John Gotti held secret meetings in an apartment above the Ravenite Social Club in New York's Little Italy that belonged to the widow of a former mob associate. When the widow left home to spend Thanksgiving with relatives, the FBI placed a bug in the living room of her apartment and recorded hours of Gotti's conversations.
But bugs are not always successful, and have at times been detected.
Reputed mobster Louie "Ha Ha" Attanasio famously took a sledge hammer to a parking meter outside a social club in Brooklyn where members of the Gambino crime family congregated after learning that the police had managed to bug it.
"I've had people call me and say, 'come pick up your equipment,'" said one former federal prosecutor.
Blagojevich apparently suspected some of his conversations could be recorded, allegedly telling one associate to talk as if the whole world were listening -- a missive recorded by investigators. Apparently, he was right.