Crime: Crisis of Silence

Nobody loves an informer. But in fighting organized crime, the Government needs professional informers to provide courtroom testimony; most other witnesses are reluctant to give it because it is axiomatic that in certain cases a short memory means a longer life. That is why federal prosecutors have cherished an obscure but highly talkative New York labor lawyer named Herbert Itkin. Currently, Itkin is creating a crisis for the law enforcers.

Until 1967, Itkin was an FBI and Justice Department informer, operating among Mafia families. He surfaced two years ago to testify in the successful prosecution of a graft case in...

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