The new charges against organized crime figures raises the question of how much weaker the mob is than it used to be. The Wall Street Journal notes that when three leaders of New York's five reputed Mafia families were convicted in 1986, then-FBI director William Webster said that, “Traditional organized crime is never going to be the same again.” What was known as the Commission case was the catalyst for the fragmentation of La Cosa Nostra.
Yesterday, Attorney General Eric Holder said that, “Members of La Cosa Nostra are among the most dangerous criminals in our country.” The Journal says that in recent years, the mob has been viewed mostly as television entertainment. Mark Feldman, a former federal prosecutor, said the mob has been “severely battered by the cases brought against it over the last two decades, but they're not dead. There's still wherewithal for them to regenerate and there is still a culture and still people who are attracted to the easy money.” The FBI shifted resources to terrorism and white-collar crime cases after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, said Bruce Mouw, a former FBI agent handling organized crime cases. “If the mob knew how few agents are assigned they would be heartened,” said Mouw. “If the FBI continues to shift resources away, these guys will regroup and rearm.”