John Connolly Week: (6 of 10) The Betrayal by the FBI

What is so strange about John Connolly spending 37 years in prison aside from the fact what he was alleged to have done was what the FBI wanted him to do is that the crime for which he is doing time is one which a jury found he had no involvement in.

What is even stranger is that neither John Connolly nor his FBI supporters will accept that it was the FBI that turned on Connolly. Connolly and the others seemed to believe it was the Justice Department in the form of some people in Washington D.C. and others in the Boston U.S. attorney’s office.

Why didn’t they look at the prosecuting table in the courtroom and see that the FBI had its representative sitting there in the person of Special Agent Gary Bald? Were they unaware of the parade of FBI witnesses who testified against Connolly during the trial who were specially assigned to Boston? Do they excuse them because they were “just doing their jobs.” But that’s exactly what Connolly was doing when the FBI turned on him.

Rather than running from him and cooperating with the prosecution the FBI had the responsibility to come to his defense. It should have pointed out that Connolly was working as a handler for Top Echelon Informants. It should have told what the program was about. It should have explained what was expected of the agents and how it expected them to develop long-term relationships with these top criminals. It should have paraded witness after witness of FBI agents in to tell how they really operated with their TEIs.

It should have told the jury that the rules which are set out in the manuals and the forms are just for cover to prevent embarrassment and that no agent is expected to follow them. It should have its agents explain how in real life that to develop a TEI you also have to develop a friendship relationship with one. The whole program should have been exposed but it was hidden.

The question that the FBI has never faced is what is it that it promises to a TEI to have him cooperate with it. It not any type of break in prosecution or sentencing since it has nothing against him; it is not money since these guys are rolling in money; it is not any type of stature since they have all the stature in their criminal group that they want. It is not, as one FBI agent said, to keep their identification secret since that is done with every informant.

They are asking these TEIs who are not jammed in to betray their friends. What is it that is offered from them to do this? All that the FBI can give them is protection from others: gangsters, other law enforcement agencies, and the FBI. “My job is to keep you safe! 

The FBI left Connolly alone and unprotected fearing bad publicity. Others though know the TEI program exists.  Especially judges who decide cases where TEIs are used. None seems to wonder what is on the other side of the coin. They write about the TEI program. They note that some gangsters are in it. Yet they never tell what it is the FBI guarantees to these people for their information..

What is it Connolly could have offered Whitey and Flemmi to become informants. There is no doubt they were. Flemmi admitted that they were. He downplayed the information they were giving when talking to other gangsters. According to Murderman Martorano he told him:“Me and Whitey gave them shit and got back gold.” 

Whitey and Flemmi  allege they were getting information from Connolly for money but that made no  sense. If they were how then was it the Boston Mafia was destroyed by information furnished by Connolly. If they were giving information as ever gangster who read FBI reports agreed happened, why were they doing it?

Neither Whitey or Flemmi needed money; they did not need protection from the Mafia because they worked with Mafia while undermining it. They didn’t need the Mafia’s business since they had plenty. Frank Salemme when asked why Flemmi would become an informant said: “It gave him a sense of security that he could continue his criminal activity, and all he had to do was give up on jerks like me and he would be all set,”

What he was saying was they were being informants so they would be protected. That was the FBI agreement with them.

John Connolly and his supporters in the FBI are in part to blame for his plight. They keep trying to protect the FBI. I understand it is difficult to accept that the organization you served in is less than what it should be. It is difficult to criticize it especially since your relationship with others in it is important to you not just for social reasons or family but also for the ability of the retired FBI Agents Association to help with future employment or to prevent one from getting it.

The bottom line is John Connolly is hindered as are those agents supporting him by their blindness. They are unable to see that the villain is the organization they are most proud of joining, They should know the FBI should never have joined in Connolly’s prosecution; it should have stood tall and told the world that he was doing his job.

Its fear of the media; its fear of being embarrassed; its chance to put all the sins of the TEI program on one man; the desire of the higher-ups not to cross the Justice Department; its ability to keep all its agents and retirees in line has allowed it to walk away from Connolly. It cares nothing that this special agent with 22 years of commended service will rot in prison.

Sadly, to this day both Connolly and his FBI supporters refuse to accept the FBI’s responsibility in this great injustice. So why is it such a great injustice?

31 thoughts on “John Connolly Week: (6 of 10) The Betrayal by the FBI

  1. Blokhin was a blue pip. A prolific executioner for the totalitarian police state created by Stalin. Stalin’s purges destroyed Communism in Russia, leaving an Asiatic despotism in its’ place. Solzhenitsyn thought that Stalin’s destruction of of Lenin’s old comrades was an attack on the very socialist ideas the dictator claimed to defend. Wittfoegeld believes that the archetypal Russian psyche still suffers the effects of the Mongol era, and, that, centuries of absolutist Mongol oppression stamped the Mongol form of oriental despotism on the Russian mind. Asiachina, Lenin warned against it in his long suppressed final testament, a condemnation of Stalin. At the time of his death, Lenin was preoccupied with devolving political decision in the Soviet Union. He did not want absolute power vested in any individual, including himself. Did that mean Lenin supported democracy in the sense Americans think of it? No. Lenin wanted political power to devolve within the party structure. The Soviet society envisioned by Lenin was very different from the society created by Stalin. What if Lenin had lived another ten years?

    1. “What if Lenin had lived another ten years?”

      Maybe the Beatles would have gotten back together. A man can always dream.

  2. Lets play The Match Game.

    John Connolly is in prison because________(blank)__________.

    Ten words or less, please. I still can’t be sure.

  3. A retired KGB agent was asked about Stalin’s treatment of the Ukrainians. He said it was a little harsh. The same words used to describe Tauro’s sentence of Connolly. The FBi and the DOJ are both part of the deep state swamp that Trump has to drain.

    1. I think that part of the swamp is undrainable. He will have no success cracking that code. Just my opinion, but I believe it is beyond deep. Like, all the way down.

  4. Matt
    The more I read this excellent series of articles the more I understand WHy Connolly became the scapegoat. In 2 words. Billy Bulger. If Billy Bulger were not the brother of Whitey Bulger I believe that Connolly would not still be in prison. As a matter of fact I would also say I dont think Connolly would have even gone to jail. Its because Billy Bulger was not liked by certain other politicians and the press that the heat came down on Whitey, Connolly, etc . Is there any other FBI agent who has gone to jail much let alone ostarcized by the press for the way he/she handled their TEIs?

  5. Was Stalin the inevitable consequence of Communism? I’ll go to the barn, and, dig out Wittfoegeld. He has quite a bit to say about that notion. Issac Deutscher also explores the idea. It makes for a good discussion.

  6. Wyshak is the instrument . Wee birdies are simplistic creatures. They love to tweet , and twitter , and chirp . Heed not your muse . Just as the saddle blanket has dominant threads and less so , so your pecking beak must unravel them all in order to get to the burr under your ass . The embracing saddle that also prevents your scratching the maddening itch is another matter . Simple answers like …Wyshak is deranged … Wyshak’s bete noir is Billy Bulger … Wyshak’s wet nurse’s left teat was dry ….. are for little warblers who just like to twitter, and cheep, and chirp . Fred Wyshak is a great screaming fucking Eagle ! Have you ever had one of those on your shoulder . It is quite a different muse .

  7. I was drawn to this blog by a friend, a former DEA agent who knew Connolly and Whitey. My interest is somewhat thin and detached on the issue at hand. He likes to talk about it. Have no inside perspective.

    What strikes me about the discussion is that it focuses so much on the FBI and its institutional concerns. That may not be the origin of the problem. The FBI could be seen as a cats-paw of the prosecutor, Wyshak. Without his constant outlandish intrusions the matter would have been broomed quietly.

    What makes Freddie run?

    He appears to hold a deep malicious animosity towards Billy Bulger, a man on whom he cannot unearth any evidence of corruption. Yet he pursues him to the point of manufacturing conspiracies and going over and above by traveling to Florida to torture a potential witness.

    Why? Who are his friends? Are they aggrieved by some unrelated incidents. Wyshak could just be a hater of Connolly’s success, religion or race. Why does Wyshak hate so much? What benefit to himself or friends does he seek? Revenge for what?

    When reading the posts on Connolly a wee birdie whispers in my ear that the real gist is being missed. The avian hints are persistent. If a burr is under your saddle you must remove the burr not scratch your arse.

    A case against Wyshak proving lack of fairness and balance could go a long way in court and before the Governor of Florida. Wyshak appears to lack either fairness or balance. His mind is disturbed by something. Found out and expose what it is. He is the nettle, not the FBI.

    1. Tadzio:

      Yes, Wyshak is Victor Hugo’s Javert: the obsessive, fanatical, ruthless pursuer, who conceptualizes himself as the “good” man pursuing justice, when in fact he is an evil man consumed by self-righteousness.

      Wyshak knew that he coaxed, cajoled, browbeat Flemmi into singing a brand new tune after 8 years insisting Connolly was an honest cop; Wyshak knew the Boston Jury had rejected every single word of Martorano’s testimony; Wyshak knew most of Weeks’ stories were uncorroborated and often contradicted (e.g
      by Theresa Stanley, et al.); Wyshak knew Morris was withholding info within 2 weeks of the first trial in Boston, and the Boston jury rejected most of Morris’ testimony. Knowing all this, Wyshak didn’t care: He brought the whole circus to Florida to further persecute John Connolly.

      And what was John’s crime? All of a sudden Flemmi remembered in 2003 or 2005, what he never told anyone before: What John Connolly had said in 1982, over 20 years earlier. And he remembered it so well, with such crystal clear clarity, that he could quote it: “If Callahan talks we’ll all be in trouble.” How does anyone believe that quote when Callahan (who knew Martorano killed Wheeler) knew nothing about John Connolly?

      2. I don’t agree with Matt’s views of John Connolly; I personally knew John Connolly to be an honorable, decent, courageous man; and I knew many of his lifelong friends who held him in high esteem; I knew his reputation in the community of contemporaries he and I associated with; his reputation was good, solid!

      3. The FBI had a deal with Bulger-Flemmi as TEIs – – – continue your bookmaking, gambling, etc, but no violence, no murders. The FBI was not going to let local DAs bust Bulger-Flemmi for gambling, because they were taking down the New England Mafia.

      4. As for Connolly “hurting a lot of people”; that’s garbage. The murders committed by Bulger-Flemmi were unknown to anyone until @1998, eight years after Connolly retired. Bulger-Flemmi were dropped from the TEI program in 1990, right after Connolly retired. The first indictments in 1995 against B&F alleged no murders. No murder indictments were brought until after Martorano and Weeks starting singing.

      In other words, State and Local authorities, unimpeded by the TEI program, brought no murder indictments against Bulger& Flemmi until about 1998– and that was a joint Fed-State Task Force.

      5. It would be equally unfair to say the State Police and Braintree Police are responsible for three murders in Alabama because they let Amy Bishop off the hook in her brother’s killing. They didn’t know she would kill again. The Feds didn’t know Bulger-Flemmi had killed. If the FEDs knew TEIs committed murder, they arrested them.

      6. While John Connolly was handling Bulger and Flemmi (@1980-1990) no one brought an indictment for murder against either of them, because no one knew (had reasonable grounds) that they had murdered anyone.

      7. Some people in retrospect say: even if the TEI program took down the entire New England Mafia, we should never have dealt with any bad guy suspected of committing a violent act. To that “pie in the sky” I say: Do you deal with small scale heroin dealers to go after major distributors?

      8. Nuremberg’s lesson is that merely following orders is no excuse. John Connolly did not follow unlawful orders nor immoral orders. He protected his TEIs from being arrested for minor crimes, so he could take down a major criminal enterprise, the Mafia.

      1. Matt :

        What is remarkable to you about murders being revealed years after they were committed ? John Connolly threw Billy Bulger … Completely… under the bus , with his self-serving statement that Wyshak offered him five years if he admitted guilt and cooperated in going after Billy . This is a theme that you , with your Faux Southie vetting penchant , were happy to exploit in defense of Billy , who has really never needed defending . People , generally , got it that he was loyal to his brother . The notion that he approved or participated in his , as Billy describes , older brother’s ” Madcap behavior , ” defied common intuition. John Connolly raised the ante on Billy. John Connolly whom you have just described at length as a major league bullshitter . But otherwise a guy with some sound and good qualities .

        John was a scapegoat for FBI sinning .

        And his own .

        They are not mutually exclusive , after all !

        1. Matt :

          Per your 2012 FAUX SOUTHIE article citing John Connolly’s and Jimmy Bulger’s failure to qualify as true Southie Guys I ask the following question out of pure academic curiosity : Would you ever call Billy Bulger , Jimmy”s younger brother , FAUX SOUTHIE ? Certainly the biographical deficiencies you cited would apply to one brother as well as the other .

          Let me answer for you , NO you would not dare . Because each has balls the size of basketballs . The only REAL SOUTHIE attribute that has ever really mattered . Or used to when Jimmy was King !

      2. Bill:

        John Connolly protected two murderers who he knew were murderers. He said that himself. He tipped them off You are right: “The FBI was not going to let local DAs bust Bulger-Flemmi for gambling, because they were taking down the New England Mafia.” But it was not only gambling, it was running a gambling operation which is a 15 year felony in MA. It was beyond that, while preventing DAs from going after Whitey we know (as of 1998) that Whitey and Stevie were murdering people. So Connolly protected guys by undermining DAs while those guys were murdering people. That is hurting people.

        Didn’t Connolly ever wonder what happened to Debbie Davis, Flemmi’s girlfriend, or Flemmi’s step daughter, Deborah Hussey, or John McIntyre who was giving innfo against Whitey? Did he not put two and two together: Wheeler Homicide, Halloran squealing on Bulger and Halloran homicide; info that Halloran gave FBI that Bulger and Flemmi wanted him to hit Callahan and Callahan being murdered.

        As for DAs not knowing they were murdering people that’s true but any attempt to investigate them was blocked by the FBI. Who knows what would have happened had the FBI done its job and not protected them. Connolly interfered with the Wheeler homicide investigation. A request went from Tulsa to Boston asking Callahan be interviewed. Morris gave it to Connolly who closed it out. Imagine if he didn’t. When two FBI agents picked up the Wheeler investigation in Boston and were targeting Whitey they were ordered to tell Connolly everything they were doing.

        Of course you deal with small informants to go after higher ups. Here the FBI was dealing with the heads of a murderous criminal gang who we find out were murdering people. Not only dealing but protecting them from others.

        There’s more. Connolly was passing information on to Flemmi to undermine federal prosecutions. What kind of guy does that? He used a clandestine way to do it. Weeks would call and identify himself as Chico. When Connolly wanted to reach out to Weeks he would call his brother. Flemmi and Weeks testified as to the things Connolly was providing the hoodlums locked up in Plymouth. The code names are consciousness of guilt. They lying to the FBI agent about helping Flemmi’s lawyer, providing the tape to him, and the letter to the judge all done to help Flemmi, the worst man in the city, were acts of Connolly.

        Connolly was required by his job to protect his informants. After he left the job he had no duty to do that yet he continued to do it to the extent he tried to impede justice. The latter went on from 1995 to and including the hearings by Judge Wolf. Why?

  8. Alright Matt , I see you did respond as I was writing last post. 251 , your point is well taken . I do not view John as dishonorable . He was an ambitious guy in a Game that only promotes winners .

  9. Matt :

    Your reluctance to respond is duly noted . There is , of course , no shame in … Evolving . Certainly there is a new cadre of Agents in Boston since the sixties , seventies, and early eighties . The FBI has evolved , if you will.

    An interesting thought experiment : Imagine that you dispense with the word ” rat ” in your last paragraph, and substitute the lexeme, ” Professional Colleague .” If indeed the FBI in Boston circa decades cited had another way of being spelled , as in … MOB , this is just a thought experiment now , then the perspective changes . This would explain why Jimmy Bulger is so ripped off at a former ” Professional Colleague , ” John Connolly , who perhaps was part of an ongoing conspiracy and collaborative culture in controlling the Organized Crime organizational chart in Boston . You cannot have it both ways . You cannot be a participant and a detached note taking Agent at the same time . Indeed , you have plainly stated that the Mafia has exercised its .. Extra-Judicial … Will , through the Agency if the FBI , to persecute the two sterling Agents , Connolly and Rico . OK ! Just a thought experiment . Let’s get back to the comfort zone that Jimmy is a rat , John Connolly is an Altar Boy , though a draft dodging one as you also cited in your 2012 version of his character , above , and Rico was a super straight arrow . Par for the course .

  10. Hello Matt, Some years ago, while talking with John Connolly at the “L St. Bath”, he indicated to us that he couldn’t wait to testify in his own behalf. We. The opportunity finally availed itself, he passed. Many of us were shocked as we ,his friends, saw it as an opportunity to shed some light on FBI Policies. What was your take of this decision?

    1. JRC:

      Connolly probably made a huge mistake in not testfying here and especially in Florida. It is not surprising to me that he told people one thing and did another. Connolly was a big talker, bullshitter some would call him, whose mouth was often running ahead of his brain. He enjoyed fantastic stories like Whitey who was ten tears older buying him an ice cream cone because he was Irish as if Old Harbor lacked Irish kids or coming to his rescue in a fist fight. You know the projects. Guys 10 years older had nothing to do with kids under 10. Connolly moved out by that age.

      As far as testifying he would be confronted with his breaking the rules relative to handling informants. The prosecutor would read a rule and show he didn’t follow it. How could Connolly show no one ever followed the rules. They were there to CYA the FBI not to be followed. Then there were the many bs statements he made over the years, he’d have to explain his deal with Weeks helping Flemmi, and dealing with Flemmi and his lawyer. Probably the sum of it was he would have been a lousy witness especially if he had to turn on the FBI to make his testimony credible. He might have gone through some practice cross examination and done poorly.

      Florida wld be different. A lot of that stuff may not have come up. He was facing murder charges.he should have explained his job was to protect Whitey and how he would do that. He would tip him off about what was happening. He should have testified everyone knew Halloran was wired and trying to get Callahan on tape. That White easily would have known that. Maybe White even told him word on the street was to that effect.he. Never told White because he knew or he told White to protect him. He had no idea Whitey was in contact with Martorano; no idea Martorano murdered Wheeler, but tell how Martorano murdered other people who might give evidence against friends. There was so much he CLD have testfied to in Florida to get off the hook I really can’t understand it.

  11. There was an excellent movie a few decades ago called Breaker Morant. It was based on a book called Scapegoats of the Empire. Two Aussie soldiers were executed for killing a civilian whom they believed a Boer agent. It seems they were framed. During that war the Brits put 100 thousand Boer civilians in concentration camps where thousands died. They burnt 30 thousand Boer farms to the ground. They ran a scorched earth policy. They used the same tactics they used in the War of 1812 when they burnt D.C. to the ground. Yet to assure the world they were civilized they executed two allied soldiers. The same devious device was applied to Connolly. In order to hide their missteps they framed an innocent cop. You are 100% correct that they would do anything to protect their reputation. 2. How can anyone have any respect for the media that relentlessly shills for them? All we’ve gotten from the newspapers, networks and talk radio is a disinformation campaign. There was probably more criticism of the KGB in the Soviet Union than there is of the CIA and FBI in the U S. Connolly’s story should be titled Scapegoat of the Deep State. America doesn’t need an unaccountable secret police.

      1. One of my favorite movies. I haven’t seen it for about ten years. Thanks for triggering me, guys. I’ll dig it out soon.

    July 20, 2012

    ” Instead he did a very un-Southie like thing . In 1968 he joined the FBI to avoid serving . He was J (ohn) Edgar Hoover .

    So even John Connolly born and bred in Southie seemed a little out of step In this respect . Perhaps because both men were pretenders to the Southie culture .

    John ” Red ” Shea , a Southie tough guy who wrote Rat Bastards noted : ‘ there was one Cardinal rule that you learned and followed in Southie before you even knew what it was : You never ratted on anyone .’

    With Whitey and Connolly things spun out of control and the Southie ethic of not being a rat or becoming friends with rats did not hold . ”

    Matt , Has your view of John … Evolved… since the time you wrote the above . If so , why ?

    1. John:

      Good question about my views. It was my thought that when the draft was expanded back in 1968 to make teachers subject to it because of the carnage in Vietnam that was the reason John used his father’s connection with Speaker McCormick to get John into the FBI. Historically a lot of guys became agents back in WWII to avoid putting on the uniform so that it happened during Vietnam was not unexpected. I read somewhere since that John was in the Army reserve. If that was the case, and I do not know one way or the other now, then my original supposition is false. A lot of guys from Southie went into the Army reserve or National Guard before Vietnam was an issue. They preferred to serve six months rather than two years. It wasn’t a matter of avoiding Vietnam. So I am now agnostic on that issue.

      John was never a rat. His job was to find rats and bring them into the safety of the rats’ nest. He did become friends with Whitey. Not sure if a cop becomes friends with a rat is outside the Southie code if that is what his job wants him to do. I worked with cops who had rats as “friends”. its hard to have one give you good information if you treat him like dirt as you know. Never thought those I knew were becoming like a rat just because they got information from them.

      As for my general view of Connolly it has remained relatively consistent. He was doing what the FBI wanted him to do. He hurt a lot of people in doing it and cannot escape the personal responsibility of having done that. He should have known that by protecting Whitey (who by the way was giving him information which makes him a rat even if the information is self serving) and tipping him off about investigations against him (that’s how one protects a hoodlum) was undermining other law enforcement efforts and endangering the lives of people who may have been providing information against him. To work with a TEI is to work against others in law enforcement. One cannot escape personal responsibility for following through on enabling criminals just because someone above him tells him to do it (Nuremberg).

      That he became too, too close to Whitey and Flemmi is shown by his continuing loyalty to them when he and Weeks (Chico) were in communications with Benji while he was in Plymouth for the purpose of undermining the federal case against Flemmi and Martorano and Salemme. His interactions with Flemmi’s lawyer (now a judge) and passing the tape to the lawyer, his letter to Judge Wolf trying to undermine other cops and investigations, and his lying to FBI agents about that {and other things) makes it difficult to support him.

      I did not object to Tauro’s sentence of him but thought in retrospect it was on the high side but believed Tauro took great umbrage at his attempt to interfere with Wolf’s case. As for the Florida prosecution, that was plainly wrong and vindictive. Justice in the case would have required Connolly to do a few years and then be released. His situation is so blatantly wrong that even though Lady Justice is made of stone there are tears coming from her eyes.

      1. Matt: I can’t believe the way I’ve swung around to Connolly’s point of view. I really have convinced myself that he is the only character in this little tragedy who isn’t a rat.

        I was flabbergasted when he was given a parole date of June 26, 2039. It’s as if the Florida parole board is openly mocking the man, especially when you consider the likes of Bulger, Weeks, Flemmi, Martorano and Salemme (not to mention moral train wrecks like the loathsome John Morris. )

        I’m probably not making much sense here, but I think Connolly should start talking if it will help to get him out of the slammer. He’s 77, and, by my reckoning , deserves a few years of freedom with his family.

    2. John King, just a bit of information, I went in the service with John in 1960, he was national guard I was regular army. We were in fort devens and fort Dix together. Thousands of young men went NG SO THEY COULD ALSO FURTHER THEIR EDUCATION

  13. Wa-llahi! What do you think of the recent actions of Nazi/KKK/alt-right scum? Glorious Leader has got to go. Spartacists arise! This can only be settled on the barricades. Death to fascism. March behind the banners of the Red and the Black. Revenge the martyr. The People, united, will never be defeated. All praise to the Antifas. All power to the dialectic!

    1. Khalid:

      Give me a break. “March Behind the banners of the Red and Black” What have the Red and the Black ever brought to a civilized soicety except turmoil and oppression. From its rise in the Paris Commune to the present the Black with its nihilistic approach “tear down everything and then” there is no then but a void. Even the Black rejected the Red at the London International knowing that it would lead to Stalinism.

      There was violence in Charlottesville. The white supremacists should be condemned. All violence should be condemned. Your “settled on the barricades” is a call for violence. Is it you approve Red violence but not Nazi violence. Are you like the woman who wrote she was against violence but happy to see Jason Kessler punched, pushed and tackled? I expected better from you.

      1. I don’t know about Kessler, but, I sure enjoyed watching Spencer get clocked, a little while back. God bless cell-phones. I had friends who died at Greensboro. It still bothers me. Anytime, the Nazi/KKK get stomped, it brings the Revolution that much closer, and, that second American Revolution is going put the French one to shame. Once the fire is lit, it will be a long time going out. Those young cadres manning the line of confrontation in VA are learning the business of insurgency. Blooded, now, they’ll be the leaders of what comes next. 68 is in the wind.

        All praise to the antifa street-fighters. All power to the Dialectic!

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