STRIKE FORCE: Organized Crime and the Government by Clark R. Mollenhoff

STRIKE FORCE: Organized Crime and the Government

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Mollenhoff's good standing as an investigative journalist rests largely on his Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of Hoffa's teamster years (out of which also came his best book, Tentacles of Power, 1965); this ghoulish guys-and-dolls travelogue of organized crime, however, will do nothing to enhance his reputation. With the tenacity and vigor of an experienced hit man, Mollenhoff pursues two broad, related objectives here. First, he lobbies for the Nixon-Mitchell Strike Force approach to combating the Mafia and other powerful mobsters. From New England to Miami to New Orleans to the coast, Mollenhoff praises the operation as an unqualified smash, attributing its successes (and there have been some -- Addonizio and Kenny in New Jersey) wholly to the use of wiretapping and eavesdropping. Along the way he constantly makes sneaky little cracks, e.g. the Chicago Strike Force seems to be making ""tremendous strides"" because President Nixon ""remembered what had happened in 1960, and he did not want to be counted out again by the invisible Mafia government."" And second, Mollenhoff smears those who have consistently placed the privacy right above the need for electronic surveillance of suspected criminals; in fact his criticisms of Ramsey Clark and Lyndon Johnson border on malicious libel -- e.g., the Bobby Baker and Fred Black cases ""clearly showed how political corruption and organized crime both benefited from the same questionable policy under the Johnson Administration. The last chapter in the story was Johnson's unsuccessful attempt to appoint Abe Fortas. . . as Chief Justice of United States Supreme Court."" As secondhand muck firmed up by innuendo, the book is a disgrace; as campaign propaganda for Nixon's war on crime, it's unexceptional.

Pub Date: April 14th, 1972
Publisher: Prentice-Hall