Wednesdays I’ve been talking about the ghost of Ivan, a former state trooper. I insinuate that he haunts Tom Foley a former state police colonel.
My intent in doing this is not to disparage Foley. He was aggressive, tough, determined and beyond reproach, everything we need in our state troopers. I recommend his book, Most Wanted.
The reason I talk about Ivan in relation to Foley and in relation to the Whitey Bulger trial is twofold.
First, it shows how sinister the FBI is in dealing with others. Young trooper (Foley) wanted to do a banged-up job. He became bedazzled by the FBI sun which still shown brightly in those days. As a true believer he went in whatever direction the FBI steered him. In Ivan’s case it sent him down a wrong path.
There is no way to understand the phenomenon of Whitey Bulger without knowing what makes the FBI tick. Under J. Edgar Hoover and his predecessors the most important division in the FBI was the Crime Records Division. What purpose do you think it had? Don’t be fooled by its name which is only a euphemism.
This division was a mammoth publicity division designed to puff up the FBI and to suppress (keep from embarrassing) anything unfavorable. It operated so well that after WWII up until the the mid ‘90s a negative word about the FBI was considered tantamount to treason. The FBI was worshiped as much as one’s church. A good analogy for what people thought about it is similar to what many Catholics thought about their church up to the ’90s.
The other reason is that I think Foley is mistaken about Ivan. Despite the neon signs pointing otherwise, he believes Ivan was not a good trooper as he suggests in his book. I suggest Foley has trouble facing the fact he participated in a wrong against Ivan so he will continue to be haunted by Ivan’s ghost.
How does Ivan fit into the matters relating to Whitey? In a nut shell, taking down Ivan protected Whitey Bulger and Stevie Flemmi’s operation and covered-up for the person in the state police who was leaking information to them, Eric.
While I’m discussing the state police, I should note this. My relationship with it has never been smooth. I have always had a philosophical difference with its people that came from the pull and tug of operating on the same side but with differing obligations and ideas. I’ll talk more about that later.
I must note I have had few if any operational problems with the state police or seen anything that made me doubt its integrity during criminal investigations. It is 100% on the level. Its goal is to seek the truth. It doesn’t hide exculpatory evidence.
I always considered the state police to be a much better police force than the FBI. I think the FBI recognized this. It could not compete on an even playing field with it so it went out of its way to undermine and to slander it.
I’ve never questioned the integrity, diligence or the courage of any of the state police troopers I worked with in its investigative division. But that doesn’t mean I’ve had an easy road dealing with some of them. They are a tough group and will always stick together. Sort of like the Marines.