WITSEC: Inside the Federal Witness Protection Program

I began investigating the Federal Witness Protection Program after several mobsters at The Hot House told me how they had been betrayed by fellow gangsters in return for new identities from the government.

Unfortunately, I kept running into dead ends until I met Gerald Shur, the government attorney who invented WITSEC. We joined forces and Shur took me behind the scenes. He knew every top mobster who had flipped over — beginning with Joe Valachi and ending with Sammy the Bull.

Shur handled lots of bizarre requests: like the time a mobster asked the government to pay for a penile implant because he had become so depressed, he couldn’t satisfy his wife and mistress, and no longer wanted to testify.

My favorite section of my book is about WITNESS X, the wife of a mobster whose entire world was turned upside down when her husband testified against his real-life Soprano’s mob boss. She spent hours telling me her story. After hearing it, I came to believe that the most difficult challenge most criminals and their families ever faced was entering and surviving WITSEC.



Inside the Federal Witness Protection Program

For decades no law enforcement program has been as cloaked in controversy and mystery as the Federal Witness Protection Program. Now, for the first time, Gerald Shur, the man credited with the creation of WITSEC, teams with acclaimed investigative journalist Pete Earley to tell the inside story of turncoats, crime-fighters, killers, and ordinary human beings caught up in a life-and-death game of deception in the name of justice.