tv 60 Minutes CBS May 22, 2011 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT
. >> you sawñi lance armstrong inject epo? >> yeah, like we all did. >> reporter: tyler hamilton helped lance armstrong win three tour de france races in 1999, 2000 and 2001. now he's been forced to testify againstxd armstrong before a federal grand jury and he's not alone. >> reporter: if what you are saying about armstrong is true, that he is essentially in your estimation a cheat, and a liar, how is it
possible that he's gotten away with that? >> all this time? >> well, there is a lot of other cheats and liars out there too that have gotten away with it. not just lance. >> getting close to the mafia is dangerous business. and fbi agent lin, devery muchio got closer than any one we meet, how by luring a mobster knowned as the grim reaper into being an informant. >> one of the fearless guys. >> reporter: but did the fbi keep a killer on the streets in exchange for information on mafia bosses? >> you kept him out on the street, a guy who you knew at the time was murdering people. >> why don't you go out on the street and try working that some time. try making a case, try talking to a wise guy, try getting that information. >> i'm steve kcoft. >> i'm lesley stahl. >> i'm bob simon. >> i'm morley safer.
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♪ who's got it yeah! ♪ we're all different. that's why there are five new civics. the next-generation civic. only from honda. >> pelley: lance armstrong is among the greatest athletes of all time-- an american hero who beat cancer to win the tour de france, the super bowl of cycling, seven times. but now armstrong is the focus of a federal investigation into performance enhancing drugs. a grand jury in los angeles has been hearing secret testimony from some of armstrong's former teammates on the u.s. postal service team. one of the prime witnesses is
tyler hamilton. under oath, behind closed doors, hamilton has told a story that may change the history of sports. over the years, some former teammates have accused armstrong of doping. but, it's been said in professional cycling, that if tyler hamilton broke his silence, then the full story of the legendary u.s. postal team would be known. hamilton does that now, in public, for the first time. >> tyler hamilton: well, i just told my family for the first time four days ago about all this. it was brutal, was the first time, really, i confided in them and then told them the whole story, you know, starting from the first... from the first time i doped till to up through... up through the end. >> pelley: tyler hamilton always denied doping until this moment. he's an olympic gold medallist who kept the secrets of his sport for 14 years.
he refused to cooperate with the federal investigation of lance armstrong. but in june, he was served a subpoena which forced him to testify before the grand jury. >> hamilton: if i could've pressed the button, if i could've deleted my memory, you know, from when i was born up till the present moment, i probably would've pressed that button. >> pelley: why? >> hamilton: because it was awful. what i went through was awful,xd there was a time i just wanted it all to disappear. >> pelley: hamilton sat down with us, reluctantly, because what he had to say would ruin his record as a champion cyclist and implicate armstrong to whom he still feels gratitude for their years as teammates. tyler hamilton helped lead armstrong to victory in three tour de france races, in 1999, then 2000, and 2001. >> i take my hat off to the work done by tyler hamilton today, because he has consistently been at the front looking after
armstrong... >> pelley: in racing, the team leader is protected by his teammates. they clear his path, and fend of challengers in the tight pack of competitors that's known as a peloton. armstrong was the leader of the team sponsored by the u.s. postal service. his top teammates, who led him to victory again and again, were tyler hamilton and george hincapie. they were constant companions and kept each others secrets. >> pelley: for the record tell me what you saw-- in terms of what lance armstrong took in performance enhancing drugs? >> hamilton: he took what we all took, really no difference between lance armstrong and i'd say the... the majority of the peloton, you know. there was e.p.o., there was testosterone, so i... and i did see a transfusion, a blood transfusion.
>> pelley: all of those things are banned in races and in training. so why would a rider take the chance of getting caught? well, it's hard to imagine the endurance demanded by the tour de france. 21 days, 2000 miles and a vicious vertical climb totaling some 50 thousand feet in all. this ordeal is one reason that cycling became a dirty sport. armstrong won seven times. and in those seven races, all of the second and third place finishers, except one, were at some point implicated in doping. armstrong's story appeared miraculous. he'd won more tours than any man and claimed to have done it as one of the only clean racers at the top of the sport. >> lance armstrong: is there evidence? where is evidence of doping here? >> pelley: if there's little physical evidence, hamilton says there are a number of witnesses.
he told us that armstrong was doping the very first time he won the tour. one of the drugs, e.p.o., boosts the production of red blood cells to enhance endurance. >> pelley: he was using e.p.o. in the tour de france in 1999? >> hamilton: correct. >> pelley: he was using e.p.o. in the tour de france in the year 2000? >> hamilton: he used it before to prepare for the tour. >> pelley: and what about the tour in 2001? >> hamilton: he used it to prepare for the tour. i can't say that he used it during the tour. >> pelley: what did you actually witness? >> hamilton: i mean... i saw it in his refrigerator, you know. i saw him inject it more than one time >> pelley: you saw lance armstrong inject e.p.o.? >> hamilton: yeah, like we all did, like i did many, many times >> pelley: you saw it more than once? >> hamilton: i think it saw it a couple... couple times. >> pelley: it appears the federal investigation with its
subpoenas and sworn grand jury testimony has broken cycling's code of silence. we don't know how many u.s. postal riders were using performance enhancing drugs but we have learned that at least three have told federal authorities they used banned substances and witnessed armstrong using them too. one of those riders is armstrong's former teammate, george hincapie who armstrong once said was like a brother to him. hincapie has never been tainted by scandal. he rode next to armstrong in all seven tour de france victories. but now, we are told that, hincapie, for the first time, has told federal investigators that he and armstrong supplied each other with the blood booster e.p.o. and discussed having used testosterone, another banned substance, during their preparation for races. through his attorney, hincapie declined to be interviewed, citing the ongoing investigation. >> pelley: is it just a bunch of guys making decisions on their
own about what they want to do? or is this a doping program that was directed for the rest of the team? >> hamilton: you know, the team really encouraged it. um... >> pelley: the team management? >> hamilton: the team management encouraged it, yes. >> pelley: the team at the time was managed by johan bruyneel and hamilton says some of the team doctors supervised the doping. he's not the only member of the team to tell us that doping on u.s. postal was both directed and systematic. we spoke to a former team member who did not want to be named. but he said that he was instructed by some team doctors to use e.p.o. and that armstrong recommended he use the banned steroid, cortisone, before time trials. neither bruyneel nor the team doctors we contacted wanted to comment. prosecutors are investigating which of the team's managers or doctors may have been involved in illicit doping. >> pelley: was lance armstrong encouraging the doping? >> hamilton: he obviously was
the biggest rider in the team and he... he helped to call the shots. um, yes, he doped himself, you know, like everybody else, but he was just being part of theñi culture of the sport. but yeah, i mean, he... he sort of, he was the leader of the team and he expected for going in, for example the '99 tour-- which was his first tour that he won-- we were going to do everything possible to help lance win. we had one objective, that's it. >> pelley: it was in that '99 tour de france that hamilton says armstrong used another drug called andriol. >> hamilton: basically andriol is just in a little red pill, but basically what's inside is just oil, a special oil. another way to take it was just you'd get a little, like, eyedropper thing and you'd have a little glass container of it. i... i saw him take it that way, too, with me, you know. >> pelley: and that oil was
what? >> hamilton: testosterone. >> pelley: another banned substance? >> hamilton: correct. >> pelley: you did this together? >> hamilton: i remember one time after a race getting a drop of oil from him, you know, he... he put it, just squirt it in my mouth, squirted in a teammate's mouth and squirted it in his own mouth, you know. just a tiny amount, enough that's not going to be detectable the next day when you get drug tested. >> pelley: hamilton told us that doping was happening on the u.s. postal team before lance armstrong joined. the best riders got special treatment. >> hamilton: i remember seeing some of the stronger guys in the team getting handed these white lunch bags. so finally i, you know, started putting two and two together and you know, basically they were... there were doping products in the... in those white lunch bags.
>> pelley: you weren't getting one in the beginning? >> hamilton: no. >> pelley: but you did eventually? >> hamilton: um, eventually i got a white lunch bag, yeah. >> pelley: and inside the bag was what? >> hamilton: in my lunch bag i got e.p.o. you know, other guys got other things, such as growth hormone. i mean, it's sad to say it, that i was kind of willing and accepting in the lunch bag, but you know, it was also in a way it was also an honor that, wow, like, they think i'm good enough to be with the "a" team guys. >> pelley: it was 1997, hamilton says he'd never doped before, but now a team doctor said that he could make the tour de france team if he used e.p.o. >> hamilton: he recommended and thought it was a good idea for both the... the team, for... for myself, for... and for my health
that i take some therapy as he called it. so he was recommending that i take e.p.o. >> pelley: what did you think in that moment? >> hamilton: yeah, it was a pretty emotional moment. i told him that i needed a little bit of time to think about it, and basically i was starting to see a little bit of the dirty side of the sport. it was... it was tough, i felt like at this point in my career i was so close to the... to the goal, i've got to do it. you know, like, what would you do? you're that close, you've worked so hard to get to that moment. i mean, you're... really you can say my whole life to get to that point. >> pelley: you were concerned in that moment that if you didn't do the e.p.o. you wouldn't make the "a" team, you wouldn't ride the tour, is that right? >> hamilton: yeah, i kind of felt like i owed it to myself to look the other way and keep
going forward. >> frankie andreu: there was a time there where it felt like everybody was taking e.p.o. >> pelley: frankie andreu was on the postal team the following year. andreu is another witness in thi federal investigation. >> andreu: things were just getting faster and faster and sprinters were getting over the big mountains and winning, you know, climbing stages, and there's 200 guys flying over these mountains and you can't even stay in the group. and it's just impossible to keep up. and it's like, "what the hell's going on here?" that was kind of the mindset. >> pelley: if a rider was using e.p.o. and the other riders in the race were not, the e.p.o. is a race winner? >> andreu: oh yeah, for sure, yeah, if you weren't taking e.p.o., you weren't going to win. >> pelley: andreu admitted to investigators that he turned to e.p.o. for a brief time. >> andreu: i got tired of getting dropped and trying to survive and having guys that normally never should have been riding in front of me like kicking my butt. it was a matter of survival, just keeping up, not getting dropped, having my place in the peloton. training alone wasn't doing it.
and i think that's how many of the other riders during that era felt, i mean you kind of didn't have a choice. >> pelley: tyler hamilton told us that learning how to use e.p.o. without getting caught was part of the u.s. postal team's training. some of the team doctors did frequent blood tests to make sure that riders were taking enough e.p.o. to get a boost in red blood cells but not so much that it would raise suspicion. they were testing something called hematocrit, the proportion of red cells in the blood.ñi hamilton remembered that once during training the doctor told him that his hematocrit was too low. >> hamilton: so they told me basically to take care of it. >> pelley: which meant? >> hamilton: taking some e.p.o. either resting a lot, which if you rest a lot your hematocrit will go up. or, but you know that was a critical part of the year for training, putting in a lot of miles, so i really didn't have that option.
>> pelley: he says he needed the banned e.p.o. and he knew who to call. >> hamilton: you know, i reached out to lance armstrong, you know. and he helped me out, he helped me out. and you know i think the next day or two a package, fedex or dhl package arrives with not a lot but just a little bit of e.p.o. just to bump my values up a couple points. >> pelley: and that package was sent by whom? >> hamilton: uhh, i don't remember whose name was on the package, but you know, lance's... lance confirmed that he'd sent me some. and it.. and it did arrive. >> pelley: it was arranged by lance armstrong? >> hamilton: correct.xd but you know, i reached out to him, i asked... i asked, for this, you know. he, sure, it was an illegal doping product, um, but he helped out a friend, so i want
to make it clear that, you know, if the roles were reversed and i had the connection i would have done the same, same, thing for lance. >> pelley: what was that conversation like when you made this request? >> hamilton: back in the day we had code... code words for certain things and we had, you know most riders had secret... had a second phone that was kind of secret, they didn't really share with anybody, so secret phones, secret code words.ñi i asked him for some it was either poe or edgar allan poe, which was kind of, that was the code name for e.p.o. >> pelley: hamilton says those secret cell phones he mentioned were not registered in their names and they used them just in case the authorities were listening. >> pelley: did other members of the team have secret phones? >> hamilton: yeah. >> pelley: did lance armstrong have a secret phone? >> hamilton: yes. >> pelley: through a representative armstrong denied sending the e.p.o.
hamilton says that some of the top riders on the team used another method to boost red blood cells-- a banned technique called blood doping. in blood doping a rider gives his own blood, stores it, and then, at a critical point in the tour, transfuses the blood back into his body. the fresh blood boosts the red blood cells in a worn out rider. hamilton says he first encountered blood doping in the year 2000 as he and armstrong were preparing for the tour de france. he says that he was instructedxd by armstrong to join him on a private jet for a flight from france to valencia, spain. >> pelley: when you arrived in spain what happened? >> hamilton: a staff member met us at the airport. we were quickly shipped to... driven to a hotel, went up to two different rooms, a teammate... a teammate and i in one room and lance in another.
they instructed us to lie... lie down on the bed and they extracted blood, i think it was 450 cc's of blood. >> pelley: that's about a pint of blood and around ten days into the 2000 tour de france, about halfway through the race, hamilton says the team members stopped at a hotel where the fresh blood was transfused back into their bodies. >> pelley: did you see armstrong getting the blood transfusion? >> hamilton: yeah. >> pelley: you didn't see them take his blood weeks before, but you saw the transfusion going back into his blood during the tour de france race in 2000? >> hamilton: yeah, but i was transfusing blood, my teammate was, and i guarantee you every other team had probably two or three riders that were doing the same thing. i'd bet... i'd bet my life on it. >> pelley: hamilton says the story he's telling in this
interview is the same one that he told under oath to the grand jury. in return for his testimony, the government has given him limited immunity from prosecution. but as part of that deal, if he's found to be lying, he loses that immunity and becomes liable for prosecution. >> pelley: you know, lance armstrong has dismissed everyone who has spoken out against him as having an ax to grind. he says they have no credibility. and he might say that you have no credibility because now in this interview you're admitting that you doped and that the only reason you're speaking out now is because the government gave you a deal. what do you say to that? >> hamilton: i'm telling the truth, i'm telling the truth. yeah, i'm sure he'll come out with accusations. and you know, i do, you know, to lance, i feel bad that i had to go here and do this. but i think at end of the day-- like i said, long-term, this is going... the sport's going to be
better for it. >> pelley: if what you're saying about armstrong is true, that he is essentially in your estimation a cheat and a liar, how is it possible that he's gotten away with that all this time? >> hamilton: well, there's a lot of other cheats and liars out there too who've gotten away with it. it's not just lance, you know? i mean with a little luck i'd still be out there today being a cheat and liar. >> pelley: we'll return to hamilton in a moment. but first, over weeks, we've had several conversations with lance armstrong and his lawyers. we told them in detail about the allegations. they declined an interview. armstrong's representative sent a statement attacking armstrong's accusers as motivated by "greed and a hunger for publicity." the statement takes on the federal investigation saying, quote, the time has long passed for this nonsensical investigation to stop and for the enormous wasted resources to be re-directed to investigations that might actually protect americans from wrongdoing.
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>> pelley: lance armstrong has been tested for performance- enhancing drugs hundreds of times. he insists he's never tested positive. that claim is the cornerstone of his public image, and it's also the pledge he made to the u.s. government when his team accepted a multimillion-dollar sponsorship from the united states postal service. prosecutors are now investigating whether that pledge was a lie and, if so, whether it constituted fraud against the united states. they are also asking whether laws against drug trafficking
and distribution may have been violated. we have learned that authorities are looking into one particular drug test taken in 2001. tonight, we ask armstrong's close teammate tyler hamilton about that test that came during a race in switzerland. >> pelley: as you know, lance armstrong has repeatedly said that he has never doped and that he's never failed a doping test. do you have any reason to doubt his claim that he's never failed a test? >> hamilton: yeah. i know he's had a positive test before. >> pelley: positive for what? >> hamilton: for e.p.o. >> pelley: when and where? >> hamilton: i mean, it's hard for me to talk about this, you know? ah, tour of switzerland. 2001. >> pelley: how do you know he had a positive test? >> hamilton: he told me. >> pelley: it was june 2001. the tour de suisse was a warm-up race for the tour de france. a positive test would keep a rider out of the big event, but hamilton says armstrong wasn't worried.
>> hamilton: he was so relaxed about it, and he kind of just said it off the cuff and kind of laughed it off, that it... it helped me sort of stay relaxed, because obviously if he had a positive test, we're going to lose the... team's going to lose the sponsorship, i'm going to lose my job. not only am i going to lose my job but, you know, 50 to 60 other people are going to lose their jobs. probably won't... won't get to do the tour de france. there were a lot of consequences to a positive test. >> pelley: but, there don't seem to have been any consequences. >> hamilton: no. >> pelley: what happened? >> hamilton: people took care of it. >> pelley: what does that mean? >> hamilton: i don't know all the exact details. but i know that lance's people and the people from the other
side from-- i believe from the governing body of the sport figured out-- figured out a way for it to go away. >> pelley: why do you say that? how do you know that? >> hamilton: i was told this. >> pelley: by? >> hamilton: lance. >> pelley: the sport is governed by the international cycling union, also known as the u.c.i. the incident is under investigation by federal prosecutors and by the unites states anti-doping agency. we have obtained a letter that was sent from the u.s. anti- doping agency requesting information from the swiss lab that did the test. that letter reveals that the lab found the initial test of a urine sample "suspicious" and" consistent with e.p.o. use." we have also learned that the lab director met with johan bruyneel, postal's manager, and lance armstrong. such a meeting would be highly unusual according to david howman the director general of the world anti-doping agency. >> pelley: what would be wrong
with either the athlete or the athlete's coach being in this meeting with the lab director? >> david howman: you can't have a situation where you have athletes going and having one on one conversations with lab-- just for the mere perception that that would be wrong. we can't have a situation where athletes get preferential treatment, preferential information, or even meetings of... of that nature. >> pelley: we are told that the swiss lab director has given a sworn statement to the f.b.i. an official familiar with the investigation says that the lab director told the f.b.i. that a representative of the international cycling union wanted the matter of the suspicious test to go no further. the lab director also said that the meeting with bruyneel and armstrong was arranged by the cycling union itself. the lab director says that testing procedures were discussed during that meeting which howman believes could be
very valuable to someone trying to beat the test. >> pelley: the sophisticated doper can beat the tests... >> howman: yes. >> pelley: ...if he knows what he's doing? >> howman: yes. i've used the example of marion jones to exemplify that. she ran for many years, won many events. i think gave more than 160 samples for analysis. not once did she test positive. she held her hand up and said, "i have tested hundreds of times and never tested positive." what did that mean? nothing. >> marion jones: i want you to know that i have been dishonest. >> pelley: and after a criminal investigation, she finally admitted that she had been using performance-enhancing drugs. >> howman: and went to jail, and served her time. >> pelley: whether or not lance armstrong was able to get preferential treatment, there is something else that concerns david howman, head of the worldi anti-doping agency. around the time the international cycling union arranged that unusual meeting, armstrong donated 25 thousand
dollars to the cycling union, the same organization that polices doping. three years later he announced another 100 thousand dollar donation. armstrong says that he was supporting anti-doping efforts. >> howman: it doesn't look good when you are effectively giving money to the people who have your fate in their hands. and... and the testing program. >> pelley: have other cyclists done the same thing? >> howman: not to my knowledge. i have not heard of any other athlete in any other country in any other sport having done that. it's... it's... unique. >> pelley: it's inappropriate? >> howman: totally inappropriate, i would have thought. >> pelley: the cycling union strongly denies that armstrong's donations were inappropriate. we asked the cycling union to provide us with the test results from the 2001 tour de suisse. they said they couldn't because of rider confidentiality. however in a letter given to us by armstrong's attorney, u.c.i. said "none of the samples reported positive belongs to mr. lance armstrong." we have learned that another focus of federal authorities is
the relationship between lance armstrong and this man, michele ferrari, an italian doctor and famous trainer of top cyclists. >> pelley: armstrong has always maintained that dr. ferrari provided him with a training regimen and never ever gave him performance enhancing drugs. based on your personal knowledge, is that true? >> hamilton: i can't say i saw michele ferrari ever give lance armstrong performance-enhancing drugs. but, do i know for a fact that they talked about performance- enhancing drugs and how to take it and when and... when, how, and why? yes. >> pelley: and how do you know that? >> hamilton: because i... i heard it. >> pelley: you were there? >> hamilton: yeah, yeah. >> pelley: those conversations were about what? >> hamilton: drugs. i mean, a lot of other things. michele ferrari is an amazing, coach, trainer, he's... he's a
brilliant guy. he taught lance how to... how to train properly. obviously, in cycling there's more than just training and resting and eating correctly. there's one more element, the doping part. and he gave him, you know, a doping schedule. >> pelley: hamilton told us that he too worked with ferrari, for about a year, and received a doping schedule for taking e.p.o. ferrari declined to comment. he was banned from the sport by the italian cycling federation in 2002. armstrong says that he ended his professional relationship with ferrari in 2004. but italian investigators say that there is evidence that armstrong and his representatives continued making large payments to ferrari through 2010. as we said, lance armstrong declined to appear in this story so we've put together several things that he's said about
doping in the past, in his own words. this is 2001. >> lance armstrong: i have the facts on my side and that's what they don't know, what they've done is, they've written, as i said, they've written the conclusion and then they've tried to fill in the rest, with a house of cards and with speculation and with innuendo. explain to me how we've passed so many tests if we're so dirty and they don't want to answer that question and that's not fair. >> pelley: this is a news conference in 2004. >> armstrong: we got nothing to hide, we know that, everybody knows that, we've, we've, we've proven time in and time out that that we're clean and i can tell you that the controls today in cycling in 2004 are a hell of a lot more than they ever were before and they're a lot more than any other sport. >> pelley: and finally armstrong said this last year when another former teammate, floyd landis accused him of doping. >> armstong: it's his word versus ours. we like our word, we like where we stand, we like our credibility.
>> pelley: tyler hamilton left armstrong and the u.s. postal team late in 2001 to lead a competing team. in 2004 he went on to win a gold medal for the united states at the athens olympics. >> this is american history... >> hamilton: it was just an amazing feeling. i was ecstatic. i slept with the gold medal on the coffee table right next to the bed. i remember waking up that first night and waking up thinking, like, "was that just a dream?" and looking over and there it was and, like, wow, this was real. >> pelley: but the dream didn't last. not long after the olympics, questions were raised about whether he was doping. were you doping at the olympics? >> hamilton: for the olympics, no. but it's possible, you know, through residual effects from previous races that there was some performance enhancement.
at a race, weeks later, hamilton tested positive for blood doping and when asked about it under oath, he denied that he had ever doped and said that there was no doping program on u.s. postal. >> hamilton: if i told the truth, "yeah, i doped before, doing e.p.o. and testosterone and occasional... occasional transfusion of my own blood," then i would have had to open the doors and tell the... the whole truth, not just a little bit of the truth, but the whole truth. and i would have taken down a lot of people in the sport, a lot of old friends, teammates, coworkers, staff members, and, you know, i kept my mouth shut. and it was for the sake of the sport, i didn't want to hurt it any worse than it's been hurt. >> pelley: hamilton was suspended from cycling for two years and retired in 2009 after testing positive for a banned steroid that he says was contained in an herbal supplement that he was taking to combat depression. today, even the high points of his career-- including the gold medal-- are bad memories.
>> hamilton: i don't even like to look at... look at the gold medal anymore because it's... it makes me sad, makes me sad about all the things i've gone through in the sport of cycling. it's just packed away in a safe. i don't go around and show it to people with a lot of pride, the culture of the sport really ruined those feelings for me. in anticipation of this broadcast, last wednesday, tyler hamilton decided to surrender his olympic gold medal to u.s. anti-doping authorities. as for his next chapter, hamilton just turned 40, he's writing a book. >> hamilton: good job, you're almost there. >> pelley: and coaching young riders in the sport he still loves. >> hamilton: good. >> pelley: for many years, cycling enforced a code of silence. as long as riders were outpacing the science of testing it was in no one's interest to talk about the illicit edge that many enjoyed. in the pack of riders known as the peloton, lance armstrong was
protected by his loyal lieutenants george hincapie and tyler hamilton. now that both men have testified to federal investigators, it will be up to the grand jury to decide whether to bring criminal charges, whether the allegations of cheating have overtaken the legend. ♪ [ female announcer ] lenscrafters has the styles you love at the lenscrafters style event! save up to 50% on eyeglasses and sunglasses made with your prescription. hurry in! lenscrafters.
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now cnn's ander son cooper on assignment for "60 minutes." >> lynn devery muchio was a highlight decorated fbi agent who helped put some of the mafia most notorious leaders behind bars and charged with murder. it was his relationship with a violent mob informant known as "the grim reaper" that got him and the f.b.i. in trouble. he's telling the story for the first time in a new book, and to us tonight. it's rare to get an inside look at the shadowy world of
informants and their handlers. it's rarer still to hear an f.b.i. agent describe a brutal mafia killer as his friend. but that is exactly what lin devecchio told us. he says his informant's information helped cripple the mob. to get it, however, devecchio's been accused of making a deal with the devil. >> lindley devecchio: i didn't make any bargains with the devil. i wasn't dancing with the devil. i was dancing with... with a guy that was very close to the devil, he was a tough guy. but that was what they were paying me to do. i got close to members of organized crime so we can eliminate them. >> cooper: do you feel like you walked up to the line? >> devecchio: yeah. yeah, sure, i got close to it. i... i freely admit that. >> cooper: in the 1980s, the mafia was a big problem in new york city, and this was as close as law enforcement often got-- surveillance footage taken outside a mob hang-out called the wimpy boys social club in bensonhurst, brooklyn, an area then controlled by the colombo family. one of the most notorious wise guys was greg scarpa, who had a reputation for brutality.
>> devecchio: he was a made guy, a button in the colombo family. >> cooper: a tough guy, too? >> devecchio: very tough. was absolutely fearless. one of the toughest guys i've ever seen. >> cooper: his toughness may have been legendary, but what no one in the colombo family knew was that "the grim reaper" was also a rat. in the 1960s, he had secretly provided the fbi with detailed information about fellow mobsters, but he'd had a falling out with the bureau and broke off relations. in 1980, devecchio wanted scarpa back, so he decided to take a big chance. he drove up to the gangster's home unannounced and blocked scarpa's car as he was pulling out of his driveway. >> devecchio: you know, he was like, "who the ( bleep ) are you?" and i said, "you know, i'd like to speak with you. i do need some help. you know, i want to get schooled in the life. you know, educate me." about two weeks later, he called. and he said, "come alone." and i did. >> cooper: fbi agents aren't supposed to meet alone with informants, but devecchio got
special permission. scarpa was considered a top echelon informant, and great care was taken to keep their meetings secret. when law enforcement officials announced one of the most important prosecutions ever against the mob in 1985, very few people knew that greg scarpa's information had played a role. it was called the "commission case." >> rudy giuliani: this is a great day for law enforcement. >> cooper: and it not only catapulted a young prosecutor named rudy giuliani into the limelight, it also sent the heads of three of the five crime families away for life. devecchio got promoted and ended up leading two organized crime squads in new york. greg scarpa got paid $66,000 for the information he supplied over 12 years, and when he was arrested for credit card fraud, devecchio helped keep him out of jail. >> devecchio: his career and his life and his milieu that he worked in was so different than mine that it was fascinating to me to learn about that. i liked the guy. you know, i make no bones about that. i'm not ashamed of that. doesn't mean i condone what he did. >> cooper: it was a friendship?
>> devecchio: it was a friendship. absolutely. >> cooper: he was your friend? >> devecchio: he was. >> cooper: but greg scarpa wasn't just a run-of-the-mill mobster; he was a stone-cold killer. he is believed to have murdered at least 12 people during the time he was an informant. devecchio told us that, on one occasion, scarpa even let him know he'd killed another mobster. >> devecchio: there was a body found in brooklyn one day. i said, "who did the work?" >> cooper: who did the murder? >> devecchio: who killed him, yeah. and he smiled. >> cooper: what did that smile tell you? >> devecchio: that smile told me he did it. he didn't tell me he did it. but i knew him well enough that, you know, he gave me that knowing look, like, "i did it. you know i did it. and i'm telling you i did it. but i'm not telling you i did it in words." >> cooper: and when he smiled, and you thought, "okay, means he killed that guy," is that something you would investigate? >> devecchio: no. no, the guy was dead. i mean, as callous as that may sound, the person was dead. it's not going to bring him back. >> cooper: ellen corcella was a federal prosecutor who worked on cases with lin devecchio's squad. >> ellen corcella: you are
absolutely not supposed to keep an informant on the street that is killing people. >> cooper: even if that person is giving you valuable information which may have other arrests as a result of it? >> corcella: and the question i would put to your question is, when is it valuable enough information that you let people continue to kill other people on the street? >> cooper: in 1991, a war started between two rival factions of the colombo family. greg scarpa is believed to have killed more people than anybody else. the whole time you're meeting with him during the war, as an informant, he's also going around killing people. >> devecchio: yes, he is. that's correct. >> cooper: and did you know that at the time? >> devecchio: sure. i knew that because i knew the guy he was. >> cooper: but, if you know the guy you're talking to to stop the war is actually the guy who's conducting the war... >> devecchio: he wasn't the only one conducting the war. everybody was shooting everybody. >> corcella: i think that it
became more valuable to him to have this informant on the street than it was to pursue other law enforcement goals. >> cooper: so you think devecchio was protecting scarpa? >> corcella: yes. protecting him, she says, by giving scarpa sensitive law enforcement information. prosecutors first became suspicious when scarpa's son, who was also involved in organized crime, went on the run just before he was going to be arrested. those suspicions grew when some of scarpa's crew got busted and started talking to authorities. >> corcella: there was at least two of them that told us they had a source in law enforcement. and one them, basically, was the guy who stayed at scarpa's right hand, so he saw scarpa go off and get phone calls, and then come back and say, "here's an address where i think we can find somebody to kill. i just got it from my source." >> cooper: after hearing what scarpa's associates had to say, four f.b.i. agents accused their boss, lin devecchio, of leaking information to his informant, greg scarpa. one of the agents specifically remembered devecchio asking for addresses that ended up in scarpa's hands, and these were no ordinary addresses.
they were the suspected hideouts of mobsters greg scarpa was trying to kill. did you ever give scarpa any law enforcement information? >> devecchio: never, never. >> cooper: his son disappeared right on the eve of him about to be arrested by the d.e.a. did you tip him off for that? >> devecchio: no, i did not. i went to him and asked him, i said, "you know where he is?" he said, "i don't know where he is, lin." was he lying to me? maybe. but he looked me in the eye and said, "i don't know where he is, lin." >> cooper: the f.b.i. launched an internal investigation of devecchio, which went on for years but came up with nothing. in 2006, however, the brooklyn district attorney charged devecchio with murder, accusing him of telling scarpa who to kill and where to find them. the brooklyn district attorney's case fell apart when a key witness was thoroughly discredited during the trial. ( applause ) former f.b.i. agents who supported devecchio applauded as the charges were dismissed. but the judge who released
devecchio criticized him and the f.b.i. for making a "deal with the devil," letting scarpa get away with his crimes for close to 15 years. devecchio retired from the f.b.i. in 1996 and now runs a private investigations business in florida. he feels he's been wrongly accused and unfairly maligned, which is why he's written a book and is speaking to us. >> devecchio: we effectively broke the back of organized crime by using people such as gregory scarpa. >> cooper: you're... basically gave this guy a pass because he was giving you good information. >> devecchio: if that's the perception that people have, so be it. i can't change their mind. >> cooper: but is that the truth? >> devecchio: no, i don't think it's the truth at all. >> cooper: you kept him out on the streets, a guy who you knew, at the time, was murdering people. >> devecchio: it's wonderful to sit in your ivory tower somewhere and say, "oh, how can you do that?" well, why don't you go out in the street and try working that some time? try making a case. try talking to a wise guy. try getting that information.
>> welcome to the cbs sports update. david thomes shot a final round 67 to win his first event since 2006. in the nhl play-offs vancouver cruised past san lead in the westernseries conference finals. and in baseball cleveland improved its league best record with a 12-4 win against cincinnati. for more sports news, go to cbssports.com this is jim nans reporting from fort worth, texas. ♪ [ male announcer ] you've reached the age where you don't back down from a challenge. this is the age of knowing how to make things happen. so, why would you let something like erectile dysfunction get in your way? isn't it time you talked to your doctor about viagra? 20 million men already have. with every age comes responsibility.
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joe wershba was a driving force behind this broadcast from its very beginning 43 years ago. as a producer and reporter, he represented the very best of cbs news-- a gentleman journalist if there ever was one. andy rooney will talk about joe at the end of a special edition of "60 minutes," coming up next. i'm morley safer. the search for capital led to a trusted name. prudential continued to provide capital even during the crisis so that mid-sized companies that drive our economy could move forward with confidence. to be there when times are good is one thing... but to be there when times are tough is a different story. ours.
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