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Witsec: Inside the Federal Witness Protection Program

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  218 ratings  ·  27 reviews
For decades no law enforcement program has been as cloaked in controversy and mystery as the Federal Witness Protection Program. Now, for the first time, Gerald Shur, the man credited with the creation of WITSEC, teams with acclaimed investigative journalist Pete Earley to tell the inside story of turncoats, crime-fighters, killers, and ordinary human beings caught up in a ...more
Paperback, 448 pages
Published April 1st 2003 by Bantam (first published 2002)
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One of the co-authors of "Witsec," Gerald Shur, is the federal Department of Justice official largely responsible for creating a formal program for re-locating, providing new identities, housing, temporary financial support, and help finding a job to witnesses who would otherwise likely be killed if they testified at trial. The re-location program is largely the work of U. S. Marshals. In addition, in the 1970s the federal Bureau of Prisons developed separate facilities to house those witnesses ...more
Aug 14, 2007 Kara rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: CIA/FBI buffs
I've always been interested in government books, especially those dealing with agencies like the CIA and FBI. When this came out, I was so excited to read it because I've also always had some weird fascination with the Witness Protection program. Something that could so easily make someone disappear into thin air sounded really cool!

I liked this book because it not only gave the history of the department, but it dealt with the trials and tribulations the department's founder, Gerald Shur, dealt
This is the most fascinating non-fiction book I've ever read. Written by investigative journalist Pete Early and WITSEC founder Gerald Shur, it covers practically everything you may want to know about one of the most mysterious and controversial federal programs. Since it's creation, WITSEC has protected, relocated and given new identities to more than 7,500 witnesses and 9,500 family members, and not one single participant who has followed the program's rules has ever been killed.

You'll learn h
Emily Wiersma
How many of us really think of Witsec and what it has done for crime in the U.S.? I never really did until I read this book written by Pete Early and Gerald Shur. It gives excellent detail on the beginnings of the program to where it is at today. Shur, a Jewish boy from Brooklyn, was dubbed "The father of Witsec" because it was his brainchild. His program helped encourage witnesses (criminal or non-criminal) to come forward and testify against crime. Witsec would than give them a new identity an ...more
Lots if interesting information, but not very well written.
As I said before, I’ve picked up WITSEC because of a novel I’ve recently read and a television I watch every Sunday night. There are very few nonfiction books written about this origination due to the nature of their work, so I was excited to find one co-written by the founder of the Federal Witness Protection Program. I’m also not the only one who’s discovered it as I noticed several story lines transferred from print to television by “In Plain Sight.”

The Federal Witness Protection Program, als
was curious about the inner workings of this government program. This was co-written by the creator of the program, Gerald Shur, so you get a fly-on-the-wall view of the inception all the way through its current troubled times. During Shur’s tenure WITSEC protected 6,416 witnesses and 14,468 of their family members.

The program began because of the government’s priority of taking down the mob. The book is full of colorful stories about mob witnesses and the Justice Department’s struggle to keep
What a fascinating book! It traces the Witness Protection Program (shortened as "Witsec" for "Witness Security" - hence the title of the book) from its creation to fight organized crime, to its use today. Like everyone else, I've heard of the witness protection program but didn't know much about it other than it established new identities for people. I know so much more now, from all the bureaucratic problems it had in the beginning - and some that it continues to have now - to issues protected ...more
David Harris
* A relatively quick read with lots of good information, March 14, 2005 *

For obvious reasons, the witness protection program has always been and probably always will be controversial. I believe the authors make a very good case for its merits, however. Thanks to this program, the law now has much more effective tools to protect ordinary people from the reckless, greed-crazed megalomaniacs who prey on them. It also gives those trapped in this soul-deadening lifestyle an opportunity to change thei
'Witsec' offers an intriguing, fairly objective look at the history, operation and challenges of the United States' witness protection program. It's written in a fairly straightforward, journalistic manner, with little of the sensationalism some true crime tomes are prone to. Even so, it's got plenty of personal stories and observations that make it easy to relate to co-author and WITSEC founder Gerald Shur and his associates. The many anecdotal stories included within do a good job of highlight ...more
Cori Arnold

While I was a little disappointed this book had so much focus on the mob, I can understand (now) why it did. About half way through I wondered if someone besides Mr. Shur had been the focus of the book if it would have been drastically different. Would we be so mired in the politics? Maybe. My favorite sections focused on 'Witness X' and the last section on the modern changes within the program.

I read this book for research for my next novel, so in that it was invaluable.
Aug 05, 2009 Kirsti rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Jan McGill
"The one time I was really concerned was when a witness [an ex-mafioso who was given a new identity after testifying against other Mob members:] asked me to protect his mistress but not his wife. I protected his wife anyway."
--Gerald Shur, founder of WITSEC

"I used to feel that there was a deputy following me with a broom sweeping up any evidence I was here. I hated that. Memories matter because, in the end, memories are all any of us have." --"Witness X," who was relocated with her Mob-connecte
A very interesting (albeit a bit slow) look into the origins and operation of WITSEC. The main things I walked away from this book with are: knowledge of how many former murderers could be in my community, a reassurance that WITSEC does (at least mostly) work, and a deep dislike for Geraldo Rivera. If WITSEC interests you, then I highly recommend this book.
Aug 21, 2008 Christian rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people interested in law enforcement, those who read all things mafia-related
I wish I could give this book 3 1/2 stars. The book was full of fascinating information, and I particularly was intrigued by the section told from the witnesses point of view. I wish there would have been more first person accounts of people within the program.

An interesting note: I've been watching USA's In Plain Sight and recognized several story lines that were taken from this book. There are very few non-fiction books about WITSEC, so obviously the writers used this resource.

Overall a good
Chariss Walker
This was excellent research material for Kaleidoscope (The Vision Chronicles, Book 1).
An interesting look into the Witness Security program, from its inception to the present. Although long winded - I think the story could easily be told in half the pages - there are some great stories of the good and bad, the use and abuse of the program and the people involved. I loved the little story about how the Bush boys had a mass-murderer released from prison to appease the hispanic population to garner some votes.
Ghost-written in cooperation with the "father" of the Federal witness protection program, this was an interesting look at the genesis and innards of a much-misunderstood operation.

The first two-thirds of this book were dast-paced and informative; the last third seemed to bog down under countless new names, dates, and incidents (I would have given the first part five stars).
Jun 06, 2008 Jordan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: criminal justice lovers
Shelves: criminal-justice
An amazing look into how WITSEC got started and those who were involved with it's start. Interesting to see the battle within each man involved with the program because they're protecting criminals and unleashing them among non-the-wiser neighborhoods but if they don't protect them, they'll never ge thte testimony they need to send the even worse criminals to jail.
Mandy Brazee
This was a very interesting account of how the Witness Protection Program was started. It also chronicled changes in the U.S. Marshall's service and how organized crime was brought down. I didn't realize that the Witness Protection Program was basically created to combat organized crime.
Amazing how the Witsec program was put together.
It was pretty good,but not all parts of the book were equal,and I did some skimming over certain parts. It's still worth a read for those interested in the history. Those were the strongest parts of the book,in fact.
This is written by my old college friend, Pete Earley. He wrote it with Gerald Slur, the founder of the Witness Protection Agency. Excellent book.
Last half of the book was worth getting through to read the last half of the book. It's really an interesting read, written by the father of WITSEC.
Intersting history of the beginning of the witness protection program and the many issues confronting it then and today.
A fascinating look at how the wittness relocation program was created, as well as it it successes and failures.
Very interesting read.
Brenda Haley miller
very interesting read.
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Pete Earley is a storyteller who has penned 13 books including the New York Times bestseller The Hot House and the 2007 Pulitzer Prize finalist Crazy: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness.
After a 14-year career in journalism, including six years at The Washington Post, Pete became a full-time author with a commitment to expose the stories that entertain and surprise.
His honest
More about Pete Earley...
Crazy: A Father's Search Through America's Mental Health Madness The Hot House: Life Inside Leavenworth Prison The Serial Killer Whisperer: How One Man's Tragedy Helped Unlock the Deadliest Secrets of the World's Most Terrifying Killers Comrade J Super Casino: Inside the "New" Las Vegas

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