Stevie Flemmi was on board as an informant. Whitey wasn’t. To understand why Stevie needs to bring Whitey in it is good to take a look at how both men were being perceived by the Winter Hill Gang. John Martorano gave us an insight into their relationship with the others in that gang.
What he tells us corroborates my take that they were outsiders who jelled with each other and were standoffish with the others. Martorano tells that when Stevie came back from Montreal he “seemed different, more serious. And preoccupied — sometimes he’d be sitting in a room with the others, and they’d even notice that he was just staring off into space, and hadn’t said a word for a half hour. Yet he and Whitey somehow seemed to hit it off. They were the two Hill guys who were actually from Boston, the city itself.”
John Martorano went on a few sentences later, “Whitey and Stevie had more in common than their propensity for sudden violence. Unlike everyone else in the gang, member and associates alike, they barely drank. They didn’t smoke. Stevie was into . . . health food. . . . [Stevie] hated shaking hands with anyone. Whitey was the same way.”
This is a preview of §33: The Coming Together Conditions: [Re-Examining Whitey Bulger: The Learning Years:]. Read the whole post here
The idea the FBI would not have had Stevie Flemmi as an informant but would chase after Connolly and hope that Connolly could bring Stevie into the fold just does not hold water. Of all people, Howie Carr recognizes this. As much as he makes Whitey the personification of all things evil, he knows the FBI had no need for him in 1975. Usually when Carr manufactures events he tries to make it close to the reality. Here’s one where he punts it far out of the park.
Knowing the FBI doesn’t need Whitey in 1975, he imagines a more convoluted theory which follows his script and that of the prosecutors that the true evil mastermind behind all of this is Whitey’s brother Billy Bulger. Carr says “they [FBI agents] didn’t need Whitey nearly as much as they needed his brother Billy. . . . [because] it was easier for a retired agent to find a new job if he knew somebody . . . [a]nd what was wrong with helping the brother of a rising legislator who might someday be in a position to put in a good word or a retiring, middle-aged agent?”
This is a preview of §32: Manufacturing Reasons To Avoid The Truth: [Re-Examining Whitey Bulger: The Learning Years]. Read the whole post here
Keep in mind for the FBI Stevie Flemmi was the lynch-pin. It got him out of a murder, a major felony (blowing up a lawyer’s car) and a fugitive from justice charge after he got back from being on the run in May 1974. It knew he was the one with access to the Mafia. Black Mass noted: “Flemmi . . . knew all the leading [Mafia] players and was frequently in their company.” Howie Carr had it Whitey was a small timer.
Whitey’s value to the FBI paled in comparison to Stevie’s. No one would expect Whitey to help the FBI in its nationwide fight against the Mafia Recall Agent Dennis Condon tried to recruit him in May 1971 writing “he could be a very valuable source of information relative to the organized criminal activities in South Boston, Mass.” Whitey from Southie and the Boston Mafia were like the Hatfields and McCoys.
Condon’s job after Stevie returned was to pass him on to another agent since he was retiring. He held his hand and helped him break in with his new handler who happened to be Connolly. Stevie at the time is also developing his relationship with Whitey.
This is a preview of §31: Putting Whitey Before Flemmi Doesn’t Work (Re-Examining Whitey Bulger: The Learning Years:). Read the whole post here
The more I see it the more probable it seems is that the 2000 book Black Mass manufactured a scenario based on made up and confused ideas of the authors as to what happened and laid the base for all that followed. After it came Ralph Ranalli’s 2001 book Deadly Alliance which loosely followed Black Mass but included in it the testimony in front of Judge Wolf and episodes involving other top echelon’s informants. Then came Howie Carr’s 2006 which took from both of those and threw in incidents with Billy Bulger, the man he’s made a ton of money off by slandering.
None of these authors who set the tone and established what were to become the accepted facts about Whitey’s life grew up with gangsters, worked daily with cops or involved themselves in the investigation of criminal activities. They were all newspaper reporters, voyeurs, looking in under the partially drawn shades believing their obstructed view was the true story.
Black Mass was written with the help of two FBI agents. The Christian family’s two greatest commandments set out by Jesus are things you should do: love God and love you neighbor as yourself. The FBI family’s two greatest commandments set out by J. Edger Hoover are things you shouldn’t do: embarrass the FBI and disclose the identity of an informant.
J.W. Carney, Jr. and Hank Brennan are not reckless lawyers. They are not about to go out on the limb with assertions that they cannot support. I’m trying to figure out what line of reasoning they are going to use to justify Whitey’s claim of immunity along with his claim that he is not an informant.
Rather than doing as the prosecutors have done which is to say Whitey’s claim he was not an informant “is contradicted by over 20 years of records and judicial opinions” or that it “is both strange and unsubstantiated” and ignoring it, I’m going to assume it has merit. I do this in part because the 20 years of FBI records have been found to be totally untrustworthy by the same judges who used them in their opinions. I think we should study them knowing they are part fiction, closely examine the situation outside the records it in light of what we know, and come up with independent answers.
I have to ask how then can Whitey not be an informant but still have arrived at a deal with O’Sullivan that he would not be prosecuted for any of his crimes. I’m not saying I believe or disbelieve any of Carney’s claims, I’m just trying to figure how he’s going to squeeze both of them into the same basket.
What bothers me about the situation Billy finds himself in are the loose and disingenuous suggestions by newspaper people, and others who have formed an abhorrence of Billy with access to the media, that because of Billy’s high position in the Senate no one investigated Whitey.
No one asks these people, “What do you know of those investigations that were being conducted?” Or, more basically, “How many criminal investigations have you been involved in?” It’s the audacity of these people to aver to something of which they have no knowledge that smarts me.
That is so because I was in the DAs office and worked for years investigating organized crime. I knew what was going on. I did more wiretaps than all the other prosecutors in the state including the federal prosecutors combined for several years in a row. I know this because we were required to file with the federal government reports of these activities.
Ralph Ranalli wrote Deadly Alliance because he sat through the Wolf Hearings. He listened to the testimony of an FBI Supervisor Ed Clark who went with another supervisor Edward Quinn to interview a convicted marijuana trafficker Joe Murray who said he had information about four murders committed by Whitey and Stevie and also information that FBI agent Connolly was taking money to tip-off wiretaps. They did not ask anything about the murders; nor did they include in their report anything that Murray said about Connolly.
I note in my book Don’t Embarrass The Family the testimony of Edward Quinn as I recorded it in my notes. He said one of the reasons they went to interview Murray in 1989 was because of his statement about Connolly taking money. He said as soon as Murray was asked about it he said there was nothing to it. He said the reason Clark did not include it in his report was that he only included information of a positive nature. You know they don’t include confessions and admissions.
Whitey has shouted out he was never an informant. FBI Agent Thomas Powers testified at the trial of retired FBI Agent John Connolly as I noted in my book Don’t Embarrass The Familythat Whitey was first opened on May 13, 1971 and closed on September 10, 1971. That was during the Mullen/Killeen dust-up in South Boston after Billy O’Sullivan had been gunned down in front of his Savin Hill home by some of the Mullens.
Dennis Condon opened him up on the FBI books as an informant. I assumed Whitey knew Condon was doing this. That’s where I am probably mistaken.
There is nothing that happened other than Condon filing a report saying Whitey was his informant. Lee, who commented earlier, found it difficult to believe that’s all that happened. He suggested when federal agencies “formally induct a cooperating individual (informant), they’re fingerprinted, photographed, assigned a discrete number and lengthy biographical history is recorded.” That does not appear to be the case with the FBI.
Whitey probably had no idea he was being identified as an informant. I realized I fell into the trap of believing FBI reports. I decided to look back at what happened in light of Whitey’s recent denial.
Condon’s first report is set out in Ralph Ranallli’s book. It was filed in May 1971 when Whitey is opened. It is sent to J. Edgar Hoover. After describing him he writes; “Bureau is advised over that because of current gang war in South Boston, his life may be in jeopardy.”Condon does not tell us who is giving the Bureau that information. Whitey is then given a number as a “potential criminal informant.” He’s opened but he’s not really an informant. I assume Condon hopes he will become one.
Twelve days later Condon writes back to Hoover that Whitey had: “furnished extensive information as to the identities of individuals on both sides in a gang war which is currently being waged in South Boston, Mass. and is closely associated with major hoodlums and bookmakers in South Boston area.”
He goes on to say with further contact“he could be a very valuable source” about Southie and “details will be furnished in subsequent communication” and after his information has been “corroborated” and he’ll arrange to have him meet “an alternative agent”
You’ll note nothing is set out. None of the information Whitey is alleged to have given is presented.
Around the beginning of June Hoover or someone in FBI Headquarters ups the ante. He wants to know of the “results of your contacts with captioned source.” In other words Condon has said he had furnished “extensive information” now Headquarters wants to know what it is.
Condon lamely writes back that Bulger’s been worried about his safety since O’Sullivan was killed. Hardly the extensive information he says he has and something he could have picked up on the street.
In his next report in July he writes about the Killeen/Mullen war and personalities but concludes by saying, “Contact with this informant on this occasion was not overly productive and it is felt that he still has some inhibitions about furnishing information. Additional contacts will be had with him, and if his productivity does not increase, consideration will be given to closing him out.”
In late May Whitey seems to be a font of information but in July “he still has some inhibitions.” Something sounds wrong. The passage of time from his opening to this point is less than two months. On September 10, 1971, less than two months later, he writes “Contacts with captioned individual have been unproductive. According, this matter is being closed.”
Look at it closely. Here what I’d suggest happened. Sometime in May Condon approached Whitey. He tried to turn him into an informant telling him that since O’Sullivan was murdered on March 28 he will be next. That’s the same tactic Agent Morris used to try to get Eddie Miani to be an informant. It’s the “you want to live, you gotta become our informant and we’ll protect you” usual FBI spiel. Condon looking for good doobie credits from the FBI headquarters jumps the gun, makes him a potential informant and tells J. Edgar of his success.
He tells of getting extensive information from him. FBI Headquarters want to know about it. He gives them a couple of things that would be common knowledge on the street. Then a month or so after the big build up he’s contradicting himself. He wrote he had furnished “extensive information” but now he’s writing that Whitey’s information is not “overly productive” which in FBI speak means he was getting nothing; and that “he still has some inhibitions about furnishing evidence” which means he never furnished anything in the first place other than probably listening to Condon’s solicitation.
Even though listed as an informant it was only hoped he could be an informant. Whitey would have no idea Condon was writing this about him. He had been listed as joining hands with the FBI without saying “I do.”
I must admit that I thought Whitey approached the FBI in a panic after Billy O’Sullivan got killed. I now feel confident I was wrong. I did not read Condon’s report closely enough. It was Condon who went after Whitey trying to make him an informant. He wouldn’t become one. But he was listed as one for ever so brief a time on its books.
He may have been carried for a longer time by Condon except FBI headquarters got involved. It pressured Condon to produce. He couldn’t. He had jumped the gun so he fazed him out.
We can’t rely on FBI reports for the truth as to an FBI/informant relationship because it only reflects the thought process of the agent. It was a sordid system the FBI used where it could designate people as informants without them realizing it, where it opens and closes them without telling them.
Perhaps by now the system has changed. Congressman Lynch has been waiting over a year and a half to find out about Mark Rossetti after meeting with top FBI officials. Imagine how much chance we as citizens have to find out the truth. Sadly, we don’t know what’s going on with the FBI because as Judge Wolf noted it files are full of deceptions.