Home News Speeches Remembering Judge Falcone on the 20th Anniversary of His Assassination
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  • Robert S. Mueller, III
  • Director
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Remembrance Ceremony for Judge Giovanni Falcone
  • Washington, D.C.
  • May 18, 2012

Remarks prepared for delivery.

Good morning. It is my honor to be here today.

It has been said that Judge Falcone was “the stuff of Sicilian legend.” He respectfully disagreed, saying, “I am not Robin Hood. 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. But for him, the work was more important. He believed that a global network of dedicated and competent investigators could prevail against criminal networks, no matter how deeply entrenched.

And he was never one to be cowed or intimidated. Judge Falcone once said, “He who is silent and bows his head dies every time he does so. He who speaks aloud and walks with his head held high dies only once.”

Year after year, Judge Falcone spoke aloud against the criminals of the day. He walked with his head held high, untouched by corruption, unbowed by fear, and undaunted by the work before him.

He understood that true courage does not always require a show of force. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day that says, “We will try again tomorrow.”

Judge Falcone always understood that there was strength in numbers and that defeating the Mafia would require true solidarity.

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.

Long before “globalization” became part of our vernacular, 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.

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 Louie Freeh—worked together to bring hundreds of members of the Mafia to justice.

Over the years, due to Judge Falcone’s foresight, we have dealt a devastating blow to organized criminal syndicates.

But more importantly, the relationships that he forged years ago between the Italian National Police and the FBI have borne tremendous fruit in this age of international crime and terrorism.

Those friendships have set the standard for global cooperation among law enforcement.

Robert Kennedy once said, “It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal or acts to improve the lot of others or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope.”

Judge Falcone may not have defeated the Sicilian Mafia during his lifetime, but in standing up for his ideals, he shaped history. In acting to improve the lot of the citizens he served, he shaped history. In striking out against injustice, he shaped history.

And he sent forth countless ripples of hope that justice and the rule of law would one day prevail against crime and terrorism.

As some of you may know, a bronze bust of Judge Falcone sits in the Falcone Memorial Garden at the FBI Academy in Quantico—an idea introduced by then-FBI Director Sessions after Judge Falcone’s assassination, and carried out by FBI Director Freeh during his tenure.

Thousands of men and women—special agents, state and local police officers, and international partners alike—have walked through that garden on their way to class…or perhaps on their way to dinner with newfound friends to discuss best practices in law enforcement.

They may not know of Judge Falcone. But they are the lasting legacy of his life’s work: a global network of colleagues—and, indeed, friends—dedicated to stopping those who threaten our safety and our security.

We owe a debt of gratitude to Judge Falcone and to his family for their sacrifice. And we owe Judge Falcone the honor of continuing his work together.

Let us strive to follow his example of leadership, his example of commitment, and his example of courage. Let us strive to live out his legacy in the years to come.

My thanks to each of you for being here today to honor Judge Falcone.

God bless.

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