“Politicians are not too focused on these issues,” the US general counsel in Naples, J. Patrick Truhn, said in a cable sent on 6, June 2008, according to the leaked document.
“At the national level it is generally referred to, if at all, as a ‘southern’ issue, although it affects the entire country.”
Truhn said “organised crime was barely mentioned” in the election campaign for 2008 polls won by prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.
The cable also expressed specific concern that the mafia would be "the main beneficiary" of the government's planned bridge connecting Sicily to the Italian mainland.
It also said the bridge would be "virtually useless" without massive road and rail projects to modernise Sicily and the southern Calabria regions' creaking infrastructure.
“The Italian Catholic Church has often come under fire for not taking a stronger public stance against organised crime,” he also said, according to the cable.
Organised-crime groups boosted their revenue by 4 percent to 135 billion euros in 2009 despite a 5.1 percent contraction of the Italian economy that year, according to estimates from Rome-based anti-racketeering group SOS Impresa.
“Although law enforcement, business associations, citizens’ groups” are “demonstrating promising engagement in fighting organized crime, the same cannot be said of Italy’s politicians, particularly at the national level,” Truhn said.
The US has a “significant stake in the fight against organized crime in Italy,” he said, adding that Italian crime syndicates “support terrorist groups in Colombia and Central Asia through drug trafficking” and violate intellectual- property rights of U.S. businesses and artists.
Italy’s mafia is a criminal threat in the United States, particularly in the Northeast, Deputy Attorney General Mark Filip told reporters at the U.S. Embassy in Rome in May 2008.