The book "Donnie Brasco" is based on the undercover life of the author, Joseph D. Pistone, an F.B.I agent who penetrated one of New York City's five families in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Joseph D. Pistone served in the FBI for 28 years, including six years of undercover life in the New York Bonanno crime family, where he operated as a jewel thief under the name Donnie Brasco. Due to his undercover work, more than 200 members of the Mafia were put behind bars.
Joseph D. Pistone was born in Pennsylvania, where he also spent his childhood. Then, he moved to New Jersey. In New Jersey, he graduated from high school and college, where he majored in social studies. Pistone always wanted to be an F. B. I agent, and he decided to join Naval Intelligence in order to gain three years in law enforcement to enter the FBI. After three years in Naval Intelligence, he took exams to join the FBI, and on July 7, 1969, Pistone was sworn in as an FBI agent.
At the beginning of his career in the FBI, Pistone was assigned to do street work. He worked on a lot of prostitution cases. He also worked on robbery cases. In 1974, Pistone was transferred to the Truck and Hijack Squad in New York City. His first long-term undercover assignment that led to his work with the Mafia was in Tampa, Florida. Pistone penetrated a ring of thieves that stole cars. Pistone was introduced to the gang as a car thief under the name Donnie Brasco. Under this name, he infiltrated the Mafia later on. In February 1976, due to Pistone's good work, the entire ring was put in jail, and millions in stolen property were recovered. Pistone (1989) says, "For my work I got a letter of commendation from Clarence M. Kelley, Director of the FBI, and an award of $250"(p. 36).
The FBI wanted to undertake a long-term undercover operation against the Mafia. The FBI administration chose Pistone to infiltrate the mob because he had conducted many short-term undercover operations, as wellas and the longterm Florida...
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