What ACTUALLY Happens in Witness Protection

October 10, 2019 posted by

Seven suitcases and 2 hours, that’s all
your family has. Your favorite rock band t-shirt. That stuffed bear you won at a carnival long
ago. You can keep those. The baseball jersey you had on when you hit
the game winning homerun, you can’t take it with you. It has your last name stitched across the
back. The last name that soon will no longer be
yours. Seven suitcases is all your family may take. Nothing large, nothing with your name, no
yearbooks, no phones. The men with guns are polite, but firm and
efficient as they usher your family into the back of a van with blacked out windows. They will take you to the airport and soon
you’ll be on your way to your new life. As you climb into the van, you turn back for
a final look back at the home you’ve lived in your whole life. A life that will soon fade from existence,
as if you never lived. Under the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970,
the U.S. Federal Witness Protection Program, also known as the Witness Security or WITSEC
Program was formally created. It’s main purpose was to protect witnesses
and informants planning to testify against perpetrators of organized crime such as the
Mafia. Previously, witness protection had been instituted
under the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 to protect people testifying against members of the Klan. Also earlier in the 20th century, the Federal
Bureau of Investigation or FBI occasionally concocted new identities to protect witnesses. Today, people go into WITSEC for a variety
of reasons, with drugs trafficking accounting for the majority of cases. Many other countries including the United
Kingdom, Israel and Ukraine have a witness protection programs with varying degrees of
success. Several US states including California, Illinois
and New York also have programs. However today we’re focused specifically
on the U.S. Federal Witness Protection Program and how it works for non incarcerated participants. How do you get into witness protection? What happens with your old identity? What happens when witness protection ends? The goal of WITSEC is to ‘provide for the
security, safety and health of government witnesses and their authorized family members,
whose lives are in danger as a result of their cooperation with the U.S. government.’ The program is managed by three organizations:
The United States Marshals Service which is responsible for for non-incarcerated program
participants. The Federal Bureau of Prisons or BOP which
maintains custody of incarcerated witnesses. The third organization overseeing WITSEC is
the U.S. Department of Justice: Office of Enforcement Operations or the OEO which authorizes
and admits endangered witnesses into the program. The first step of entry into the program is
that the authorities determine how crucial a witness’s testimony is to building a federal
case. Nearly as important is evaluating how dependable
and credible the witness is. 95 percent of witnesses admitted into WITSEC
are involved in crime. Very rarely does an ordinary citizen witness
a crime and is placed in the program as a result. If the witness’s testimony is deemed vital
to prosecution proceedings and valid threats against the witness exist, a state or federal
law enforcement agency submits a request for protection. A WITSEC application is then submitted to
the OEO detailing the witness’s testimony, threats and risk. At this time, depending on the situation,
the witness may be receiving protection from a local law enforcement agency or may have
been moved to a safe house. The OEO has the Marshal Service do a preliminary
interview with the witness. The prosecutor or requesting law enforcement
agency may also be interviewed. Sometimes witnesses are interviewed multiple
times by investigators, along with psychologists. The psychologist asks very personal questions
such as does the witness have a history of suicide attempts or extreme violence? If the witness is half of a couple or has
children and the family is going to be relocated, the interviews may delve into intimate details
of the couple’s relationship and the family’s life. The Marshal service attempts to determine
if the witness poses a risk to themselves, their family or future community. The interviews check to see if there are extenuating
circumstances such as drug or alcohol addition which may make is hard to start a new life. A report, including psychologist notes is
generated for the EOE. Staff at the EOE assess the information and
make a recommendation. The US Attorney General makes the final authorization
to enroll a witness into WITSEC. If a witness is granted admission, the OEO
notifies the requesting agency’s headquarters and the Marshal service. Marshals visit the witness, noting the number
of adults and children and assessing their needs such as if anyone has a medical condition
that must be considered during the relocation process. The marshals explain the WITSEC program in
further detail to the witness and family members. All must sign a Memorandum of Understanding,
verifying they understand the rules of the program. Sometimes additional conditions are required
to be admitted such as the witness receiving addiction counseling and agreeing to undergo
random drug tests. At this time, the enrollees are moved from
their current location to a temporary secure location or are directly transported to the
WITSEC Safesite and Orientation Center in Washington, DC. Sometimes the witness and family are moved
suddenly, sometimes they are warned and are able to say goodbye to trusted relatives. Sometimes the enrollees are able to pack clothing
and small items that do not offer clues to what will become their former identities. All documents that identify program participants
such as social security cards or drivers licenses are turned over to the marshals are this time. Some witnesses testify before heading into
WITSEC, while others enter the program and then protected by Marshals, return to testify;
it varies according to the circumstances of each case. Once entering the program, the Marshals Service
provides round the clock protection when the witness is in high-threat area, including
pre-trial proceedings and court appearances. New enrollees to WITSEC are flown to Washington,
DC. The Marshal Service has its own air fleet,
making it easy to surreptitiously transport witnesses across the US. One they arrive in Washington, the participants
are driven to the WITSEC Safesite and Orientation Center in armored vehicles with blacked-out
windows and internal black out curtains. Not only can the witnesses not be seen, they
don’t know where they’re going either. Earlier in the history of WITSEC, enrolling
and educating participants into the program was more haphazard. In some cases, there was a lot of confusion
and witnesses waited for months for new official documents such as birth certificates. The Orientation Center opened in 1988 to help
to streamline the process. Once arriving at the center, participants
exit their vehicle to find themselves in a windowless, featureless garage, they never
see the outside of the compound. The center is described as a ‘secure area
within a secure area’ consisting of a maze of buildings enclosed behind a physical barrier
with the outer perimeter patrolled 24 hours a day by guards. Not only is the compound built to withstand
a bomb blast, but the grounds and electronic network of the facility is constantly monitored
by electronic surveillance, including electronic anti-intrusion systems. A security team uses sophisticated communication
equipment and closed-circuit cameras to direct the movements of all personnel and witnesses
within the center’s grounds. No participants will ever see other enrollees
for the duration of their stay at the compound. Participants stay in furnished apartments
with exterior courtyards surrounded by high concrete walls. They are not allowed to leave their living
quarters unescorted. The WITSEC Safesite and Orientation Center
can house up to six families at a time. At the Orientation Center enrollees undergo
medical and dental exams. Psychological exams and counseling are also
given, as well as vocational inventories. Participants are intensively interviewed regarding
their background, where they’ve previously lived, visited and where relatives live. With the help of staff, participants create
a new identity, complete with new background, including a family tree that goes back to
new grandparents. Based on interview and test results, enrollees
are assigned a special U.S. Marshal known as a Witness Inspector who oversees a particular
region of the US. For the rest of their lives or until they
are assigned a different contact, the Witness Inspector is their primary point of contact
for the program. During their time at the orientation center,
participants chosen a new last name; it must be ethnically compatible and not tied to the
witness in any fashion. Participants are advised to keep their first
name, but may choose a new name if they so desire. They are encouraged to choose a last name
that starts with the same letter as their former last name. These choices help to limit participant’s
mistakes in the future. Parents are especially encouraged to keep
their child’s first name. WITEC will not allow participants to choose
the name of a celebrity for their new name. Upon decision, staff begins calling participants
by their new names. Children undergo training in spelling, rehearsing
and learning to write their new name. Once chosen, names are legally changed via
court approval and the participants are supplied with documents for their new identity. All the identification provided to participants
is officially backstopped with a legal paper trail. School records, transcripts and employment
histories are also created under the participant’s new identities. WITSEC uses front companies and also has agreements
with legitimate companies to help provide realistic employment histories. However, the program doesn’t provide fake
resumes, references or certifications. So if a witness hopes to become Chris Hemsworth,
heart surgeon, it’s not happening. The participants are assigned a location to
move to in their Witness Inspector’s region. Once assigned, the participants study and
familiarize themselves with their new hometown. After the participants complete orientation,
they are transported to their new location and situated in temporary housing. The Witness Inspector helps the participants
settle into their new town, assisting with finding permanent housing, enrolling children
in school, finding doctors, dentists and even houses of worship. WITSEC pays for witness housing, new furnishings,
and a temporary “salary” based on the family size and cost of living in the new
area. Participants are supposed to get jobs and
become self-supporting within six months. WITSEC may also back or arrange loans to help
participants purchase a used car. The participants whom previously might be
used to easy money may receive budget counseling and are taught how to pay bills. The first few months of relocation tend to
be the roughest. Participants are often homesick and lonely. Former criminals turned witnesses are used
to spending time in the street or with their gang. Suddenly they are forced to spend a lot of
time with their spouse and kids. It can be an emotional pressure cooker situation. Participants can receive mail from trusted
relatives via secure mail-forwarding channels. However since mail can be incriminating; once
read, it must be turned over to WITSEC. Also, participants are allowed to call family
through secure telephone hookups. In addition to their Witness inspector periodically
checking in, participants also have a 24/7 number to call for emergencies. If the witness has to give testimony, the
Marshals service must be notified at least 10 days in advance so they can come up with
a plan to securely deliver the witness for court proceedings. Previously witnesses have been transported
to testify in mail trucks, helicopters and even fishing boats to thwart assasination
attempts. At trial, even witnesses no longer in WITSEC
are given protection if they are testifying in cases for which the witness originally
entered the program. WITSEC is voluntary, life long and the participants
may leave at any time they wish, although the Marshals do not suggest doing so. As of 2019, about 18,900 witnesses and family
members have been relocated since the program’s inception. WITSEC claims that “no Witness Security
Program participant, following program guidelines, has been harmed or killed.” About 30 witnesses who didn’t follow rules
or left the program have been murdered. WITSEC is not without its critics. The program is expensive to run, the government
spends undisclosed millions annually to keep the program going. However, trials involving WITSEC participant
testimony have an 89 percent conviction rate. Information regarding witnesses is provided
on a need to know basis. Due to layers of security even within the
program, only a few people may know a participant’s original identity. Local and state authorities are not notified
of the criminal witness who may even be murderers or pedophiles relocated to their area. Around 17 percent of WITSEC participants who
have committed a crime will reoffend. However, that’s a far lower number than
compared to parolees who have a recidivism of 41 percent. Though WITSEC isn’t a rehabilitation program,
the help and counseling received often helps witnesses turn their lives around. However participants frequently struggle with
internal conflicts and identity crises. They have trouble making friends, starting
and sustaining new romantic relationships. Ironically, the witness’s children and family
members can fare worse than the witness themselves, because the witnesses are used to extensive
lying in their criminal background. Children in the program seem to suffer the
most, especially if they are old enough to understand the radical life change the family
has undergone. In some cases, children who grew up in the
program have tried to return to their original identity as adults and have been stuck in
limbo with identity documents. The WITSEC continues to adjust the system
after many mistakes and mishaps. In the early days the program didn’t provide
counseling and paid for plastic surgeries, including breast implants for a mobster’s
wife. Some participants used their new identity
to run up significant debt, then told Marshals they’d been spotted by an enemy and feared
retribution. The program would change their identity and
location for a second time, allowing the witness to successfully flee creditors and collect
more cost-of-living money from WITSEC. Now witnesses must pay off debts before entering
the program and are monitored to ensure they don’t rack up new debt. WITSEC no longer pays for plastic surgery
for relocating witnesses, but will facilitate it for those who can afford to pay for it
themselves. Due to a landmark case in the 1970s, in 1984
an amendment was made to WITSEC protocol that joint custody agreements must be taken into
account when relocating children. In 1967 Tom Leonhard had visitation rights
to his 3 young children. A year earlier, Tom’s wife Rochelle had divorced
him to marry a Mafia informant named Paddy Calabrese. The family disappeared; no one told Leonhard
that his ex-wife and children had left Buffalo, New York, gone into witness protection and
were now living a new life in Reno, Nevada. For the next several years Leonhard fought
to see his children. Even when he was granted full custody in New
York state court, WITSEC refused to produce the children on grounds that their new location
and identity would be compromised. The US Supreme court declined to review the
case. Otherwise than confirming that the kids were
fine and good health via a single letter, Rochelle refused to correspond with her ex
husband. In 1975 after Rochelle and Cabrese separated,
she had a change of heart and got in contact with Leonhard. Soon after Leonhard flew to Reno to see his
kids for the first time in 8 years. He was heartbroken to see that his kids were
now teens and realized how much time he had lost. Later Leonhard sued the government for millions
of dollars saying that he was prevented from raising his children. While the case was dismissed, it caused the
WITSEC to alter procedure. Now, a non WITSEC parent with visitation rights
must agree to have the child relocated. They have the right to visit the child, although
the visit must be planned through WITSEC. If the parent refuses the program for their
child and wins full custody, the child will not be allowed to remain in their new identity. In the current digital age, WITSEC and its
participants are facing new challenges as companies and individuals mount extensive
background checks. In a few cases, grandchildren of witnesses
attempting to join defense or intelligence agencies post 911 have run into trouble when
the CIA checks into the family’s background. The WITSEC is working on ways to limit these
types of issues as they will continue to become more prevalent in the future. How do you think you would fare in the Witness
Protection program? Let us know in the comments! Also, be sure to check out our other video
called How Does House Arrest ACTUALLY Work?! Thanks for watching, and, as always, don’t
forget to like, share, and subscribe. See you next time!”


100 Replies to “What ACTUALLY Happens in Witness Protection”

  1. Tyler Suchart says:

    Where’s that background music?

  2. Brian leon studios says:

    What a coincidence, i was thinking about this!

  3. Sarah Bekins says:

    I think I would do really well.

  4. George Gabel says:

    Reminded me of My Blue Heaven

  5. Prettyboyjames says:


  6. d r says:

    Someone write all this down on paper and mail it to 6ix9ine

  7. Jerome Productions says:


  8. saint laurent says:

    Tekashi69’s under witness protection program new name: Tecashy96

  9. Kenneth Brea DeLeon Jr. says:

    this video was made because of snitch 9ine

  10. Kenneth Brea DeLeon Jr. says:

    snitch 9ine comments incoming

  11. JusticeGraceful says:

    I've lost everything I ever had and everyone I ever knew, like I never existed 6 different times in my life and I've never even been in witness protection. You get use to not mattering in any way to anyone or anything ever.

  12. mille chemins says:


  13. Gabriel Maurer says:

    Another channel literally made this exact same video.

  14. Ray Hightower says:

    Parolees have a criminal record that holds them back from having a successful life thus contributing to their recitvisim rate. Snitches in witsec get all that federal money, councilng, and a clean criminal record to help them get a fresh and successful start in life. Hardly a fair comparison.

  15. Tunnis - says:


  16. Boris Be loud us says:

    I’d rather risk assassination than go into witness protection

  17. JusticeGraceful says:

    Wouldn't using the same first letter on your last name make it MORE confusing cuz you may accidentally write your old last name after the first letter out of habit.

  18. JusticeGraceful says:

    89% conviction rate. Wow. Really impressive, do you know how many people can reliably count on their memory of a suspects face? Less than 1% accurately. So most if not all those convictions are of innocent people.

  19. 2Cheazy 4u says:

    Looks like somebody’s been watchin up on 69

  20. Sir Bob Von Fenwick says:

    I would not be able to do this

  21. Jon Turney says:

    This video is getting all the views bc of Tekashi 6nitch9ine!!

  22. Calvin Herrington says:

    Snitches in witness protection really snitching about what it’s like to be in witness protection 🤦🏽‍♂️😭

  23. JusticeGraceful says:

    I was on house arrest for 3 months, in a new apartment with nothing but a bed, worst 3 months of my life JAIL was better.

  24. Xetrasisx says:

    Who else already knows all of the comments are about 6ix9ine?

  25. Sion K says:

    That woman was cruel to the father of her children if she wasn't separated from her husband she wouldn't allowed him to see his children

  26. bob thompson says:

    and you'll be hunted for the rest of your life until a hitman finds you and kills you. what they should do is stage your death in a big way.

  27. Trendy Tendie says:

    "The rat was hector!?"

  28. TheSlimmestShady says:

    This was made just so we know what happened to 6ix 9ine

  29. Baby Joker Gaming says:

    Tenkasnitch 69 must have inspired this youtuber to cover this topic lol

  30. Doc MC says:

    I was gonna make a comment about 69 but it looks like everyone thought of it

  31. Hozelito says:

    One of your best!

  32. Zenerax says:

    how does witness protection work if you're disabled and cant work?


    I can't take it it's not fair

    You have to (☞ ͡ ͡° ͜ ʖ ͡ ͡°)☞

  34. Brendan Smith says:

    This video fails to discuss an important matter. What about financial assets, ownership of gold/silver/bitcoin, ira accounts, property ownership, business ownership, what if the person or others in the family have taken dna tests online like with 23andme?

  35. sewer playz says:

    ok people who see this comment have a blessed day and night 😀 (you don’t have to read this part) l am a small youtuber that is trying to grow so pls help me by only subscribing that’s all you have to do anyways bye

  36. PREPFORIT says:

    Here in Canada, I was allowed 8 Suitcases.

  37. Gnawty’s Ayy De La Lmao says:

    Snitch Protection Program

  38. Dappity Doo says:

    How much did 6ix9ine pay for you to make this video

  39. Righteous Bear says:

    69 watching this video. Lol

  40. Abel1120 conlget says:

    that cant be his daughter

  41. Semi Biotic says:


  42. Hey it’s Meboi says:

    Why did i get scared of the KKK picture

  43. Jasper Edwards says:

    Its probably a bless for those who dont have a life

  44. Gogeta says:

    I'm early yay

  45. Samuel Munaku says:

    What if you have silly face tattoos

  46. khwezelihle shongwe says:

    I've been waiting for this video for years

  47. J Cook says:

    I still don’t see how the program can guarantee that there are no Organized Crime Syndicate spies inside the program. What’s to stop the mafia from just bribing one of the therapists or guards or even Supreme Court justices? I mean, wouldn’t these organizations make the WPP their primary target of infiltration?

  48. Onmyway2slayabeastibecame1 says:

    Hello Homer Thompson

  49. Jessica says:

    Fewer than 17 percent of protected witnesses who have committed a crime will be caught committing another crime, compared to parolees, of whom almost 41 percent return to crime.

  50. Tekashi Sexnine says:

    Just here to look for 69 comments

  51. Primordial Night says:

    Who's watching this in 2017?

  52. Yacob Gugsa says:

    8:00 Hello Mr. Thompson

  53. Random Person says:

    This lets me think on a project that I did in class with a book and at the final of the book they used this protocol the book was :the client
    (I did already read it and saw the movie before reading the book for school )

  54. Aldrin Lester Padilla says:

    Watching while under the witness protection program. Hmmmm.

  55. Aldrin Lester Padilla says:

    Watching while under the witness protection program. Hmmmm.

  56. GG Brotha says:

    I couldn’t imagine leaving my home town and all my friends and life behind

  57. walls2ink says:

    This is how Crabman landed in Camden and met Earl

  58. Jake Vote says:

    9:35 when you can’t chill with the gang and have to live 6 months expense free with your kids

  59. walls2ink says:

    69:I know where Waldo is

  60. Asian Trix Rabbit says:

    Michael: It was a long time ago man, i’ve been witnees protection i still am

    Trevor: That’s greeeaatt that’s greeaatt….

  61. DXKramer says:

    If I went into Witsec, I don't know how I'd fare.

  62. benefactionhindrance says:

    3:34 tiddies

  63. Charles DeLiberis says:

    i say i didnt see anything but i suggest chopping the body up so you dont get caught and use a trash compactor or a wood chipper to chop the body up into mulch

  64. Hydro says:

    I clicked on this because I just finished playing gta V.

  65. Andrew Moeller says:

    Tekashi69 has entered the chat.

  66. Kim Jong Un says:

    We all here because of 69 right?

  67. The AtomicDoctor says:

    Fugget about it!

  68. Aaron Vang says:

    Just watch fugget about it

  69. Wolf The Dentist Stansson says:

    Do they wipe your debt?

  70. Maurice 2000 says:

    Free 69

  71. Vladimir Putin says:

    What about your guns??

  72. Sokolski 369. says:

    Death before dishonor, never talk to the undercover

  73. Stefan williams says:

    Can to see the comments and i wasn't disappointed 😂😂😂😂. He definitely made this video after 69 situation

  74. Cape SIX says:

    When I saw the title of this vid I went right to the comments. I was not disappointed 🙂

  75. Angel Htx says:

    69: has entered chat **

  76. Ray l says:

    I watched this because i wondered what would happen if tekashi69 went into witness protection

  77. Ronald Williams says:

    I would really like to see an comparison between different countries witness protection Services. That would an very interesting series of videos.

  78. The Holocaust didn't happen says:

    Gross, the amount of brown, black depictions unrealistically in these situations would make any Swedish cuckold blush. Remember, folks, "die"versity is codeword for less White people.

  79. Lucifer Beezelbub Mephistophilies says:

    Witness protection program is when you seen or know something that can finger big brother for something so they're gonna rub you out but they don't want you or anyone one to suspect them of it so they set the scene make everyone feel cozy with witness protection and then call the cleaner

  80. Britni Jackson says:

    Four ads during this video? Really youtube?!

  81. Malik Ore says:

    John Gotti has entered the chat

  82. GoodScripterBoy says:

    Who loves Info? I do Gaming Videos too!

    👇 (I am gifting my next 100 subs)

  83. KosmicLaser says:

    Are you aloud to even talk about witnes protection


    Everything started from racist white people

  85. Ice Dragon says:

    Just face cam with the judge on the tv to testify instead of all this, but do it in a secure place.

  86. Gus Windsor says:

    By the time the paperwork is finished, the witness would be in cement boots on the bottom of the Hudson, throat split open Italian neck tie style.

  87. One Fat Kitten says:

    Wow i need a new identity and leave this old poor life

  88. Crescent Knights says:

    I like people not knowing my position and seeing crime

    WITSEC: let us introduce ourselves

  89. berkeliumk says:

    But would it protect you and your family from "suicided" or "epsteined"?

  90. Lyrical Soda says:

    What really happens?
    You get found and shot,
    Snitch9ine 😀

  91. Pro Gamer says:

    I ordered spaghetti with meatballs and all I got was egg noodles and ketchup, I’m an average nobody..

  92. Brayan Aleman says:

    So this is where Jorge Salcedo went too.

  93. Thanos's Chin says:

    69: I ain't gon snitch.

    Judge: You are going to serve 47 years.

    69: I know Obama's last name.

  94. Kenneth Besig says:

    It is a tough job to keep an eye on Witness Protection clients, after all,99% of them are hardened criminals.

  95. deadkiddo says:

    69 will tell you guys all about it

  96. Petarded • says:

    You are terribly misinformed.

    And that is wonderful 😊

  97. Abdalla Nasrelden says:

    Is the old man at 4:42 looks like Stan Lee?!! Lol

  98. Arthur Lee says:

    The Marshalls are badass, big bad boys who enforce the law, following the book or not

  99. Will Stewart says:

    Im just here for all the snitch9 comments

  100. Amy Kukleva says:

    What if you're like: "Can I change my gender too? Please?"

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *