The Toad is a Rat

“A dog that will bring a bone will carry a bone” is one of those old time aphorisms that does not make a lot of sense to people today. it was a pithy way to say, “Someone who will steal for you will steal from you.” More generally, it means that people of low character are low character in all of their dealings. Like so much of our cultural inheritance, this sense of character has been mostly lost, but the reality of it is a fixture of the human condition. Here’s an example from the news.

The former mob snitch has become a regular in the White House, where he has met with the 44th president in the East Room, the Roosevelt Room, and the Oval Office. He has also attended Obama Christmas parties, speeches, policy announcements, and even watched a Super Bowl with the First Family (an evening the man has called “one of the highlights of my life”). During these gatherings, he has mingled with cabinet members, top Obama aides, military leaders, business executives, and members of Congress. His former confederates were a decidedly dicier lot: ex-convicts, extortionists, heroin traffickers, and mob henchmen. The man’s surreptitious recordings, FBI records show, aided his government handlers in the successful targeting of powerful Mafia figures with nicknames like Benny Eggs, Chin, Fritzy, Corky, and Baldy Dom.

Later this week, Obama will travel to New York and appear in a Manhattan hotel ballroom at the side of the man whom FBI agents primarily referred to as “CI-7”–short for confidential informant #7–in secret court filings. In those documents, investigators vouched for him as a reliable, productive, and accurate source of information about underworld figures.

The ex-informant has been one of Obama’s most unwavering backers, a cheerleader who has nightly bludgeoned the president’s Republican opponents in televised broadsides. For his part, Obama has sought the man’s counsel, embraced him publicly, and saluted his “commitment to fight injustice and inequality.” The president has even commented favorably on his friend’s svelte figure, the physical manifestation of a rehabilitation effort that coincided with Obama’s ascension to the White House. This radical makeover has brought the man wealth, a daily TV show, bespoke suits, a luxury Upper West Side apartment, and a spot on best seller lists.

Most importantly, he has the ear of the President of the United States, an equally remarkable and perplexing achievement for the former FBI asset known as “CI-7,” the Rev. Al Sharpton.

Of course, Sharpton was always a hustler. he figured out that the quickest route a high paying, but low effort life was as a black agitator. He does not care about black people, other than as aprop in his act. That’s why he had not trouble operating as a fink. For a guy like Sharpton, everything has a price, as he values nothing but his own base appetites, which are ample. Amusingly, this also makes Sharpton an Uncle Tom, which suggests the good Lord has a sense of humor.

A lengthy investigation by The Smoking Gun has uncovered remarkable details about Sharpton’s past work as an informant for a joint organized crime task force comprised of FBI agents and NYPD detectives, as well as his dealings with an assortment of wiseguys.

Beginning in the mid-1980s and spanning several years, Sharpton’s cooperation was fraught with danger since the FBI’s principal targets were leaders of the Genovese crime family, the country’s largest and most feared Mafia outfit. In addition to aiding the FBI/NYPD task force, which was known as the “Genovese squad,” Sharpton’s cooperation extended to several other investigative agencies.

TSG’s account of Sharpton’s secret life as “CI-7” is based on hundreds of pages of confidential FBI affidavits, documents released by the bureau in response to Freedom of Information Act requests, court records, and extensive interviews with six members of the Genovese squad, as well as other law enforcement officials to whom the activist provided assistance.

Like almost every other FBI informant, Sharpton was solely an information source. The parameters of his cooperation did not include Sharpton ever surfacing publicly or testifying on a witness stand.

Genovese squad investigators–representing both the FBI and NYPD–recalled how Sharpton, now 59, deftly extracted information from wiseguys. In fact, one Gambino crime family figure became so comfortable with the protest leader that he spoke openly–during ten wired face-to-face meetings–about a wide range of mob business, from shylocking and extortions to death threats and the sanity of Vincent “Chin” Gigante, the Genovese boss who long feigned mental illness in a bid to deflect law enforcement scrutiny. As the mafioso expounded on these topics, Sharpton’s briefcase–a specially customized Hartman model–recorded his every word.

In all seriousness, it took some balls to wear a wire. It may make him a dirt bag, but he was a dirt bag long before he became a rat so I’m not sure this matters a whole lot. The fact that Obama pals around with this odious toad is the bigger issue. It undermines everything Obama has said about race in America. When it gets down to it, racial solidarity trumps everything if you are black. In fact, it pretty trumps everything no matter your race. That’s a reality of the human existence.

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6 years ago

Late comment here, but seriously I read about Sharpton being an FBI informant around 20 years ago. It was in, I think, either Vanity Fair or Esquire and might have been a piece on the Tawana Brawley fiasco. One quote I can remember is that his FBI handlers “regarded Sharpton as a pure con”.