The more I see it the more probable it seems is that the 2000 book Black Mass manufactured a scenario based on made up and confused ideas of the authors as to what happened and laid the base for all that followed. After it came Ralph Ranalli’s 2001 book Deadly Alliance which loosely followed Black Mass but included in it the testimony in front of Judge Wolf and episodes involving other top echelon’s informants. Then came Howie Carr’s 2006 which took from both of those and threw in incidents with Billy Bulger, the man he’s made a ton of money off by slandering.
None of these authors who set the tone and established what were to become the accepted facts about Whitey’s life grew up with gangsters, worked daily with cops or involved themselves in the investigation of criminal activities. They were all newspaper reporters, voyeurs, looking in under the partially drawn shades believing their obstructed view was the true story.
Black Mass was written with the help of two FBI agents. The Christian family’s two greatest commandments set out by Jesus are things you should do: love God and love you neighbor as yourself. The FBI family’s two greatest commandments set out by J. Edger Hoover are things you shouldn’t do: embarrass the FBI and disclose the identity of an informant.
The two FBI agents who cooperated with the authors of Black Mass violated the latter commandment. They revealed to the Globe that Whitey was an FBI informant. One, the more sinister, did so hoping he could get Whitey killed; the other did so “after all the years of frustration and betrayal” by the FBI and believing Whitey was “a liability who’d never given the FBI any information of substance.”
Black Mass is written from a perspective of two agents with a warped limited view of Whitey. It is filled with stories that these agents gave the authors which mostly came from the verbose Connolly who regaled and bewildered them and other fellow agents with stories of his connections, Whitey’s prowess, and himself. Ironically, to believe a good portion of Black Mass you must believe the much reviled John Connolly. Some facts in Black Mass are right but the explanation of how they came about is wrong.
If the base of the building is not solid, then the building will be weak. The stories following Black Mass had all the defects of that story. Once these defects were shown not to be right, everyone doubled down on them. No one wanted to take a second look and say “what’s wrong with this picture.”
I attribute some of it to not knowing the gangster mind. If you don’t grow up with these people you don’t have a clue what is going on. It’s a different world than what these authors are used to. They attribute straight forward motives to these gangsters for their doings. They don’t understand these people do things just for the hell of it. That what most would consider depraved, these guys consider fun. That they’re never on the level unless you are really close to them and when you are it’s probably only half the time. They tell how they conned this one or that one but everything revolves around them making a score.
The authors did not to catch on to the FBI world with the limits and license its agents have. J. Edgar Hoover set up an organization that demanded loyalty and fidelity to all things FBI. You don’t talk out of school about what is happening in the Family. So even having two agents as sources, both agents knew they were doing wrong so they gave only half a cake, not the whole story. They still were imbued with the spirit of loyalty to the Bureau even though they were violating one of its most sacred commandments.
I’m thinking of this now because the most obvious flashing sign in the whole Whitey saga is that he was never an informant other than being carried as one on the books of the FBI. The authors tell of how awful it was that the FBI had Whitey as an informant and in the same breath tell of how little information he had been providing. They can’t understand how the FBI could have kept him as an informant in this case.
They never step back to realize that maybe he wasn’t an informant. Maybe most of the information Connolly attributed to him came from Flemmi, or even others. Perhaps Connolly carried him on the books as such to make himself look good; or perhaps to cover his meets with Flemmi; or because as all the gangsters say he was being paid; or even because he believed that since he got some information from Whitey in routine conversations he was an informant. Why did everyone not catch on that if no information is coming from a person as they suggest he is not an informant no matter what it says on the FBI books?
The authors also make the fundamental mistake of suggesting Flemmi somehow was not an informant when Whitey became an informant; or that Whitey became Connolly’s informant first and he brought along Flemmi. It’s backwards. Getting it backwards is a major mistake. We know because Flemmi was always the informant. He was the one with the information the FBI needed. The authors say as much but don’t seem to understand how this all fits together.
There is another Whitey story. It is much more complex in one way but simpler in another than we have been led to believe. I’m trying to ferret it out in my reexamination which I have been away from. I intend to return to it on Monday.