A Confederacy of Dunces: Part 2 of 7

ConfederacyI like to think of the FBI agent entering into this battle as a Marine sniper. In a foreign battlefield against an enemy of the United States he is given an assignment to take up his position and fire at those fighting against us on the other side. In doing that he may take down several people and among them some may not have been combatants but persons he mistook for that. Suppose from his distance of 500 yards he wrongfully kills a young pregnant mother. How would it be that years later after the war had been won for him to be brought back and prosecuted for killing that woman?

Had he been a civilian off on a frolic of his own then perhaps that would be justifiable. But as a person in combat acting under orders to prosecute him for doing his job would be outrageous. We would expect our government to protect that sniper and shut down any prosecution.

Now consider an FBI agent going into combat against the Mafia. He is told to line up informants who had access to the highest level of criminal activity by the Mafia. The FBI agent operating under that mandate goes about and accomplishes that. When it is discovered what he has done, the Government washed its hands of them. That’s part of the big picture ignored by everyone here. To its everlasting disgrace the FBI sent its agents into the field but then abandoned them. It did this because it knew that these agents were operating under the FBI TEI program which was corrupt. The FBI wanted to shield and hide that program. It pretended the agent was a rogue agent and let him be treated like a criminal.

I also want to analogize the FBI agents in relation to another war situation. I have always been of the firm belief that our war in Iraq was wrong in the same way I believe the FBI’s Top Echelon informant program is wrong, or in the words now being freely bandied about by many, corrupt. However, my being against the war did not turn me against the soldiers fighting in that war. It’s a difficult concept, at least for me, to be against the war but to support the soldiers who fight it. I do it because they are bravely doing their duty and we owe an obligation to those who are sent off to foreign lands to have their back. So is it with the FBI. I might be strongly against its TEI program but I am support all those agents who put themselves on the line to carry it out. Let not my criticism of the FBI program be considered one of any of its agents.

Why was the FBI program corrupt? It was because it protected high level criminals. In doing that it hurt other people. Whether intentionally or not by allowing a group of criminals to operate over a long period of time the FBI caused much harm to many innocent people as we’ve seen in the Whitey saga. This was not the decision of one or two agents, it was the policy of the FBI although we are now supposed to believe the corruption was limited to a few good agents.

This group of five sitting before the BC Law students seemed to have no clue about the background here. Nor have any judges or Congressmen as I’ve shown in my past posts. They all talk about the TEI program but refuse to open to door and look on the other side of it. They are happy that the FBI took down the Mafia but they do not want to know how it did it.

4 thoughts on “A Confederacy of Dunces: Part 2 of 7

  1. Hello Matt.

    What is your opinion of the impact the issue of Bulger’s informant status, which has been interjected into the dialogue both as part of Bulger’s defense during trial and then again (articulated in somewhat greater detail) in Berlinger’s documentary, have on the overall and ongoing analysis of the “Whitey Saga”? Does the proposed, and seemingly preposterous, argument that Bulger was not an informant pose as a distraction to the “experts”, and/or any other interested parties including the general public and the media, in regard to answering, or even pondering, debating or acknowledging the question you have put forth- what is given to TEI’s in return for their cooperation? Or perhaps it may serve as a catalyst, for further examination or inquiry, by both the so-called experts and those just wandering into this expansive saga?

    1. John:

      Interesting question. Here’s what we know for sure. Whitey was believed by the FBI to be an informant. He was included as one of its special informants in its Top Echelon Informant program. His handler was John Connolly. He met frequently with Connolly and on a lesser basis with Connolly’s supervisor Morris. He also met with other FBI agents in the company of Connolly. When a question came up concerning his value as an informant he met with the SAC Sarhatt to justify his continuance. ASAC Fitzpatrick also had a meeting with him. Interestingly, when Fitzpatrick suggested to Whitey he was an informant Whitey told him he wasn’t one. He had a 700 plus page folder filled with information in the FBI’s Boston office. His partner Stevie Flemmi testified they were informants and were told they could do anything they want except hit someone. There are other things but we can conclude from the above that the FBI believed he was an informant.

      Here’s what we also know. If he were a TE informant he was entitled to protection by the FBI. FBI procedures were such that the handler of any such informant was to be advised by others in the FBI of any information they received about him. Any request for information about him that went out over the national law enforcement computer called CJIS was also forwarded to his handler.

      You ask how important is his status as an informant in figuring out the Whitey saga. On one hand very little because even if he was not one the FBI believed him to be and protected him as if he were. In other words nothing really would have changed one way or the other.

      That said the issue has a major impact on what we are to think about both Whitey and Connolly.

      For Whitey it is the one straw of gangster respectability he can cling to now that his story has come to its conclusion. He doesn’t want to be remembered as a rat.

      For Connolly the question is of major significance. If Whitey wasn’t an informant then Connolly set up a major scam on the FBI. He allied himself with a gangster, pretended he was getting information from him when he wasn’t. In that case it would be easy to conclude that he was taking money rather than information as Whitey alleged.

      The prosecutors have maintained a contradictory theory. They want to believe Whitey was an informant and that Connolly was corrupt. That’s difficult to hold. If Connolly is taking money from Whitey which would make him corrupt then it is more likely Whitey was only paying for protection and not giving information. That is what Whitey want us to believe.

      Stepping back an looking at it my best take on it is that Whitey was providing information to Connolly but he probably did not know an informant file had been set up on him and every bit of information he was providing Connolly was going into that file. Stevie Flemmi said as much while admitted that he had provided information to Connolly saying something to the effect we gave them garbage and they gave us gold. I’d suggest that is what bothe of them thought and there is a basis for believing that may be true.

      When Carney cross examined Agent Marra he was able to show that twenty or more reports Connolly has filed in Whitey’s folder had little significant information or seemed to have come from information other agents had filed earlier in their folders. They would be feeding Connolly little tidbits (although Flemmi gave him some good stuff on the Vanessa situation and the induction ceremony} and getting the FBI protection in return. That to them was a great deal especially if they thought it was all off the record.

      Being really a side issue it does get away from examining the big unanswered question about the TEI program is what does FBI protection mean. As for figuring out whether this issues has legs I’d suggest it probably doesn’t. It neither relates to guilt or innocence nor to the events during the Whitey saga since it changes nothing.

  2. How clean is DOJ in all of this? Is it likely that DOJ makes sure that any “dirt” that happens in the FBI (or at least in the TEI) stays in the FBI? Or has the FBI itself gone rogue (to some degree) from DOJ, and that somehow DOJ implicitly condones that (so as to be-and remain-ignorant of any messy details)?

    1. GOK:

      The TEI program was created by the FBI and the DOJ was well aware of it. That it still continues to this day makes that clear. They have instituted many safeguards and checks and balances but the concept of the program which is you can partner up with high level criminals to get information on other criminals and protect one while going after the other is corrupt. And as you know no matter how you try to shine up corruption it still is corruption. I’ve just done a post on the CIA’s involvement in torture comparing it to the TEI program. The CIA defended its men. The FBI ran from Connolly.

      The DOJ found no criminal actions by CIA agents although they were as apparent as the sand at a beach but it went after FBI agent Connolly for doing much less than any of the torture agents did. Why did that happen? Why didn’t the FBI stand up for Connolly? How much was the prosecution of Connolly done because the DOJ had another target in mind and tried to get him to give it something on him? How much was manipulated in the background by the Boston media and the DOJ and FBI’s fear of standing up to it?

      If you take off your boots and socks and call your right foot the DOJ and your left foot the FBI and then walk through the mud you’ll find that both feet are pretty dirty. That’s the case here.

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