Whitey: The Joe Berlinger Film: Whitey’s Shock and The Failure of Leadership

2015 11 29_3160Before talking about the dark side of all of this I want to talk about one other aspect of the relationship. This is the money that the prosecutors and others allege Connolly was being paid by Whitey. Connolly has adamantly denied he was taking money from him.

Whitey’s lawyer Carney during the trial announced that Connolly had taken hundreds of thousands of dollars from Whitey. I don’t buy what Carney said. Whitey was according to those who knew him in love with money. As a prosecutor of bookies over the years I knew that the worst thing I could do to them was impose fines. That would come out of the pockets of the leaders, in this case Whitey.

Whitey was not about to pay for something he could get without paying for it. He had no need to pay Connolly. Connolly had freely volunteered to help Whitey.

Why then did Whitey turn on his friend Connolly and let his attorney make those allegations? He was angry at Connolly. He had no idea Connolly had set up a file on him making him into an informant. That was his way of getting back at him. The only way he had for what he felt was a great betrayal.

The documentary had a recording of Whitey’s response to Jay Carney’s question to him about his reaction when he first saw Connolly had an informant file on him. Whitey said: “I was shocked. I was angry. I couldn’t believe it. I considered it the worst betrayal that ever ever happened to me in my life. I couldn’t believe that anyone could even dream of such a thing.I never knew it existed.”

Carney asked him if he recognized anything in it. Whitey answered: “No. I asked the questions. I got the answers. I was the guy directing him. He didn’t direct me.” Whitey said he gave them information on wiretaps, surveillances, search warrants, or indictments so guys could make a run. They were giving him the information “for money, money is the common denominator, it’s a way of doing business, it happens all the time, it will never stop.” He said “everybody I knew I took care of at Christmas time; I put money in envelopes” for his contacts on the Boston Police, the State Police, the ATF, and the FBI.” He said it was always cash. Paid 25,000 or 50,000 in cash,

The problem with his talk about cash is Weeks who helped him stuff the envelopes testified that the largest amount he gave out was $5,000. He also said he dealt not only in cash but in items such as clocks. FBI agent Gianturco would talk about getting a clock or some other item from him.

When listening to Whitey you have to keep in mind also what Weeks said: “I’ve been lying my whole life. I’m a criminal.” Martorano would say the same thing because when he was on the lam he had to lie. I’d place little stock in Whitey’s suggestions to his generosity. I place a lot more in his feeling that Connolly committed the worst betrayal of him that ever happened in his life with the opening of an informant file on him.

But as I mentioned there is a dark side to all of this. It comes from recognizing that the FBI agents in command positions in the Boston office recognized that Whitey was not giving sufficient information that would justify him being kept and protected as a Top Echelon (TE) informant. This pointed to either Whitey was not producing as an informant or that perhaps he was not an informant at all. Had any of them looked closely at the matter they would have recognized that Whitey had no reason t be an informant in the first place.

Connolly though was desperate to keep the file open on his so that he could maintain his relationship with him. It also made it easier for him to have connections with his real TE informant Steve Flemmi. Losing him as an informant would put a big crimp in Connolly’s status and freedom as an agent. You would think that in the face of skepticism from his bosses Connolly would not have been able to keep Whitey open as an informant.

How was it possible that this brick agent whose job was only to handle informants was wielding so much power in the Boston FBI office that he could keep a man known to be a leader of a criminal group open as an informant even thought the man was providing him with little information. It is going over onto the dark side that the explanation can be found.

 

 

  

 

11 thoughts on “Whitey: The Joe Berlinger Film: Whitey’s Shock and The Failure of Leadership

  1. Matt: John Connolly was a good friend, a good husband, a good family man and an honest FBI agent who never took a dime from the crooks. He was acquitted in Boston of allegations from killers that he took a diamond ring. He produced a receipt for the diamond ring he gave his wife. His boss John Morris admitted taking money and accused John of doing the same. The jury didn’t believe Morris. Connolly was acquitted of taking money. After exhaustive multiple investigations over many years by the unscrupulous Fred Wyshak and the Feds, no credible evidence was produced that John Connolly took anything nor owned anything that was not accountable by his FBI salary, his wife’s salary, and the modest rental income from a property he owned in Southie. 2. John Connolly’s lifelong friends never saw him spend in excess: he drank the same beers, sat in the same low cost seats at sporting events, went to the same bars, flew on the same chartered flights to BC football games, stayed at the same low cost hotels as everyone else. He never had a wad of cash in his pocket and never set up the bar. He purchased beers and spent the same way all of us did. He was as generous as all of us. 3. He wore a BC ring and a wedding ring, no other jewelry. 4. He dressed neatly and well, but not flashily nor exorbitantly. 5. He was an ordinary FBI agent who looked forward to retire in 1990, which he did. 6. He had no desire to rise high in the FBI establishment nor to wield power. He was happy to retire. 7. John Connolly is a good honest man who got royally screwed by the zealot Fred Wyshak and our Federal Government; he has been defamed for many years by Boston criminals, Globe and Herald columnists and other scribes with agendas.

    1. Bill:

      1. Connolly did not produce a receipt that I recall but he was acquitted of receving the diamond ring because the testimony was so patently unbelievable no one could accept it except the prosecutors. You would think if they had more information on Connolly taking money other than that they would have produced it. The only other item shown were the uncashed checks in his desk which was seen by a secretary in his office. I don’t recall that Morris who admitted taking money ever accused Connolly of doing it which was a big gap in the government’s case. Outside of the ring and the desk checks and gangster testimony there is no independent showing of any money passing on to him other than his delivering the $1000 to Morris that Morris asked him to get.
      2. and 3 and 5. No comment
      4. He was known as a good dresser much better than most other FBI agents but keep in mind that J. Edgar Hoover and Clyde Tolson set the standard for good dressing by agents. He did wear a lot of gold it is reported.
      6. He knew to rise in the FBI you had to be a bum kisser and it is fair to say he was not one of them. It does seem from the little I know that he best agents did not want to get tangled up in the hierarchy but just to do their jobs.
      7. It is true Connolly has been dragged through the mud and the stories out there are mostly fabrications based on wishful thinking by his enemies. I would not that he in a sense was his own worst enemy because of his propensity for the gab and his ecpectation that media folk were trustworthy.

  2. Matt:
    Can’t wait to go to the dark side. Bill C mentioned John Morris in his post, and this got me to wondering about what our little friend has been up to. As you know, Morris has described himself as a “wine educator.” Since I’m a wine lover myself, I decided to find out what little I could. As it turns out, Morris is — or perhaps was — the director of “wine education” at Wine World — a wine store in Northwest Florida. Needless to say, John Morris is an extremely common name, but this photo erased any doubt in my mind: http://ww1.prweb.com/prfiles/2013/02/06/10405815/JuliannaMartinelli-ChanCox-MikeHaney-JohnMorris.jpg
    Yes, that’s our John Morris on the right. The photo was taken about three years ago. At the time, Morris was in charge of the wine competition at the South Walton Beaches Wine & Food Festival.

    If you blow up the photo, you’ll see that next to Morris’s name on his name tag are the initials “C.S.W.” That stands for “Certified Specialist of Wine.” This brought a smile to my lips. It’s not that the title is fake. It isn’t. All I can tell is that the few wine heavyweights I’ve bumped into in New York City would never dream of attaching such a title to their names. It’s the mark of a small-timer, which is exactly what John Morris is.

    Here’s what was said of Morris in 2008: “On average, Morris conducts 75 wine related events a year ranging from weekly in-store wine tastings and consumer events to lecturing at Florida State University’s prestigious School of Hospitality, as well as teaching wine classes and hosting various corporate sponsored wine activities, among others. He has authored numerous wine articles for Pensacola Magazine and other local publications, is a professional judge participating in nationally recognized wine competitions such as the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience and Sandestin Wine Festival, where he has served as Director of Wine Competition for the past four years.”

    The trail goes cold over the past couple of years, as far as Internet references are concerned, so I really can’t say what Morris has been up to recently.

    1. Morris found a way to finance his LUSHY lifestyle, the man makes me irate. All the Bullshit sobbing in the FL. trial was pathetic. Only Morris could parlae his alcoholic passion into a career. Just another criminal that posed as a top FBI agent and now is drinking up the good stuff with a paycheck that comes along with it. With all the horrible stuff he orchestrated, it is no wonder he has to drink himself into wet brain.

    2. Dan:

      Thanks for the update on Morris. He is a prime example of “how good it is” to be a government stooge. He was most venal having two tope echelon infomants and taking money from both of them. Amazingly he had no evidence to offer that Connolly took money or that Billy Bulger was anyway connected with Whitey.

      Morris’s testimony was mostly true. Of course his tears were not out of any regret or shame but merely because he felt sorry for himself. We have to keep in mind he went to the Globe outing Whitey as an informant in the expressed hope Whitey would be killed by Mafia types.

      Morris open the lid on the Top Echelon Program. He told how they would tell their top echelon informants if a wiretap was ongoing so they they would not get caught up in it. That corrupts the wiretaps since the natrual flow of information is interrupted and we have no idea who the informants told. Further, if they can tell about wiretaps then they can tell the informants about other dangers such as who is informing on them. Morris told Connolly that Halloran was giving evidence against Whitey – why? To protect Whitey knowing that with that as part of his job Connolly would pass that information on to Whitey.

      No one wants to accept that the Top Echelon Criminal is protected over a long period of time and to do that the agents have to tell them what the agent knows. We have only seen how it operates in one small situation in one case in the Boston office. It is ongoing all over the United States and we have no idea how many other Morrisses and Whiteys are running around today.

  3. Bill is right. The claims against Connolly have no merit. Statements by Flemmi and Whitey should be totally discounted. Firstly they lack credibility because they are made 15 or 20 tears after the fact. No one can corroborate or refute them. There is a reason for a Limitations Statute. Secondly they are unreliable because of their source. Serial killers and career criminals have no believability. If the Roxbury killers, Kelly, Bucias and Martorano claimed they paid off Harshbarger or Bellotti 30 years ago no one would accept that. Yet the Globe and it’s lackey the Boston DOJ want us to buy the Flemmi-Whitey story. Only the ill informed would swallow that. 2. Did you see the Frontline piece on Netanyahu vs. BHO? It seems Bebe wanted to attack Iran but wouldn’t do so unless BHO gave him the OK. He didn’t want to fight the Iranians alone. The president wasn’t going to let another nation drag America into a war. Are the Saudis trying to get us into a conflict by executing the Shia cleric? Are the Turks trying to start a war with Russia requiring a NATO response? Didn’t we learn a lesson from WW1 where the Brits started the continental conflict but were unable to prevail until they could dupe Wilson and the U S into bailing them out? Shouldn’t we disentangle ourselves from tripwire wars that others may start?

  4. Just one post regarding John Connolly taking ANY MONEY from anyone. The IRS conducted two, I repeat, two net-worth audits on John Connolly’s life style. They found absolutely no irregularities whatsoever. When John’s defense requested a copy of the IRS audits, the government said that they misplaced them, or, lost them. What else is new about the prosecutors and their questionable conduct. John did EVERYTHING with a “mortgage,” and he can produce proof of his financial expenditures. I will have more to say later, but for now, I want to digest what has been posted on Matt’s website. Best regards to all of John’s supporters.

  5. John Connolly deserves to be free. But let’s call it like it was, he was arrogant and LOVED being associated with gangsters. He knows what the deal is, he got caught up in Wyshak’s wrath and now has no chair to sit on since the music has stopped playing. John Connoly had a tendency to be a bully, he was a dirty agent and now has served his time in jail and should be released asap.

  6. Doubting Thomas. Either you are closer to John Connolly’s circle of friends and/or associates, or you have been one of the many readers of the local newspapers’ warped and misleading articles and fell victim to the gross inaccuracies of what actually took place. John never took money and Stephen Flemmi said so in a deposition taken by the government. He said, I never paid Connolly money, ever. When Whitey was arrested and during his debriefing, he mentioned to the arresting agent that he never paid Connolly a dime, period! Whitey was an informant and he does not want to admit it for reasons only known to him. John may have been all the things you mentioned, but, dirty is not one of them. You have to act a certain way when you try to cultivate an informant. If being a bully, etc., then that is what you have to do to get the job done. This is the real world and Wyshak knows John Connolly is innocent. The evidence speaks volumes in his favor.

    1. Dick- You don’t have the opinion that John Connolly violated his oath? He did take money, he passed on a case of wine and a G-note to his boss. He violated FBI protocol many times as it has been documented, he falsified FBI reports by creating false narratives and attributing individuals to the report that had zero to do with information obtained. The list is long.

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