The Absurdity of FBI Agent John Connolly’s Incarceration: Part Three

Here’s what I don’t get. How any right thinking can person believe justice is served by having John Connolly rot in prison?  To bring that about the Department of Justice (DOJ) attorneys had to literally make deals with evil.

Connolly joined the FBI in 1968. He got in through a hook. No, it wasn’t through Billy Bulger’s help as some media mavens would have you believe. Billy was a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives at the time who had little pull in Washington, DC at the time and none with the FBI. It was through a friend of his father, John W. McCormack, who happened to be Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.  McCormack picked up the phone and J. Edgar Hoover knowing on what side his bread was buttered opened the door for Connolly.

It was probably through the same connection that he returned to the Boston office of the FBI in 1973. McCormack had retired by that time but you can rest assured he still maintained his relationship with the next speaker, Carl Albert, his long time right hand man. Connolly stayed with the FBI in Boston until he retired in late 1990.

Connolly was part of the FBI’s ill considered Top Echelon Informant (TEI) program that had been started by J. Edgar Hoover the long-term, 48 year, director of the FBI. Hoover instituted the program in the early 1960s but doubled down on it after LBJ put the kibosh on the FBI’s black bag operations where it broke into buildings and planted electronic listening devices. The FBI had come under a waterfall of criticism for its failure to deal with the Mafia and Hoover, despite his reluctance, knew that he had to start producing.

The TEI program made top member gangsters part of its team. It asked them to give them information on Mafia activities; in exchange it would take care of them. From all I can see no one wants to know what was on the other side of the TEI coin: we know one side was the TEIs giving the FBI information on their buddies; the opposite side – that is what the TEI was going to get for doing that – everyone wants to shut their eyes to.

Gangsters do nothing for nothing. To turn in their buddies they needed an enticing inducement. What do you think they’d expect. If you thought protection, you’d be right. The FBI’s stock in trade was to give TEIs protection for information. Connolly was charged with doing that for the Boston office. He’d recruit Whitey Bulger and Stevie Flemmi, among others, as his TEIs.

The book Black Mass called this: “The Irish Mob, The FBI, and The Devil Deal” as if the deal with TEIs only happened in Boston in connection with Connolly and those two TEIs. The TEI program was a nationwide program and every TEI was approved by FBI headquarters. There were hundreds of TEIs but the FBI is content that we pretend it happened only in Boston.

The upcoming book, Boston Bamboozled, will explain the true Devil Deal. It involved the DOJ and the what it had to surrender to get John Connolly and his informant Whitey Bulger.

It gave John Martorano 12 years in prison for admitting to 20 murders and $20,000 on his release from prison. It gave Kevin Weeks 5 years in prison for admitting to 5 murders and reinstated to him his lottery winnings. It allowed Steven Flemmi, the worst of the bunch, who was involved in double-digit murders to keep half of his assets that he gained from his life of crime. Flemmi is supposed to spend the rest of his life in prison but has expressed the hope that DOJ will work it out so that he can get released. The DOJ has not committed to not doing that.

It was not only that the DOJ treated these murderers with kid gloves, in order to get their cooperation it made other deals with them not to go after other murderers. Pat Nee a partner of Whitey Bulger who it is alleged was involved in several murders is being protected; Howie Winter who arranged for several murders with Gerry Angiulo the Boston Mafia head has also been left alone; Jimmy Martorano, the brother of John, who is a Mafia member has also been overlooked. Frankie Salemme, the head of the New England Mafia who has been involved in upwards of a dozen murders was let out of jail early in return for his evidence.

Even worse, the TEI program the John Connolly was part of and which brought about his downfall is still in operation. Throughout the country the FBI is still protecting murderers and top criminals who agree to work for it from investigation and prosecution. It, and the authors who have joined hands with it, point the finger at John Connolly to divert attention from this ongoing wrong.

 

12 thoughts on “The Absurdity of FBI Agent John Connolly’s Incarceration: Part Three

  1. Matt, some of your facts are not that farfetched. But, before I respond to your posting I would like to present a few insights regarding the development of informants. There are basically three major incentives/motivators for targeting a prospective informant: REVENGE, GREED AND IDEOLOGY. Revenge is the strongest incentive. Greed, the second of the three motivators, is usually realized in the form of money payments or provided with personal comforts in return for their information. The third motivator is ideology, which is usually not associated in the criminal arena. Ok, enough on the development of informants. The TE program [Top Echelon Informant Program, aka TE] was started to get bad guys to cooperate, on a regular basis, against other bad guys. Also in the mix is the cooperating witness [CW], who would be used in cases that are singular in nature. These CW’s most likely would be ushered into the witness protection program [if merited] after their cooperation was completed. Basically, the FBI’s goal is to identify and target individuals that could provide information on a regular basis; this endeavor has been very successful and continues to this day; albeit with some restrictions. Your reference to the BOSTON FBI being the only office supporting this program is incorrect. All FBI Offices encourage and emphasize the need for their agents to go out and develop TE’s; not an easy task. Once these prospective targets are identified and tentatively brought onboard, the local USA’s office is contacted to discuss the target’s worth. If the FBI and the USA are in agreement, memoranda detailing the target’s potential is prepared and sent to the DOJ in Washington, by the USA’s office. Once received at the DOJ, the target’s potential will be examined, and if the target’s potential falls within certain boundaries, they are given a green light to utilize the target. Once again, memoranda are prepared and sent back to the USA’s office authorizing the target as a TE! It should be pointed out that at no time does the DOJ, the USA or the FBI sanction the TE to commit any violent crimes such as murder and/or mayhem. If a TE is determined to have violated the tenants of the agreement they entered into, then they know they will be prosecuted. Case in point; Stephen Flemmi was well aware of this working agreement. Subsequent to his arrest in 1995, Flemmi was debriefed by the USA’s office in concert with the MSP, the DEA and the Florida State’s Attorney Office. During the debriefing [deposition] Flemmi was asked a sundry of questions regarding his association with John Connolly. [1] Flemmi was asked if John Connolly ever asked him to kill anyone on his behalf; answer, No! [2] Did you [Flemmi] every tell John Connolly that you were going to kill anyone; the answer, No! [3] Did you ever tell John Connolly that you had killed anyone: the answer, No! Flemmi, in words to the effect, stated, to tell John Connolly that he had killed someone, Connolly would have arrested him. The deposition that contained these questions, and other interrogatories, were never provided to John Connolly’s defense after his trial concluded. The government placed the deposition under an executive protective order, thus preventing John Connolly from ever utilizing this information in support of his motion for a new trial; or motion for a mistrial. Subsequently, under discovery filings, part of Flemmi’s deposition was released. Lastly, the media continues, to this day, to report misinformation about John Connolly. They continued to write articles denigrating John Connolly, and, all of the fine men and women of the Boston Office of the FBI. Of note: the Boston Globe, the Herald – with articles penned by Howie Carr, and the rest of the local near-do-wells do not have the ability to investigate and/or research the material they write about. Or, they just don’t care! I leave with the following quotation, which is appropriate for all the newspapers in Boston: Mark Twain is quoted as saying: “If you don’t read the newspaper you are uninformed, if you do read the newspaper you are misinformed.” I’ll have more to say later. Dick B.

    1. Richard:

      I agree with most of what you have said. I don’t think I ever suggested the Boston FBI office was doing something other FBI offices did not do. If I did it must have been one of my many typos. I’ve always believed what happened in Boston happened elsewhere especially since there is a rotation of agents in and out of offices throughout the country and beyond.

      Next, you leave out the primary reason someone becomes an informant, that is to get a break on sentencing after being caught. That has always been a main tactic of the FBI to jam someone in and say you want to get some consideration in sentencing they you have to cooperate with us. That’s how Halloran came to the FBI looking for it to get him a break in the Boston murder case.

      As for not authorizing TEs to commit murder or other violent crimes you’ll have to agree that the type of people they were hiring were probably going to continue doing that. Having all those nice regulations in place does little with respect to reality. Did you know the FBI accepted Jimmy Flemmi as an informant knowing full well that he had murdered people and had said his goal was to be the top hit man for the mob in Boston.

      It’s difficult squaring the idea that the agent handler is to protect the TE while at the same time the TE will be prosecuted. It’s the agents job as one in Boston recently told his TE “to keep him safe.” What is that supposed to mean if not help him avoid prosecutions.

      Good information about Flemmi’s debriefing in 1995 but it is at the time when Flemmi expected that John Connolly would still come to his aid. Flemmi persisted in that belief for two or three years as he remained in continuing contact with him through Kevin “Chico” Weeks. So I place little credence in his answers plus Flemmi was always answering the way he thought would best serve his needs so people have been able to use his answers supporting opposite conclusions. I don’t believe Connolly would have asked him to kill anyone or knew for sure that he killed anyone. I also think Connolly should have had good reasons to suspect he may have been involved in a murder or two but never had enough evidence to go after him. How could he have had? His position with the FBI was to keep them happy so he gave them the benefit of every doubt refusing to go deeply into anything. I agree that if he knew they had murdered anyone for sure he would have arrested them. Connolly told T.J. English that the FBI put him in the business with murderers and everyone knew they were murderers. I’m not sure of that. Perhaps with Flemmi when Connolly picked him up the FBI knew he had murdered some people like the Bennets but when Connolly signed up Whitey there was no reason to believe he had murdered anyone. Connolly having been locked up so long and so unfairly can’t be blamed for not keeping everything in perspective but I don’t think he knew any of them were continuing to murder people after they became TEIs.

  2. Dick, we look forward to more of your insights which help me and others fill in the blanks. We too are convinced of John’s innocence and have long said so in writing. Matt, however, did say, as I read it, that the TEI or TE program was a nationwide program but globe and herald writers have written as if it only operated in Boston. thanks again for your ideas and efforts.

  3. Matt, John Connally will NEVER GET OUT OF PRISON. The film Black Mass is going to be released in fall 2015. No matter what the content of the film it will bring yet another wave of bad press for John Connally. I am a bit surprised that you think John deserves to get out.To many people have been murdered over the years in Boston and John is one of the scapegoats no question about it. The media would have a field day with his release. The multiple family members outraged about his release.I have lost count of how many books have been written about the Whitey saga. Many of the people here in the islands I have spoken to about the Whitey saga feel he was a huge part of it and feel very strongly he should stay in prison the rest of his life.

    1. Norwood:

      When John Connolly left the FBI in 1991 no one had ever accused Whitey or Stevie of being in any murders. It was not until 1997 when the other gangsters were looking for deals that the accusations first arose. Three is a lenghty Globe series in 1988 about the Bulger Brothers and nothing is mentioned connecting Whitey with murders.

      Should Connolly have suspected Whitey was involved in some murders, I’d have guessed so. But remember what the FBI gave him as a job – he was to protect Whitey and Stevie in exchange for getting information for them.

      I expect Connolly will be out before Thanksgiving. The people who are pinning the blame on him for anything should be blaming the FBI. The FBI wants him kept in prison so that the anger of those people won’t be directed at it where it belongs. The FBI program was to have its agents hook up with top echelon criminals to get others.

      John Connolly never killed anyone. Even the case where he is doing time he has little connection to it. The Boston jury found he was not connected; the Florida jury found he was. The guy who killed Callahan was Martorano – he killed 19 other people. He had done less time than Connolly. I’m surprised you would think like you do because if Connolly never existed another FBI agent would have done the same thing.

  4. To William and Norwood Born. I left my comments in the air, so to speak, as I should have added additional comments that would clear the air surrounding John Connolly. With regard to the TE program, I misread Bill Connolly’s missive on that subject; I stand corrected. In light of the fact that the DOJ and the USA gave the green light for the FBI in Boston to open Whitey and Stevie as TEs was made at the national level; DOJ. Everyone, including the media, continue to blame John Connolly for the misdeeds of Whitey and Stevie, when the responsibility for protecting them fell on the DOJ and the USA in Boston, not John Connolly. John Connolly had no power or influence over what the DOJ, USA or any other law enforcement authority which prevented them from seeking criminal charges against Whitey, Flemmi or any other TE, if warranted. John was only the handler, not their guarding angle. John Connolly was not privy to anything that the two TEs did or planned to do outside of the agreement they entered into with the DOJ. As Flemmi stated, neither he, nor Whitey would ever tell John Connolly about any activity that involved murder or violent crimes. They were out there doing their own thing and what they did was not brought to the attention of John Connolly. Simply put, if your son or daughter leaves the house, you have no control over their activities. You can only pray that you instilled in them the proper values that guide them in the real world. The same was expected of Whitey and Flemmi, and for the media to place blame on John Connolly for the misdeeds of Whitey and Flemmi is absurd. Put the blame where it should be directed at the DOJ. Last comment; the USA’s office sought murder charges against John Connolly for the murder of John Callahan knowing full well that the jury in his Boston trial found him innocent of any involvement with the Callahan murder. But, the USA’s office convinced he Florida authorities that there was no double-jeopardy regarding the Callahan murder. They were successful in getting indictments against John Connolly for 1st degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder. The jury in Florida found him not guilty of both charges. His conviction was successfully appealed and he should be freed soon. Dick Baker

    1. Richard:

      Thanks for the comment but you seem to leave something out. It was the FBI that set up the Top Echelon Informant program; it was the FBI that authorized John Connolly to operate in that program; and it was the FBI that threw Connolly to the wolves. I should add one thing further, the FBI didn’t care that Connolly was being prosecuted in Florida because had it a concern it is a powerful enough group to have insisted the DOJ block the prosecution by use of the Supremacy Clause. The FBI has remained remarkably silent and indifferent to Connolly’s fate. Except for a few good agents who have stood up for the truth and even they are reluctant to bring in the FBI but always suggesting the DOJ is responsible, Connolly has all but been abandonned. I’ll never understand why so few people were willing to go to bat for him. But fortunately there are a few good men like yourself who do.

  5. Matt, A while back I asked about the Supremacy Clause and could it be applied in John
    Connollys Case? The Supremacy Clause is a general provision in the U.S. Constitution
    That states that the U.S. Constitution nd federal laws are the ” supreme law of the land”
    Thus any law that convicts on the same subject matter is superseded by the federal law.
    It does not apply in John Connollys case because there are no conflicts on criminal code. Murder is a federal crime as well as a state crime. Since there are two different
    venues, state and federal and distinct elements there was no prohibition on indicting
    John in Florida, the prohibition come from the statute of limitations. A good example
    of the Supremacy Clause at work is in the case of medical marijuana where some states
    legalize it but the federal government still has it as a schedule 1 drug, thus people
    Legally selling marijuana in Califonia still got prosecuted federally because the federal
    Prohibition supersedes the state legalization.

    1. 251:

      I respectfully disagree. If an FBI agent is involved in a shoot out with another in Florida and ended up killing the man, as in the case of Todashev, if Florida indicted him for murder then the Department of Justice would have filed to have the case dismissed citing the Supremacy Clause. As I understand it that clause means that a person doing his job for the federal government can’t be charged with a crime committed in the performance of his job by a state. It is not related to the subject matter which is a double jeopardy argument. By the way, murder is not a federal crime in most instances.

      The reason the Supremacy Clause was not invoked was the Department of Justice was interested in not helping John Connolly – it was working to convict him.

    1. Dave:

      I covered that a while back. The real problem we face is that what was done in Boston was done in every other FBI office in the nation. We have only seen how Boston handled two or three Top Echelon Informants – we have no idea what it did with its other TEIs or what any of the other offices have done although Ralph Ranelli talks about some others out of New York and one or two other offices. No one is asking the right questions and the FBI is content to pretend it only happened in Boston.

  6. I have done business with Richard Baker. He is the biggest buffoon on the FBI. Do not believe or even consider a word, thought, or idea of his. He ruined me when I depended on him for help, competence, and justice…a tortured innocent woman in need of protection, investigation, and closure was wronged by Richard Baker who I believed would end my tortuous ordeal. What could he possibly offer at a higher level of interest when he trips, falls, and fails innocent individuals who depend on him and his position?

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