March 26, 2013 (Remarks prepared for delivery)
Good morning. It is my honor to be here today.
Judge Falcone famously said, “I am not Robin Hood. I am not a kamikaze pilot. I am not a Trappist monk. I am simply a servant of the state in hostile territory.”
Yet this simple “servant of the state” left a lasting legacy for global law enforcement.
Judge Falcone had no illusions about the dangers he faced. Virtually all of his predecessors in the Sicilian justice system had been killed. But when called to step up and take their place, he never hesitated.
That is because Judge Falcone always stood for what was right. It is said that in school he would get into fights with other children—even the bigger ones—if he thought one of his classmates was being bullied.
Judge Falcone also refused to be intimidated by the Mafia. He walked with his head held high, untouched by corruption, unbowed by fear, and undaunted by the work before him.
Judge Falcone was an intrepid investigator and a tenacious interrogator. He loved life, but he was also prepared for death. He once said, “My life is mapped out. It is my destiny to take a bullet by the Mafia some day. The only thing I don’t know is when.”
It is hard to imagine having that kind of courage.
Yet as much as Judge Falcone was courageous, he was also insightful.
Judge Falcone recognized that no one department or country could fight crime alone. And he went to great lengths to cultivate strong relationships—friendships—with partners here in the United States and around the world.
Today, it is routine for law enforcement agencies from all parts of the world to work together. This was not the case 25 years ago.
As Louis [Freeh] talked about a few moments ago, with the Pizza Connection trial and the parallel Maxi Trial in Sicily, Judge Falcone and his counterparts—including then-FBI Director William Sessions and lead prosecutor Louis Freeh—worked together to bring hundreds of members of the Mafia to justice.
It is because of these strong relationships that we have dealt a devastating blow to transnational criminal syndicates.
Of course we also remember the partnership we had with Italian National Police Chief Antonio Manganelli, who passed away last week.
Chief Manganelli also understood that the only way to prevail against global crime was to form a global network of competent investigators dedicated to protecting the rule of law and stopping those who threaten our safety and our security.
Our sympathy is with Chief Manganelli’s family and with the Italian National Police Force. And just as with Judge Falcone, Chief Manganelli will always be part of the FBI family.
Judge Falcone may not have defeated the Sicilian Mafia during his lifetime, but he left a legacy of standing for justice—no matter what the cost.
Today, Judge Falcone’s legacy lives on through the Falcone Foundation—founded by his sister, Maria Falcone.
The Falcone Foundation promotes legal education among youth, in the hopes that they will one day follow in her brother’s footsteps.
The foundation also works to suppress organized crime by promoting professional development in Italy’s investigative and judiciary systems, as well as through cooperation among the European and international legal communities.
Maria, we thank you for your part in continuing Judge Falcone’s work. Together, let us all strive to follow his example of leadership, his example of commitment, and his example of courage.
My thanks to each of you for being here today to honor Judge Falcone, Maria Falcone, and the Falcone Foundation.