How The FBI Shamefully Abandoned Agent John Connolly: The Silence of the Sheep

Yesterday I pointed out the Agent John Connolly came to Boston in 1972, was put in the organized crime squad, and was made responsible for handling Top Echelon Criminal Informant (TECI) Steve Flemmi who had been informing since 1965 which was before Connolly joined the FBI. In 1975 he would list James “Whitey” Bulger as an informer and shortly thereafter he became a TECI. At that time, there was no showing that unlike Flemmi Whitey had been involved in any type of murders.

How was it Connolly was dealing with Flemmi and Whitey who were notorious criminals? Reading Boston media you would believe he had a secret side deal with them, that is, he was running rogue doing his own thing. The FBI gladly put him out there to stand alone while everyone fired shots at him; it failed as an organization to tell the truth. The truth was, and is, the FBI had developed a corrupt program called the Top Echelon Criminal Informant program (TECIP) that it has tried to hide from the public. It has never been held accountable for having done this. It still runs it today.

Judge Nancy Gertner wrote about it in her Limone decision where she gave four men millions of dollars because of the way the FBI countenanced the lies of Joe Barbosa. Barbosa was not an informant but was a cooperating witness at the time. Here is what she had to say about the TECIP”:

“In the early 1960s, the FBI focused its energy on prosecuting organized crime in the United States. . . . Two critical parts of the program were an illegal wiretap at Patriarca’s office and the so called Top Echelon Criminal Informant Program.” (TECIP)

TECIP was “officially inaugurated by J. Edgar Hoover on June 21, 1961 Three aspects of the program are significant. First, the informants involved were to be important enough organized crime figures that they would be able to provide high-level information on a major scale. . .  (The corollary – –  apparently acceptable to the FBI – – was that these informants might well continue to commit serious crimes.) Second, these were not  merely witnesses getting deals for episodic appearance in court. Their relationship with the FBI was supposed to be a lasting one, providing information on a continuing, long-range basis. Third, the program was strictly confidential – – which not only meant that its existence would be kept secret from the general public and other divisions within the federal government, but also from state law enforcement agencies.  Even when disseminating particular facts to other agencies, as they did from time to time, agents were to take special care to paraphrase the information so that the informants’ identities would not be disclosed.” (Footnotes omitted)

Gertner rightly sums up what would happen with such an arrangement. “The result should have been predictable. A state prosecution based on the testimony of a witness that was plainly contradicted by the secret information in the FBI’s files.”

Think of what the FBI created. It was a secret program to join up on a long-term basis with people involved in criminal activity who were in positions high enough to “provide high-level information on a major scale” against organized crime.” It was created by J. Edgar Hoover who wrote: “it is mandatory that the development of quality criminal informants be emphasized and the existing program be implemented and greatly expanded.”

The only way you can have a long-term relationship with a person who is engaged in criminal activity at a major level is to protect that person. There is no other way to keep the person in the position that he is in other than making sure others do not bother him whether they be police or criminals, investigators or informants. That is why the FBI set up a system whereby the handler of a Top Echelon Criminal Informant (TECI) would be notified of any inquiry about such TECI made over the national Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS) run by the FBI and used by state and local law enforcement throughout the country. It also required within house that the handler be notified of any information about his TECI gathered in by other FBI agents.

This was done because the FBI wanted to protect its TECIs because of the time and energy and money it invested in them. The idea was to keep the TECI active and keep them on the street so they could keep furnishing the FBI information. As one agent intercepted by the Massachusetts State Police in a legal wiretap operation was heard saying to his TECI, “my job is to keep you safe.” Fortunately he did not know the State Police were on a phone used by his TECI for if he did the State Police wire would have come a cropper.

Connolly’s job at the FBI was to keep his TECIs safe. When it became public knowledge that he was doing this the FBI deserted him. It pretended it had nothing to do with him doing that. It corrupted itself and still is doing it by keeping Connolly in prison for doing his job. It is truly a shameful episode in the FBI’s history.


11 thoughts on “How The FBI Shamefully Abandoned Agent John Connolly: The Silence of the Sheep

  1. Before Connolly was tried in 2002 Mueller was the Director of the FBI. He knew the rogue cop theory was a fraud but helped it proceed. He could have stopped it. He withheld Fitzpatrick’s exculpatory evidence in the Florida trial and let Rico be falsely arrested and die in prison. He along with Comey and Obama lied about the Boston Marathon bombing. He is a person of bad character. 2. You are right about the Florida Courts. They are not honest. A Federal Judge could be on the level. So that is Connolly’s only hope.

    1. NC:

      You sound like an echo chamber. Mueller had no control over the prosecution of John Connolly. Fitzpatrick had no exculpatory evidence. Read his book. See his conviction for perjury. Fitzpatrick was one of the corrupt FBI agents who disclosed to the Boston Globe that Whitey was an informant. He all but said Bill Bulger was corrupts pretending he was involved in investigating him on things other than 75 State Street. Rico was done by a Tulsa Oklahoma cop who Mueller had no control over.

  2. Matt
    There is a book called GHOST:My Thirty Years as an Undercover agent by Michael McGowan. In his book he states that at one time he was under investigation for stealing confiscated drugs. He is shocked and deeply hurt how some of the Feds treat him even though he worked with them for years. he is shocked at how he is put through interrogation etc etc. Whats surprising to me is how he resents those around him after he is exonerated. he is not innocent until proven guilty. if anything its eye opening just how vicious, nasty, and cold A LOT of law enforcement employees are.

    If you ask me its no shock that so many in law enforcement use drugs or drink excessively. You see ONLY the bad in people day in day out. Anyway check out the book for that experience by the FBI agent

    1. Jerome, Thanks – I will check it out. It seems a lot of FBI agents run from helping others because they are more concerned with themselves and getting through the day without too much bother. That’s a old story that people run from helping others if they think they may be diminished in doing that.

  3. Matt: I’m glad to see you keep writing about Connolly. I think he should be released from prison immediately. My questions are these: Is there any kind of plan to secure his freedom, and is there anything I can do to help? I seem to recall that the Innocence Project in Miami had taken an interest in his case. Any developments on that front?

    1. Dan:

      From what I can see if there is a plan to get Connolly out it is not working. The Innocence Project did handle his appeal. The decision upholding his conviction is plainly outrageous. That four judges agreed with it tells me there is little chance of the Florida court doing something for him; add to that his parole date is when he is 99 years old the only hope would be in federal court. I’m not up to date on the most recent developments.

      I see the big problem is the confusion as to where the responsibility lies. I suggest it is with the FBI but the FBI and its supporters want to suggest it is with the Department of Justice. For the FBI to accept responsibility it has to admit that its Top Echelon Informant program put Connolly in the position where he had the right to do whatever was necessary to protect Bulger and Flemmi including tipping them off about people who were informing on them, about wiretaps aimed at them, and about other dangers they may face from other law enforcement agencies or fellow criminals. It won’t do that.

      Connolly’s main hope may lie in the case before the Supreme Court where the issue of double jeopardy is being considered. Connolly never seemed to have raise that issue for some reason; it seemed to me it did not require much thought to do it. Connolly was found not responsible in Boston for what he was convicted of doing in Florida. The only other approach is to have brought an action in Federal Court (like was done for Ruby Ridge) to say he was operating within the scope of his duty so the state had no right to prosecute him. Again, the FBI is pretending that is not the case with all its CYA forms that agents routinely ignore.
      Connolly will die in prison if the truth is hidden which seems to be what the FBI wants to do.

  4. You are correct, the FBI, especially the DC Office which came up with the phony Rogue Agent Theory, did sell Connolly and RICO and others like JIm Ring down the drain.

    Remember when Wyshak appeared before Judge Wolfe who issued his 600 page decision which was basically and indictment of many FBI agents as rogues, Wyshak was supposed to be defending the FBI, instead he was selling these agents out . . .he let Cardinale smear them with as much dirt as Cardinale’s client Flemmi could throw at them . . . .Why? . . . .because down the corridor in the same Federal Courthouse, the FEDS, the STERNS GANG, Wyshak’s team were seeking indictments of their own against so called Rogue AGents . . . Muellar was the head of the FBI in 2001 and was part and parcel of this Rogue AGent Scheme . . .he must have greenlighted it . . .

    Moreover, in every civil case in the Federal Court in Boston, no one represented the FBI agents . . . .plaintiffs suing for CASH threw mud at them, as rogues, and the government laywers who were supposed to defend them, threw mud at them as ROGUES, as said, we’re not liable, the US is not liable, these FBI agents were bad apples . . . BLACK MASS was written largely on these civil cases where both sides threw as much mud as possible at good FBI agents, and NO ONE DEFENDED THEM


    Please read my books, and you’ll see in John Connolly’s Criminal TRial, where he had a defense, he was convicted of only one “crime” during his 20 plus years as an FBI agent . . .Morris, the corrupt bum, said JOhn gave hims a case of wine with $1,000 in it . . . .the other four crimes JOhne was convicted of . . . .petty shit . . . .writing a ltteer to ajudge, telling an FBI agent he didn’t recall telephoning a lwayers office, telling Weeks he heard and indictment was coming down, telling Weeks to tell the the truth, to tell Flemmi to keep sayin JOhng was an honest cop……of course Wyshak/Sterns GAng, helped WEEKS compose his testimony . . . .and the Boston Jury did not believe a single word of Martorano, the FEDS key witness

    The whole thing is a circus and sham . . . .and you fail to point the finger at corrupt prosecutors and corrupt judges . . . . .shall I go on . . . .read my books

    The FIX: THE Corruption of Massachusetts Courts and Agencies
    Three Billboards outside Boston: Prosecute the Persecutors who Abuse Federal Prosecutorial Power

    Get those bums who drove the young Schwartz man to suicide and get those bums who allowed the Congressman’s wife to get 30 days in jail for laundering four million dollars of her brother’s offshore illegal money, but the bookie’s wife who deposited a few hundred thousand of her husband’s earings, Wyshak recommended 8 years in prison . . .first offense . . .because she was JOhn Connolly’s sister in law . . . .When Judge Young asked Wyshak why he was recommending Probation for the corrupt Congressman’s Wife, Wyshak said, “Because she’s the Congressman’s wife.”

    Equal Justice under the Law in the DEN of Inquity and some say I paint with too braod a brushb . . . . .I haven’t begun to paint . . . wait till I go from impressionism, expressionism, to pointillism ….. wait till I FINE TUNE my research and findings . . . .then we’ll see how you like how I sing and paint and express myself in this home of the brave and land of the free

    Yes, Hutch, I do go on . . .

    1. Bill:

      You reinvent history. You have as bad guys the people who were good and as good guys the people who were bad. Reading the way you think you seem to suggest the U.S. attorney in Boston Donald Stern’s should never have gone after Bulger, Flemmi, Salemme, Martorano, etc. Those were the guys they sought indictments against. Those were the guys they were prosecuting when Flemmi came out and admitted he was Connolly’s informant. Remember Connolly never spoke up when Flemmi told his lies. As a word of caution, be careful not to libel anyone with your broad brush accusing people of committing crimes without a basis for doing this.

      You have to get your facts straight. Connolly was indicted in 1999 which was long before Mueller was in charge of the FBI.

  5. Your are wrong/. There is nothing inherently corrupt about the Top Echelon Informant Program as there is nothing inherently wrong with DEA or state Drug Cops working undercover with known drug pushers to take down bigger pushers.

    The TEI program works because the Informants are told no violence, no murders . . .in New York a suspected murderer informant was terminated and arrested and prosecuted . . . .

    No one is protecting TEIs who commit acts of violence or murder .. . . .they are protecting them from being arrested for petty gambling, maybe . . .we know some TEIs wer told to avoid a place which was being wiretapped . . . .but NO ONE Protected TEIs who were committing violent acts . . . .that is simply false, it would be the same as saying and Undercover DEA or NARC cop knew that his informant was spiking heroin with fentanyl and he let him continue murder people with drug overdoses

    Undercover Work is dangerous . . .whether in DRUGs or Organized CRime . . .and the Informants you get usually have committed evil acts, even murder in the past . . .every made member of the MAFIA is said to have killed someone . . . .So, that’s the past . . . .the current Informants are explicitly told No Violence, No Murders, and no one in the FEDS protects any informant from MURDER/Violence ARrests or MUrder/Violence Investigations . . . .I’ve only been studying this issue since about 1997 . . . .

    1. Bill:

      You cannot allow criminals to commit crimes on a long term basis and protect them. That was the essence of the Top Echelon program. The FBI has no right to decide who will live or who will die just to get information. Undercover officers don’t kill people. You are confused about what the informants are told. The FBI put Jimmy Flemmi on as an top echelon informant knowing he planned to be the biggest hitman in New England. Sure they had forms that said no violence or or murder but they were only for cover.

      Are you suggesting that Connolly did not know Flemmi and Bulger used violence to remain in power? Did he think people loved to pay them tribute and volunteered to pay that? Did you ever talk to people in Southie and ask them if they feared Bulger and Flemmi. Have you read about other top echelon informants throughout the nation who also committed violent crimes and remained as informants? Do you really think guys who are at the top level of criminals who are giving information on other top level criminals stop their violence because the FBI brings them on as informants? Why would Whitey and Stevie Flemmi stop brutalizing people just because the FBI wanted them to give it information?

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