Organized crime in America has changed a lot since legendary jewel thief Donnie Brasco helped deal a devastating blow to the Italian mafia — the La Cosa Nostra — in New York. Today, organized crime has moved online.
But the basic psychology of those who are members of organized crime groups like the Mafia has not changed much. They still rule by intimidation and violence and their only goal in life is to make money. Nobody knows organized crime, especially the Italian mafia, better than Joseph D. Pistone, the former FBI agent who spent six years undercover as jewel thief Donnie Brasco. His operation helped strip the mob of its power in New York and is still a case study in how to infiltrate and defeat organized criminal enterprises.
Today, Pistone still consults and advises international law enforcement on conducting these undercover operations, and offers valuable insights into how organized crime tactics have evolved from street crimes to high-tech extortion.
In 2010, I had the opportunity to interview Pistone at length about his undercover operation and his thoughts on organized crime today. At the time, his face was partially obscured for security reasons.