The FBI Should Not Let Whitey Bulger’s Handler John Connolly Die In Prison

The Marines teach that you don’t leave your fellow Marines behind on the battlefield, whether wounded or dead.  Sometimes in doing that you may suffer other casualties but it is a risk you take because you know one of the stricken would take it for you.  It is always comforting knowing that your buddies will never abandon you whether dead or alive.  I can’t speak for the other groups in our armed forces but I’m sure that is the attitude of all who have to go into combat.

It seems a little bit different in our non combat agencies.  I can only tell you that from my observation the code of the FBI when one of its agents is exposed is something like “cut and run” or as we used to say as kids in some of our games — “every man for himself”.   It’s not too comforting to know that no one has your back, especially those in the command structure.

I’ve said Connolly should have gone to prison but I don’t think he should have to die in prison as now seems to be the case.  He should have gone to prison for what he did after he retired from the FBI, for the things the Boston jury convicted him of, even though I don’t believe the jury got it right on some of those things.

I don’t understand what justice is served when Martorano (20 confessed murders),  Weeks (5 confessed murders)  Salemme (a few confessed murders) are all free men.  Connolly never pulled the trigger on anyone nor stood by while victims were killed.

The reason Connolly is languishing in prison is that a jury in Florida believed Connolly told his top echelon informant, Whitey Bulger, that he did not think John Callahan would stand up to FBI pressure.   He has often stated that he felt that was part of his job as an FBI agent.  In Florida that made him an accessory before the fact to murder.  The government’s theory is that because Connolly told Whitey his belief that Callahan might rat him out Whitey then got Martorano to kill Callahan.  It’s not that it would not have happened if Connolly did not tell Whitey that.  Whitey knew that having arranged for the killling of Jai Alai owner Wheeler in Oklahoma and then having killed Halloran in Boston that someone was going to start focusing on Callahan who could dime him out.

Anyway, that’s the gist of the government case against him, telling Whitey that Callahan was weak.  None of Whitey’s murders: Castucci, Halloran, Wheeler, or whoever else should have been part of the Florida case.  Nor should matters involving the bribes, or the undermining of other investigations, or any other alleged or imagined criminal acts by Connolly.  It was a simple case of telling Whitey that Callahan would not be able to resist the FBI pressure.

Connolly received 40 years for that;  Martorano the hitman, as he proudly labels himself, who lured Callahan to Florida and put a slug in his head, 12  years which also wrapped up 19 other murders, or a net of 6 to 7 months.

Connolly alleged as an FBI agent handling informants he had the right to pass that information along to Whitey.  Unfortunately for him, that is an issue that has never been decided because he didn’t bring it up.  To date, almost fifteen years from the time Judge Wolf first started his hearings the issue of what can an FBI agent do to protect his top echelon informant is left open.   The FBI hierarchy has not been called upon to come into court to explain its boundaries.

There are two other issues in this case aside from the the actions of an agent when handling informants known to be killers.  I’ll mention them briefly.

First, there are legal issues with respect to Connolly’s Florida conviction which seem to suggest he was wrongfully convicted.  These are re-instructing the jury on a lesser included offense,  the running of the statute of limitations on that lesser included offense, the failure to show an essential element of the lesser included offense which was possession of a gun.  I don’t know enough about Florida law or procedure to address those.

Connolly’s appeal of his conviction was denied without any explanation.  That gives off a bad odor when a guy gets 40 years and can’t have his trial reviewed.  Sort of sends a message if you want to do crime don’t do it in Florida.

The other issue is the right of a state court to be judging the actions of a federal agent.   We have a situation where Florida is deciding what an FBI agent’s duties entail.  If that could be done I’m sure then President Obama might have some troubles ahead of him in one or two of the Red States.

My post here does not consider those issues.  I’m dealing with the big white elephant in the room that no one seems to see.  I am suggesting that when the  rules and regulations are deliberately vague and FBI agents are allowed to freelance with informants, just because this becomes public knowledge and the FBI is embarrassed, the FBI should not run away from an agent when it  knew exactly what he was doing and allowed him to think he was doing his job.

Even though Connolly didn’t stand up when he should have and testified,  he shouldn’t die in prison if the FBI in any way condoned his actions.  The FBI started the top echelon informant program.  Connolly had upwards of ten of these types informants.  We have no way of knowing how many top echelon informants were partnering with the FBI.  We don’t know what is permissible for an FBI agent to do with this type informant.

The FBI points to its informant guidelines that are written in books which have as many holes as Swiss cheese.  John Morris, the FBI supervisor of Connolly, who tried to get Whitey killed and then jumped in the prosecutions boat to pick up an oar aside Martorano, testified that he asked Connolly, “what do these guys want for informing?”  It shows how broad the discretion is that is given to an agent.  A supervisor asking the agent what was the deal.  The guidelines, the rules and regulations, may say one thing but the accepted practice is different.

Newman Flannagan a former prosecutor was trying a case against me.  I had brought in time cards from my client’s work to give him an alibi.  Newman got up in front of the jury during final argument and said, “we’ve all worked for the post office over Christmas — you know how your buddies will punch your time cards for you — never believe a time card.”

He was suggesting that the records can show one thing but reality another.  The FBI has all its rules and regulations to cover itself — but it operates in a manner totally different than that.

It’s time some of the top brass come forward and tell us what it was like.  It’s time to get over Hoover’s first commandment that all that matters is not to embarrass the FBI.  It has a guy who worked for it for 20 years and who retired with honor and great acclaim.  The Boston jury gave him a pass on what he did as an FBI agent with the gangsters understanding instinctively that was part of his job.   The FBI hierarchy did not help him when he was in the fight but now it can at least work to show that he was doing what he was supposed to be doing and that providing information to his informants was part of his job.

10 thoughts on “The FBI Should Not Let Whitey Bulger’s Handler John Connolly Die In Prison

  1. For posterity’s sake: Let’s consider these ideas and in doing so let’s remember that debating points are actually helpful to advancing everyone’s understanding. (1) There are no absolute guarantees in life. We must act with uncertainty. Appoint a skeptic, a critic, like Judge Napolitano, to examine the mess in Boston, not an insider who will whitewash things in order to “uphold the integrity of the system”, a system that lacks integrity. (2) A letter, like a parade or a demonstration, is pure speech. If you hold up a bank or hold up a bank during a parade that is conduct, punishable as a crime. If you say, “This is not a hold up” and stick a gun in someone’s face you’ve committed a crime of assault with a deadly weapon. (3) What if John Connolly’s intent in writing an anonymous letter was to Obstruct Injustice? I believe the letter was written to present an alternate version of events, perhaps an incorrect version. I believe he was wrong to write it and hurt people by it and the remedy is a civil suit for slander, same as if I wrote Judge Wolfe and accused him of robbing the bank or being the godfather of the Winter Hill gang;(4)Wolfe is an excellent jurist, in my assessment, who has made a few big mistakes, as we all have. His mistakes concern (a) Naimovitch and (b) de facto and de jure “indicting” a dozen FBI agents in a 600 page decision on a simple motion for summary judgement. How does a judge on a motion for summary judgement conclude that crimes have been committed? That’s for juries and trials. That major federal rules and regulations have been violated? Where’s the “due process”? These are other examples, in my mind, of a broken, decayed, corrupt system, a system not of justice but of injustice. When the examples and symptoms keep piling up, it’s indicative of something systemic and epidemic, not isolated, limited and confined to a few individuals. (4) It was Sean O’Faolain, not Liam O’Flaherty, who wrote in the early 1900s his opinion that mixing politics with literature corrupts both the art of literature and the political process; “The Last Hurrah” was literature about politics, not a political tome. (5) To fully appreciate my opinion that good people remaining silent or acting with blinders on or even being convinced they are doing good can sometimes contribute to a society’s descent and downfall, view the play “The Good” by C.P. Taylor. Literature and other arts — e.g., the “Obey” artwork — can shed light on things that science, politics and the law can’t see.

  2. With specificity, I’ve mentioned in several books instances of intellectual corruption and ethical corruption on the part of some — some prosecutors, some judges, in some cases in some courts. Please reread the St. Pat’s Day parade case histories and deny that corruption of thought was not rampant in the Massachusetts judiciary. It was the US Supreme Court that said the Massachusetts judiciary for four years running acted “without lawful authority”, in other words, corruptly and unlawfully. John Connolly was framed and scapegoated. That’s corruption. I agree with your assessment of the FBI hierarchy, and like you, one hundred former FBI agents agree that John Connolly should be released from prison. I’ve raised questions about evidence, testimony and whether certain judges should have recused themselves based on apparent conflict of interests, biases, etc. I do believe the system, by and large, is corrupt and in need a major overhaul, both on the executive, administrative, legislative level and on the judicial level. Hundreds have written books pointing out the flaws. I’ve also written that not every decision I disagree with is corrupt. But I do believe the US Constitution is being interpreted out of existence by state and federal courts. Rulings on Double Jeopardy, triple hearsay, “legalized extortion” as Judge Napolitano calls it, “taking property for public purposes”, the Mass IOLTA case that refused to follow the U.S. Supreme Court,etc, etc, all indicate to me deep-seated corruption. We can disagree, without throwing stones or indicting people. We have different backgrounds and experiences. Our viewpoints vary. One man’s meat is another’s poison. I see a poisonous system creepingly taking control in America and corrupting it. You see a few glaring flaws here and there. I see systemic corruption and sytemic injustice—more subtle than in the past, but no less insidious and invidious. I see like the Irish writer Liam Flaherty sees, I think it was he, who said when literature is mixed with politics both suffer, and I see a judicial system mixed with and infested by politics and idealogues and deal-makers, and a political system infested by hollow, shallow people, and a press so politicized that it has problems writing the simple facts. Keep up the good work!

  3. Accusations are a dime a dozen. Criminals said Naimovitch was corrupt, too. Connolly has not been convicted of taking a dime from anyone. Career criminals’ accusations are worthless. And all the other cops gangsters accused of taking money from Bulger have never been convicted. Was it Weeks who said “six FBI agents with machine guns were at Bulger’s beck and call to do his bidding”? Demonstrable lies from bloviating, self-serviing gangsters.
    Shelley Murphy wrote Flemmi and Salemme testified Connolly leaked, and Flemmi testified Connolly told him to lie. Were those testimonies introduced in writing or I am I misreading her article or has she misreported what occured at trial?
    I’ve written five books critizing America’s corrupt judicial and political systems. Like Billy Jenkins said when I suggested to him recently that he stop fighting people, he replied, “It’s too late for that!” and it’s too late for me to pretend the system’s not corrupt. I write the truth as I know it, not to achieve some ulterior cause, howsoever worthwhile, noble or good. Ihope that good comes out of my writing. “The truth shall set us free.” “To thine own self be true, and like night follows day, you’ll then find you can’t be false to any man.” Words to that effect.
    Connolly was framed, falsely prosecuted and is being held in Florida in gross violation of his constitutional fair trial and due process rights. A special prosecutor should be appointed to investigate everyone—-everyone—-involved in this debacle and these show trials.

    1. How would you guarantee the special prosecutor was not corrupt if America has a corrupt judicial and political system? Wouldn’t it be more of the same. I could not disagree with you more about our system of justice. It’s not perfect but it’s far from corrupt.
      The word corrupt is tossed around too freely. Agent Fitzpatrick has just about everyone being corrupt — Carr has people he disagrees with as corrupt — the word has pretty much become meaningless.

  4. Will you be putting off finishing your book until after Whitey’s trial? Given the defense’s intended immunity defense angle, I could see info & documents pertinent to your book coming out then. Now that the subpoenas are flying the feds might’ve decided to sacrifice a few more Whitey enablers to get closure on this issue.

    1. Thank you for writing. I was on the cusp of putting out the book electronically when I got involved in this blog. I was surprised at how much time I have put into it but lots of things I had stored up just wanted to come out. I would like to get my book out within the month. I think it would be nice for people who have an interest in these matters to have the opportunity to go back ten years and see what the evidence was that the government presented against Connolly, some of which will be part of Whitey’s trial. Everyone considers Whitey’s trial a slam dunk but the last Boston jury who heard Martorano, Weeks, and Salemme for the most part did not believe them. How’s a jury going to believe Flemmi who is going to testify that Whitey killed his girl friend and the young girl he molested?
      As far as the FBI is concerned they want this to disappear. I was surprised when I read Tom Foley’s book to find out the FBI was still protecting Whitey from the state police even after Connolly retired in late 1990 to the time Whitey fled in 1995. Whitey’s testimony will be a huge embarrassment to the FBI so it’s is hard to see there being any early closure.

  5. John Connolly said in court in Miami, after trial (the tapes can be checked for the exact quotes) “I never knowingly did or said anything that would lead to Mr. Callahan’s murder.” John Connolly is no more capable of intending to murder someone than I am. His friends and 100 FBI agent co-workers know this. He also said, “Every ‘made-man’ in the Mafia was a murderer.” That’s a prerequisite of how you become a “made-man”; you kill someone. At least, during the 60s through the 80s that was a prerequisite: you had to have blood on your hands. The FBI has always used “made-men” as informers, and probably still does. The curious thing is that in Connolly’s case the Department of Justice cut deals with and used seven serial killers to go after a lowly cop, when their usual practice, as I’ve read about it, was to use a lower echelon gangster, “made-man” or killer to go after top honchos. The DOJ cut a deal with Connolly’s corrupt boss, Morris, to go after an underling. When prosecutors say a “corrupt cop” or gangster is cooperating in exchange for leniency, I think of Judge Napolitano’s phrase “legalized extortion” and am highly suspicious that what Morris or the gangsters told the DOJ and FBI is not “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth” but only what the DOJ or FBI want to hear. In other words, they lie to save their hides; the DOJ accepts the lies as long as they can plug them into a DOJ story made out of whole cloth. When the DOJ and Federal Courts released Martorano, they said to him, “if you change your story, you’ll be rearrested.” The Feds, in may opinion, and many prosecutors throughout the country, don’t care about “the truth”; they care about spinning the facts to concoct a credible story they can sell to a gullible jury, a gullible press and a gullible public. The problem is not with intellectually dishonest individuals, alone, it is with a diseased, corrupt system. It’s systemic and deep seated, or “deep-seeded.” Fox News’ Judge Andrew Napolitano seems to agree with me on this! The Whole Thing smacks of corruption, chicanery, and deceit. The prosecution of John Connolly reeks of political persecution. The DOJ knew what it was doing; inventing the fiction of a “rogue cop” and hanging him out to dry and die alone both criminally and civilly. The civil trials were as much of a sham as the criminal ones. Both the plaintiffs and defendants (the DOJ) in federal court crucified Connolly (who was bankrupt and without representation; he’d been de facto defenseless, relying on public defenders and volunteers, since his first trial); they falsely presented him as the “rogue cop.” It’s crystal clear to me, at least, that all these deals with killers and Morris were cut to get, not a lowly cop, John Connolly, but his completely innocent political friend, William Bulger, the Senate President and President of U.Mass. Speaking in Court in Miami at the close of his trial, Connolly also said that if he knew Whitey Bulger or Steve Flemmi had killed anyone, he would have arrested them. Prior to 1990, when Connolly retired, no state cop, no local cop, no DAs office, no newspaper linked Bulger to a specific murder. If such evidence existed, the cops and DAs were under a duty to seek indictments, file charges, arrest and prosecute. Flemmi in 1998-99 testified that his and Bulger’s deal with the FBI was that they could continue doing criminal business, but “no violent crimes” “no murders.” Was Flemmi lying then? Did his lawyer, Cardinale, know he was lying then? Connolly also said in Miami in response to a question from Wyshak about whether he’d taken any money from Bulger or Flemmi, “I never took a dime.” The Pentagon Papers Case addressed the issue relevent to “secrets”, and it would apply even to “grand jury secrets”; those with a duty of confidentiality who leaked can be prosecuted; private citizens who publish or disseminate the leaks cannot. The First Amendment does protect writing pamphlets, writing anonymous letters to government officials, speaking in the streets, and even St. Patrick’s Day Parades.

    1. The top echelon informant program recruited Mafia and other killers. Everyone accepts that. The handlers of these people, including Connolly, knew they were killers. Connolly said everyone knew they were killers.
      The DOJ deal was not just to go after Connolly but also to go after Flemmi and Whitey. You’re right no one knew of Whitey’s murders. It was only when the gangster got a deal that we learned of them. Weeks not only told of them but produced the bodies.
      When Flemmi flipped they still wanted to get Whitey. Flemmi never testified against Connolly in Boston.
      Flemmi testified Connolly and Morris told him he could do anything he wanted except “hit someone” There was nothing about “no violent crimes.”
      DOJ dealt with Morris because Connolly would not deal with it.
      Connolly always denied taking money but Weeks and others said other wise.
      The feds is they come up with an idea of what happened and the gangsters fill in the paint by number scene. If the gangster doesn’t give the feds what it believes no deal is made. I’ll give an actual example from the cross examination of an FBI agent by Tommy Dreschler soon.
      Flemmi lies or tells the truth to fit the circumstance. In 1998-1999 he was spinning out more lies than than the looms of Mohawk carpets. One example Naimovich.
      I think the feds do care for the truth. Sometimes what they accept as true many not be the actual truth. I don’t think the system is corrupt.
      If you are interested in Connolly stop fighting the system. Work within the system to try to help him. Know what you can change and what you cannot.

  6. Martorano, his brother, Salemme, Winter, Weeks,Nee and others were involved in over 50 killings. Not a few others. A cable program ( MSNBC?) covered Connolly’s trial in Fla. It interviewed several jurors after the verdict. They dicussed how they had great difficulty in understanding the Boston accents. It then interviewed Connolly who pointed out that he was found not guilty of the most serious charges and concluded with his assertion tha he didn’t take a nickle from the gangsters. It later showed Wyshak claiming that Connolly got too close to the Bulgers(plural). Wyshaks statement plus Durham’s references to William Bulger in the Boston trial, reveal the blatant political aspect of the Connolly prosecution.Remember Connolly was offered a deal to hit the street 4 years into his sentence if he would implicate other FBI agents. When he refused he was indicted in Fla. There has never been a clearer case of prosecutorial vindictiveness and abuse. 2. 20 years ago the radical Katherine Power surrendered to authorities. She was involved in a homocide of a Boston Policeman. A deal was negotiated where she would get 5 years. A segacious judge in Boston Superior Ct.( Banks) imposed a lengthy period of probation with a condition that she not profit from the murder by writing a book. Why were Wyshak and Wolfe so stupid in not imposing that condition on Martorano? Could they be that obtuse? 3. According to the Pentagon Papers case the leaker of classified information can be punished but not the person who publishes or dissimenates it.Therasa Stanley said Whitey heard about the indictments on the radio. Whereas she wasn’t a criminal and gave the Feds Whitey’s alias she would seem to be credible. Weeks lacks all believabiity in his clain Connolly tipped him off. Even if someone in the government leak secret info to Connolly,5 years retired,the leaker may have broken the law but not the publisher of the info. (see Pentagon Papers). 4. Every American has a constitutional right to free speech and freedom of the press. In 1995 Connolly was an American citizen and entitled to publish anything he wanted to. U. S. citizens are not barred from contacting Federal office holders including judges. How many other Americans were sent to prison for writing a non threatening letter? Connolly, Naimovich and Murphy were framed.

    1. Martorano, his brother, Weeks, Flemmi, Salemme, Nee were all buddies with Whitey. Flemmi and Whitey were Connolly’s informants.
      There are several gangsters who say Connolly got money. You seem on one hand to say Connolly was offered 4 years if he implicated others in the FBI but then suggest the feds were after Billy Bulger.
      2. I think Wyshak made a mistake in letting Martorano cooperate with Carr on a book deal. It will give Carney plenty of information in cross examining Martorano. I would think Martorano’s victims would be going after him and Carr.
      3. If you leak confidential law enforcement information with the intent to obstruct the orderly process of law enforcement, that if you tell a person that a secret indictment is coming down and the person should flee, that is obstruction of justice. You may have a First Amendment right to speech but you can still obstruct justice with your actions. I never believed Weeks’s story about Connolly showing up at the liquor store.
      4. You can contact any judge you wish but if your intent is to obstruct the orderly judicial process with false information you can be charged with obstruction of justice.

      Your freedom of speech argument that people have a right to say what they want is correct. One has a right to go into a bank and say “this is a stick up.” One doesn’t get some type of pass because of the First Amendment.

      You want to attack the system. You’re not helping Connolly by doing that. Narrow your focus to where you can do some good.

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