Whitey has shouted out he was never an informant. FBI Agent Thomas Powers testified at the trial of retired FBI Agent John Connolly as I noted in my book Don’t Embarrass The Family that Whitey was first opened on May 13, 1971 and closed on September 10, 1971. That was during the Mullen/Killeen dust-up in South Boston after Billy O’Sullivan had been gunned down in front of his Savin Hill home by some of the Mullens.
Dennis Condon opened him up on the FBI books as an informant. I assumed Whitey knew Condon was doing this. That’s where I am probably mistaken.
There is nothing that happened other than Condon filing a report saying Whitey was his informant. Lee, who commented earlier, found it difficult to believe that’s all that happened. He suggested when federal agencies “formally induct a cooperating individual (informant), they’re fingerprinted, photographed, assigned a discrete number and lengthy biographical history is recorded.” That does not appear to be the case with the FBI.
Whitey probably had no idea he was being identified as an informant. I realized I fell into the trap of believing FBI reports. I decided to look back at what happened in light of Whitey’s recent denial.
Condon’s first report is set out in Ralph Ranallli’s book. It was filed in May 1971 when Whitey is opened. It is sent to J. Edgar Hoover. After describing him he writes; “Bureau is advised over that because of current gang war in South Boston, his life may be in jeopardy.” Condon does not tell us who is giving the Bureau that information. Whitey is then given a number as a “potential criminal informant.” He’s opened but he’s not really an informant. I assume Condon hopes he will become one.
Twelve days later Condon writes back to Hoover that Whitey had: “furnished extensive information as to the identities of individuals on both sides in a gang war which is currently being waged in South Boston, Mass. and is closely associated with major hoodlums and bookmakers in South Boston area.”
He goes on to say with further contact “he could be a very valuable source” about Southie and “details will be furnished in subsequent communication” and after his information has been “corroborated” and he’ll arrange to have him meet “an alternative agent”
You’ll note nothing is set out. None of the information Whitey is alleged to have given is presented.
Around the beginning of June Hoover or someone in FBI Headquarters ups the ante. He wants to know of the “results of your contacts with captioned source.” In other words Condon has said he had furnished “extensive information” now Headquarters wants to know what it is.
Condon lamely writes back that Bulger’s been worried about his safety since O’Sullivan was killed. Hardly the extensive information he says he has and something he could have picked up on the street.
In his next report in July he writes about the Killeen/Mullen war and personalities but concludes by saying, “Contact with this informant on this occasion was not overly productive and it is felt that he still has some inhibitions about furnishing information. Additional contacts will be had with him, and if his productivity does not increase, consideration will be given to closing him out.”
In late May Whitey seems to be a font of information but in July “he still has some inhibitions.” Something sounds wrong. The passage of time from his opening to this point is less than two months. On September 10, 1971, less than two months later, he writes “Contacts with captioned individual have been unproductive. According, this matter is being closed.”
Look at it closely. Here what I’d suggest happened. Sometime in May Condon approached Whitey. He tried to turn him into an informant telling him that since O’Sullivan was murdered on March 28 he will be next. That’s the same tactic Agent Morris used to try to get Eddie Miani to be an informant. It’s the “you want to live, you gotta become our informant and we’ll protect you” usual FBI spiel. Condon looking for good doobie credits from the FBI headquarters jumps the gun, makes him a potential informant and tells J. Edgar of his success.
He tells of getting extensive information from him. FBI Headquarters want to know about it. He gives them a couple of things that would be common knowledge on the street. Then a month or so after the big build up he’s contradicting himself. He wrote he had furnished “extensive information” but now he’s writing that Whitey’s information is not “overly productive” which in FBI speak means he was getting nothing; and that “he still has some inhibitions about furnishing evidence” which means he never furnished anything in the first place other than probably listening to Condon’s solicitation.
Even though listed as an informant it was only hoped he could be an informant. Whitey would have no idea Condon was writing this about him. He had been listed as joining hands with the FBI without saying “I do.”
I must admit that I thought Whitey approached the FBI in a panic after Billy O’Sullivan got killed. I now feel confident I was wrong. I did not read Condon’s report closely enough. It was Condon who went after Whitey trying to make him an informant. He wouldn’t become one. But he was listed as one for ever so brief a time on its books.
He may have been carried for a longer time by Condon except FBI headquarters got involved. It pressured Condon to produce. He couldn’t. He had jumped the gun so he fazed him out.
We can’t rely on FBI reports for the truth as to an FBI/informant relationship because it only reflects the thought process of the agent. It was a sordid system the FBI used where it could designate people as informants without them realizing it, where it opens and closes them without telling them.
Perhaps by now the system has changed. Congressman Lynch has been waiting over a year and a half to find out about Mark Rossetti after meeting with top FBI officials. Imagine how much chance we as citizens have to find out the truth. Sadly, we don’t know what’s going on with the FBI because as Judge Wolf noted it files are full of deceptions.