Whitey Weekend Wrap – June 29, 2013

AchillesTransI can’t say it was a good week for the prosecutors. Those are the exact same words I used to start off last week’s review. That’s not to say the prosecutors are bad or anything like that. It is the opposite. They’re very good. It’s just maybe it’s me and I don’t understand their strategy.

I’ve been writing that the matter of Whitey being an informant has no bearing on his guilt or innocence reasoning he can be convicted of the charges whether the jury concludes he was or wasn’t. I’m slowly, or perhaps maybe not so slowly, walking back from that position. Between M & M, Marra and Morris, who appeared to be two pieces of coated chocolate candy that defense counsel Hank Brennan feasted on, suddenly the informant issue sticks its head up through the middle of the courtroom floor like a smiling, drooling gargoyle.

It has become the issue in the case. It was put into the case by the prosecutors. They were intent on fighting back against Whitey’s assertion that he was never an informant.

They set out with James Marra who ends up on the stand for five days as a record keeper. He puts in all the FBI files containing informant information he said was in Whitey’s informant file, over 95% put there by FBI Agent John Connolly who the jurors also know, courtesy of the prosecutors, is a corrupt agent serving time in prison, and from the defendant’s opening, if they remember it and are not still puzzling over what Carney’s restaurant kitchen reference has to do with the case, was paid by Whitey to give him information.

Five days of Marra who came across as an agent with an agenda and who was a little too slippery repeating word for word lines he had been apparently been programmed to spin out. He was initially put in the case in 2004 or later by the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General to deal with finding information on whether Connolly who retired in 1990 leaked from FBI records material relating to 5 murders between 1976 and 1982 to the gangsters. He admitted this was the only time he knew of the OIG being involved in such an old matter.

He was weak on FBI procedures which Brennan clearly showed. But that wasn’t Brennan’s purpose in using him. He cross-examined him in a long and slow and deliberately tedious manner asking him to identify individual 209 reports (209’s are what FBI agent file to report what an informant tells them). This fixed them firmly in the jurors’ minds. They had to wonder what importance would be attached to them.  Their suspense would not last long.

After Marra, John Morris, the corrupt supervisor took the stand. He was awful as shown by the brilliant red flush on his face that made it look like he was on fire from inside –is it a prelude peek at his ultimate fate?  He showed that the FBI was as corrupt as him when it catches him lying, punishes him with the sting no greater than a pin prick, then picks him for a plum position, promotes him, and puts him in charge of training all new FBI agents. What could he possible teach them other than treachery?

It wasn’t only that but we hear him sneaking off to meet Whitey after 10:00 pm at Agent Connolly’s Southie condo where he has some beers. He reached Whitey by parking far away and walking through the back alleyways so as not to be seen. He’ll deny that he left him later on with a little more in his pockets than when he went there. A denial no one will believe.

What kind of image does that give the jury of an FBI supervisor creeping through ash can obstructed Southie alleys late at night. His purpose has to be nefarious. Yet he’ll go on and tell the jury that his record at the FBI is spotless except for the times he lied to the investigators from the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility. He lied about leaking documents to the Boston Globe.

He lied about violating the second most important commandment of the FBI which is engraved on the stone tablet J.Edgar Hoover was given atop the hill next to the Washington Monument by  …..  which is “Don’t Disclose An Informant’s Identity.” (You know the first is “Don’t Embarrass The Family.”)

He too like Martorano believes he was a good man. Hank Brennan showed the jury the many bad things he had done as he raked him through the glowing coals of his treachery leaving Morris as the only one in the courtroom who believed his assertion. That raking also adding to his brilliant blazing blush.

After we get a good look at Morri’s soul, Brennan starts talking about the reports in the FBI files which he put in through Marra. The jurors went home for the weekend after an hour or two or more after hearing how information Connolly attributed to coming from Whitey could be found in the files of other informants before or on the same date if the other informant was one of Connolly’s. Brennan sent the jurors out with a clear picture that at least in some files Connolly had attributed information to Whitey that came from other sources. Why is he doing this if Whitey is an informant the jurors have to ask?

The length of time Brennan took in setting up the records through Marra and comparing them with Morris will keep this fixed in the jurors minds. Brennan started off his questioning of Morris on Friday asking him if he left through the front door of the courtroom after he testified on Thursday. He replied affirmatively. Brennan then asked him whether just before leaving the court James Marra came up to him, put his arm on his shoulder, and walked out of the court with him. Morris admitted they walked out together but did not remember the arm on his shoulder.

The jury will certainly remember in their minds these two witnesses walking out together in a conspiratorial type manner. They’ll imagine them planning to tell the jury what seems to be a less than candid story. They’ll be reminded of this in final argument.

The prosecutors fell for Carney and Brennan’s (C&B) trap. They took an issue that had no relevance and made it into the one major issue in the case, one that can destroy what they seek to accomplish. Why didn’t they let C & B introduce the issue in their defense? By that time after hearing of the murders, guns, drug dealings, and gangsters the jurors ears would be closed and their minds made up.

If the case is lost it will not reflect upon the preparation and trial ability of the prosecutors which is excellent. It will be on their obsession. Their need to crush Whitey under the heels of their storm trooper boots. C & B with nothing to work with recognized this as their Achilles heel, a true one because there was only one tiny area, like the fingertip marks left by Thetis in her son’s heel as she dipped him in the River Styx, that could save their client.

They lured their opponents into the forest. Sat back and waited. Then shot the arrow that hit the mark. It’s still early in the trial but the prosecution has dug itself a deep hole to climb out of.





59 thoughts on “Whitey Weekend Wrap – June 29, 2013

  1. The idea that Carney is trying this case from the long view while the Government is worried about and focused on the issue of Whitey as Informant is intriguing. This is consistent with how Whitey played Connolly/O’Sullivan, regardless of whether he was an informant ,in fact, or one created by Connolly. Find the Government’s weakness( the need to clear the FBI in the current trial;the desire to take out LCN in the 70s and 80s) and exploit it to your advantage.
    Remember, Whitey’s kid brother was the same type of chess player in politics. The Bulger’s are a bright family not caught up in the glare of todays klieg lights but playing the long game at all times.
    Not to jump ahead, but if the jury decides that the Feds are dirtier than the bad guys and practices a little nullification in the current matter, how does the Globe spin the result?

    1. Chaco:

      Good observations – the long term chess approach vs the game of checkers approach. Whitey the planner.

      If the jury hooks Whitey only on a parking ticket and acquits him of everything else the local media will blare out the headlines: ‘WHITEY FOUND GUILTY.” Most people will think he was convicted of everything and that will suit the Globe just fine. Maybe it will only print the headline and omit writing anything else.

  2. Matt,

    Is there any way for me to send you something via email to you before I post? I found something that I would like you to see before I share with the blog. If you can send an email to mtc_temp@fastmail.fm

    Once you see what I found, you will understand my desire for discretion.

  3. One other side note FYI. One of Raymond LS’s most prominent law enforcement connections was the Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court Justice in RI Joseph Bevilacqua. Think about that one: Raymond had influence over the top judge in the state! Mr. Bevilacqua told the State Parole Board in 1973 that Raymond was ”a person of integrity and, in my opinion, good moral character.”


    I don’t know a lot of that history, but it might be worth looking up if you ever feel like it.

    1. Jon:

      It’s going to take a good long time to figure Whitey out. Then I have things related to this that I’ve got to figure out. The history of Raymond woud be quite interesting but I don’t see ever having the time to do justice to it but one never knows where his footsteps will take him.

      1. Yes indeed. It was just a tidbit about Raymond. That’s all. You know, Raymond LS once said that he moved to Providence because it’s easier to corrupt a small state. Massachusetts isn’t much bigger and though Boston is a bigger city, it’s still pretty insular as I understand it. I’ve lived in NYC, Philly, and DC, and the people I’ve known who lived in Boston for a time, going to school or whatever, have often said that Boston always felt more provincial than NY or DC.

        The NELCN/Whitey history perhaps just goes to show that there was a time when there truly was a second government in this country, but particularly so in small insular communities like Providence and Boston where everyone knows each other. I grew up in Providence after the time of Raymond’s peak power, but I heard and absorbed all the stories and legends about the power and sway of Raymond LS Patriarca. The fear and respect of Raymond LS was truly remarkable, deeply ingrained in the culture of Providence. From what I came to understand, nothing big happened without his okay and without him getting a piece of action. I had a tremendous respect for my father, but the only real disagreements I had with him happened because he would talk reverently of Raymond as a fair arbiter of justice. People thought like that, in part because RI politics has always been so corrupt, but also because of Raymond’s sheer force of personality.

        It’s hard to find an intrepid Thomas Dewey in government. Men like Raymond and Whitey just have a sheer force of personality and a Machiavellian shrewdness that persons in government prove no match. It appears it was no different with Connolly.

  4. Just as a point of reference for you, as I plan to continue to contribute to these discussions. I am a transplanted Bostonian. I grew up in the Suburbs (Foxboro/Wrentham area) and went to school in Boston from 88-92. I stayed in the city (Brookline) until 1997 when I moved to Houston, Texas to assist family (was supposed to be for one year..then I met my wife)

    I did not grow up in Southie but one of my first jobs out of college was at Summer and D st. Spent many an evening down at watering holes on Broadway with work friends. Even then, the culture of the area was very apparent. I don’t have any real association with Southie other than a girl I used to spend time with whose family lived over on K st. I recall the legend of Whitey back in the early 90s and when he won the lottery. My interest in this case really didn’t pick up until the books started to come out.

    Not only is the story fascinating on its own but as the city itself and its history is a character in the story. Studying this story helps me with my profound bouts of homesickness.

    enough about me….thought you may like to know the demo of one of your readers.

    1. Matt and Another,

      It would seem that Connolly got two informants for the price of one, so to speak. That is, he got his information from Stevie, who was a tried and true informant as Matt reminds us, but he was able to section off some of that information and paste it into Whitey’s file to maintain the impression that Whitey was also an informant. Whitey and Stevie were so close and met with Connolly and Morris on a number of occasions that it is was perhaps even possible for the illusion to enter Connolly’s mind that Whitey was in fact giving information, thus creating the belief that Whitey was his informant. Two informants, though in reality it was only Flemmi providing information.

      I know this is speculation of motive on my part. But does it seem at all plausible?

      1. Jon:

        Double the pleasure with double mint gum. He did fill Whitey’s file but it was not with just Stevie stuff it was also with stuff other guys were bringing in, No confusion, outright duplicity. It seems it was not the illusion that entered his mind but the money that entered his pocket that made him set up the file.

        Understand this. Whitey was a genuine tough guy from his early teens – he had a terrible reputation among the little kids as one to be feared – he hung with a tough group of guys over at Old Colony Project (not to be confused with Old Harbor Village Project where his family lived) – Old Colony was not as nice as Old Harbor and Mercer street which ran up into Southie proper brought these wild kids togeter into a gang called the Mercers. Unlike the other kids who hung around like in the Shamrocks, the Mercers weren’t much into sports. In Southie everyone plays or is involved in sports, Whitey, and his friends, weren’t.

        Connolly is typical Southie. Easy going, not involved in fights, hanging around but far from tough. He’s very likeable and can talk a humgry dog of a meat wagon. He has to have heard of Whitey growing up but doubtful, despite his claims, he ever met him. John’s plays sports and does what most other guys do.

        When he does get to meet him it is after Whited did his bit in Alcatraz and was a very hardened criminal. A person close to me knew him during the short time he worked in a legitiate job and said the guy was scary, his reputation rightly deserved, but likeable.

        When John meets Whitey you are not talking about a meeting of equals. They’d have felt each other out a bit. There was nothing John could have told Whitey that Whitey would not have already known. While John was naively trying to flip Whitey, Whitey was thinking how must will I have to give up to get this guy to work for me. John would be no match for Whitey. It’d always be Whitey using John.

    2. Another:
      Both towns in the county I was an ada as is Brookline. You have to watch out for those Texas ladies, there something quite special about them. Southie always had a different feel about it – a good family friend Bill Carr lived on K Street – I figured there had to be a Boston connection in some respect to be interested in such a local story (even though we pretend it’s earth shattering.) Natural to be homesick for the area since we’re all such homebodies – never could figure out the reluctance of our folk to roam from our little nest up here in the Northeast. Thanks for the info and glad you plan to stick around a while.

      1. thanks Matt, why wife wants to know why I am sitting in the study busting out in laughter by myself…thanks, pal!

        1. Another:

          Glad to spread a little joy to Texas – there’s probably more to weep about when we consider the ramifications of the tale.

  5. Great article, I read it 3 times as I enjoyed it so much. Calling C&B genius is probably pushing it a bit but they are remarkably clever. The legal wrangling chess match that is being discussed on this site is 10X more interesting than any of the testimony. Most of the testimony so far is regurgitated tales from published books old enough to be in the bargain bin.

    This proceeding can just barely be called a trial, it is hardly about the seeking of truth and the dispensing of justice. This exercise is clearly a battle to control the historical narrative, not really about if the charges are true. Bulger will still be despicable regardless of being an informant or not. Not being a rat is a genre of despicable he will be proud of.

    The Plaintiffs (and let’s face it, this trial has become more of a civil dispute than a state’s case) in this matter, the FBI desperately want history to reflect an informant run amok; A noble intention that went sideways due to the actions of a few. Alternatively,If the FBI are shown to have become a Wal-Mart of selling inside information for Mob bosses they become partners of the mob and in the public’s eye, they are themselves considered “organized crime”.

    How history accepts these perspectives is really what the 2 parties are fighting for.

    In the end, I say, one of the most dangerous human beings in the country, if not planet, was allowed to operate as they wished, enjoyed sunsets, nice meals and the ability to go for a walk along a beach for at least 36 years after something should have been done to stop him because of the actions of an agency that designed to protect our country and our lives.

    The prior indisputable paragraph of truth, my friends is EXACTLY how I will tell the story to my children and grandchildren regardless of the informant issue and final verdict. The FBI created and enabled an inexplicable 36 year reign of injustice that no verdict or narrative can ever erase.

    1. Another:

      Great comment. Really appreciate you cutting to the core of this matter. But hold your guns on the story to your kids and grand kids, there will be more delightful tidbits ahead to add in.

      1. To both Matthews (and Patty),

        It seems to me, and maybe this is exactly what you’re saying and I’m just catching up, that where the fault lies for the FBI as an agency is having allowed Morris/Connolly operate as they did for so long without ever having caught on to the chummy relations with Bulger, and then when it all came out, the FBI scapegoated Connolly and protected Morris after Morris the Machiavellian, a few moves ahead of everyone, figured out how to save his skin with an immunity deal. Certainly this is something like Matt’s view (Don’t Embarrass the Family).

        But the criticism, then, is that the FBI is a monolithic Kafkaesque bureaucracy without oversight, against which no one individual has a chance once all the resources of the bureaucracy are mustered against the POOF. The fact that Connolly is serving 40 years right now is a tragic testament to this and a severe indictment of the bureaucracy.

        But it still seems hard to believe that Morris/Connolly would make up Whitey’s informant status in exchange for a few G notes over 10-15 years. But maybe I’m underestimating how easy it is to corrupt a G man, or human nature in general.

        1. Jon:

          Good summary post about what the FBI is all about. In the FBI everyone covers for everyone else. It’s them against the world. This often happens in police agencies since you depend on the guys around you so you don’t want to do something to adversely affect that relationship which means you close your eyes to a lot of stuff. It’s not just the money which may have been a lot (some Boston cops were allegedly taking $100) but also the prestige. You know like “the Man who Shot Liberty Valance” or “The Man With The Most Informants.”

        2. I would say we are on the same page but one item I would add is that it is being clearly established that there is compensation and status incentives for the agents as well. Not only does have a file potentially cover up being on the WHG payroll but even more likely that promotions and raises from within the FBI come from having a top echelon informant.

          Perhaps this is a reasonable scenario; Connolly started out with noble intentions, keeping an eye on Billy’s brother. He then opened an informant file to get credit for having a top echelon informant without Jim Bulger even knowing about it at all. We now know that this is ENTIRELY possible and is somewhat common. He filled it with idle gossip from JJ, LCN tips from Flemmi and perhaps other info from other informants. Whitey thinks he is buying info (and he clearly was) and Morris/Connolly also get praised and promoted to be the “rising stars” of the FBI.

          Many people love the cite “OVER 700 pages in his informant file!!!!” Does 45 pages a year really seem all that much? less than a page a week and many who have seen it have stated that the majority of it is useless crap and gossip.

          I am not saying that this is what happened but for the first time

          1. since everyone started writing books about the subject, we can now see a reasonable scenario where Whitey really was not an informant. At the very least not knowledgeable of his status as one.

            1. Another:
              Before Flemmi and Whitey were indicted the US Attorney wanted to know if Whitey was an informant. The FBI told him yes based on the file. Flemmi testified he and Whitey were informants. Everyone assumed he was an informant. Black Mass the first book out told a fictitious story of John Connolly recruiting Whitey to war with the Mafia meeting him at night at a beach; Cullen and Murphy make up another story of him needing Connolly to help in the upcoming war with the Mafia that never happened. All the authors had him as an informant and I accepted when I first came to the story that he was one. When I tried to do my own quick look at his life I had trouble seeing how it would have come about. One can’t depend on FBI records to help since they are far from reliable.

          2. Another:

            I think you are hitting close to the mark. First from what I can see each report consists of two pages, a cover sheet and an attachment. The cover sheet is called the 209 and it is just filling in some boiler plate stuff as date of contact, informant number, date of report, etc. So that means you have to divide the 700 figure by two giving you 350 pages of actual information. 350 divided by 15 years is 23.33 pages a year or two a month. Most attachments with the information are as long as your second paragraph which is about 120 words or two minute work by a 60 minute per word typist. So you end up with and hour of two of information a year. When you break it down it’s not too much from a guy who was supposed to be involved in OC activity during all his waking hours. Just another reason to believe he wasn’t an informant.

            The idea Billy would ask Connolly to keep an eye on Whitey doesn’t ring true. You have to know Billy. He had 11 kids or at least 9. He wasn’t arun around guy but liked to spend his time either at home or at a political event, the latter as infrequent as possible. He wouldn’t let a TV in his house so his kids would read more. All his kids grew up in Southie, a tough section of town, and none got into any trouble and two that I know of went to one of the best high schools in the city. He was very private. I met him a few times and it was always very general conversations about light subjects with him carrying the conversation with anecdotes. I hardly think there were many people who raised the subject of Whitey to him, nor do I see him talking about him to others. It’s very Irish – don’t hang your dirty laundry on the line type attitude.

            What we know is that Flemmi had to have been Connolly’s informant shortly after he came back from his flight from prosecution to Boston in May 1974 – no one seems to want to recognize that the FBI set up his return and got a murder case, a fugitive from justice case, and the bombing of a lawyer’s car thrown out. Flemmi then was free to give the FBI information on the Mafia. It’s still unclear how the Whitey/Connolly hook up takes place although we do know after Whitey got back he and Flemmi became best friends. I don’t know what’s in Flemmi’s informant file. It may be that Connolly opened Whitey’s file to put in stuff from Flemmi. Some things we will never know when we try to narrow them down to a specific time..

          3. Another,

            Good points about the status and compensation/promotion incentives of piling up informants. I’ve read a lot about Connolly’s braggadacio and perhaps the Whitey saga and the motive for keeping up the informant files is in part a story about hubris. Connolly wanting to keep alive and build his brand as a top notch crime fighter in a time when having informants was one of the most prestigious accomplishments in the fight against crime. So maybe it all comes down to money and hubris.

            1. John

              Money and hubris – the need to be a somebody with the money to maintain the lifestyle of a somebody – that might be all there is to this.

  6. Soon Kevin Two Weeks will take the stand and testify that he knew Bulger was paying Connolly and Morris for information. He has testified to this repeatedly. Weeks also testified that Bulger was strictly a buyer of information, not a seller. Weeks claims he even delivered a payment. Weeks only became a believer in the informant theory after Wyshak tricked him by showing him the phony informant file. Weeks probably knew the file was phony, but he saw that his ticket to freedom was signing on with the Prosecution Team/Wyshak. Pretending he believed the file was real made that option defensible for Weeks.
    FBI Agent Robert Fitzpatrick can also testify he caught John Connolly stealing informant reports from another agent. We shouldn’t believe any FBI Agent these days, but Fitzpatrick said that long before Morris got nailed lying about other instances of this phenomenon. Furthemore, Fitzpatrick doubted Bulher was a real informant and wanted to close The File for a lack of information neing provided. So Weeks and Fitzpatrick are two more witnesses on the Prosecution Team who will crap on the informant theory.

    The bottom line is that the only evidence Bulger was an informant is The File and the word of John Morris. Morris only claims Bulger was an informant for one reason, it was to Morris’s benefit to say that. every syllable of his testimony was for that same reason. His testimony does not advance the informant theory one inch.
    The Prosecution Team claims the existence of The File itself is proof Bulger was an informant. However, other FBI reports from from outside of The File directly contradict what The File is purported to prove. Some of those other FBI reports show it was impossible for Bulger to have been the source of information in The File. Other FBI reports prove that information was stolen from other informants and was attributed to Bulger and put in his File. Therefore some or all of the file is clearly phony.
    It makes more common sense that the entire file was phony. If Bulger really was an informant, there would be no motivation for anyone to steal information from other sources and attribute it to him. It would make no sense for an agent to attribute information to him he could not possibly have provided. But that is exactly what happened. The inescapable conclusion is that The File is a complete fraud. The government’s own evidence proves that Bulger was not an informant.
    But why would the FBI make a fraudulent File for Bulger?
    Obviously it was so the FBI could protect Bulger. “It’s my job to protect you.”
    What would motivate Connolly and Morris to protect Bulger if he wasn’t an informant?
    They simply wanted what Bulger had plenty of, MONEY!
    The defense theory wins over the Prosecution Team’s theory on the informant issue. While that’s not dispositive of the case, it proves one thing Carney said in his opening: “some people will do ANYTHING to get what they really, really want.” The Prosecution Team has been exposed for what they really, eeally want. And they will stoop to any level to get it.

    1. Patty – Thank you for your courage in reporting on this stuff. There have been a few of you on this blog which, just when I am about to give up on humanity, make me realize that I am not alone out there. (I have already given up on the judicial system as I know and can attest to its widespread corruption and, as you so aptly put it, re-victimizing the victims.) I noticed recently, that Mr. Donahue, the victims’ son was speaking at the podium. The news caption underneath highlighted his declarations that the government was worse than the crooks. He has no idea. My heart goes out to him. I know his suffering over the death of his father was excruciating – but to now hear how twisted the FBI let things get and is still twisting things must be tormenting. It’s actually cruel and inhumane. The FBI doesn’t care about the victims though, and never did. I hope the jury ultimately understands that point, that the only people the prosecution is trying to protect in all of this at the end of the day is the group in the shadows who control the DOJ. Hey! Wait. That rhymed. That might be important, given today’s sound-byte world we live in. Goodness, gracious. There’s even legal precedent for it. Given Johnny Cochran’s brilliant tactic to come up with a catchy memorable rhyme or “rap” for the jury to hang on to so OJ could beat the rap, maybe that’s all C&B need to do; just come up with a rhyme and repeat and repeat:

      “Members of the Jury, you’ve seen at the end of the day, the fault belongs to those shadowy figures, who really control the DOJ.” Or alternatively, “If the records in the File can’t be matched, the verdict is clear, the case must be scratched.”

        1. LOVE IT!!! LOVE IT!!! LOVE IT!!! Even Better as it is under the acceptable “character limit” these days for all forms of communica. You totally Rock, Mtc9393!

    2. Patty:
      He’s up the Monday after the 4th. All agreed on that.

      Your story of Weeks in the first paragraph is right on the money except in his book he said Connolly showed him the informant file on Whitey before he was arrested. He did not testify to that at Connolly’s first trial in Boston. Weeks has specifically testified he was never present when Connolly met Whitey and that he had no information that Whitey ever gave Connolly informmation.

      Paragraph two is absolutely right which is sort of surprising although Stevie has yet to testify.

      Paragraph three is the way I am beginning to reason.

      The rest I basically agree with. But I take it further than the FBI. I say it reaches into the DOJ.

    3. There is one question though that keeps nagging away at me, and perhaps you guys can shed some light. Let’s say the file is a fraud, or at least some of it is made up, and the motive for Morris and Connolly was to protect Bulger in exchange for Bulger’s money. So it all comes down to money. But I can only recall a limited number of instances of direct payments. There’s the $5000 payment. I believe there was a $1000 payment. There was the wine case delivery. All in all, how much money did Morris (and/or Connolly) get in the 10-15 years that they protected him?

      If the bribes add up to, say, $10,000 or $20,000 or whatever, this seems small change in comparison to, for example, 10-15 years worth of salary. Would Morris and/or Connolly really jeopardize their careers and integrity for such a small amount of money? It would seem more realistic that Whitey was an informant and that over time the relationship got chummy and Morris/Connolly came to accept the occasional payments as a gesture of friendship.

      1. Let me clarify one thing. Yes, Morris/Connolly would jeopardize their careers/integrity either way. But it seems more realistic that they would grow comfortable with small payments over time, thinking they could get away with it (see no evil, hear no evil) than that they would make a deliberate calculated move to make up a story that Whitey was an informant in order to keep the relationship going and thus get access to his small payments.

        1. Jon-

          My guess is that a lot more money was exchanged. No idea about the informant status, but I think that Morris admitted to taking what to him felt like an acceptable amount given his dal, but in fact had been paid a LOT more money. Just my two cents. . .

          1. Thanks Pam. That’s what I’d like to know. How much money did Morris actually get over the years? It seems to me that would go some ways to determining whether Whitey was an informant or simply paid for information.

          2. Pam:

            I agree. Morris only owned up to things he thought could have been traced back to him.

        2. Jon:
          I agree if the payments are small but here they seem to be big. Also, there was more to it. It was a feather in one’s cap to go around saying that Whitey was an informant. There was a lot of prestige connected with having informants especially big deal ones. It takes very little to start an informant file, as we’ve heard and a little imagination to keep it current. Another thing good about informants is they get you out of the office – you can attend a sporting event during the workday or go for a swim under the guise you’re out meeting informants.

      2. Jon:
        The bribes you can recall are those that Morris testified to. Morris admits getting $7000 from Whitey and borrowing $5000 from another one of his informants. Brennan in his questioning of Morris asked him about having a little more in his pocket after he left Whitey than he had going in indicating Whitey alleged he paid him more than he is admitting to.

        In his opening Carney talked about Whitey giving Connolly $50,000 payments and lesser amounts in the thousands. Flemmi alleged Connolly received more than $200,000 over time. Whitey will allege he gave him much more. So it wasn’t short change. Morris admitted wanting to bring his girlfriend south and asked them for a grand. Sal DiMasi threw his career (and maybe life) away for around $60,000; other politicians for much less.

        It’s an individual thing – you know the “everybody got a price” idea – some are easy others are hard. Morris was gobbling greedy; Connolly was well rewarded if the gangsters are to be believed.

        1. Thanks Matt. Btw, reading Cullen and Murphy’s book. Just read their account of that supposed 1975 meeting between Connolly and Whitey. Their view is that Connolly tried to recruit Whitey after one of his informants told him that Whitey and Winter Hill were planning to go to war with the Mafia over the vending machine business. Connolly asked Jim Scanlon if he thought it was worth trying to recruit Connolly and I guess he got the go ahead. Thus, the meeting.

          Now, here’s where their account gets interesting. Basically, Connolly sold the deal to Whitey as a way to take their fight to the Mafia the same way the Angiulo was supposedly taking it to them. That is, the C/M account is that Winter Hill’s fear was not the Mafia’s guns but their political and police connections. They specifically recall how Angiulo planted the gun in Barboza’s car that led to Barboza’s arrest and we know how that turned out (btw this is the first I’ve heard that Angiulo had his men planted the gun in Barboza’s car, but it seems perfectly plausible). Apparently, Whitey said he worried the Mafia could plant machine guns in his car and then get cops to stop him, and then admitted that the judges would believe the cops rather than him. “You can’t survive without friends in law enforcement,” Whitey supposedly said. Connolly supposedly shook his head in commiseration and offered him a deal to “fight fire with fire”. That is, to become friends with Connolly in the same way Angiulo had friends in law enforcement. Whitey supposedly took this idea back to the Winter Hill crew, saying that Connolly would work for him, rather than the other way around, and that Connolly was willing to do it as a favor to Billy Bulger. Few weeks later Whitey told Connolly that Winter Hill was on board and said: “Here’s the deal. I’m no fucking informant. I’m the liaison for Winter Hill. We’re not going to hurt any of our friends. Any discussion of the IRA is off the table.”

          C/M then go on to say that Whitey was “willing to hurt the Mafia, and that’s all that mattered to Connolly, because the FBI’s national policy was to take down La Cosa Nostra.”

          Now, let’s say this story has a ring of truth to it. It seems to fit quite nicely into the theory that has been building in these recent discussions on your blog. That is, Connolly was always simply doing what he was supposed to do as part of his job and as part of the FBI’s top priority of taking down the mafia. Whitey came away believing that he was not an informant but simply making a friend in law enforcement (whom he could trust as a Southie native and friend of his brother). Connolly came away believing he had an informant. Connolly would say, sure, you’re not an informant but then go ahead and open up the file, while Whitey walks away believing he’s not an informant, and subsequently doing all he could to work secretly with Connolly and later Morris to avoid being labeled as a rat, while maintaining his friend in law enforcement.

          In other words, the origin of Whitey’s relationship with the FBI is the “fight fire with fire” argument. The mafia had police in its pockets. Whitey determined he had to get cops in his own pocket. Since he trusted Connolly, he agreed to the deal but all along believed he was not an informant.

          Add to this that we know Whitey never really had strong contacts with the mafia, so he couldn’t really offer anything anyway. That job was left to Flemmi. But he could pretend and meanwhile pay for information from Connolly and later Morris.

          So the origin of the relationship between Whitey and the FBI is this: Whitey was trying to copy the tactics of the mafia in developing contacts in law enforcement. It was a wily recognition that you don’t survive in the underworld by muscle alone. You have friends in law enforcement.

          For Connolly’s part, he was happy to have an informant who seemed to be in the middle of a budding war between Winter Hill and the Mafia over the vending machine business. He was happy to let Whitey think he was not an informant, but as far as he was concerned, what Whitey thought didn’t matter as much as he believed he now had an inside source (i.e. informant) in the budding war and another weapon in his professional responsibility to take down the mafia.

          As for Billy Bulger, C/M say Whitey had one final condition: that his brother could never know.

          1. Holy crap. Is it really possible Whitey never actually was an informant? Or rather: what does it mean to be an informant?

            1. Jon,

              It’s beginning to look that way. The burdens on the government to come up with something to explain Connolly filling Whitey’s file with old news.

          2. Sorry to indulge more thoughts. Bulger did feed information to Connolly, but apparently it was false and misleading information. But again, it seems an emerging theory in my mind is that Bulger’s relationship with the FBI was always meant to be something like what the mafia had with the authorities: that is, having cops in the pocket. I can’t think of instances now of the mafia feeding disinformation to the cops, but I’m sure it happened. So Bulger was basically trying to corrupt law enforcement in the same self-serving way the Mafia did.

            One thing to reconcile: what about information passed on to the Feds that was correct? Flemmi, at least as far as I can tell, was clearly an informant. For example, he’s the one who led the Feds to meetings in Vanessa’s (unless I’m wrong). I can’t think of any example of correct information that Bulger passed on, but if he did, was it ever about the Irish? If he did, then it all falls apart. He was an informant.

            Also, Flemmi was clearly an informant, at least in terms of passing on information on the Mafia. Bulger had to know this. But again, just part of the game of fighting fire with fire?

            1. Jon:

              Flemmi was a tried and true informant giving them Vanessa’s and the Mafia Induction ceremony along with Sonny Mercurio.

              Whitey gave them nothing. He paid for protection. That’s the old fashion way. The old Mafia way. Bulger knew Flemmi was an informant and used thta to blackmail the feds.

          3. Jon:

            Morris who I happen to believe on this said that the first time Connolly approached Whitey was during the time Pallata was a cooperating witness in 1975. Connolly came to him and asked if he could use information Pallata to go to whitey and see if he could flip him.

            There was a lot of talk about Winter Hill and the Mafia having a dispute over machines put in bars but that was settled amicably between the gangsters. Here’s what Howie Winter says about that. It was written by Shelley Murphy in 1998: “Winter also said FBI reports by Connolly alleging a turf battle between the Winter Hill gang and the Mafia over vending machines were “a fantasy.” “We weren’t rivals, but we were not partners either,” Winter said. “Jerry Angiulo always treated me and the people around me very nice.”

            Cullen and Murphy came up with this new idea, they had no inside information remember since they didn’t talk to Whitey about it, and if they talked to Connolly he was constantly spinning the blarney, so what they write is fiction especially now that we see Whitey was not an informant.

            The Anngiulo/Barboza story is a new one – it used to be the Boston PD or the FBI or both planted the gun in Barboza’s car.

            Whitey of course knew he couldn’t succeed without friends that’s why he started duking Connolly money. You’ll note they are running away from the Black Mass fantasy bout the beach meeting but like that story they put things in quotes which is silly. And as Pat Nee who helped the IRA said Whitey had little love or enthusiasm for helping the IRA and why would Martorano and Flemmi care about it. Cullen spent too much time in Ireland so he thinks the IRA was on everyone’s mind over here.

            I can’t buy their story because it they can’t source it to either Connolly or Bulger, and the former has told a million different versions of a million different stories.

            here’s my dilemma – I’ve been positing all along that Connolly had the right to protect top echelon informants but if Whitey was not a top echelon informant, or an informant at all, what Connolly was doing was totally corrupt. If as it now appears Connolly was copying other information and pretending it came from Whitey, you have to ask the question why was he doing it?

            Your theory is compelling but it doesn’t explain the fake files; nor does it take into account that the Mafia may have has some cops on the payroll it didn’t have the state cops or the federals. Nor the fact that if there was a budding war the Mafia would not be planting a machine gun but using it. It also leaves out the idea the Winter Hill and the Mafia were pretty close and coordinated things for the most part. It also fails to account for the circumstance if the Mafia put a machine gun in Whitey’s car and he was taken down by the Staties or Boston it wasn’t going to do much good for him if he knew someone in the FBI. The pinch would bring about a mandatory sentence of 10 in prison – mandatory. Most importantly it is the exact opposite of what Shelley Murphy knew the truth was as told to her in 1998. Oh those pesky records

            So you’re reading people who are making things up. That’s a problem with coming out with a book before the facts are in or forcing a conclusion you should know is fiction.

      3. Jon,

        Shortly after his arrest in Cal., Bulger told an FBI Agent he gave Morris ‘a lot more than $7K, try adding a couple of zeroes to that!’ So Bulger suggested he paid Morris a lot of money. At about that same time, Bulger also said, ‘Connolly is innocent and should not be in jail.’ These statements were memorialized in FBI 302 reports which were eventually leaked to the media by AUSA Brian Kelly.


        1. Patty:

          Those statements are interesting. Whitey was still of a mind to protect Connolly and throw Morris to the wolves. I wonder what brought him around to the truth?

          1. Matt: a blistering critique of Cullen and Murphy. I agree with your assessment. It’s not as if I was positing their story as true, which is why I use the word “supposedly”. It is certainly ridiculous for them to be using quotes, unless they’re trying to write a novel, i.e. fiction. Why is the media so incompetent on this matter? Well, then again, the media often falls short.

            You’re right about the fake files. As for the Mafia, I wouldn’t discount its reach. Raymond LS gained his reputation in 1938 when he managed to get paroled after a few months on a 5 year sentence for robbery by putting together a petition with the signatures of three priests, two of whom I think didn’t exist, and get a pardon from Executive Councilor Daniel Coakley, who was a close associate of the governor of Massachusetts. Moreover, it was Albert Anastasia (and maybe others) who set up Lepke Buchalter back in the 1940s when Lepke was led to a car in which sat Hoover, who said “where are you high and mighty friends now?”

            But anyway, that’s really beside the point. Your points are well-taken, though I still think there’s something to be said for the “fight fire with fire” view, but as you mention, it’s not news that Whitey would understand the need for friends in high places. So now I guess we’re left to ponder the degree of Connolly’s corruption and the question of what was his motive for protecting Whitey other than money.

            1. Jon:

              Good points – I thought the parole deal happened in Rhode Island. Quite surprised to see it happened in MA although with the names Dan Coakley and the governor Charles Hurley and the late ’30s just after the Depression it might have been esay for the Italians to spread a little joy among the Irish.

          2. Jon/Matt,

            On second thought, I think John Connolly had too much personal integrity to be motivated solely by money. Maybe he was following O’Sullivan’s direction to protect Bulger pursuant to th deal between O’Sullivan and Bulger.

            1. Patty:

              Yeah, you’d think that but it’s not looking good. Got to give it to C&B for throwing this mess into the thought process. Got a message from a guy who knew “Jimmy” a while ago, asked me not to publish it, has known Whitey 40 or so years called him “uniquely true and loyal.” So why does he toss Connolly onto the third rail? He shouts he’s not an informant and I smile thinking he’s delusional. Then I start hearing the evidence from M&M. What the hell is going on I think that the DOJ is using OIG investigators to help Wyshak proscute Connolly. That shouts out to me Margolis. Why is he so interested in this matter. He’s on an affidavit in the case trying to protect O’Sullivan. What’s with hammering Connolly like they did?

              You’d think they’d be something that Connolly knew that they did not want to come out but we know that’s not the case because Connolly has not been silenced. He’s looking at coming out of prison on his back so if he had anything he’d have spelled it out. What does this tell us? Twice he was tried and twice he decided to rest on his right. What is going on?

              Loyal Jimmy? How can he turn on Connolly if he were his friend? Does it only make sense that he gave him up because he never thought of him as a friend but a greedy cop he got involved with who kept coming back for more and more money. It sure gets complicated and difficult to figure. One thing we know is all those people who wrote books had no idea what was going on — they were pure voyeurs — still are.

              Maybe Whitey can tell us what happened? Or someday Carney and Brennan spell out his side of the story in a book. Not that we can believe anything that comes from any one person but putting it all together might be able to come to some conclusion that climbs over into the preponderance of the evidence category.

          3. Matt,

            What changed Bulger’s opinion about John Connolly following Bulger’s arrest was The File. Bulger could not have seen The File before he got it in discovery. He was recorded ranting about The File in jail, “I’m up to my ass in informant files! I was never an informant! This is all bullshit!” (Wyshak quickly publicized that statement to attack Bulger’s credibility in the media before trial. Big mistake.)

            I suspect Connolly made the file to benefit himself and Bulger, but he underestimated a few things. First was Bulger’s reaction to being labelled an informant. Second, Connolly underestimated the treachery of Morris that he would use the file to kill and/or neutralize Bulger.

            Notwithstanding the above, I believe Bulger remains favorably disposed to Connolly and he would testify that Connolly had nothing to do with Callahan’s death. That was entirely a Martorano production. Bulger can’t let The File stand and it was Connolly’s baby. Letting Connolly be framed for a murder is entirely different.

            The people I’ve known who were friendly with jim Bulger (but weren’t wiseguys) would agree that he was “uniquely true and loyal”. They would also say he was disciplined, trustworthy, principled, and reserved. Common traits among those people he got along with inclucde sober, clean living, decent, and principled.

            The Globe can call it a myth, but I’ve heard decades of good things Whitey did for good people. He bought furniture for people, funded at least two local charitable organizations and several priests. He bought groceries for the elderly women in the projects and listened to their troubles. He permanently resolved innumerable cases of domestic violence by telling the abusing husband he would take it personally if the husband beat the wife again. It proved to be the most effective deterrent I’ve seen for that crime.
            As far as I know, he didn’t promote any image of himself. He avoided images, nicknames and attention.
            A friend once told me he witnessed an attempted hit on Bulger in the basketball court off o’Callahan Way. he described his utter confusion when the blacktop started spontaneously scuffing up and flying in the air. Car windows shattered without explanation. There were two men armed with silenced sub-machine guns blazing away at Whitey as e had approached his house from the rear through the basketball court. The hitmen had been waiting in front of his house and they opened up too soon. On his way by, a sprinting Bulger yelled to the stunned kids to run. They immediately followed his order. Bulger ran in the opposite direction from the kids and nobody got hurt.
            There was genuine fondness by many people in the neighborhood for Whitey. The kids who witnessed the attempted hit would take out his garbage from the alley beside his house. At least one very decent and dignified older woman who lived in a single kept a cot in the basement for Whitey which he occasionally used. After he became a fugitive, the older women in the Old Harbor dedicated a memorial brick to him during some construction project. He gave five grand to the Korean War memorial….
            I digressed. P

            1. Patty:

              That is exactly what I was thinking last night as I worked my way through this. Connolly and Whitey had a relationship of meeting and talking. Whitey thought it was off the record and took most things from Connolly by listening. He passed him a little cash now and then and discussed general topics with him. Whitey never dimed anyone out. Connolly betrayed him, in his mind, by setting up an informant file and putting into it stuff from other people and also general grab ass conversations people have over coffee or a beer. And, as you suggest, there is a lot more to Whitey than the one sided cardboard view of him that the haters in the media have given us

  7. Matt

    If the U.S. prosecutors botch the case, are the Feds going to manipulate the out-of-state murder cases against Bulger in order to get the outcome they desire? John Nash’s game theory seems to be in play. Maybe, Bulger is realistic about his chances of prevailing in multiple venues, and, is angling for a bottom bunk at one of the FMCs that dot the archipelago. If that’s the case, how could he deal his way out of the state cases? Could the Feds quiet Bulger’s troubes in Florida and Oklahoma?
    There’s very little media attention on the case beyond the Boston area. I wouldn’t call it a news black-out, its more of a media brown-out. Could this be because the FBI has managed to put itself on trial?

    1. Khalid:

      Absolutely they will transfer Whitey to Florida or Oklahoma for trial. Those states will put the case on the slow track to nowhere while insuring Whitey is put in a cell with wild screaming doped up teenagers — probably he’d volunteer for the chair to get some peace.

      Bulger has no cards to play to get a soft prison environment. This is all or nothing. ADX or a state cell. The federals will do nothing for Bulger, nothing. The whole DOJ is desirous of tearing him apart. He’s got some tough days ahead.

      The case has been blown out of proportion because this is Boston and we have a strange idea that we are important. It’s really a local story that matters little outside here. Who cares about Whitey Bulger? Who has even heard of him? Mention his name to most people from other states and they stare at you. It’s really no more than a passing blip but it does contain thing that would intrigue the nation about the way justice operates.

      1. Matt,

        Say the phrase “three Bulger brothers” to anyone here in Ireland and they most likely will think you mean the three Bolger brothers who tragically died in a fishing boat sinking last week in Co. Waterford.


        People here are much more interested in 15% unemployment, rising taxes, rising food prices, rising energy costs, bad hospitals, bad roads and the failure of “austerity” than the trial of Whitey Bulger.

        1. Henry:

          Sad story indeed. AS their sister Paula said: “The beauty of the sea, the bounty of the sea, the power of the sea, the price of the sea, the wrath of the sea – 10 seconds of its awesome power washed away the combined 140 years of human life which we stand here to mourn.”
          Their poor mother Margaret what a loss.

          The Bulger case is not much watched beyond the Boston area. We’re interested because our media has trumpeted the Bulger brothers story for 25 yers creating myth upon myth. Now it is all tumbling down upon them but they will persist in trying to have the public believe their original false stories. You point out that Ireland is suffering badly, back to the old days.

          I was last there just before the bust but I could see it coming. I stayed two weeks in Berna just outside Galway City. I wallked through streets put through farm fields that contained rows of empty houses; I felt the sting of high food prices in the stores, the wages seemed way out of whack, the Taoiseach being paid more than twice the president of the United States, towns filled with Brazilians, Irish waitresses from Poland, and so on. It all seemed so unreal such a small place living so high off the hog.

          Some see things as they are: some seem things as they wish them to be: some are blind.

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