The FBI Recruits Murderers, Shuts Its Eyes To Their Murders, And May Commit Murders Itself

A person who comments on my blog called a web site to my attention. It has a story told by Jesse Trentadue, a lawyer in Salt Lake City, Utah. It revolves around the April 19, 1995 bombing of the federal office building in downtown Oklahoma City.

In August 1995 Jesse’s brother Kenneth, a Vietnam veteran with a heroin addiction, was arrested coming into the United States from Mexico for a parole violation. He fit the description of an American terrorist sought by the FBI. He was taken to Oklahoma City where he arrived on a Friday. Two days later the FBI notified Jesse’s mother that Kenneth had committed suicide while in FBI custody. The FBI wanted to have the body cremated. Jesse’s mother refused. When the family finally received Kenneth’s body it was heavily made up. Removing the makeup they discovered that “he had been beaten head to toe. He had been struck in the skull, in the head. Kenny had received three massive blows to his head that ruptured the skin, the skull. You could see his skull. He was beaten front to back, head to toe, even on the soles of his feet, and his throat had been cut. And the FBI said it was suicide by hanging.”

Another person commenting on my blog said: “To imply the FBI condoned, sanctioned or gave a green light to future murders is untenable and inconceivable.”  One commentator suggests the FBI beats, tortures and murders people; the other suggests the FBI would never do that but even more it would never condone any murders.  Both comments appearing so close to each other gave me pause.

I had just gone through a week of spelling out how the FBI went from denying the Mafia’s existence to partnering with some of its members.  I did not consider the question about the FBI’s involvement in murders.

There is little doubt the Top Echelon Informant (TEI) program makes the FBI and murderers partners; that its TEI partners continue to murder people after they get on the FBI’s boat; and that the FBI considered it to be its job, as expressed recently by an FBI agent in Boston to a Mafia TEI, to keep the TEIs safe, in other words to protect murderers.

The FBI plays a little game of deliberately not seeing what is in front of its eyes.  This was expressed by FBI Supervisor James Ring who said the FBI “considered it inappropriate to ask an informant for the details of his own criminal activity.”  Therefore it can always say that “none of its agents knowingly allowed their informants to commit murders.”  

My answer to the question of whether the FBI would give a green light to future murders is:  qui cum canibus concumbunt cum pulicibus surgent (loosely: – if you lie down with dogs you get up with fleas.)  There should be no reasonable doubt the FBI knew the killers it joined forces with would continue to kill people.

Frank Salemme said John Connolly knew in June 1989 that one of his TEIs, Angelo “Sonny” Mercurio planned to have him gunned down and did nothing to stop him. Salemme was shot at the IHOP in Saugus but survived. The feds in 1997 charged Enrico M. Ponzo and Vincent Michael Marino with doing the shooting.

There’s little doubt Agent Paul Rico knew Flemmi was killing people and there’s evidence to believe he set up the hits of Ronnie Dermody for Buddy McLean and of Roger Wheeler for Martorano. There were many right up to the top level of the FBI who believed TEIs Whitey and Stevie were involved in the Wheeler/Halloran/Callahan trilogy of murders.

The next matter to consider is whether FBI agents would commit murder themselves — a somewhat different proposition than knowing a protected TEI partner was engaged in murder.

Jesse Trentadue mentioned above said he has “one advantage, especially when I’m dealing with the FBI. It is a weakness the bureau has. That weakness is it will always lie. The FBI will lie, even when the truth would serve it better.”

That’s a pretty serious assertion to make against a federal agency.  Yet it fits nicely into the first commandment the FBI agents are taught: — “Don’t Embarrass The Bureau”. It also fits nicely into the abandoning of John Connolly by its big lie that he was a rogue agent and its failure to insist that the DOJ invoke the Supremacy Clause to prevent him from being tried by a state for actions he committed while working as a federal agent.

If Jess Trentadue, a lawyer, is to be believed the FBI killed his brother and then tried to cover it up by seeking to have his body cremated.  That is once instance of FBI agents murdering a person by severely beating and torturing him. They might not have intended that he die but had anyone else done a similar thing they would be charged with murder.

With my limited knowledge, the FBI being a secret police force and only responsible to itself, my sense at this point is that FBI agents would not deliberately kill anyone but they would set in motion events that could lead to a person being killed.

The FBI had a program called COINTELPRO.  Its purpose was to undermine so-called enemies of the United States such as radicals, communists, the new left, the NAACP and Martin Luther King by spreading disinformation about them.  The result was many people  in America were set up to be killed by the FBI and some were killed.   To my way of thinking setting a trap for a person to be murdered is the same as participating in a murder.  It’s called being accessory before the fact.  It’s the theory the government used to charge John Connolly in Florida.

6 thoughts on “The FBI Recruits Murderers, Shuts Its Eyes To Their Murders, And May Commit Murders Itself

  1. Fom the following eyewitness report about the Halloran murder, I’ve read that some people, I forget whom exactly, accused John Connolly or surmised or speculated that John Connolly was the man in the BLACK SEDAN. I don’t make up this stuff. My memory’s not infallible; but it’s pretty good:
    “Another witness, an off-duty sergeant from the Boston suburbs, told the FBI that a half hour before the murder (of Halloran) she had seen a new black sedan, maybe a Mercury Marquis, parked on Northern Avenue. A dark-haired, clean-shaven man in his forties, wearing a shirt, tie, and a business suit had been behind the wheel, watching the Port Café through binoculars. A second witness said the man in the business suit pulled his car into the street just as the shooters opened fire, to block anyone from following them.

    Two and a half hours earlier Special Agent Leo Brunnick of the …

    © 2001, HarperCollins Publishers

    1. The problem with putting Connolly at the scene of Halloran’s shooting is Week’s story. A guy shows up on West or East Broadway and says I just saw Halloran at the joint. Whitey and Weeks immediately take off to get ready to do the job. Whitey puts on his fake disguise which some say was a Groucho Marx pair of glasses and nose, gets his boiler with the souped up engine, finds a companion (some say Nee), and meets Weeks outside some place in Southie and they head to the water front. Weeks watches the joint while Whitey parks a bit down the street with his companion wearing a a ski mask (heh-heh) sitting in the back seat. Halloran leaves the joint, Weeks calls Whitey, he and the masked man pull up and shoot into the car and do it a second time.
      There’s no time for Whitey to call anyone to come and watch. Even if there were (these are the days before cell telephones) he did not really know where the event was going to take place or when that’s why Weeks was playing look out. I don’t think a half hour passed by the time Whitey got the word and the shoot out began. The witnesses might have seen something like they thought they saw but there’s no way to connect it to the event. Eye witness testimony is as reliable as the final score of a one-on-one basketball game when Neal keeps score.

  2. The FBI has, is and will continue to have people murdered for their own purposes. An agent might not be pulling the trigger but they will put a hit in place or know of one and do nothing to stop it.

    Just look at the Salvati case. They put people in prison who they knew where innocent. Salvati and the other defendants were originally sentnced to die but were spared when Massachusetts stopped using the death penalty instead sentenced to Life in prison.

    Everyone knew they were innocent yet the Justice Dept. participated in providing false evidence and witholding exculpatory evidence to have the defendants murdered by the state in the name of justice.

    If that wasn’t a planned hit by the FBI then what was it ?

    The attempt on Salemme is another example, H. Paul Rico’s involvement in at least one homicide is another and these are the things we are learning about years after the fact.

    Who knows whats going on today that we will learn someday in the future.

    1. The problem is we don’t accept the fact that the FBI is a secret police organization that hides behind the statement “its under investigation.” We really don’t know what it does. Since most of the Americans are unaffected by its actions it can continue to operate in secrecy.
      You correctly point to the Salvati case. Some of those guys would have been executed had the law not changed yet at least two FBI agents knew they had nothing to do with the crime for which they were convicted. We don’t know how many other people were in a similar situation. Remember when Whitey killed Halloran they let Jimmy Flynn stand trial for the murder when they really knew or should have known Whitey did the killing by the way it was carried out. Over the past couple of days writing about it I found the guy in Salt Lake City whose brother was killed and some forest hugging people who were in a car that was blown up and were arrested by the FBI who said the bomb was planted by them. The latter people showed their rights were violated and they got 4.4 million; the Salvati defendant got a hundred million. No FBI agent lost any money so the message is keep doing what you want to do. What most bothers me is wondering what type of person could knowingly let a person be charged with a crime knowing the person was innocent. It goes right down to the type of person the FBI has serving in it. I always believed it is better 100 people go free rather than one innocent person be incarcerated. That is what I believed America stood for and why we had the Bill of Rights. That’s how I acted as a prosecutor. To think that federal agents don’t believe that is shocking.

  3. This post is consistent with my theory that the FBI, in using murderers as informants, had and has a duty to strictly monitor the informants, and has failed in that duty. We all know there are sadists and bullies in every organization. We know Boston cops who have beaten people to within an inch of their lives. Throughout the nation, there have been reports of bad apples, rotten cops who were savages and who killed. Also, in the FBI in Boston we had a very rotten apple. His name was John Morris. He was a “moral leper”, an amoral man, devoid of scruples, devoid of morals. When he released Bulger’s and Flemmi’s names as informants circa 1988, he intended the press would publish their names as “rats” and they’d be killed: Two less witnesses against him. He intended murder. He stabbed John Connolly in the back: I’ve read that there are letters in John Connolly’s FBI file from Morris where Morris argues to his superiors that Connolly was not fit to be promoted. Imagine what dirt Morris communicated verbally to his FBI bosses about Connolly! Morris wanted to keep Connolly under his boot, under his thumb, under his control. I’ve read that Morris’s personal life was a moral shambles, a life of deceit. He admitted leaking. He admitted taking bribes from gangsters. Flemmi circa 1998 testified under oath that Morris was the source of the leaks and Morris had long been on the take.
    So, yes there are bad apples in police forces, and some become so bad that they choose evil. Morris chose evil. FBI agents and cops who mercilessly beat, torture and terrorize are worse than gangsters.
    2.The FBI should have and could have done more to monitor and reign in informants. But keep this in mind, Flemmi testified that his and Bulger’s deal with the FBI was that they could continue their criminal lifestyles, but “no violence.”
    3. Salemme is not to be believed about anything. A proven serial perjurer, I think he also testified Connolly was across the street watching when the gangsters shot him. Was it he who said Connolly was in a black cadillac watching Halloran get gunned down, when in fact at the time of that murder Connolly was in a classroom at the Harvard School of Government? Maybe it was Weeks. Weeks also said Bulger had six machine gun toting FBI agents at his beck and call. I know I’m repeating myself, but we all know killers and corrupt cops have little regard for the truth.
    4.One counterpoint: I received one and only one letter from John Connolly about four years ago; since I’ve been retired from the law, I cannot give John legal advice. I wrote him back to that effect. On the advice of a friend, I was told I could send John a copy of my books, and I sent him one this summer and had it returned. Other than that, I haven’t talked or communicated with John directly for probably over twenty years. John was like one of the older guys in Savin Hill who I knew over the course of my lifetime and whose reputation I knew in the community and whose character and demeanor I came to know. If someone suggested one of my lifelong friends who was a cop had turned upside down and got in bed with gangsters I’d reject it out of hand as I reject similar slurs about John Connolly. I consider John a lifelong friend as I consider my older brothers’ friends lifelong friends: Older guys we grew up with, whose character we came to know over the lifetime. And not one of them was a saint or near perfect! But they were good guys. Of course, I’ve talked with many of John Connolly’s friends over the years and still do; those who know him believe in his innocence; those who know only what they read about him by Globe writers and the Herald’s Howie Carr and Peter Gelzinis, don’t. A retired state cop I know, who does not believe John Connolly “got in bed with the gangsters” and who does not believe John Connolly sanctioned or condoned any murder, said it best: “The FBI could have done more.” He meant the FBI could have done more to investigate informants and keep a closer eye on informants. The FBI knew it was dealing with murderers. It will continue to use known murderers as informants. Once it does so, it must be hypervigilant in its supervision. There’s a huge chasm, however, between “negligent supervision” and “intent to kill.” There’s a huge chasm between police using illegal “strong arm” tactics and beating a man to death.

    1. I would not buttress any argument on what Flemmi said either when he was Connolly’s informant, his friend while in jail, or after he turned on him. No one you mentioned said Connolly was in a black Cadillac at his trial or in their writings. You suggest the FBI should have done more. What does that mean? The FBI had a million rules and regulations that everyone in the FBI ignored. Connolly was in the FBI is it his responsibility to control his actions or does he get a pass because others didn’t control them. I’m still surprised at the lack of support for John Connolly and what I see as an indifferent legal effort on his behalf by his lawyers and FBI. Has there been any fund raisers for him to get him legal counsel. Aren’t there any lawyers who will devote full time to helping him? That’s what he needs.

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