Many Americans feel little trust in their government, and with so many corrupt politicians and scandals, who can blame them? People can't help but wonder what other secrets the government might hold. It’s no wonder people are drawn to conspiracy theories about the CIA and the mafia working together, from involvement with the 9/11 attacks to the assassination of JFK.
While these conspiracies can’t be proven, CIA-mafia collusion is real. Does the mafia work for the CIA, or vice versa? Or do the two opposite sides of the law simply work together when they have a common interest, mutually beneficial for both parties? Is there sometimes a lesser of two evils? Conspiracies are hard to prove, but there are a few times the CIA worked with the mob and got caught...
The CIA Enlisted the Mob to Assassinate Cuban Dictator Fidel Castro
In 2007, a CIA dossier was released under the Freedom of Information act that outlined CIA-mafia collusion in an attempt to assassinate Fidel Castro, who at the time was attempting to overthrow current Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista in favor of a communist revolution. American officials claimed Castro was a threat to national security.
During the 1960s, the CIA roped in John Roselli, an influential mobster in Chicago, Hollywood, and the Vegas Strip; Chicago mobster Sam Giancana; and New Orleans boss Santo Trafficante to have Castro poisoned. Obviously, their attempt failed.
Even Before His Dictatorship, the CIA Worked with the Mob to Undermine Castro
Even before Castro was sworn in on February 16, 1959, the CIA began working with the mob to undermine him. Why? Well, the Cuban dictator Castro overthrew also happened to have some pretty serious mob connections, creating a corrupt state full of drugs and gambling, where "Havana would be a party that never ended."
Naturally, when Castro's revolution prevailed, mobsters became outcasts. It's no wonder the mafia wanted Batista to stay in power so they could continue to thrive, rake in a ton of cash together, and take advantage of Cuba's close proximity to the United States.
There are even some rumors Nixon (VP at the time) was in on the action.
Mob Boss Lucky Luciano Helped the Government Invade Sicily During WWIIPhoto: New York Police Department / via Wikimedia
Known as the father of organized crime in America, Charles "Lucky" Luciano (born Salvatore Lucania) dominated the illegal liquor market during Prohibition before landing a 30- to 50-year prison sentence.
While in prison, Luciano offered to help the United State's World War II effort by using his criminal connections in Italy to advance the Allies' cause. The operation, known as Operation Husky, took place on the night of July 9, 1943, when 160,000 Allied troops landed on the extreme southwestern shore of Sicily.
As a part of the deal, Luciano received parole and was deported back to Italy. He eventually made his way back to Cuba to meet up with crime cohorts Meyer Lansky and Bugsy Siegel before he was once again deported to Italy in 1947.
Could it be a coincidence that Luciano aided the CIA in the invasion of Sicily, only to wind up in Cuba just before the CIA and the mafia plotted to assassinate Castro?
Corrupt CIA Teams with the Mafia to Steal Billions in Savings and Loans Scandal
Back in the 1980s, the United States financial sector suffered through a period of distress focused on the savings and loans industry, the greatest bank collapse since the Great Depression.
According to former reporter for the Houston Chronicle Pete Brewton, the CIA teamed up with the mafia under George Bush Senior's reign to steal billions of dollars in the savings and loan scandal of the 1980s that crippled America's economy.
His book The Mafia, CIA and George Bush chronicles the findings of his investigation, which began as an investigative journalism series he wrote for the Houston Post. It suggests then-president George H. W. Bush was a member of a small circle of powerful Texas businessmen who conducted business with the mafia, with the assistance of the CIA to scam money from savings and loans.