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single day of the week by every agent that has ever done anything, by every informant. You go in and you don't repeat everything to specific, narrative detail. I then turned around, you know. This isn't done.
MANUEL. Are you saying that the information that we just discussed ... [was) not relevant to Mr. Peroff's trip to Montreal? Is that what you are saying?
O'NEILL. I am saying that it would not be reported in a report of investigation. MANUEL. Why not?
O'NEILL. Because it is not relevant to that report of investigation.
MANUEL. Why not?
O'NEILL. A typical thing, you are talking about the way an informant goes into there was an hour and 45 minute conversation. The whole conversation is not reduced to a, you know, "Peroff, Bouchard, Peroff, Bouchard." It is not reduced to a transcript. The general high points of the investigation, the things we are aiming to, that is what is reported.
MANUEL. Weren't you aiming at Vesco and LeBlanc?
O'Neill. We were trying to get Bouchard to move if there was a thing on Vesco and LeBlanc. We wanted either him to say that it was dead, that part of it was dead, or if there was something else, what was dead.
MANUEL. But it is not relevant to mention Vesco and LeBlanc in that context according to you. Is that right?
O'Neill. He mentioned Vesco once. That was on July 6. Bouchard also gave them in regards to this, Bouchard gave on this whole thing, one hour from 12 o'clock Friday I think to 12 o'clock Monday. He spent all of one hour. His phone was off the hook continuously after that. He was incommunicado or he would not speak to Peroff for the remaining part of that trip.
MANUEL. Is it your information that the names of Vesco and LeBlanc were not mentioned at all?
O'NEILL. I don't know,
O'NEILL. I was not there. I don't know if they were or weren't. You will have to ask Agent Bowers (pp. 621-621). The Subcommittee did inquire of Agent Bowers if Peroff and Bouchard talked about the Vesco-LeBlanc angle. Bowers replied, "No." But then he added, "To my knowledge, I don't know." (Pp.
Thus, Sidney C. Bowers, who was on the scene, said he didn't know if Vesco and LeBlanc were mentioned in talks between Peroff and Bouchard. And John J. O'Neill, who was in charge of the investigation, said he didn't know. The only person who said he knew was Frank Peroff. Peroff said the Vesco-LeBlanc connection was being discussed quite a lot. But nothing Frank Peroff reported about that could persuade O'Neill.
O'Neill, commenting on the July 27 trip, testified that the "general tenor” of information coming to him about this Peroff visit to Montreal “supported our original conclusion that Bouchard was lying, that he was using this to string Peroff along." (P.624.)
Manuel asked O'Neill why the effort was made to formulate a cover story on the jet if, first, no one had any confidence in the heroin scheme and, second, Bowers thought the airplane cover story so insignificant he did not bother to mention it in the report he wrote (p. 624). O'Neill replied:
The reason you are very careful in forming a cover story and working with somebody like Conrad Bouchard because if you don't pay attention to detail, Frank Peroff could be killed. So you don't take chances. You don't take any things like that.
You prepare as well as you can. You take care of little details like that to make sure that Frank Peroff's life is going to be protected, that he is not going to be left hanging there by himself sitting there telling a wild story that Bouchard can check on and then call him a liar (pp. 624, 625).
DIFFERING VIEWS ON PURPOSE OF JULY 27 TRIP
As this staff study has demonstrated, there were differing views as to what the purpose was for sending Frank Peroff to Montreal July 27. Nor was it clear just who made the decision to send Peroff to Montreal.
Dos Santos said he worked it out with the RCMP and that he was "pretty sure” he also discussed it with O'Neill. Dos Santos said O'Neill was also carrying on discussions with the Mounties himself but he, Dos Santos, didn't know very much about what they were discussing. Dos Santos said O'Neill was also possibly discussing Peroff's imminent July 27 trip with Ronald Swanson and Jack McCarthy of the DEA Montreal office as well but that again he, Dos Santos, did not have access to these conversations among the three former BNDD agents.
Bowers said the Mounties did not want Peroff to come to Montreal and Bowers himself was opposed to the trip. But Bowers did say he and Dos Santos in league with the RCMP handled preparations for the visit. Dos Santos contradicted that. He said Bowers was occupied with something else at the time. Dos Santos said he dealt directly with the RCMP. In fact, Dos Santos said, he didn't know exactly what the DEA office in Montreal knew about the trip since that office was receiving certain of its information not from DEA in New York but from the Mounties.
Reflective of the confusion surrounding the decision-making process regarding the July 27 trip was the testimony of John R. Bartels, Jr., the DEA Administrator. Reading from a prepared statement, Bartels testified that by mid-July of 1973 Group Supervisor John J. O'Neill “no longer had faith in Bouchard's ability to put together a further heroin transaction or in Peroff's ability or desire to cooperate in such an effort." (P. 466.)
But, Bartels went on to say, there was still hope that Peroff could be of some assistance to Canadian authorities so it was decided to have Peroff go back to Montreal. But even the DEA Administrator
was unable or unwilling to specify just who it was who made the decision. In his prepared statement before the Subcommittee, Bartels noted that nobody had much confidence in Peroff anymore. But, he added :
Nevertheless, after checking with the Montreal office [of DEA), who in turn checked with the RCMP, it was decided that a further contact between Peroff and Bouchard could prove useful to Canadian authorities and might develop further narcotics intelligence (p. 466). Instead of putting in a name—instead of saying who did the checking with the Montreal office-Bartels used the passive "it was decided ...", so that the individual or individuals who decided to send Peroff to Montreal were never identified.
POSTSCRIPT ON JULY 27 TRIP
William Green, a Customs agent, represented his agency in the joint Customs-DEA inquiry into the Peroff allegations. Green took the sworn interview of Richard Dos Santos in the DEA-Customs inquiry.
Green asked Dos Santos if Peroff and Bouchard had talked about the alleged role of Robert Vesco and Norman LeBlanc in the heroin case during the July 27 trip. Dos Santos said he did not know one way or the other.
Dos Santos did say that one of the things Peroff told him when he got off the plane returning him to New York was that the Mounties had ordered him to leave Montreal too soon.
Green asked Dos Santos if after the July 27 trip to Montreal were "the principals mentioned anymore.” Dos Santos said he learned that at the same time Peroff was in Montreal on the July 27 visit Robert Vesco was reportedly there too. Dos Santos said the two men being there at the same time was "curious.” Dos Santos explained:
Well, a curious thing happened. I was told not to tell Frank this but I was told by the RCMP that a paper had published the story in Montreal that Vesco had come up for a
day and gotten a whole lot of money out of a bank. Dos Santos said his understanding was that while Peroff was in Montreal Vesco had "emptied an account” in a Montreal bank. Green and Dos Santos discussed the matter this way:
GREEN. They [the RCMP) just brought this up, what was the connection of his bringing up Vesco?
Dos Santos. Well, it didn't come up out of the blue. This was in connection with the investigation. I think they generally understood what Peroff's belief was concerning Vesco and along the lines of not telling the informant everything you know. They said, you know, this is just for your information, don't tell anyone Vesco's in town.
GREEN. So people are still conscious of Vesco?
GREEN. He was still in people's mind. I mean, you know, if Burt Reynolds was in town, they wouldn't say Burt Reynolds was in town.
Dos Santos. Not Burt Reynolds.
Dos Santos went on to say that Vesco's presence in Montreal did not interest the Mounties necessarily in connection with narcotics. Moreover, Dos Santos said, there was still doubt among narcotics agents that Vesco intended to stake Bouchard's heroin deal.
In connection with the reported presence of Robert Vesco in Montreal in July of 1973, neither DEÀ nor the U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York, provided the Subcommittee with any documentation indicating that this undeveloped lead was pursued. If Vesco was indeed in Montreal, and if the Mounties knew it and had relayed this information to Dos Santos, then, the U.S. Justice Department could have had Vesco arrested and possibly extradited. Vesco was a fugitive and was being sought by Federal authorities under the indictments of May 10, 1973, against Vesco, Maurice Stans and John Mitchell.
XII. Events FOLLOWING COLLAPSE OF HEROIN Case
PEROFF GETS A NEW ASSIGNMENT
Richard Dos Santos testified that when Frank Peroff returned to Near York from Montreal July 30, 1973 the Bouchard inquiry, including the alleged Vesco-LeBlanc involvement, was all but dead (p. 276).
But, Dos Santos pointed out, the demise of the heroin case did not end Peroff's career as an undercover informant. Dos Santos explained that Peroff and he still had a commitment to the Queens County District Attorney's Ofice. Peroff was obliged to work in Queens for a rhile, owing to the manner in which he had gotten out of jail July 25, Dos Santos testified:
In order to get him [Peroff) out of jail on the 25th. I had entered into a verbal understanding with the Assistant DA in
Queens, Bornstein (p. 276). Thus, for the next several weeks, Peroff worked undercover to help Queens County authorities capture 500 ounces of gold stolen in two recent thefts.
BORNSTEIN WORKS WITII PEROFF
In his June 6, 1974 Subcommittee affidavit, Carl M. Bornstein discussed his dealings with Frank Peroff while they had worked together on the gold investigation. Bornstein, the Queens Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney, said he met with Peroff at least once a week and sometimes more during August as the gold inquiry progressed.
Bornstein said Peroff was a reliable informant who did the best he could in the gold investigation. Bornstein said the information Peroff “relayed to us in the course of the investigation was accurate."
The inquiry was not successful, Bornstein added, but he blamed the failure on "tactical problems rather than any shortcomings of Mr. Peroff's efforts."
PEROFF ALLEGES COVER-UP TO THE QUEENS COUNTY DA
Is Bornstein and Peroff became better acquainted. Peroff been talking about his recent experiences with federal agents in the Bonchard case. Bornstein said Peroff told him abont the tape recordings with Bouchard, the alleged involvement of Vesco and LeBlanc, the disagreements with John J. O'Neill as to how best to fly to Costa Rica, the complaints lodged at the White House and elsewhere in the Executive Branch and the allegation that DEA had set out to sabotage the case as soon as the name of Vesco surfaced.
The name Vesco in connection with the narcotics inquiry was not new to Bornstein. Bornstein said that Dos Santos had mentioned Ves