Here’s Whitey Bulger’s problem – he doesn’t want to be called an informant nor does he want to be known as a person who murders women. Say anything else about him and he’ll let it pass. I’ll write about his relationship with women in another post. Now I want to write about him being an informant.
Whitey says he was never an informant. He admits he had a relationship with FBI agent John Connolly. Through his lawyer told a jury that the relationship they had consisted of him paying Connolly hundreds of thousands of dollars in exchange for protection or information that would enable him to protect himself.
I never believed for one second Whitey paid that type of money to Connolly. I did many wiretaps of bookies who I’d later learn were paying tribute to Whitey in exchange for protection. I’d indict a batch of them at a time and since they were caught red-handed the cases involved plea bargaining. One thing I noticed was the last thing these guys would want was to be fined. Probation, suspended sentence, and even a small bit in jail was fine but they squawked the loudest at any suggestion of a fine. It seemed they didn’t want a fine because the persons who had to pay them were those giving the protection, Whitey Bulger and Stevie Flemmi, and they hated to part with their money.
That went along with what Frankie Salemme, a close friend of Flemmi, said of Whitey and Flemmi. He said they loved women and money. He added not necessarily in that order. We heard how Flemmi murdered Debbie Davis because she was going to leave him; you can imagine from that how much these gangsters hated to part with money. So the idea of paying hundreds of thousands for protection is pure rubbish.
What makes the claim more absurd is Whitey’s other claim. That is that in exchange for him protecting the head of the federal strike force, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeremiah O’Sullivan, he was given immunity by O’Sullivan for all the criminal acts he committed in the past and into the future. Likewise do I suggest that is rubbish but for the sake of following Whitey’s position assume that it is true. When you do you see how absurd Whitey’s position is.
Why would he be paying Connolly any money if he already had protection from O’Sullivan? Connolly was only an FBI agent, O’Sullivan was a U.S. attorney with much more power. If he had a deal with O’Sullivan he would have little need for Connolly and even less need to be paying him money.
What makes Whitey’s claim of paying money is that he did not need to do it under any circumstance. Connolly made him a Top Echelon (TE) informant back in 1975 early on in his criminal career. Connolly told us that his job was to protect TE informants. If Whitey were already receiving the protection without paying any money for it, why would he be paying such huge sums. He wouldn’t because he didn’t have to do this. Connolly operating pursuant to the FBI’s TE program was doing it in exchange for information.
There’s little doubt in my mind Whitey was an informant in the broad sense of the word. He made up the story of paying Connolly money so that he could pretend he wasn’t one but that contradicts his O’Sullivan claim. There are reports in Whitey’s informant file that could only be traced back to him such as the claims that the Norfolk DA’s office had a vendetta against him. He met with other FBI agents, some supervisors, at the request of Connolly to prove he was worthy of being in the TE program. Why is he doing all that if he’s not giving information.
Flemmi once told his fellow criminals that they gave the FBI garbage in exchange they got back gold. That may have been true but it still made them informants whether the information was good or bad; and we know from some of the investigations done by Connolly and his FBI colleagues that some was very good.
If the definition of an informant is one that gives information to another then it seems clear Whitey met with Connolly on a regular basis. He gave Connolly information which Connolly noted in his file. In exchange he got protection. Unfortunately for Whitey when he says he gave money rather than information he is undermining his argument that he had immunity since no one pays for something he already has.
Whitey had Connolly’s protection. He didn’t need to pay money for it. He only needed to give information and that made him an informant.