Happy Thanksgiving

(1) RockwellOne of the best holidays is upon us since all we have to do is to enjoy a nice meal. No need for presents. Just a time to relax and give thanks for our good fortune that we live in America.

But do me one favor. After you are relaxing with a full belly and contemplating whether you have enough energy to play a touch football game or rather just enough to slip off into a comfortable chair for a couple of winks, help me figure out what is it the FBI can offer a Top Echelon informant in return for his help in giving it information that could bring down other high level criminals such as the leaders of the Mafia.

The FBI was quite successful in doing this. They did it in part through the use of these informants. I’m beginning to believe this is a story where we want our cake and eat it. We wanted the Mafia destroyed. We want to pretend that the people who helped the FBI destroy the Mafia got or deserved nothing in return for their help. We want a quo without a quid.

When John Morris testified he said that he asked John Connolly what Whitey and Stevie wanted in exchange for the help they gave. Connolly, according to Morris, said “all they want is a head start.” Assume for a moment that is true which I know is difficult because Morris was caught in so many lies.

Connolly meant in using the term “head start” that they wanted to be tipped off if any indictments were coming down against them so that they could disappear. Would that have been wrong for Connolly to have made that deal with them? If so, why?

Would Connolly be wrong in saying: “you give me information on the Mafia’s activities in the area and in exchange I’ll give you a heads up on any charges coming down against you.”

Keep in mind that at the time Connolly entered into his relationship with them the Mafia was the major organized crime group in Boston, Eastern Massachusetts, and throughout America. It controlled many of the rackets. It was considered by the FBI to be the number one threat to our nation.

The judges and the federal prosecutors suggest that for Connolly to have entered into that deal he would have obstructed justice. What then could Connolly offer these top hoodlums in exchange for information which would bring down the Mafia? I’ve been pointing out that these hoods with access to the high level information the FBI wanted were going to demand something in return. What then could the FBI offer them?

I know there’s the story out there that the deal was you give us the information and we’ll take down your competition. That was the Wollaston Beach fantasy invented in Black Mass. Why it doesn’t fit is that Whitey’s group and the Mafia were not in competition. They had amicably divided up territory and the peace between them was making both of them prosperous.

The people with Whitey worked with the Mafia. They did some of its hits for them. Whitey would have known that to take down the Mafia leaders would not allow him to take over their territory since there were other Mafia guys waiting in the wings to take over after the leaders fell.

What then could Connolly offer Whitey to make him a Top Echelon informant?  What had Rico offered to Stevie Flemmi back in 1965 to make him a Top Echelon informant? Until we decide that, something none of the people who have considered this matter has addressed, the Whitey saga cannot be considered in an honest and accurate manner.

Sorry to disturb your day by making you think. If it is too much then as Scarlet would do, think about it tomorrow. In the meantime have a happy Thanksgiving.

26 thoughts on “Happy Thanksgiving

  1. Great post btw William, yes, RICO is en route, and your host has swept the field @ The Battle Of The Connolly’s. 🙂

  2. William, I’ve been called much much worse than an English major in my lifetime. As usual though I heartily enjoy your ” Killer Prose. ” 🙂

  3. John and Chris: one point about Howie Carr: he’s a boldfaced liar and a lifelong devious character assassin. 2. An example, Carr calls John Connolly “the most corrupt FBI agent in history”, ignoring (a) Hanson who sold secrets to the Russkies and (b) the far more salient fact that during his 23 years as an FBI agent John was convicted of one act: giving a case of wine to John Morris; the case came from Whitey Bulger and had an envelope inside with $2000, so said Morris. The jury rejected other charges based on Morris’s testimony. The other “crimes” Connolly was convicted of occurred between five and ten years after he left the FBI and while he was a private citizen. Carr’s a vile reporter with little regard for the facts or “the truth.” His specialty is maliciously ruining reputations. 3. People on this blog generally have sincerely held opinions; anyone who disagrees with me is usually wrong. A. both statements are true; B. neither statement is true C. one statement is true; D. all statements are matters of opinion, except statements of facts, and we agree the “facts” are often spun, taken out of context, or all the “facts” are not disclosed. In other words, if you give me a fact, and I give you a counter fact, your interpretation of the first fact may or may not change, but at least you’ve heard a counter fact. The media today does not report counter facts, only the party line (generally speaking.) Howie Carr never tells “all the facts.” He spins falsehoods, generally. He enjoys destroying reputations.

  4. That would be a lively debate. Howie feels that if Charlie Watts is not the devil then Paul Rico just may be . You state your case clearly. An Agent’s official face and persona though, as with Rico and Condon, is necessarily the only face they choose to show on the record. I withhold further comment until I read your book. I’m a guy who wrote his first grammar school book report on Sacco and Vanzetti. Who knows, maybe if Rico’s last name was Talbot or Morris or Richardson or something, things would have turned out differently . Apparently you were moved by what you felt was a real injustice to him. I do not ever question such good motivations. As to your conclusions I have my doubts . I trust your book will resolve some of them better or worse. Keep swingin’ !!! 🙂

  5. I would love to debate Howie Carr on Paul Rico–always enjoy it when he fills in for one of my favorite radio guys, Mark Levin. Probably agree with Carr on most things but I think he is very much mistaken about Paul Rico, who he was, what he did and the case against him. He bought into the myths spun out of some–real–FBI corruption. But, then, so did most of the media and politicians who became involved–just read the Wikipedia stuff on Rico.

    We spent more than 5 years unpeeling this onion, focusing on Rico, following every string we could–without any preconceived ideas or any axes to grind. Other agents and law officers, even prosecutors, have “gone bad.” After sitting down for about 3 hours with the lead investigator, Det. Huff, in Tulsa, and interviewing Roger Wheeler, Jr., though, we were pretty sure there was no murder case. So we dealt with that and then followed all of the other rumors and allegations that swirled around Rico through the years. We concluded that he was not guilty of the Tulsa charges and that he was actually an exceptional–and honest–FBI agent.

    Our investigation included the Deegan murder case to which you refer. Rico had nothing to do with framing anyone. Period. Neither he nor his partner, Dennis Condon, would have had anything to do with knowingly putting an innocent guy in jail.

    Rico’s testimony (and much other evidence) showed that he had a very straightforward, modest, idea of his and the FBI’s role. It was his job to come up with the facts, collect information and present it in a useable way to the prosecutor. It was the prosecutor’s job to decide whether to file a charge and what charge to file. And it was the judge and jury’s job to decide what to do with case and whether it was proved. Sometimes they got it right, but there were times when they did not.

  6. Nope … It’s not ” a little weird ” though one might suggest your inferring that is a little weird. I have naught but sympathy for this ailing 78 year old man. Your ire should be directed at the Law Enforcement lions who made sure that that embarrassing personal circumstance got bruited about. It may take the bloom and fragrance off the rose of a life for you; for me it just confirms that people can be really shitty with each other : I cite here false accounts of the 84 year old Jimmy Bulger wearing ” diapers” in the Plymouth Lockup which was WIDELY AND GLEEFULLY reported in the local Justice Department suckup press. also cite Matt’s description in a post several weeks ago of a generation he contemns racially and politically as ” old, white and Depends wearing ” … I paraphrase, but the quote is very close. So don’t get your … briefs … in a bunch about it. You think that you know everything there is to know about these matters, but you don’t. You operate from premises that were wrong from the very start.

    I would love to see you and Carr on a Rico panel arguing his qualities.

    Your take on ” Black Bag ” operations is much more literal than mine.

    When Paul Rico met law enforcement at his door that day I wonder if the lifetime of shit he had condemned four innocent men to came to mind. Believe what you want. Write what you want. Don’t try to shit me though. 🙂

    1. Your interest in how the 78-year old (and sick) Paul Rico responded to the team of police officers (no agents) waking him up with an arrest warrant is a little weird. I only know that the lead Miami officer was described as professional and polite. Howie Carr’s credibility is zero on this whole business–he has peddled a great deal of misinformation from Martorano and others.

      The informant you are talking about from an earlier post was provided some cash by the cops (from the Bureau and the local sheriff’s office who was also working with us). He may have been caught in the act and been working off a local beef also (I can’t recall now) but was on the books as a police informant at the time I was using his information in a wiretap affidavit.

      I never claimed to be a “black bag” specialist (and neither was Rico), but I did obtain warrants for and participate in at least 3 (that I remember) court-ordered surreptitious entries, one to install a bug inside the office of a Washington, D.C. business and two to hardwire tracking devices in vehicles. There may have been others that had me on the periphery but I can’t recall them right now. I worked in Los Angeles as a clerk in the 70’s, briefly at FBIHQ as an intelligence specialist (foreign counterintelligence), then as an agent in Washington Field, Philadelphia, Criminal Division at FBIHQ, and the last 10 years in Tampa. Most of that was organized crime and drugs. I then retired, got a law degree and now do criminal defense work.

      I worked for Ted Gunderson as a clerk in LA and he was an interesting guy.

  7. See previous post points two and four. I am not reallocation going to press the point now as to whether the incorrigible Rico actually crapped his pants when his fellow Agents came to arrest him. This was reported by many very seasoned Rico chroniclers, some of whom actually shared air molecules with the man, not least Matt’s favorite crime reporter Howie Carr. Apocryphal or not it just seems to me an apt metaphor for what an ugly business Murder Inc.can be. Semper ubi, Sub ubi with some of these characters.

    I could say … tell me your story. But the smartest guy in any room now is Mr.Google ; so I have a strongly sketch. You were a highly capable and cited Agent in FBI for 33 years I believe, including stint as an SA in LA with a specialized OC arm. I wonder if you knew the LA SAC Ted Gunderson. I met him once. Now there’s a really worthy subject for a boo !!! No matter, you saw the post, ducked the questions, and are a very poor candidate for playing mickey the dunce with us.

    In an addendum to your addendum and then some 🙂 regarding Informant protocols, just refrain now from answering my point #4 questions. You are not and never were a ” Black Bag ” FBI guy. Paul Rico absolutely was. It is naivete to assert otherwise no matter how well talking out of school sells these days. We give you an “A” for effort though and a Silver Star on your forehead . 🙂 I just ordered your book. Seems only fair .

  8. Ahhh that’s keyrect … Rothenberg dissented and Fla Court went two to one for Connolly. My point still holds as to whether the balance of the full court will upstage their two fellow Justices.

    William seems to have all the best of this argument. General accusations against police, Fed prosecutors and Judges are to be chided unless it’s Matt who is making them.

    Chris Kerr, we have enough apple polishers on this blog. When THE MYSTERY DIRECTOR 🙂 is good enough to answer your questions when you initiated them regarding your hero Paul Rico then do not get precious and revert to silence at the back of the FBI Class when questions are directed to you.

    I understand that you and co-author Wolfinger never actually met FBI Agent Paul Rico. Your book is on Amazon at four ninety nine paperback less shipping. It has a dramatic and appealing cover. Even though Matt previously stated he does not think I need to read it to know Rico was the most misunderstood Agent in Bureau history , I will . I want to discover what lies beneath its appealing and dramatic cover. I want to know whether it is a worthy book or just another addition to the Whitey Schlock literary genre that capitalizes on a very gullible public. In the meantime if you always want to seem the smartest guy in the room just make sure Matt is in another room. I make a Jooookkkkkkkkke !!!

    1. I’m not really sure what you mean. I try to answer any questions that come up but may miss some. Or, I may not know the answers to all of them.

    2. John, read RICO. It’s a great book. I hope Chris and company approach Connolly’s convictions as persuasively as they approached RICOs. It’s great to hear contrary, countervailing opinions. You’ll learn a lot about the inner workings of the “justice” department. Plus, it’s a crisp, face-paced read, chock full of facts and fairness. I like good writers and this is written well. 2. On an irrelevant note: It’s the artists who’ll save the world, and I include English majors, literature buffs, poets and writers among the artists. Judge, lawyers, politicians, wall street cruds, accountants and business majors (many of whom may be nice persons) will not save the world: they’ll perpetuate the spiral downwards, for they like the “status quo.”

  9. Chris Kerr :

    Happy Thanksgiving Day to you of course as well in response to your kind wishes earlier today. Couple of thoughts : First, Paul Rico being a chess champ in college is intriguing ; he was an outsized character in many ways 2. I say this with the intention of satisfying my intuition about the man, the unlikelihood of him doing it and the propensity the FBI has for putting out disinfo about what our beloved Moderator refers to as POOFS ( Persons out of favor) … Did Paul Rico actually have an episode of incontinence …gently put …. when Agents came to his door to arrest him. As you know, it was reported that he did, though I have always considered the allegation dubious. 3) When did Agent Rico stop playing chess and get beaten so badly by those mugs, in how own Bureau and in the Underworld who he may have considered just checkers players. This question is somewhat facetious of course. It underscores though that he was being beaten at a completely different game or he had no moves left in his own when they came for him. 4) Answer the question du jour then as only the empiricist can ; What were you ” offering ” this ” good informant ” you were working ??? Who approached whom ??? … Had you registered him as your informant ??? ..Was he working off a beef as they say, or have other motivations ???

  10. Matt–hope yours is great! Here is what I remember from our research (I apologize for any mistakes caused by my faulty memory)

    IF you trust Morris’s testimony (big IF as you know) it makes a difference (to me) when that conversation occurred. If it was AFTER Connolly’s 1990 retirement and Jeremiah O’ Sullivan was no longer in the picture, the Feds reneged on the deal they had with Bulger/Flemmi (to give them a pass on their non-violent criminal activity). Wyshak had deputized a group of Mass. State cops (as federal marshals) so as to form his own task force of investigators cutting out the FBI.

    So Whitey and Flemmi actually WERE getting screwed when Wyshak worked up a federal gambling-racketeering indictment (the first set of charges) with the MSP investigators. Connolly, no longer in the Bureau, could do nothing legitimately to help them but likely believed that HE would be held personally responsible by these hoods. Burger actually called Morris to threaten him. I believe this is what motivated Connolly to try to obstruct that first investigation.

    Wyshak didn’t give the Boston FBI a heads up until I think the day before the indictment. The Bureau legal people researched the files quickly and found that Bulger/Flemmi HAD been given effective transactional immunity by O’ Sullivan for what was charged in Wyshak’s indictment. Ultimately, Judge Wolf found that this first indictment should never have been brought because of this.

    However, additional investigation and flipping John Martorano and Kevin Weeks allowed the Feds to return a superseding indictment with much more serious stuff, including murders. Burger/Flemmi had no immunity for any of that.

    If Connolly actually DID make the comment Morris alleged BEFORE any of that and while they were on the books as informants, it would have been clearly improper and sanctioned by no FBI rule or–based on what I know–any Bureau or DOJ officials.

    But keep in mind, it was worth something real to Bulger/Flemmi to get protection for their gambling and other (allegedly) non-violent criminal activity. That kind of thing is done. BUT, the rules were evolving back in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. Nowadays, no “passes” of this kind for a TE (or any informant) can occur without the OK of pretty senior people at FBIHQ, DOJ, AND certainly the local U.S. Attorney. They are all in on it. An agent can’t just have a conversation with some strike force attorney and put a memo in the file. And these “passes” are reviewed on a very regular basis by the same bunch of senior people.

    You ask about Paul Rico developing Steve Flemmi in 1965. First, Flemmi was not a real big deal in 1965 and I think Steve was, in part, trying to help his brother out, Jimmy “The Bear” Flemmi, a crazy stone killer. Also, in the 1960’s, Paul Rico WAS as big deal–the mobsters knew who he was and he had a way of inspiring confidence in these guys. It was a real gift according to those who knew him. He had such a reputation that some of these guys actually sought Rico out (I think Red Kelley is one) AFTER they were really jammed up.

    But Rico was smart (Boston College chess champion). Not everyone who works these informants is so gifted. Although training teaches that ONLY the information absolutely necessary to GET information should be disclosed, some talk too much. Informants can, unfortunately, gain useful information, FROM their handlers unwise disclosures or questions.

    This is a high-risk business for all involved. I once used a good informant being worked by the cops I had partnered with to go up on a successful drug wiretap. There were some suspicions that the informant was continuing to deal drugs while providing information but, frankly, we were satisfied to give him the standard warnings that we wouldn’t protect him–and continued to use his information. Sure enough, when we took the case down some of the crooks we caught gave up everyone they knew–including our primary informant. He got 10 years in federal prison.

    1. Chris:
      I believed a lot of what Morris said when he testified at Connolly’s trial but there were some things that I felt he wasn’t being entirely honest about. He tried to hide his relationship with his TE informant because he also took money from him. It was only when he discovered his ex-wife had told defense counsel about it that he revealed it knowing if he didn’t he’d be hit with it on cross-examination.
      One thing that was absent from his testimony was anything about the conversations he had with Connolly over anything relating to Connolly’s finances or to Bill Bulger. I’m sure if he had anything to show Connolly was taking money or that Billy Bulger knew what was going on the prosecutors would have loved for him to give them that information.
      Morris said he asked Connolly what Whitey and Flemmi wanted for their cooperation. He said all they wanted was a head start. I believe that was the case and it would come under the fabric of protection. Flemmi, who I disbelieve in many things, said they were told they could do anything the wanted except hit someone.
      Neither Morris nor Flemmi mentioned that O’Sullivan was part of any deal that they had. O’Sullivan’s involvement according to Morris was to keep Flemmi and Whitey out of the Race Fixing indictment, nothing more. The only deal that existed between the parties was between the TE informants and the FBI. There was no involvement by the attorneys at the DOJ and no deal between them and the TE informants for them to renege on.
      No one found Flemmi or Bulger had been given transactional immunity by the DOJ. Judge Wolf found that they had been given that by the FBI. He was reversed on appeal by the First Circuit which held the FBI had no right to give them that and that could only come from the DOJ attorneys.
      When Whitey was arrested and after he got his lawyers, they recognized that the FBI/TEI deal would not hold up so they threw in O’Sullivan saying he gave the immunity. Prior to that time 2011 that was never an issue. O’Sullivan never met with Whitey or Stevie nor did he make any deals with them.
      As to what was on the books or in the regulations, those were there to protect the FBI but they were not followed as was obvious in this case. As to the present day procedures, I’m not privy but just like the prior rules were skirted I’m sure a clever agent can figure out how to do the same today.
      From what I have read Steve Flemmi was developed in part to get his help in flipping Barboza; you know the FBI also made his brother Jimmy a TEI even though it knew he wanted to be the top hitman for the mob in the area. The Congressional report has produced documents back and forth between the Seat of Government and the Boston Office approving him being so designated despite knowing he had murdered people and intended to continue.
      From what I can tell Rico had four TEIs – Steve Flemmi, Jimmy Flemmi, Buddy McLean and Red Kelley. You suggest the training teaches you only give enough information to get the information you are seeking that takes out of the equation the human nature of people especially people who have been in contact over a long period of time. You can’t talk to TE informants as if they are strangers, friendly relationships count. Connolly told how the best way to handle them was like friends.
      You point out how you did a wiretap and learned that your informant was involved in still dealing drugs. I was surprised when I heard Morris testify, and other S/As also, that they would tell their TE informants if a wire was going up or a bug going so that they could avoid the places where the ELSURs were occurring. That is why Morris wanted Bulger and Flemmi included in the wiretap application for the Angiulo wiretap. When the wiretap order issued he tipped them off to stay out of 95 Prince Street. Not only that during the wiretap they played some of the intercepted tapes for them.
      I was stunned by that because once you disclose to anyone outside the inner law enforcement circle an electronic surveillance you have lost control over it. When Morris’s group went up with a wire on Barbosian, he told Whitey and Stevie. We have no idea what they did with the information. Did they tell others to stay away? Did they tell Barbosian so that he could minimize the criminality of the conversation? Did Barbosian use the wire to set up other people knowing the FBI was listening in?
      I forbid the cops to tell the informants about the wires. I told them I could always work something out afterwards if the informant was caught on the wire. In one case listening in we learned that the informant had lied to us about the probable cause we had used to do the wire and I shut it down immediately.
      Sorry for the long reply. You brought up lots of things I wanted to touch upon. Thanks again.

      1. I understand that Wolf was reversed on his finding that the FBI had given Flemmi immunity but–and I will find it & forward–buried in all this stuff somewhere is a finding that the very first indictment WAS improper and could not have been tried–I think the First Circuit found that was the case, but you have piqued my interest and I will dig it out. Yes, I am aware that they overturned Wolf’s finding overall, but I don’t think that little point was disturbed. Anyway, that loss in the First Circuit (and Martorano turning) prompted Flemmi to flip.

        Btw, the informant I was talking about in the drug wire was never told about our wire. We also never disclosed that kind of information to informants. Sorry if I gave that impression. That informant was used to make controlled buys for PC for the wire and to tickle the wire on occasion, but never told what WE were doing on our end. He was paid cash for his information and merely warned that he better not be dealing on the side or it would catch up to him. He ignored the warning and paid with 10 yrs.

        1. Chris:

          If you can did it out thanks.

          I did not mean to suggest you let the informants know when you were up on a wire. I thought you made it clear that you did not do that. I thought that was a normal procedure not to tell them until I heard Morris say that if one was named in the affidavit as an informant he would be told. That always bothered me for reasons I explained. I was glad when you wrote that was not done universally and that it was not the way you and the people you worked with did it.

    2. Chris: You said that Flemmi “flipped”; I say Flemmi starting singing whatever tune Wyshak, Durham etc. wanted to hear on the eve of Flemmi’s trial and his inevitable execution for murder by the FEDs or by authorities in Florida or Oklahoma. Flemmi reversed field to save his own hide. He said what the FEDs wanted him to say. 2. You put too much credence in the Federal Courts’ “reasoning” and decisions; remember Appellate Judge Selya put the blindfold on and refused to toss John Connolly’s conviction after the disclosure of Salemme’s multiple perjuries poisoning the jury. Federal judges “flip” with irrationalities and illegalities as often as Massachusetts judges do. (See, e.g. the Parade case and Probation cases). 3. Matt, repeatedly asks “what was offered the criminal informants” and when you and I and others repeatedly say “protection” from being prosecuted for less serious crimes (gambling and drugs), Matt says, “I’ve asked for answers and no one has offered any.” Listen, if Bulger, a career criminal (Alcatraz) was threatened with arrest for distribution of marijuana, he’d face decades in prison. If the FEDs say, “Hey, help us and we won’t arrest you and we’ll do everything in our power to allow you to continue “non-violent” criminal activities” how could Bulger or Flemmi resist? So, it’s not helpful to ask questions and ignore answers. Chris Kerr has explained the policy in the 1970s and 1980s. That FBI agents tipped off TEI’s to possible wiretaps and possible raids sounds entirely reasonable to me. For heaven’s sake, they were on the verge of taking down the entire New England Mafia; they didn’t want Barney Fife to blow it; they didn’t care what Barney Fife thought he was investigating; the FEDs needed to keep some TEIs on the street (“No violence”, no arrests for non-violent criminal activity: Such a deal. What informant wouldn’t accept it?). 4. Triple Hearsay: Morris said Connolly said Flemmi said . . . Let’s assume the admittedly corrupt FBI agent John Morris (an attempted murderer who admits he leaked info jeopardizing lives; who, Flemmi testified, was the source of leaks; who was lying to Durham and FED prosecutors even two weeks before Connolly’s 2002 trial (Remember, two weeks before Morris finally disclosed he’d also accepted money from other bookies and drug dealers–two weeks before trial—what else was he withholding and lying about) well that Morris allegedly says Connolly says that Flemmi said, “We want a head start.” Morris does not say that he or Connolly agreed to give a Flemmi a head start. I would not draw nefarious, sinister conclusions about anyone from Morris’s ambiguous statements. Much of Morris’s testimony was baloney, well rehearsed, well orchestrated, Wyshak-type words in his mouth. 5. While making these points I refer back to the testimony of a Clerk who said John Connolly told him that Bulger and Flemmi were TEIs. First of all, the Clerk said the office was buzzing with talk of Bulger. Connolly likely told him the confidential information to muffle the buzz. Remember, boys, in every office—doctors, surgeons, psychiatrists, lawyers, accountants, CEOs—-secretaries, stenographers, clerks, file clerks are privy to “confidential information” and “privileged information” and “inside secrets”; in the ordinary course of everyday business throughout government and the private sector. Clerks pick up and are told Confidential Data. There’s nothing sinister about that. Everyone understands what you type up, read, hear or are told is confidential. Secretaries know but keep confidential routines that “Mr. X has syphilis” or “That Mr. Y will be indicted.” or “That Mr. Z. has submitted a bid to build or design the new casino.” Let’s not try to make ordinary stuff seem sinister. That’s Wyshak’s specialty. 8. As far as John Connolly “obstructing” anything, he has been tried twice, acquitted and exonerated of all major charges (his lawyer Tracey Minor confirmed that as did the Boston Globe reporter Shelley Murphy) and typical of Wyshak and the Feds who often criminalize civil behavior, non-criminal behavior, the majority of the five minor “obstruction” charges John Connolly was convicted of turn out not to be crimes at all. 1. It’s not a crime to write a letter, no matter how much federal judges and prosecutors think its factual wrong or defamatory; (defamation is a civil offense)2. it’s not a crime for a private citizen to tell someone he heard through the grapevine that an indictment was coming down; 3, It’s not a crime to call a lawyer’s office, it’s immaterial if he did, and no FBI agent has a right to interfere with persons’ constitutional rights to contact lawyers’ offices, for any reason. 4. It’s not a crime to try to help someone’s criminal defense, especially if you believe the government has reneged on an explicit promise to not prosecute for “non-violent” crimes. 5. It’s not a crime to give a case of wine to someone, but if Federal Prosecutors and the corrupt attempted murderer John Morris get together and decide the case of wine contained an envelope with $2,000 or $1,000 in it and the envelope is either in the “bottom of the case” or “between the cardboard separators” (Morris put it in two different locations when he testified in Miami and Boston) then a jury may believe that is a crime. 6. It is a crime to tell someone to lie, but you have to believe Kevin Weeks, the “walk-in-freezer” Kevin Weeks, the “Six FBI stooges with machine guns doing Bulger’s bidding” Kevin Weeks, the prevaricator Kevin Weeks who can’t correctly remember one name he saw on twenty envelopes, the grave digger Kevin Weeks, the career thug, strong arm, bully boy, to believe that lie. 11. It’s not becoming to keep throwing stones at a defenseless man, John Connolly, who has been acquitted by juries of much of the dirt thrown at him these last 15 years since Judge Wolfe’s circus of a “trial” and his 600 page indecision on a motion for summary judgment which effectively “indicted” a dozen FBI agents (not represented by legal counsel; supposedly represented by Wyshak who was selling them down the drain) for violations of laws, rules, regulations and FBI policies. Let’s end the circus. Let’s stop persecuting with poison pens defenseless person. Let’s go after the real culprits: federal judges and federal prosecutors and a Florida judiciary hell bent on knocking down every law in the nation to persecute certain POOFs, many of whom just happen to be Irish Catholics and Italian Catholics affiliated with Jesuit schools like Boston College. Intemperate, contemptuous? You bet!

      1. William:

        1. You repeated references to “Barney Fife” show your lack of understanding of law enforcement. Other law enforcement agencies are as good as the FBI in investigating matters. The State Police, many local detectives, and federal groups such as DEA, ATF have all skilled investigators. If you start from the premise as you seem to do that everyone else is less than the FBI then what follows in your comment has significantly less validity.
        2. It is you who won’t listen to an answer. When John Connolly tipped off Whitey about other wiretaps or that people were informing on him he was compromising organized crime investigations. You can’t do a wiretap unless there is a significant crime involved.
        3. Since when are gambling and drugs less serious crimes? Gambling involves leg breaking and loan sharking; drugs involve the destruction of people and neighborhoods.
        4. You don’t understand no one was chasing Bulger for marijuana. They were after him for more significant crimes like running a criminal syndicate. Stay with the facts and avoid fancy.
        5. You make up the “non violent criminal activities” aspect. Protection is protection from everything. Tipping off the TE informant to an investigation or protecting him from informants goes far beyond “non violent.” John Connolly said he knew his TE’s were murderers and his job was to protect them. The concept of TE involves people in the highest level of criminal activity.
        6. The FBI did not need Flemmi or Bulger to take down the Angiulo group. They had already written the affidavit for the wiretap prior to any information from them. They could have accomplished the same thing without them in destroying the Mafia in Boston.
        7. If you think it is OK to tip off top echelon criminals about wiretaps and raids then you fail to understand what is involved in criminal investigations.
        8. Remember Connolly provided the tape to Attorney Fishman who gave it to Flemmi who said he got it from Morris. Remember Connolly was in continuing contact with Kevin Weeks and through him to Steven Flemmi in an attempt to help Flemmi beat the charges. He hid this by routing calls through Week’s brother and when Weeks called him back Weeks identified himself as Chico. Connolly provided the names of informants to Weeks to give to Flemmi.
        9. Morris is not the best guy but his testimony in many areas had the ring of truth. The “head start” was part of the agreement. Flemmi said it was to do anything but hit someone.
        10. Your examples on secrecy of Top Echelon informants miss the point. Their identity were supposed to be secret; the reports from them were in code, secretaries and clerks are not supposed to know them. The clerk, a close friend of Connolly’s, was concerned that so many people knew about Connolly’s TE informants. He knew it was not supposed to be like that. Connolly had no concern about it.
        11. On the one hand you extol the jury for acquitting Connolly of involvement in the murders then want to argue it was wrong in convicting him of the obstruction charge. It is a crime to write a letter that obstructs a judicial proceeding despite your suggestion otherwise. It is a crime to tell a target of an investigation he is about to be indictment so that he can flee. Those are called obstruction of justice. It is a crime to lie to an FBI agent by denying you’ve been in contact with a defense attorney when you have.
        12. It is a crime to give a case of wine with $1000 to another FBI agent that came from gangsters. The jury found it was a bribe.
        13. Kevin Weeks did testify about some of the names he saw on the envelopes.
        14. No one is throwing stones at a defenseless man. It is best to keep the history straight. By twisting and turning facts and coming up with extreme examples you do a disservice. Connolly’s conviction in Boston was proper; his conviction in Florida was wrong. Suggesting they were all wrong undermines Connolly a lot more than facing the actuality of what happens.
        15. General attacks on federal judges, federal prosecutors and the Florida judiciary do little to help Connolly. If, as you suggest they are all corrupt, then he has no hope. I like to believe that like the two Florida appeals judges who tossed out his conviction these men and women decide things on the merits. That give Connolly hope; your approach destroys it.

        1. Matt, I wont rebut your statements seriatim. I can. You find inconsistencies in others’ viewpoints when none exist. You offer “facts” and “views” as if they’re set in stone and infallible. 2. You have a visceral dislike of John Connolly, you’ve admitted it in writing and verbally. Your narratives reflect that. You paint the FBI and him in a false dark light, as if only the locals saw clearly what was going on in the 1970s and 1980s. . It’s easy to paint darkly. It is easy to recast neutral acts or innocent acts into something sinister. It’s easy to give locals credit “for what they could have done or were about to do” and downplay what the FBI in fact did.
          2. The FBI took down 150 major organized crime figures in the 1980s; Barney Fife in Tulsa and the Barney Fife’s in Massachusetts (Major Foley included) took down ZERO during the 1980s. 3. All else is spin, viewpoints; your understanding of law enforcement is no better than anyone else who contributes to these pages (cops, lawyers, private citizens who are not government employees, media types, historians, English majors: we all have our views; we don’t lack understanding; it is equally clear that the Massachusetts state and federal judges have no better grasp of “justice” than most of us. Experience is a great teacher. Your extensive experience in one area, however, may blind you to other views, but we good folks on the opposite side of the fence rest assured that you know others who’ve spent their lives in law enforcement and other lawyers, personally known to you, like me, who vehemently disagree with your views. Admit that, at least. We see the same facts and interpret them differently, We are not bereft of some divine gift of illumination that some claim. Your interpretations are wrong, in our opinion. Some people who spent their lives in local law enforcement, who admit to visceral biases, cannot see the forest for the trees. Connolly was the object of a witch hunt and Wyshak was after Moby Dick, Billy Bulger. Federal prosecutorial zealotry was out of bounds, and Federal judges reacted intemperately, harshly and unfairly, and Florida judges contemptibly. Some people still think the Courts should force Veterans to admit unwanted groups into parades. Some call those views enlightened; I call them benighted. 4. During the Parade Case, the gurus in courts, in law firms, the judicial gurus,, constantly spun “expert” judicial and legal viewpoints at us and asked us to bow to their “superior” experience and expertise. We didn’t. We won. They were wrong. In my opinion, you are wrong both about the FBI and John Connolly. 5. I think I’ll write my next book about Delahunt’s and the Quincy Police’s close ties with Martorano (who lived next door) and how they did nothing to investigate or arrest him from the 1960s onward. Oh, yes, I forgot, the FBI had all the local cops in handcuffs during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s and that’s why they never could arrest anyone. 9. Legalistic historical revisionism: Many historical “facts”—Dr. Mudd’s involvement in Lincoln’s death—are debated ad nauseum. Different viewpoints don’t mean lack of facts, lack of intelligence, or lack of understanding. Sometimes people immersed in a theory wallow in the muck and mire of their fixed viewpoints. 11. In fifteen years there’s nothing you or anyone else has written that dissuades me, my colleagues and my friends from the viewpoint that John Connolly was a good, honest FBI agent who was framed by the FEDs with the assistance of State Cops like Major Foley. 12. Understand that your “history” is just one viewpoint, of which many of us, learned folks, disagree. 13. The two Florida Appeals judges who tossed out Connolly’s conviction took almost six years to do it; six years Connolly sat in solitary confinement for nothing. 14. The bottom line: you defend the judges and court system; I condemn it. You condemn the front line FBI agents, I defend them. You write about the appellate judges in Florida: “These men and women decide things on merit.” Give us a break. The system is rigged and broken. Today, judges and prosecutors proceed politically, extra-judicially, even the Supreme Court said that about Mass judges in the Parade case. They acted “without lawful authority.” Many judges and prosecutors often act unlawfully, many abuse power, many wander from the laws and constitution. Examples about, nationwide, historically and currently. 14. I look forward to the day when young generations return America to its greatness; they will do that not by whitewashing the historical record but looking critically at it from all points of view. The broke system will not be fixed from the inside. We need a revolution in thinking.

          1. William: I believe John Connolly has been treated terribly by the “justice” system–far worse than most hardened, violent criminals. There is no question that the trial and conviction in Miami was a complete sham–and the government’s and the courts’ conduct in the aftermath has been appalling.

            He should have received a new federal trial in Boston after it was finally disclosed that the government knowingly allowed perjured testimony was presented. All that said, what complicates Connolly’s situation is that he WAS guilty of obstructing justice and lying during the investigation. That hurt him badly and was his own choice. He has, however, paid far, far more than a just price for that and any fair system would have him out on bond while this latest (outrageous) delaying tactic plays out.

            The FBI’s conduct in both the Connolly and Rico cases deserves plenty of criticism also–the Bureau had both a responsibility and a real institutional interest in getting heavily involved in making sure justice was done. J. Edgar Hoover had what it takes, whatever his faults, to have seen to that, but those days are long gone.

            1. Chris:

              Good post. I can’t disagree with anything you said. I do wonder what would have happened had J. Edgar Hoover been alive. I think everything would have been different but one can only wonder. As for Connolly, he did obstruct justice but he has more than paid for his actions.

          2. William:

            Facts are troublesome things. I have no dislike for John Connolly. I ask you to point to the facts that support that statement. I do dislike some of the things that he has done like trying to interfere with the prosecution of Flemmi, Martorano, Salemme and the others who were before Judge Wolf. I do dislike that he worked with Kevin Weeks in a surreptitious manner to aid Flemmi and some other things he has done while he was an agent in protecting his TE informants and afterwards.

            You know nothing about the Quincy police. The Quincy police were in the forefront of investigating organized crime and had planted bugs in Whitey’s house and car which were all compromised. Delahunt’s ties to Martorano was he went to high school with him. As for Delahunt’s office, let me remind you it was the only DA’s office that Whitey complained was harassing him. Martorano was incarcerated by the state police working with the Quincy police and the Plymouth DA, the late Bill O’Malley in 1978. In 1979 he went to Florida where he lived until 1995.

            I do suggest having spent most of my career in the DA’s office investigating criminal activity that have lace a better insight into law enforcement that others who have not done that type of work.

            I’ve not denied the FBI success against the Mafia. You seem to think Whitey, Flemmi, Martorano and others were not organized crime. If that it the case then you are right the hard working cops you malign with the name “Barney Fife” did nothing against organized crime. If you accept they were as bad as any Mafia hoodlum and were organized crime then it was Foley and other State cops and DEA guys who brought them down.

            When Whitey joined with the FBI in 1975 he was protected pretty much until he fled. As you wrote it was all right to tip him off about wiretaps and raids as part of the protection. I disagree. If one is protected then he is hard to bring to justice. Yes, the state and local police were handcuffed.

            Connolly was not framed, he obstructed justice as the jury found. That’s one of those troublesome facts.

            One final point. It was the federal judges who you paint with a black brush who ruled in your favor in the parade case.

            Disagree as you may and as you suggest you vehemently disagree but that is still disagreeing. By the way you would not have won your Parade case if it were not for federal judges ruling in your favor.

  11. Matt,
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. I am still in Asia so you are not disturbing any holiday here…so, I will ask the question another way. What does the CIA offer its covert operators? Confidentiality for certain. But, what happens when one wet worker is outed? My dad worked for a subsidiary of US Government his entire career. There was usually a one size fits all mentality..just a question to move the discussion along..

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