on you, particularly if he called in friendly tones to let you know the FBI had “uncovered” a nasty rumor that he would do everything he could to make sure never became damagingly public.

Nowhere was Mr. Hoover’s personal mystique stronger than in the FBI branch offices and among the Bureau’s management. It was an accepted fact that the FBI held the prestige and admiration it did because of him. He had almost single-handedly built the agency into what it was, and he was tireless in his fights for budget increases and pay raises. He was both revered and feared, and if you didn’t think much of him, you kept it to yourself. Discipline was fierce, and branch inspections were bloodbaths. If the inspectors didn’t find enough things that needed improvement, Hoover might suspect they weren’t doing their jobs exhaustively enough, which meant they would require a certain number of letters of censure from each inspection, whether the conditions warranted them or not. It was like a quota for issuing traffic tickets. It got so bad that special agents in charge, known as SACs, would find sacrificial lambs who weren’t immediately up for promotion so that letters of censure wouldn’t hurt their careers.

One time, in a story that no longer has a very humorous ring after the horrific 1995 bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City, a bomb threat to the FBI office was called in after an inspection. The call was traced to a phone booth just outside the federal building downtown where the field office was located. Authorities from headquarters came in and removed the entire phone booth and wanted to compare the fingerprints on the coins in the phone box with those of all 350 individuals in the office. Fortunately for all of us, reason prevailed and the examination never took place. But that was an example of the tension Mr. Hoover’s policies could cause.

There were standard operating procedures for everything. Though I never had the opportunity to meet Mr. Hoover in a one-on-one setting, I did (and still do) have a personally autographed photo of him in my office. There was even a stan dard procedure for getting such a photo as a young agent. The SAC would tell you to have his secretary write a kiss-ass letter for you, elaborating on how proud you were to be an FBI special agent and how much you admired Mr. Hoover. If you’d written your letter properly, you’d receive a photo with best wishes to you as a sign for all to see of your personal connection to the leader.

Certain other procedures, we never knew for sure where they came from, whether they were Hoover’s personal directives or merely an overzealous interpretation of the director’s wishes. Everyone in the office was expected to put in overtime, and everyone was supposed to be above the office average. I’m sure you see the dilemma. Month by month, like some crazy pyramid scheme, the hours would keep growing. Agents who came into the Bureau with the highest morals and character would be forced to learn to inflate their time sheets. There was to be no smoking or coffee drinking in the office. And like a force of door-to-door salesmen, agents were discouraged from hanging around the office at all, even to use the telephone. Therefore, each man developed his own work habits to get around this. I spent a lot of time going over my cases at a carrel at the public library.

One of the greatest adherents to the Gospel According to Saint Edgar was our SAC, Neil Welch, nicknamed the Grape. Welch was a big guy, about six four, with heavy horn-rim glasses. He was stern and stoic, not at all warm and fuzzy. He enjoyed a distinguished career in the Bureau, going on to head field offices in Philadelphia and New York, among others. There was some talk he would take Hoover’s place when (or should I say, if) the inevitable day finally arrived. In New York, Welch formed a group that was the first to effec tively use the federal RICO conspiracy statutes (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) against organized crime. But back in Detroit, he went by the book.

Naturally and inevitably, Welch and Bob McGonigel would clash, and it happened one Saturday when we were at home. Bob got a call that the Grape wanted to see him immediately, along with our squad supervisor, Bob Fitzpatrick. So McGonigel goes in, and Welch tells him someone’s been using the phone to call New Jersey. It’s against the rules to use the phone for personal business. Actually, what he’d been doing could have been interpreted either way, but in the FBI, you erred on the side of caution.

Welch, who could be really fierce, starts out generally, using good interrogation techniques that put the subject on the spot. “Okay, McGonigel, what about those telephone calls?”

So Bob starts confessing to any call he can think of because he’s afraid Welch might have something more serious on him and maybe he can satisfy the SAC’s wrath by giving him the petty stuff.

Welch rises to his full imposing height, leans over his desk, and points his finger menacingly. “McGonigel, let me tell you something: you’ve got two strikes against you. First, you’re a former clerk. I hate fucking clerks! The second thing is, if I ever see you wearing a lavender-colored shirt, particularly during inspection, I’m gonna kick your ass up and down East Jefferson Street. And if I ever see you near a telephone, I’m gonna throw your ass down the elevator shaft. Now get out of my office!” Bob comes home a beaten man, convinced he’s going to be fired. Jack Kunst and I really feel sorry for him. But what Fitzpatrick tells me the next day is that after McGonigel left, he and Welch sat there laughing their asses off.

Years later, when I headed up the Investigative Support Unit, I would get asked if—with all that we knew about criminal behavior and crime-scene analysis—any of us could commit the perfect murder. I always told them no, that even with all we knew, our postoffense behavior would still give us away. I think the incident between McGonigel and Welch proves that even a first-rate FBI agent isn’t immune to the pressures of the right inter rogator.

By the way, from the moment he left the SAC’s office that Saturday afternoon, Bob wore the whitest shirts in town . . . until Neil Welch was transferred to Philadelphia.

Much of Hoover’s leverage in getting his funding requests through Congress had to do with the statistics he could throw around. But for the director to be able to use these numbers, everyone in the field had to deliver.

Early in 1972, so the story goes, Welch promised the boss 150 gambling arrests. That, apparently, was the category needing a boost in numbers at the time. So we set up an elaborate sting with informants, wiretaps, and military-like planning, all to culmi nate on Super Bowl Sunday, the biggest illegal-gambling day of the year. The Dallas Cowboys, who’d lost a close contest to the Baltimore Colts the year before, were playing the Miami Dolphins in New Orleans.

Arrests of bookies have to be lightning-fast, precision procedures because they use flash paper (which burns instantly) or potato paper (which is water soluble). The operation promised to be something of a mess because there had been intermittent showers all day.

Our sting netted more than two hundred gamblers on that rainy afternoon. At one point, I had a subject handcuffed in the back of the car, bringing him back to the armory where we were booking them all. He was a charming guy, friendly. He was handsome, too; looked like Paul Newman. He said to me, “Sometime when this is all over, we ought to get together for some racquetball.”

He was approachable enough, so I started asking him questions, just the way I’d been asking bank robbers. “Why do you do this stuff?”

“I love it,” he replied. “You can arrest all of us today, John. It won’t make a bit of difference.”

“But for a smart guy like you, making money legitimately should be easy.”

He shook his head, like I still didn’t get it. It was raining harder now. He glanced to the side, directing my attention to the car’s window. “You see those two raindrops?” He pointed. “I’ll bet you the one on the left will get to the bottom of the glass before the one on the right does. We don’t need the Super Bowl. All we need is two little raindrops. You can’t stop us, John, no matter what you do. It’s what we are.” For me, this brief encounter was like a bolt out of the blue, like an instant cessation of ignorance. It may seem naive in retrospect, but suddenly, everything I’d been asking, all of my research with bank robbers and other criminals, came crystal clear.

It’s what we are.

There was something inherent, deep within the criminal’s mind and psyche, that compelled him to do things in a certain way. Later, when I started research into the minds and motivations of serial murderers, then, when I began analyzing crime scenes for behav ioral clues, I would look for the one element or set of elements that made the crime and the criminal stand out, that represented what he was.

Eventually, I would come up with the term signature to describe this unique element and personal compulsion, which remained static. And I would use it as distinguishable from the traditional concept of modus operandi, which is fluid and can change. This became the core of what we do in the Investigative Support Unit.

As it turned out, all the hundreds of arrests we made that Super Bowl Sunday were thrown out of court on technical procedure. In everyone’s haste to get the operation up and running, an assistant to the attorney general, rather than the attorney general himself, had signed the search warrants. But the SAC Welch had fulfilled his promise and delivered his numbers to Hoover, at least long enough for them to have the desired impact on Capitol Hill. And I had come up with an insight that was to become critical in my law enforcement career, simply by betting on raindrops.

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