I told about the man’s Machiavellian bent but here’s a view of what he did to achieve that fame.
His name is John Morris – also known to some as the Weeper because of his uncanny ability to weep at the time most conducive to gaining sympathy from people bringing up their motherly instinct to help. We know of crocodile tears and the tears shed by the Walrus as he dined on the oysters. Well the Weeper’s tears fit into that category.
I’m not quite sure where he learned how to do it. Maybe it was a course he took during his college days. He came to the FBI in 1970 via the University of Miami and then a three-year stint in the Army coming out as a captain. The first stunt that we hear about him doing after he arrives in the Boston office is when he plants an explosive on a car’s gas tank trying to scare the owner of the car, Eddie Miani, into becoming an FBI informant. Miani, like Ralph DiMasi, said no thanks. He probably couldn’t afford the cost since in Morris’s world the FBI agent charged money for protection.
Around that same time he did manages to get another informant, a guy named Sammy Berkowitz. Sammy spent most of his time corrupting people in Chelsea like the mayors and operating his gaming operation quite openly. Sammy will be Morris’s only Top Echelon Informant – although Morris meets frequently with Whitey Bulger and Stevie Flemmi he’s only the backup agent, John Connolly is their primary handler.
Sometime around the time he failed to get Miani, Morris was put in charge of the FBI C – 3 squad or unit as its supervisor, trusted by the FBI to be in command of and lead 20 or so other agents dedicated to organized crime. One of the men under him was John Connolly. Morris was Connolly’s boss. (I know I said it twice but it bears emphasizing.)
Morris tells us that there were two groups in the FBI office in Boston, the old guys and the new guys, none of them apparently would let Morris play in any of their games or hang around with them. Gives you a good idea of what a guy like Morris is all about. These FBI guys are like the salt of the earth – they might be captured in a culture that demands absolute conformity and secrecy to preserved its tarnished reputation – but outside of playing within those strictures for the sake of a paycheck the ones I’ve known are likeable and affable. Somehow that culture raised an oddball to a supervisory position.
Morris takes up with hanging around with Connolly because I guess Connolly accepted him. Morris suggests he was corrupted by Connolly but we know he’s not walking on the straight and narrow when he’s going about making people think someone is trying to blow them up or letter a bookie run roughshod over a small city. His leanings are to the dark side. It’s hard to corrupt a guy in his 30s unless he wants to be corrupted.
I should mention that while he’s involved with Berkowitz he’s taking small gifts from him such as food deliveries and some clothes and things for around the household. He didn’t need Connolly to teach him that. He’ll eventually “borrow “ $5,000 from Berkowitz, use his Florida condominium in Florida for vacations, and get other gratuities. And of course, he protected him so that he could continue to provide information to him.
We next hear how in 1979 Morris, the supervisor, and Connolly go to Strike Force Chief O’Sullivan and ask him not to indict Whitey and Stevie because they are informants and needed in the war against the Mafia. O’Sullivan denied he let them out of the indictment because of that but his denial rings shallow. Right there, that action alone sends out a signal something is not right. You cut informants out if they helped you in the matter you are investigating. If it’s a different matter you don’t, especially when you are indicted their partners.
How many times do you think it has happened that a prosecutor would let two leaders of a criminal gang escape because a cop asked him to do it. Morris and his unit are actively working with O’Sullivan at the time investigating the Boston Mafia (Angiulo). Connolly could not have gotten access to O’Sullivan without his supervisor opening the door.
In that Angiulo investigation other agents working under Morris are doing the grunt work developing information so that they can build a case to do electronic surveillance on the local Mafia headquarters. This is being done during the time O’Sullivan is involved in the Race Fixing case, the one where he cut Whitey and Stevie out. His indictment in that case effectively gave command of Winter Hill to Whitey and Stevie since the other leaders fled.
After that case, O’Sullivan goes back to work on the Angiulo case with Morris’s unit. This is the FBI’s number one national priority: get the Mafia. The case O’Sullivan is working is being closely watched by FBI officials in DC. Here’s the rub: neither Whitey or Stevie are necessary for that investigation. The affidavit for the electronic surveillance is prepared without any input from them.
Then a weird thing happens. I’ll go on in part 2.