"What has kept in me in the federal government is the satisfaction of knowing I am making a difference. Yes it has been tough, there have been furloughs and negative discussions, but for the people that work here at the FBI, they take great pride in their work and their whole mission is to just get their job done. They do it for the American people," said Seamus McElearney.
The shutdown might have closed government buildings, but it hasn't stopped many federal employees from wanting to focus on their mission and get back to work. (Hit the comment section to tell us why you stay in government.)
McElearney is a finalist for theService to America Medals. He is a supervisory special agent with the FBI in New York City. McElearney and his team of agents led lengthy undercover investigations that have severely disrupted two of New York’s notorious and violent organized crime families. The investigation led to the arrest of more than 120 mafia members and 119 convictions.
McElearney told me on the DorobekINSIDER program that the nomination has been a huge pride for him.
"I have to constantly remind the team that they won’t realize what they’ve done for years to come. Because when you are actually working on it you can’t see all the things you are accomplishing. Our team sacrificed a lot of their personal time and energy to get this case solved," said McElearney.
Nominated for undercover operation in NYC.
"The case started in June of 2008 and since then we have arrested more than 120 people. Out of those 120, 119 have been convicted. We have basically dismantled the Colombo family and have continued to disrupt Bonanno La Cosa Nostra family," said McElearney. "We were successful because we were able to develop a proactive witness. A proactive witness is someone who is out there who is making tapes, which is the best tool for trial. Over this time we had over 2,000 consensual recordings."
Who is the Colombo family?
"The Colombo family is ruthless. They had an internal war back in the 90s. Even though the war is almost 20 years old, it always seems to rear its ugly head. What got some great cooperation from some witnesses and we decided to attack because they were starting to rebuild," said McElearney.
"The main agency we worked with was the NYC police department. One of the crimes we solved during this time period was a 1997 murder of a police officer. So we had to work with them because this was an unsolved murder for 11 years. During that timeframe there were a lot of leads they had already followed to track down the murderer of their fellow officer," said McElearney.
How do you work with the Attorney General's Office?
"We have one trial remaining, and that should take place later this year. You have to work in partnership with the US Attorney’s office. It is a joint effort on both sides. A trial can take years and when you are on trial it is a 24/7 job. During the course of the 5 year investigation we had 6 trials so you are constantly working with the US Attorney’s office to go over testimony and find witnesses. Even after the trial is over you have the appeals process to go through. That can take years. So it is a long lasting battle," said McElearney.
We know why McElearney sticks in government, why do you?
You can see all of our Sammies interview here.
*Photo credit to Sam Kittner/Kittner.com