I know you’ve heard this before but during the lull in the action on Whitey’s trial I’m catching up on putting together the material I have gathered on Whitey’s brother Billy. It has always puzzled me that a guy could serve so long in public service with an unblemished record and have people start saying he was corrupt. I’m taking a hard look at the evidence as a career prosecutor to see what I think. I’ve spelled out my relationship to Billy in my book Don’t Embarrass The Family. It isn’t close. I know the guy and have talked with him but not for twenty or so years. I never contributed to him or attended his fund raisers. I grew up in the same neighborhood. I’m not ready to start writing about him at this point.
One reason for the delay is that doing this blog so many other issues come up that intrigue me, things I never previously gave a second thought to blindly following the newspapers stories which then become the gospel. I’ve pointed this out in my discussions about Sheila Burgess.
One of the things I’m doing is organizing myself and putting things into different three-ring notebooks. I’ve done this once but the first system I set up is not working well. It reminds me of the times when I’d get ready for trial. I’d have set up one system for handling the evidence and then I’d rearrange it and probably do it a third or fourth time. If you’ve ever read the book Who Am I? which I recommend having just done it you’d see how the unconscious had a role in what I was doing. I realize that what would be wasting time to some people was a way that I used to prepare and learn my case.
As I put things in order I came across an article in the newspaper saying Whitey “cooperated with the FBI as early as ‘50s” written on May 30, 2012 by Kevin Cullen and Shelley Murphy in the Globe. The article wasn’t clear. It said he “verbally identified his accomplices” but persuaded his girlfriend “Jacqueline “Jacqui” McAuliffe, to formally identify them to the FBI.” Does that make sense to you? Doesn’t it make less sense when you read the following line, “Bulger pleaded guilty to the three [bank robbery] jobs and got 20 years; McAuliffe got a pass.”
It seems to me you don’t get 20 years if you are cooperating. Seems to me Jacqui ratted out the whole group. But that doesn’t make a good story so the reporters allege Whitey is ratting people out back then.
The Globe article note that “WBUR first reported” the story. That meant David Boeri. I dug that story out. That headline read: “’Whitey’ The Kid: Bank Robber, Fugitive And Snitch In The ‘50s” The FBI report in July 1956 said “Bulger, after his apprehension, cooperated with the Bureau.” Dick Lehr said of this, “He made these oral admissions but insisted that it not be put in writing.” This report is the same report Howie Carr used in his 2006 book, No one gives him credit for this. The talk about it is as if it has just come to light.
Lehr mocked Whitey to Boeri because Whitey was involved in hijackings by saying, “Whitey’s in his mid-20s and tailgating is the stuff of teenagers.” You can see from that statement that neither Lehr or Boeri grew up in neighborhoods where tailgating was a fine art. It wasn’t the teenagers who did the best of it but those in their twenties and thirties.
Which brings me back to the problem of having people without an understanding of these criminals and the neighborhoods writing about them. They don’t know what’s really going on. The certainly got everything wrong about what happened in ’56.
For Whitey to be arrested for the bank heists the FBI had to have already had someone telling them who was involved in them. Whitey had warrants out on him from the bank robbery in Hammond, Indiana on 1/4/56 and Pawtucket, Rhode Island on 2/8/56. It was obvious to him that Carl G. Smith, Jr. had given him up. Carl was the one connection to both robberies. Whitey was arrested on 3/4/56.
The FBI report says this about Whitey that he “cooperated with the Bureau to the extent of admitting his participation in three bank robberies. He reduced his admissions to signed statements and named his two accomplices in the Rhode Island Bank robbery.” These were Smith and Dermody. He gave the FBI what it already had.
Then it notes “He persuaded [Jacqui] to cooperate . . . ” She gave up Barchard and Billy O’Brien, who they probably already knew about from Smith. Bulger later confirmed Jacqui’s information.
Apparently Boeri, Murphy and/or Cullen telephoned to Florida to talk to Barchard, pictured above, and told him wrongly that Whitey had given him up. Barchard had to know it was Smith and Jacqui and not Whitey. The FBI report specifically notes Whitey only gave up the Rhode Island names which he knew were already out.
Because Bulger has to be the personification of all evil and cowardice, the reporters totally misread what happened. When Whitey’s arrested he knows he’s in the jack pot. Whitey’s concern is saving Jacqui who has a young kid she has to take care of. He knows Smith has given everyone up so he tells Jacqui to do the same thing. It’s the only way she can stay on the street. Rather than being a “snitch” Whitey outwits the feds and saves his girlfriend. However, he ultimately outsmarted himself because he got 20 years. None of the others got close to that time.
Which brings me to my final thought. Boeri says that Gerry O’Neill and Dick Lehr are writing a biography about Whitey. I really can’t believe it because these guys hate Whitey and Billy. Aren’t biographer’s supposed to come to their subjects with an even handed view? Their book will be another repeat of Black Mass where they vilify Whitey and Billy.
If I were Whitey and had a story to tell, I’d get it out like he tried to do when he saw Martorano on 60 Minutes. If he doesn’t he’s letting his enemies write his and his family’s history. That’s not too wise.