Top Echelon Informant Program: The Quid

article-2000227-0C72775100000578-502_964x654A much overused expression for which I plead guilty is “quid pro quo.” Having had the benefit of six years of Latin I am able to translate it. I can also translate some other Latin expressions. One that immediately comes to mind is “semper ubi, sub ubi.” The former expression as we all know, even those without a Latin background, means you give something so you expect to get something in return.

If anyone knows that it is the gangsters among us who are keenly aware of it. The way it often happens is the gangster is jammed in by the cops. He’ll want to figure a way out. Some will offer to become informants. Others will offer to give up things like stolen goods. So gangster Mylo will throw the quo out by saying to a cop: “what will you give me if I get you the Degas, Three Mounted Jockeys painting.” The cop will return with the quid and say: “I’ll let you walk and drop the charges.”  

I prosecuted a defendant who had perfected that type scheme. He’d always set aside part of the items he stole so that when he got caught he could bargain them away for his freedom. He knew how much cops loved to pose for media photographs with stolen items they had recovered. When I told his lawyer he was going to go to Walpole, I don’t know who was more angry, the defendant or the cop I deprived of his photo shoot.

We saw Whitey engage in a little of it when he was picked up for the armed robberies he had been involved in when he was in his twenties. He went out to the mid-West and robbed a bank. He took along his girl who acted as a lookout in the car. One of the guys with him got jammed in and did his dealing by turning state’s evidence and fingering Whitey as his associate.

When Whitey was grabbed by the FBI the agents jammed him in suggesting they were going to charge his girl for her role in the robbery. Whitey’s deal was that he would plead guilty to all the robberies he committed if the FBI didn’t charge her. They agreed but said she’d have to give up the others which she gladly did.

That’s how the system works. It’s all a form of bartering. Even after a guy is charged with a crime the dickering goes on. Each side weighs its evidence. They get together. The prosecutor will have two sentences in mind. One will be lower than the other based on the defendant’s willingness to plead guilty.

Most of the bartering and dealing comes about when the prosecutor or the cop has the criminal in a tough spot. The criminal is willing to do something he ordinarily would not do to get out of it. But how does it work when the cop has nothing on the criminal?

If a cop walked up to our friend Mylo the life-long criminal and said: “hey, Mylo, I know you’ve stolen a lot of stuff how about giving some of it back to me so I can get my photo in the paper” what do you think Mylo would immediately think. It’s not hard to guess. He thought: “what’s in it for me?” If he didn’t see anything he’d beg off and disclaim having any stolen goods. He wouldn’t do something for nothing.

Now Mylo was not a real big criminal who was in the rackets but one of those who mostly operated on his own looking for a score here and there. He would not be someone the FBI would be looking for to bring into its Top Echelon Informant (TEI) Program. The FBI wanted someone who was part of something big who could give them information against the big guys.

One of its agents sees Slugger who he knows is highly connected. He has nothing on him but want to make him a TEI. He goes over and chats with him. He says: “hey, Slugger, how would you like to join our special program?” What’s Slugger going to immediately think even faster than our friend Mylo. You got it. He’ll want to know what does he get in return.

You got to believe it is something more than a hardy hand shake. It has to be a very lot more. What then can the FBI agent offer Slugger.

Surprisingly in the court decisions dealing with informants where judges like Judge Wolf and Judge Gertner have discussed the TEI matters they stay away from discussing the quid. They recognize the existence of the TEI program but do not have the curiosity to ask what do guys like Slugger expect to get in return for becoming a TEI. You can be sure Slugger knows what he is getting before he jumps on the FBI ship.The judges apparently thinks he is doing it expecting nothing in return. Can you figure out what it is he expects?


30 thoughts on “Top Echelon Informant Program: The Quid

  1. Thanks a lot for sharing this with all of us you really
    know what you’re speaking approximately! Bookmarked. Please additionally visit my website =).

    We may have a hyperlink change contract among us

  2. Truly no matter if someone doesn’t understand afterward its
    up to other visitors that they will help, so here it occurs.


    1. Happy Thanksgiving to you! Sorry, I may not know all the ins and outs of blogging because I was trying to post the comment as closely as possible to issue brought up by Mr. Connolly. I do know about the Lynn Devecchio situation and believe that a great deal of misinformation about his relationship with Scarpa was put out by the Brooklyn DA in his outrageous murder prosecution of the agent. As you know, that prosecution went down in flames for good reason.

  4. Chris Kerr :

    Interesting to see your ” Addendum to comments concerning informants’ motivations …. ” interpolated into the thread upstairs rather than downstairs following the last thread post. Kinda breaks up my flow in the upper echelon 🙂 , but your remarks are welcome of course wherever they appear.

    I wish I could share your giddy optimism and joie de vivre about the exciting differences in character and deportment between the so called good guys/bad guys. Western thought conditions us to a dualistic euphoria sometimes as to which choices we make and our being happily convinced that our choice is a zero sum one … and that we are always … Sum-tin” !!! .. I’ve known many tough smart cops who were wannabe gangsters and vice-versa. Often the real prison is professional conceit ; the belief that our guild members wear aprons that are bright and clean and reflect our immaculate motivations . Ever hear of Agent Lynn. Delvecchio? ?? … Ever hear of an indefatigable blogger of FBI shenanigans named MS. FREEH ?!? … Uh well, dammit it is just plain exciting to sit out at Ms. Freeh’s Flying Pond Variety Store in Vermont and give an ear to her opinion of the vaunted virtues of Law Enforcement. agents generally. . You and Matt dither on a bit in a shop talkin’ good guy Paradise of Law Enforcement where the demarcation between good /bad guys is a comforting …. belief. I think you were a straight arrow. Because of that your experience in the Bureau was necessarily .. and happily I am sure .. circumscribed in a way not easily explained to you. In any event …gotta …and intend to read your book on Paul Rico ; the first guy a stunned and bleeding. in an Everett street Atty. Fitzgerald asked for when Frank Salemme … Senior … blew his leg off in a failed hit . Too much EGO going around in Law Enforcemenr , and the Underworld . And that is what trips the smug believer in their own moral superiority , up.

  5. William, Big Bill Buckley was a Renaissance Man with a love of the picaresque and a deep Catholic, very genuine, piety ; and a Genius !!! I jave his Oxford Union and Vidal the patrician cobra, stuff archived. When Gore Vidal suggested in that exchange on the Cavett show that Bill was akin to a Nazi and Buckley threatened to break his nose, you realized just what a true salt of our old earth he was .

    I crossed paths with him twice. The first time was a rainy November afternoon around Harvard. He peered keenly at me as we two lone pedestrians passed each other, and rubbed his right index finger across his nose ; Very Blackstone Oakes !!!

    The second tone was years later . My young Son and I had spent a joy filled laughing juggling sportive Harvard Square summer afternoon listening to the good natured grousing of his two crew members on the sublime SEALESTIAL, his ocean going and ocean crossing yacht , as they snorted merrily about their cantankerous Captain. YOU ARE CREW! !!!!!!! they would thunder in stentorian tones periodically one tp another, with riotous laughing the enjoinder. Thus did they lovingly mock their impulsively kind and lenient Ship’s Master who only that morning had attempted to impose ship’s discipline.

    e on these scallywags by having adjured them in basso profundo the previously quoted, YOU ARE CREWWWWWW !!!!!! 🙂

    Bill Buckley was there to collect them as dusk, ushered in waftingly sea salt scented as the air can magically be on those special days in our coastal city ; reminding them as a swirl of energy and mystical sunset motes of light pixillated his august presence, like some philosophic Poseidon, that they needed to ” catch the tide !!! ” But previous to this pied piper call, my Hero and I had a very meaningful and as mystical as the golden hues that enwrapped that day, exchange. That however is a story for another time William . I love Bill Buckley. He was a really Good Man.

  6. A popular entertainer like Bill Cosby had tens of thousands of admirers, and probably tons of “groupies”, willing consorts. That a dozen or say “20 years ago” he groped them, or assaulted them or “raped” them, is horrible, but it’s also “stale” testimony. Who knows what was consensual or forced? Innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. 2. As for the priest predator scandal: most accusations were not pedophilia, but adult priest preying on adolescents: again horrible. The problem is Cardinal Law and other Church leaders were advised by PSYCHIATRISTS that predatory priests could be treated and returned to parishes and advised by LAWYERS to pay off parents and keep the sexual assaults confidential. Why the MEDIA-PRESS never hammered the Psychiatrists and Lawyers but only the Clergy indicates bias. Moreover, we rarely read that both the Boy Scouts and Teachers had more predators per capita than clergy. Don’t get me wrong: Sexual Predation of the young (adolescents or children) is horrific and the perpetrators should be shot (in my book.) But to pretend it only existed in the Catholic Church is a great lie.

    1. William:

      1. You are plainly wrong about Cosby. The man preyed on young women. One or two complaints could be dismissed but over a dozen is something different. There are many reasons why people don’t speak out at the time. We see it all the time today where young co-eds are told they’ll hurt themselves or the college’s reputation if they speak out. We saw in the cases involving priests how long it took many to speak out. Your prescription “innocent until proven guilty in a court of law” is wrong. Many things cannot be prosecuted; the exclusionary rule keeps out evidence of guilt if the cops make a misstep; people like OJ can be acquitted wrongfully or some can be convicted wrongfully. Statute of limitations prevent others from being punished. Hitler was never convicted of anything.

      2. My recollection is most of the priest scandal involved pedophilia. The testimony came from boys who were quite young when they were assaulted. Neither Cardinal Law nor any other bishop can pass the buck. It wasn’t one or two complaints about priests there were multiple ones and they continued to shift them from parish to parish. They were the ones in charge, the psychiatrists and lawyers were only advising them. They were the ones who wanted to keep priests working and keep the matter quiet. Little is served by passing the buck from the religious leaders to other people. That others may be as bad or worse doesn’t justify anything. No one pretended it only existd in the Catholic Church.

  7. Happy Thanksgiving, I am wondering if you could put together an article on your take regarding Bill Cosby. Not just what you think personally, but also how hard it is to bring someone highprofile into a courtroom. People are talking about him and what has happened and I am interested in your point of view on it. Regards, and I wish you good heath and seasons greetings as the holidays approach.

    1. Norwood:

      Probably won’t write on Cosby who appears to have been nothing but a sexual predator who took advantage of young women not in a position to go up against him because of his star persona and “good guy” father knows best act. It does show however that you never know what is lurking behind the facade of a person. I guess that’s why so many people get conned thinking the person they are dealing with is on the level when he’s a con artist.

      There are now 13 women who have told somewhat similar tales of sexual abuse which gives a lot of credence to their stories. Cosby’s silence and having paid off at least one other women in the past adds to the believability. The real shocking part of it all is that he is going on with his act and people are attending his shows and giving him a standing ovation. That is how callous the man is that he has no sense of shame or desire for repentance.

      I suppose there have been many like Cosby who have used their position to abuse young women. We saw another aspect of that where powerful people prey on the less powerful with the scandal in the Catholic Church where priests did similar things although their victims were children. The Church was sued for their actions and paid dearly not only in money but in reputation. Cosby will be sued I asssume. But what we really need as a society is to better protect women from sexual predators like Cosby which would require us to understand that it takes a lot of courage for a young woman to speak up against someone in a star position who can destroy her career when she does and a willingness to recognize that courage and insure the person victimized is not further victimized by speaking out.

      Thanks for asking and have a nice Thanksgiving way out there in the middle of the ocean.

  8. William, Your usual peerless prose. Figurative language is just that. To inform readers that a imminent post on your blog about the Kelly/Carney/Boeri BC Panel shall be entitled A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES is highly figurative. You gotta figure the writer is holding them up to ridicule . So sticks and stones are equal opportunity weapons and often hurt much less than words. Sometimes it is best to mind one’s P’s and Q’s. If you can’t hold your water and are prepared to publicly ridicule a federal prosecutor, an esteemed criminal defense attorney, and a noted journalist of excellent reputation who is as fully versed in these matters as any journalist living, then be prepared for people to note your caustic wit, and respond to it. I trust this appeases your sense of fair play in these matters notorious, Brother William. 🙂

    1. John, thank you, but I seek not to be appeased. I wrote another book with co-author Paul J. Walkowski in which we pilloried the entire Massachusetts judiciary, and SCOTUS agreed with us: In a unanimous (9-0) decision Justice Souter wrote that the entire Massachusetts judiciary had acted “without lawful authority” in crushing the Veteran Parade organizers’ free speech rights. The judges acted unlawfully. An entire judicial system (courts and agencies, law firms and bar associations) acted unlawfully in grotesque violation of elemental constitutional rights. So, I don’t kiss anyone’s ring; There are no high and exulted muckety-mucks in America; we are all equal. And stuffed shirt judges and federal prosecutors, government employees all, deserve to be knocked off their high horses and self-erected pillars every once in a while, especially when they err. They don’t rule us; they serve us. Too many forget that and too many forget elemental principles of fairness and justice and too few voices are raised against them and too few call out when they are off base. Too many undeservedly and uncritically praise them. Too many shine their shoes and kneel and genuflect in obeisance to ordinary men and women in black robes and three piece suits. Too many bow to ordinary blokes who pretend to rule us. Journalists like Carr, O’Neil, Lehrer, etc, etc—I’ve proven are deliberate liars. Journalists like Boeri I’ve always spoken highly of. Buchanan and Buckley and Sowell were and are my favorite columnists. (You can still see William F. Buckley on Youtube) Read the books that castigate the “ruling class” and weep for the silent masses who the “elite” run roughshod over. We have no elite in America. It’s an Old World concept. If I were King, it wouldn’t be slurs and stones I’d be throwing, I’d have many judges, prosecutors and media malefactors in chains or facing the gallows. Who the hell do they think they are? Philosopher-kings? Social-engineers? Pundits? Prophets? The ruling class? You are right, John, the bulk of them I don’t respect. I respect the honest, hard working salt of the earth, fewer and fewer of whom we find in positions of power and authority in America, today . . . in my humble opinion, money, power and prestige have become their false gods. They stand in stark contrast to our Founding Fathers who pledged their lives, properties and sacred honor to a cause: Revolution and Freedom from Imperial rule and Imperial cities. The FEDs today are imperialists as were the judiciary and agencies in Massachusetts during the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade case.

  9. Aspects of the BC-Kelly, Carney, Boeri Conference are covered in my highly heralded, much anticipated, award winning book CHARACTER ASSASSINS II (Xlibris) available soon (two weeks I’m told). READ IT AND WEEP for an unjust decadent American judicial system run amock. John Kennedy Toole would appreciate the real life confederacy of dunces that pretends to rule, lead and guide America today.

  10. Matt:

    As regards your General Laxity philosophically , your schoolboy latin pun … semper ubi, sub ubi is well chosen. Loosely translated it is …. ” always where, under where. ” Or as the tittering young latin prodigy translates .. Always wear underwear . Let me give you an example of lucidly fast and fastly loosey goosey approach to FACT PATTERNS. Chris Kerr in a previous post essayed to email you a DOJ Appellate Brief in the Deegan case. That actually is rather pithy stuff in evidentiary terms and if. you get it please do post it. In the course of corresponding you blandly stated words to the effect of … at least two of the four defendants got exactly what they deserved as being Angiulo Lieutenants the Deegan hit had to have been delivered from Angiulo’s mouth to their ears. Is this the species of reasoning and evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that would win you Norfolk County murder cases ??? … Probably not !!!

    Peter Limone was Jerry Angiulo’s driver back in the day. I take it the other Lieutenant you refer to is Henry Tameleo. Joe Salvati was a connected bruiser Barboza had a real hard on about over shanghaied Barboza bail money or some such I think. And Henry Greco was more a ” J.R. Russo ” guy I believe and was the most peripheral character of the four. ” J..R. Russo ” of course was a pseudonym of the original South End of Boston Mob enfant terriblè Illario Zannino AKA Larry Baione. He is alleged to have caught up with Joe Barboza in California and killed him. He was a serious and prolific killer. He was also Angiulo’s Right Arm. Speculatively, the Teddy Deegan hit may more likely been communicated through him rather than through two, count ’em two , lesser light Angiulo Lieutenants in your … THEORY YOU STATE MORE OR LESS AS DAMNING FACT !!! … Granted, they were Shining Lights in the Angiulo Hierarchy. But Larry Baion F******* BURNED 🙂 … So, again, this laxity with facts is an unfortunate tendency we have detected in your Legal …….. briefs !!! 🙂

  11. * John Kennedy Toole … he WAS a Toole alright !!! Thought so … glad I checked. John Kennedy Toole committed suicide in 1969. A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES got published to great acclaim in 1980. Yes, A Staggering Irony !!!

  12. Btw …. To all you distinguished Latin scholars like Matt out there 🙂 … They weren’t !!! … or we may suppose at least that much is true, Right ?!? 🙂

  13. ★ Yes … Work in Progress : A CONFEDERACY OF DANCERS 🙂 …. Different quanta entirely , No ?!?

  14. HA HA HA … The Kelly/Carney/ … * Boeri Panel. 🙂 All apologies to David Boeri who is a dogged journalist with a fine general comprehension of the Scene and its Actors. But who in … Central Matters … is as happily deluded as all other … Confederates. Not a dunce , simply one of numerous confederates in this CONSPIRACY OF DANCERS around the Truth. Whatever that may be .

  15. ★ Edward Brian Halloran. !!! … Matt, is it true that … morituri te salutant …. were this unfortunate young man’s last words on that sunny May afternoon in front of the PORT CAFE ??? …. You have authentic standing ..
    right there in machine gun alley … to tell us right??? … Just kidding of course. The question is what they used to call in your old Norfolk County Court gladiatorial grounds … a Trial balloon. It’s in the air 🙂 … So much plain silliness as accepted doctrine in the entire subject matter of your blog. And these are matters so obscured now by History and the conceit of memory that so many self serving fabricators have fashioned as the ” Reality ” of events that there is little hope, or real purpose, in knowing what the genuine deal was.
    It’s funny to me that you stated a future post about the Kelly/Carney/O’Toole panel was going to be entitled A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES by you. This was the title of a book by John Kennedy O’Toole. He shopped the manuscript around in the early mid-sixties I think, unsuccessfully, and sadly committed suicide. His mother appealed to many agents and writers following her son’s death, to get it published. Walker Percy I believe, championed it, and got it published to huge posthumous success. I tried to read this Opus on two different occasions, but its opening chapter was too fantastically absurd as a so called autobiographical sketch, for me to tolerate. As regards to your worthy blog I am not sure whether I feel more like Walker Percy or O’Toole’s mother.

    Simply said Counselor, It is no more fantastical for Jay Carney to say Jimmy Bulger had 35 Agents on the pad than it is for you to blithely write the claim off as nonsense. There are central events … Halloran … for instance … that are … danced around. These events will be continued to be danced around. And of course you have proven yourself no wallflower at this dance. And I do give you credit for that !!! … My suggestion to you and Chris and all such ambitious scribes however is this … Peer not too long into this CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES … Lest they peer into Thee !!! 🙂 SALUTÉ

    1. Matt and John, (1) I read Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole; it is an insightful, hilarious work of genius. I will read it again. One quote from the fabulous lead character who reminded me of a guy I knew from Savin Hill, a real life person who thought differently, creatively, and was averse to work and at odds with society in general; The quote: “I am at the moment writing a lengthy indictment against our century. When my brain begins to reel from my literary labors, I make an occasional cheese dip.”
      Here’s how: first the FEDs advise “no violence and no murders”; (Remember, it is the perjurer Flemmi who said when he asked the admittedly corrupt FBI John Morris what “no violence” meant Flemmi said, “Morris said it meant no murders.” I’m sure other FBI agents did not agree with Morris’s definition. )” So, the FEDs first follow their written policy of informing TEIs that they were not free to engage in “violence”, then the FEDs likely do the following to protect their TEIs (I) Make sure no one in the FBI, DEA, ATF, or other agencies bag the TEI for non-violent crimes. (ii) the FBI sometimes warns TEI’s to stay away from places where State Cops have planted bugs or Boston cops plan to raid, if the FEDs happen upon such information. The FEDs do this to prevent Barney Fife from arresting a TEI for dealing grass or hash or gambling. In other the words the FEDs promise, explicitly or implicitly, to keep the TEI on the streets in order to take down Major Mob Figures, and the FEDs do this sometimes by making sure State or Local Cops don’t bungle or compromise a TEI operation. (iii) I don’t think the FEDs wink and nod at violence; they investigate allegations of violence and let the TEI know he’ll be arrested and prosecuted for violent acts. (iv) When FEDs investigate allegations of violence, they sometimes don’t find them credible.
      HANDCUFFS: It’s important to remember that the FEDs did not have handcuffs on the local cops—although they sometimes impeded a few investigations—-so local cops, who believed a TEI was engaged in violence, were generally not impeded in pursuing those investigations on their own. It was sad to hear a local cop say he told the FEDs something and the FEDs did nothing, when in fact (A) the FEDs investigated and found the local complaint not credible or found a potential witness unwilling to cooperate (to wear a wire, for example), and (B) if the FEDS did nothing in the local cops opinion, why didn’t the local cops do something? Like I said, the FEDs did not have local cops in handcuffs. OPINIONS. Everyone’s opinion is subject to dispute, and we all engage in Monday Morning quarterbacking. When we rehash history, we get better insights. Imagine if we all accepted the Globe’s versions of events, or the FEDs? Of course we all know government employees and Globe reporters sometimes make mistakes—big ones—AND no one is infallible, except the Pope when speaking of binding matters of faith or morals, and even the Catholic Church recognizes “the primacy of individual conscience.” PSYCHOPATHIC KILLERS: I’ve known personally career criminals, sociopaths and psychopaths—I grew up with not a few CHARACTERS who also happened to be friends and neighbors (no close friends were killers, although we knew some men in the neighborhood who were and they drank at the local bars and best to steer clear of them)— and I know the words of sociopaths, psychopaths and career criminals (even the non-murders) cannot be trusted; the FEDs too often trust the words of criminal perjurers. If someone would kill to stay out of jail, they would lie to stay out of jail. PROSECUTORS ERR: Prosecutors in general too often coax “stories” out of their suspects and their witnesses. A common exchange I’ve heard about is this: a defense attorney asking prosecutors what the prosecutors want to hear (what testimony, about what event, or against whom) and then the defense attorney goes back to his client and says, “They want some dirt on Joe Blow who was working at Bill’s Café last year.” That’s the qua (give us the dirt). The quid (I had seven years of Latin; 2 at BLS, 4 at BCH, and one more at BC: it was my language elective at BC): the quid is this: A light sentence, or if you are Whitey and will go back to Alcatraz with one more arrest, a promise not to arrest for bookkeeping or skimming drug money. So some quid pro qua(s): Give us the dirt and you’ll get a light sentence; give us the dirt or you’ll go back to prison. Variations on a theme. It’s what Fox News Judge Andrew Napolitano calls “legalized extortion.” I can also imagine the FBI saying to a TEI, “give us the dirt or we’ll sic the DEA, IRS, ATF on you, and we’ll share whatever intel we have with the local cops who’ll lock you up tomorrow.” There’s a lot of cards to play. When the cards are played to extract questionable testimony I’d call that legalized extortion. Giving Johnny Martorano 12 years for 20 murders he’d swear I was in on the attempted assassination of the Pope or I was a major LSD trafficker in the 1960s from Savin Hill. Legalized extortion! PROSECUTORS ERR when they repeatedly put known perjurers on the witness stand in Boston and in Miami.

      1. William:

        I’ve read it a couple of times and enjoyed Toole’s book even though it was popular a generation after my time.I think that was because this lady I knew named Alice kept talking about it.

        As far as the protection of TEIs you don’t seem to grasp the term protection. It’s not against minor crimes being investigate by others, it’s all crimes. The TEIs don’t worry about minor crimes because they are not involved in minor crimes. You are right that they tipped them off about bugs and other investigations so they can keep them on the street; by the way bugs can only be done by state cops if certain organized crimes are being committed and not the ones you want to believe they are investigating.

        You are also right the local and state police could still investigate the TEIs but if they did and the TEIs were tipped off about the investigation it would be compromised. You are wrong about the quid, it is the protection

        Happy Thanksgiving.

        1. Matt, happy thanksgiving, too. But one issue: if you believe Feds were protecting TEI’s against “all crimes” (arrest and prosecution for all crimes) then you are accusing the FEDs of violating their own written and verbal policies. You are putting the FEDs in bed with the gangsters. That is a mistake. There is no concrete evidence I’ve seen (there are unfounded allegations and unproven anecdotes and revisionist historical accounts) that FBI agents in Boston knew TEIs were continuing to commit murder or acts of violence. In fact, the argument that they did know falls on its face because of the fact that no one else in law enforcement, State or local, knew, and no one in the press knew. If the locals knew, they were under an affirmative duty to arrest (for murder or major violent acts.) 2. The fact is that no one in law enforcement knew the extent of Whitey’s and Flemmi’s murders or other criminality in the 1980s. (There were rumors and street talk.) It’s unfair to pin that knowledge on the FEDs, in my book. It’s too easy to throw stones from twenty years away and say x knew in 1990 or should have known in 1990 what we now know in 2010. No one in the FEDs, local cops or press “knew” with any certitude back in the 1980s; no one had probable cause to arrest; if they did, they were under a duty to arrest, at least for murder and serious violent offenses. So, you can say “they knew” and I can say “No one knew” and the matter ends there. From the same historical facts, people draw different conclusions. I hail the FBI for taking down a large chunk of the New England Mafia in the 1980s and hail John Connolly’s role in being a big part of that. I do not impugn anyone’s character by imputing knowledge to them of murders or linking them to murders especially when a Boston jury has rejected all such links. Finally, if Fred Wyshak, Durham or other prosecutors thought Connolly was unlawfully concealing or covering up crimes while he was an FBI agent, they would have charged him with that. They hated Connolly. They never accused him of that. Nor should anyone else accuse him of it or imply he did. We are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law: all else is slurs and character assassination, a specialty of federal prosecutors Wyshak who said “Connolly got too close to the Bulgers and South Boston” and Kelly who said at a recent BC conference, “many agents were corrupted by Bulger” while at the same conference Kelly called Whitey’s allegation that he had 35-40 agents on his payroll “self-serving braggadacio” (words to that effect). You are entirely wrong about the definition of “protection”, that it is a green light to commit all crimes. FBI agents who comment on this site refute that. Remember, that’s Whitey’s defense: he got the green light from D.A. Jeremiah O’Sullivan to kill, and commit any and all crimes. It’s inconceivable; it’s simply not true. The FBI and federal prosecutors make mistakes and sometimes err egregiously and intentionally (in my opinion) but they haven’t joined “Murder Incorporated.”

          1. William:
            1. You said the protection involves keeping the TEI protected from other investigators. You then suggest it was for minor crimes but not major crimes. But the agent protecting the TEI doesn’t know what the other people are investigating so protecting them is to protect them from all investigations.
            2. You want to limit protection to benign matters but if the agent does not know what is being investigated (as I mentioned wiretaps and bugs can only be for serious matters) and tips off the TEI he is helping him avoid being caught for whatever is being investigated.
            3. Connolly said it was his job to protect his informants. The only explanation for them not being charged during his time doing this is that he did an effective job protecting them from other investigators. He never said he was protecting them from minor league matters. They didn’t need protection for that since they weren’t involved in that. He was protecting them generally, from anything that threatened them. He was doing what he was charged to do by the FBI.
            4. I’m not suggesting an agent knowingly protected them for murders or other crimes; they just generally protected themselves from other investigations regardless what the investigations were for. I’m not suggesting they knew they were involved in murders.
            5. The purpose of the TEI program is to put the FBI in beds with gangsters. It was to recruit top level criminals who were involved with other top level criminals, to work with them long term, and to keep the program secret. I didn’t put them in bed with the gangters, they did.
            6. It was stipulated by Connolly at his trial that Joe Lundbohm told him about the Rakes extortion. He asked Joe if they would wear wires and they declined. But he never filed any reports about that incident. The evidence seems clear that Morris who was also protecting them tipped them off to the Lancaster Street investigation.
            7.Wyshak and Durham did charge Connolly with obstruction of justice for the Castucci, Halloran,and Callahan murders. As part of the Castucci murder they accused him of having knowledge of it and telling people investigating it that it was not part of the Winter Hill MO when he knew it was.
            8. The concept of protection is just that. It is that the TEI will be “kept safe” while he provides information. Not safe from other criminals but from the law enforcement community other than the FBI.Your suggestion that protection is only for minor crimes makes no sense because that didn’t worry TEIs.
            9. Whitey’s defense if O’Sullivan gave him immunity. Protection does not mean immunity. It means we will do everything to protect you but we can’t guarantee that you won’t be charged with a crime if somehow others jam you in beyond the protection we can give. For example, if the S/A finds out a wiretap is being done he will tip off his TEI to avoid the place. If the TEI murders someone and is caught in the act, the FBI agent can’t do anything for him.

          2. Matt, your logic is faulty on many counts. It’s true the FEDs may have warned TEIs to stay away from places bugged or planned for raids, but it doesn’t matter what the locals were investigating; if the locals were investigating murders, let’s say, and Whitey ducked out on a bug or raid, the locals could continue to investigate Whitey for murder. In other words, the locals have zero excuse for not arresting Whitey, but they use the excuse that once or twice the FEDs interfered with their “investigations”. Of course the FEDs did: the FEDs were taking down the entire New England Mafia and didn’t want Barney Fife to muck up the Big Bust. 2. Your logic simply doesn’t hold water. 3. Your logic is ONLY JOhn Connolly knew his TEIs were continuing to murder and commit major violent crimes. John Connolly knew no more than you. 4. You confuse past knowledge with present knowledge. All FBI agents dealing with murderers know they are murderers; if they have probable cause to arrest them for any present murder they do so. Monday morning quarterbacking. 5. The FBI used TEIs to take down the New England Mafia; THE FBIi did not sanction killings. You imply the FBI knew of murders and did nothing about it. If this is not your intent, you leave the reader with that impression. You’ve repeatedly written “Connolly knew they were murderers” Yes, I say, he knew all the Made Men in the Mafia were murderers; the FBI dealt with murderers to capture Mob Kingpins and other murderers. I don’t know why you have trouble with that concept, unless you are suggesting no past murderers ever be used as TEIs in which case no made man in the Mafia or the equivalent from other violent gangs will ever be used as an informant. You recall Delahunt bumping into Martorano in a Milton restaurant. Delahunt cut the conversation short because he knew Martorano was a killer, but he didn’t arrest him in Milton because he had no probable cause. 7. Please, stop telling your readers what Connolly was charged with: Tell them what the jury acquitted Connolly of. Connolly was acquitted of all murder related charges. Wyshak and Durham are suspect in my book for using known perjurers and still they could not convict Connolly of murder. Please don’t counter with the travesty in Florida. Connolly was framed pure and simple and the jury said so. Connolly was convicted of one minor crime (passing the case of wine) during his 23 years as an agent and my book conclusively proves some of the other minor crimes he was convicted of in Boston five to ten years after he left the FBI were not crimes at all. 8. Your suggestion that protection is “for all crimes” is nonsensical when the clear policy, written and spoken, is that agents tell all TEIs they cannot commit “violence” which includes murders. Non violent crimes, major or minor, are the FBI’s policies–at least back in the 1980s-1990s. Admit that. Even Morris admitted they annually told their TEIs “no violence.” Flemmi confirmed this and Flemmi said when he asked what no violence meant Morris said “no murders.” I believe what all FBI agents have said: that they instructed their TEIs as their written policies told them to instruct their TEIs “no violence.” FBI agents on this site have confirmed that. 9. Whitey’s claim that he had immunity to commit murder meant that he wouldn’t be prosecuted for committing murders—that’s Whitey’s understanding—his claims is as false as the claim that the FBI protected their TEI’s “from all crimes.” As said, the FBI did not have local and state cops in handcuffs, so they could not “protect” and did not “protect” from arrest and prosecution. 10 Try not to be a prosecutor and nit-pick. Try to advance understanding, not obfuscate. Try not to “catch” people in inconsistencies, when their intent is perfectly clear. In bed with gangsters is different from protecting them from undue arrests which interfere with TEI programs. Lesser crimes (drugs, gambling) are allowed temporarily to achieve a greater good: Taking down the New England Mafia. The FBI used TEI’s; the FBI decidedly did not aid and abet murder. FEDERAL prosecutors unsuccessfully tried to pin that bum rap on John Connolly. It is unbecoming for this site to be used to perpetuate “charges” of which a man was acquitted.

            1. William:
              1. It takes a lot of effort to develop evidence for a bug. If the FBI tips off a TEI about the bug the investigation will be destroyed and the TEI move elsewhere. It’s not easy starting over again. Investigations of people being protected are unlikely to be effective. Remember Lancaster Street, then the phones at Howard Johnson’s, were compromised then the targets moved to other places.

              When the wiretap when up on Baharian Whitey and Stevie were tipped off by Connolly and Morris. They stayed away from the telephone. When Lt. Cox was wired they were tipped off and avoided talking to him. When a guy (forgot name) in Southie was wired, they talked to him in self-serving ways knowing this. If you have the major investigative unit protecting someone (any time an inquiry about a person was sent over the CJIS teletype the handler was notified). You admit the FBI was doing this but somehow suggest they weren’t.

              2 – 3. I don’t restrict my analysis to Connolly.He was protecting them. I don’t know what he knew about them. I was not protecting them. I repeat, I have not suggested he knew they were murdering people.

              4. My position is quite straight forward. The FBI should not be protecting people it knows are murderers from other law enforcement investigations even if the target is the Mafia. Had the FBI not protected Whitey and Stevie from things like the 1980 Lancaster Street investigation and had they been caught there would be several people alive today who were murdered because it kept them on the streets.

              8. The FBI policy and what happened are often at odds with each other. The FBI policy was that all meetings with informants be recorded but that was not followed; the FBI policy was to tell persons they could not commit crimes but as you know that was not followed; the FBI policy would require approval by the SAC if Whitey and Stevie were allowed to commit all crimes except murder but that was not followed. I could go on but as Judge Wolf found little of the requirements set down were followed by the agents.

              9 Immunity of Whitey is not at issue. The issue is whether the FBI protected the TEIs which it did. You suggest the TEI protection was for minor crimes yet at the same time suggest it was justified no matter what it was (except murder) because the goal was to take down the Mafia. Whitey and Stevie were not concerned with protection for minor crimes but with the crimes they were involved in doing.

              10. Joining with people involved in high level criminal activities for a lenghty purpose is just plain dumb. Why do you think the FBI wanted to hide the existence of its TEI program. The criminals like leopards do not change their stripes.

    2. Growing up we were told, “Do good and fear no man!” We try to do good, and we fear no man. We ain’t saints and as the Bible says, “the good man falls ten times a day”. I fall about fifteen; I’m not so good. John, let the peerers peer, and the peeers pee. And you know what we do about the whirling Dervishes? We let them whirl. And you know what we do when someone throws stones at us, we throw them back. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but neither words nor peerers will ever hurt me. Happy Thanksgiving to one and all, and like Tiny Tim said, “God bless us, everyone!”

  16. Nope …. Mylo throws out the Quid … Degas painting … and the Cop responds with the Quo …. drop charges, whatever. However it does not lose that much in your … translation 🙂 … It is the Pro you have to try to account for . Just a friendly jibe Counselor. It would be interesting to see you footnote a lot of your own … suppositions … about Mr. Callahan’s murder and regarding Brian Edward Halloran for instance, that you spin out to Chris Kerr as if you have an omniscience in these matters. You do this a lot ; having satisfied your Own Mind as to speculative matters you then use your … beliefs … as premises for further argument and speculation. There is nothing wrong with theorizing. In the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king as they say.

    1. Addendum to comments on informants’ motivations:

      They vary as we know, but don’t discount the excitement some get from living on the edge and selling out their friends. (To some this gives a feeling of superiority.) But the thrill factor is very real and I understood it. Some of what we did–occasional (court-authorized) “burglaries” were a hell of a lot of fun dammit!

      But these informants, are, after all, CRIMINALS, and many more than most would believe just love the fun and thrill of “getting over,” gaining the advantage. It has been said that the population with the greatest average level of self-esteem is our prison population.

      Also, some I knew were wannabe undercover cops but were, uh, well, disqualified because of their long rap sheets.

      The main thing is NEVER to take anything said by these informants at face value. My preference, if the situation allowed, was to get as much as possible on tape so the actual words of the bad guys could be evaluated by myself, the prosecutor and, ultimately, a jury. Even better, if the informant(s) could get us probable cause for a court-ordered wiretap or bug, the informant would be merely a supplement to the case. But my pitch was always–if the case is solid enough, the bad guy will make his OWN deal and there will be no trial. More often than not that’s how it worked out. Generally, playing a recording for a bad guy so he could listen to himself plotting or committing a crime had a very sobering effect.

Comments are closed.