The FBI’s Use of Whitey Bulger to Hide Its Sordidness

2013 08 14_3681I mentioned in my last post on Whitey that he has been exploded into a legend by willful people stating: “there was a need of other parties to jump on the ship to inflate his reputation for their own less than straight forward purposes.” One of those parties was the FBI.

It’s good to keep in mind what exactly Whitey is supposed to have done. He was charged with 19 murders which considering the information available to the prosecutors pretty much had to be all of the murders he had been involved in. Remember the prosecutors had his partners and right hand man giving them information, men who had been with him from the beginning of his murders.

Another thing to keep in mind is that Whitey came late to the game of murder. He was born in 1929 and probably didn’t murder anyone until 1974 when he was 45 years old, a time when most men have passed on those duties to others or should know better than to get involved in murder.

Whitey’s alleged murders can be grouped into a two main categories, those murdered by others where he was an accessory and those he murdered himself. Those murdered by others were mostly murdered by John Martorano: when he was working for Gerry Angiulo (Milano, Plumer, O’Brien and Notorangelli); when it was in the interest of Winter Hill (O’Toole, Sousa, Castucci); and in the Jai Alai matter (Wheeler and Callahan). Whitey was charged with these nine murders, found by a jury to have done three, even though he did not do the actual killings. (Those in bold were found proven by the jury.)

The second category is those murders where he did the shooting or strangling: in the interest of Winter Hill (Connors); rivals from South Boston (McGonagle,King, Leonard); he believed were ratting on him (Halloran, Donahue, McIntyre); helping his partner Flemmi (Davis, Hussey) and one extortion victim who he thought might complain (Barrett).

11 alleged murders took place from 1973 to 1975 yet only four were found to have been proven. My best guess is he did four: his rivals from Southie and Eddie Connors. Between 1981 to 1985 he was alleged to have murdered 8 people of which 7 were proven. The eighth, Debra Davis, he was involved in as much as he was the Wheeter and Callahan murders, if not more so.

Whitey’s involvement in the murders certainly justified him being placed on the FBI’s most wanted list. This was not done until 1999 or until after the time he was indicted for those murders based on the testimony of John Martorano and Kevin Weeks. Others have been on that list for a lot less murders. Judging from the list the FBI does a pretty good job getting its man – even capturing some of them between the time it decided to add them to the list and the time it actually did it.

The FBI had good reason for putting Whitey on that list but it wanted to make more of him than really there was. It did this because of the often forgotten report of Judge Mark Wolf (which is better reading, or at least more accurate than the books) where he suggested there was something rotten in the Boston FBI office.

Wolf was on to something in his report because what he saw of the FBI’s operation of its Top Echelon Informant (TEI) program he found repulsive. Wolf only had access to what was happening in Boston, he had no idea whether or not the same thing was happening in all the other FBI offices throughout the country, which was probably the case.

The TEI program was used throughout the FBI. The idea behind it is so sordid that its hard to believe a group of people could conceive it. But once they did, their only desire was to do their best to hide it because it continues until today.

The FBI couldn’t do it from Wolf, he was a little bit too wise to their ways, but it could do it from the rest of the world if only they could come up with the right scheme. In a sense the FBI acted like the bishops of the Catholic Church who tried to hide the abuse committed by its priests; the FBI thought the best way to proceed was to hide what it had been doing to limit the damage rather than changing. The best way it could do this was to suggest that at least one agent, perhaps two, had become rogue agents but other than them every thing was hunky-dory.

The scheme which fit well into the plans of some in the Boston media was to hang Agent John Connolly out on the line suggesting that his relationship with James Bulger, and by inference Steve Flemmi, was wrong and not authorized. The truth is that what Connolly was doing was what he should have been doing. Everyone in the FBI from the director to every special agent in charge and his assistants and supervisors knew what Connolly was doing in having Whitey and Stevie as informants. How could it be wrong if everyone knew about it and no one, I mean no one, did anything about it?

So Connolly was put out in the point position for people to fire at while the rest of the FBI hid in the bushes. He has been castigated and imprisoned for life for doing his job. Unlike some who put guns to people’s heads and murdered them, Connolly never fired his gun at anyone. His conviction in Florida of murder by gun after the statute of limitations had expired is so tainted that an impartial viewer of the Florida’s judicial system has to question its idea of justice.

Inflating Whitey in to the all time king of criminals allows the FBI to have people consider his crimes without thinking of the FBI’s role in them; it allows it to suggest his malignity was such that it turned one of its agents into a bad agent; it lets them continue doing what it has done with the TEI program.

Congress examined the events in the Boston office and its use of TEIs. It found the FBI “made a decision to use murderers as informants beginning in the 1960s. Known killers were protected from the consequences of their crimes and purposefully kept on the streets. This report discusses some of  the disastrous consequences of the use of murderers as informants in New England. Beginning in the mid-1960s, the . . . [FBI] began a course of conduct in New England that must be considered one of the greatest failures in the history of federal law enforcement.” Unfortunately it limited itself to Boston for the same program used there was used throughout the United States. 

Hiding under the bright lights of Whitey, the FBI has imprisoned an agent doing his duty for life and hidden its own disgusting role in the affair.



  1. Rather …. The Show hasn’t even really started yet 🙂 … Matt has some serious joint locks going in his wrestling game. I agree, he pinned his adversary in this match. Concentric ripples on the glass surface that distorts the image of all who look into the deep deep waters of Jimmy Bulger’s fathomless Emerald Pool of Will and Well and the All Too Willing is a great predicate act we might say 🙂 … As to the hapless and ill-dealt with FBI Agent John Connolly, the man with an arm long enough to hold a service revolver from Martha’s Vineyard to Miami-Dade Airport and shoot it symbolically in a contract murder and his man crush on JB…. Wellllll !!! … I say only this ….Long back in the day in early eighties I walked down the sidewalk in back of John on Northern Ave. @ Santoro’s Sub Shop …shuttered at the time…old Bell payphone out front …100 feet from Joe’s Place …our present Federal Courthouse 🙂 … It was a desolate languid late summer afternoon the atmosphere of that time and place now understood only by those who knew just how desolate and languid the Waterfront leading to Anthony’s Pier 4 Restaurant could be back then. I had espied John …blue suited …coiffed…pomaded…blue crown vic’d and starched white french cuffs resplendent …and wanted a good close look at this brilliantly plumaged bird. I am a Detective like that. So … I nosed him out as it were … I conned him slow and close and thoroughly . And a cool bird he was I do indeed say that for John. And for the first time in my life I came to understand what it was to see a grown man of full and measured parts and some good deal of Substance …. Preen ….himself !!! … So John Connolly never met a mirror he did not fall in love with. And no one could mirror a person like Jimmy Bulger … and still does mirror All !!! ….Well Rather …. Just Reminiscin’ …. And a Happy St. Valentine’s Day Massacre as …they say in the Trade 🙂

  2. Jan … Everyone’s a Critic Sir/Madam 🙂

    • Wow, what a thread. I am enjoying the dialogue. Matt, you are winning on points by far, please go for the knockout. His logic “ya,..but” sounds like a toddler. The focus of this blog was, I thought, concentric to Whitey and his trial. There was no Whitey without Connolly’s man-crush, and the ill-conceived Top-Echelon program. And both of those two things are FBI. It is only natural that Matt bring up the FBI in the context of the subject of this blog, and in his dealings as a Norfolk Co. DA. The Staties seem to be the only ones who were really pursuing Whitey during the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. He’s not FBI, he’s a Statie Hater. His argument goes on ad nauseum ( FBI muscles Staties, Staties muscle locals, locals muscle municipal/housing cops, they muscle security guards, and on down the line to little old ladies and puppies.) Can’t wait to see the Finale, and King John’s colorful commentary.

  3. Well Johnny …. Ahemmmnmmm …. As the Old Mob Boss said … and Lor’ he always much more than well read …when he motored up longside Boston Blue , Statie True and Eagle Fed … Well, Well, Well. …. I see THE GANG’S ALL HERE !!! 🙂 …At ease now Gentlemen.

    • Should it be…….at ease now Ladies and Gentleman….then again it seems the gents are the gender group in a gangland style verbal shoot out here. Fall out might be a better idea!

  4. Matt, are you trying to tell me and your readers that the Mass. state police does not have a legendary history of arrogance??? Ask any local cop what they think of their false bravado and you’ll have your answer. Somehow you missed this during your career, perhaps because you didn’t work in the so-called trenches on the street where most of the disputes occur. Some of them are legendary, especially between the Boston and State Police. There was an incident one time not that long ago in front of the Boston Garden that almost ended in a riot between the two agencies, all caused by a trooper with an attitude. Big surprise there. One thing’s for certain, if you think the BPD hates the FBI, don’t ask them about their opinion of the state police who regularly go into neighborhoods where the BPD has primary jurisdiction, accost the residents in the course of whatever it is they’re doing there and then leave as quickly as they arrived, leaving the BPD to try and smooth over the relations and rapport they have worked so hard to build in these neighborhoods because they know neighborhood cooperation is essential to solving crime.

    Despite your assertions to the contrary, I am not an FBI agent. Howeve, I have seen first hand everything I write about. I will now return you to your regularly scheduled posts and leave you alone.

    • John S.

      Re-reading your posts I can’t believe otherwise than your either an FBI agent or a FBI cheer leader; and I’d note the FBI doesn’t have cheer leaders who aren’t agents.

      You are right I did not work in the street. I for the most part stayed away from that hard work. I’ve always recognized there was a great difference between what I did and the cop on the street did. The cops had to encounter the rough and tumble and dangers of everyday life of rubbing shoulders with the citizenry and all the problems inherent in those episodes which sometimes put them in a position of being less impartial when it came to charging a person and more aggressive when it came to pushing things. I viewed my job as one step away not having had the street-type encounter so I was not too affected by what the biases and prejudices inherent in dealing with wise guys and criminals.

      If your ideas of the relationship between the state police and Boston police are based on such things as the disputes over territory such as we’ve seen at the Boston Garden and the Seaport District your view is very limited. Of course each department is going to fight for and protect what it perceives as its own territory. The greatest disputes occurred back in the old days when you had the Mets on the scene. But that’s not waht I’m talking about because i recognize that a member of any department will always stick up for those in his department over outsiders which include other police departments, DAs or whomever.

      I’m writing about something much greater than what you have now posited which is the everyday inter-department dislikes of others. I’m writing about the FBI which has no supervision by anyone which feels it needs no accountability, allows criminals who cooperate with it to commit crimes, brings charges against others who are doing exactly what it is doing, and, as in the Whitey situation, tries to jam people in with criminal charges in order to make them cooperate against others whom they have targeted. It’s a different ball of wax than who’ll patrol the Seaport District.

  5. Can I introduce another subject – ok, I will. Lol. We have not heard more about the Gardner Museum heist. Last we heard the FBI reported they discovered who the perps were but weren’t revealing the info. as they (the FBI) felt that publicizing this info. could hamper the recovery of the art. It’s been almost a year since this position was taken, still no art recovered… seems plan B would begin with publicizing the alleged perps and hoping this info. might result in some truths coming forth to include the recovery of the art. Is it time to implement plan B yet?

  6. John King McDonald

    John … Sycophantic ravings ??? … That is coming it a bit strong as they say in Dublin. I have closely and critically read this blog since its beginning. I have chosen not to comment publicly on it until this particular thread. But from time to time have communicated my approval and marked disapproval to Matt via email regarding his various points and positions. Irate I may have sometimes been, but never questioned his Virtue. Always civil in my remarks I respect that he has his own experience of life as do I as do we all. KC Jones you better watch your speed as the Grateful Dead song had it is my friendly injunction to you now. You risk derailing sound points and argument when they are freighted with rancor and intemperance. Stay on track !!! … As to the language of dropping bombs to evoke responses … Well not only might one be hoist on ones own petard … but really … We just don’t illustrate our points with that particular metaphor these days Old Man !!! 🙂 … C’mon John … Let’s bring the “A” Game or none at all.

  7. Okay, Matt. I said I’d not post again and I regret this but you’ve left me with no choice with your closing. You like to talk about the arrogance of the FBI so let’s leave both FBI and State Police corruption out of this and stick with that topic.

    I deliberately dropped a few bombs about the power that the FBI has to invoke a response from you. In your last post, I got the response I expected. You stated that you could always work with the state police but never with the FBI because of their attitude and because they don’t deal with you at the same level and somehow think they’re better.

    Matt, are you even remotely aware that you have precisely described the manner in which the state police treat the local police? If you’re not, you were asleep at the switch for way too long behind your desk.

    What irks me about your writings is the double standard you gloss over. You know damn well that the state police blew a gasket every time the FBI slighted them (and I’m not saying it’s right) but that the state police then turned around and defecated on the local police in the same exact manner. You absolutely had to have seen this go on yet you conveniently ignore it when you’re doing your flag waving for the state police. You’ve presented yourself as a person of virtue. If that’s the case, then I implore you once again and for the last time to deny to your readership with a straight face that the Massachusets State Police have an infamous history that continues in force to this very day of having an attitude toward the local police, of not dealing with them at the same level and thinking soleley because they are troopers, that they are better than the local police.

    Out of your own mouth, you said you couldn’t work with the FBI for those same reasons. So, using your logic, should the local police refuse to work with the state police for those same reasons also? Maybe that was the logic in play when the state police turned down federal assistance in the search for Molly Bish when it could only have enhanced the investigation. How or why the Bish family accepted that is beyond me. I’d love to hear the explanation they were given for that decision. Were the local police to do something so similarly stupid, the DA of jurisdiction would force state police assistance down the local’s throats and probably rightly so.

    You also mentioned that the FBI has never given credit to the state police for their contributions to FBI investigations. The same is once again true.

    It is that type of unmitigated blindness, unconscious or otherwise, that led me to engage in this exchange with you. The double standard you ignore during your sycophantic ravings about the state police are outrageous. Tell it like it was Matt but don’t accuse the FBI of arrogance and elitism when their brethren in the state police were worse by far.

    I don’t expect you to admit that any of what I am saying is right but any of your readers who are in the least bit informed about these issues will see that it is. This includes any of the troopers who read this blog. The state police has many great investigators, no doubt. Unfortunately, the arrogance and elitism that you attribute to the FBI has and always will be their Achilles heal.

    John S.

    • I can personally attest to the fact that there was/is misconduct, collectively, in each entity- the FBI, State police, Boston Police and DEA….oh and the BTD (lol) I’ll throw in the Boston transportation Department too where those urchins keep annoyingly slapping bogus tickets on my car – I think the window people at city hall are tired of having to address the multitude of parking ticket errors I present them with repeatedly ‘gifted’ to me by the BTD foot patrol in my downtown home neighborhood – 4 in 3 weeks recently!…..I was wondering if the posts I made in the past regarding organized crime associate Edward MacKenzie, Kathleen O’Connor Eckland and Edward “Buddy” Fallon Jr. and his son Fallon, III are still here?? I should also add to the above list the MA Army National Guard, which has both State and Federal powers has their boot in the sea of corruption too, not to mention and remind that the Gov. had to dismiss the recent/former Adjutant General….with full pension, I’m sure….no surprise this former AG was also on the BPD.

    • John s.- You are obsessed with Matt Connolly, either contribute something positive or get the fuck over it. You keep saying you are done posting, but your ego won’t let you go a day without trolling this blog. You make it a point every time to try and make this into a pissing contest between the FBI and MSP.

      • I’ll settle this – you’re all correct, there’s good and bad (corruption) in all of the law enforcement agencies/police forces. Some got away with the bad, some didn’t.

    • Okay, Matt. I said I’d not post again and I regret this but you’ve left me with no choice with your closing. You like to talk about the arrogance of the FBI so let’s leave both FBI and State Police corruption out of this and stick with that topic.
      I deliberately dropped a few bombs about the power that the FBI has to invoke a response from you. In your last post, I got the response I expected. You stated that you could always work with the state police but never with the FBI because of their attitude and because they don’t deal with you at the same level and somehow think they’re better.
      Matt, are you even remotely aware that you have precisely described the manner in which the state police treat the local police? If you’re not, you were asleep at the switch for way too long behind your desk.
      What irks me about your writings is the double standard you gloss over. You know damn well that the state police blew a gasket every time the FBI slighted them (and I’m not saying it’s right) but that the state police then turned around and defecated on the local police in the same exact manner. You absolutely had to have seen this go on yet you conveniently ignore it when you’re doing your flag waving for the state police. You’ve presented yourself as a person of virtue. If that’s the case, then I implore you once again and for the last time to deny to your readership with a straight face that the Massachusets State Police have an infamous history that continues in force to this very day of having an attitude toward the local police, of not dealing with them at the same level and thinking soleley because they are troopers, that they are better than the local police.
      Out of your own mouth, you said you couldn’t work with the FBI for those same reasons. So, using your logic, should the local police refuse to work with the state police for those same reasons also? Maybe that was the logic in play when the state police turned down federal assistance in the search for Molly Bish when it could only have enhanced the investigation. How or why the Bish family accepted that is beyond me. I’d love to hear the explanation they were given for that decision. Were the local police to do something so similarly stupid, the DA of jurisdiction would force state police assistance down the local’s throats and probably rightly so.
      You also mentioned that the FBI has never given credit to the state police for their contributions to FBI investigations. The same is once again true.
      It is that type of unmitigated blindness, unconscious or otherwise, that led me to engage in this exchange with you. The double standard you ignore during your sycophantic ravings about the state police are outrageous. Tell it like it was Matt but don’t accuse the FBI of arrogance and elitism when their brethren in the state police were worse by far.
      I don’t expect you to admit that any of what I am saying is right but any of your readers who are in the least bit informed about these issues will see that it is. This includes any of the troopers who read this blog. The state police has many great investigators, no doubt. Unfortunately, the arrogance and elitism that you attribute to the FBI has and always will be their Achilles heal.
      John S.

      John S.
      As what you describe as dropping bomb. I consider an everyday, ongoing attitude of some of the FBI agents who think like you do. It is well known that the FBI does not share information with outsiders. It hides things from them. The first time we saw some of their 302s in Judge Wolf’s hearings we found they were filled with attacks on others and misinformation.
      As for your rants, let’s get one thing clear in the beginning, I worked with the state police you didn’t. Your information is second or third hand or from fictitious 302’s. Nothing of what you say about the state police officers I worked with rings true. So who is to be believed, one who has been there or one who relies on rumors and perhaps some begrudgers.
      The state police I worked with also worked with the local police in my county. As I told you, we had combined units of state and local police in our task forces. They got along well. They worked side by side in many of my cases. I have no idea what you refer to.
      I saw no arrogance and no refusal to exchange information. I never had a situation where a local police department was excluded from information gathered by the state police during its investigation. The local chiefs met with me monthly and aired their complaints freely; had any wanted any information it came lickety split. The DAs want good relations with their chiefs and they insure the chiefs get what they want. The barriers you talk about are FBI imaginings. The problem is not with the state agencies but with the FBI.
      It is common knowledge the FBI unlike other federal investigative agencies is not an open outfit. It does not freely exchange information. In the Boston Terrrorist Bombing it did not even let other members of the Joint Task Force know about the tip on Tsarnaev. There is no one to go to in a situation where the FBI refuses to share information as it is now doing in the outrageous handling of the Todashev killing by and FBI agent.
      As to my double standard you err. First, I’m writing about the Whitey Bulger events and prominent in those are the FBI and its outrageous Top Echelon Informant program where it protects, and to use an FBI agents words, “my job is to keep you safe” people who are Maria capos. It is the FBI and its dealings that are the subject of this blog. All who have looked into the Bulger matter had a like concern about the FBI’s involvement with him, not about the state police who were responsible for revealing it.
      You pull the usual FBI silliness of not understanding that simple issue. You are desperately trying to shift me into another area. If I write about the Ukrainians, as I do, does that mean I’m using a double standard if I don’t write about the Tibetans?
      I can’t agree with you about the state police blowing a gasket when the FBI slighted them. For your information, which might surprise you, when I worked with the state police I never had any discussions that I can recall about the FBI. We worked very well without the FBI. In fact, the FBI did hardly anything in the areas that we were working on in the organized crime area which was going after Whitey’s organization because it was protecting his organization. The bottom line is the FBI was not part of our world. I’ll tell you one thing though, I was quite friendly with some high ranking Boston police officers and if you imagine the state police were high up on the ladder of not liking the FBI, you have no idea how high the Boston police reached.
      I know little about the Molly Bish case. I don’t believe you are suggesting the FBI could have done something on that case that the state police did not do. Didn’t you tell us if the FBI wanted to take over a case it could? I imagine if the FBI could have solved that case it very well would have done so.
      As usual, another such tactic is to attack the person not the matter. Saying I was asleep at my desk because I don’t agree with what you believe is the truth epitomizes arrogance.
      As a representative of the FBI, I’d ask you to come forward, identify yourself, (you can use the email on the site) and sit down with one or two of the state police officers who responded to your comment. One Bob has indicated his willingness and I’m sure the other will be glad to go along. Stop hiding behind your pseudonym.

  8. John King McDonald

    Incidentally Matt … ” Photo Memory ” … shorthand for photographic memory. I am not immune to flattery, but as to being a ” learned man ” , I thank you for this but always like to start the day with Socrates’ words ” All I Know Is That I Know Nothing. ” …. That’s my story and I am sticking to it !!! 🙂 … Got the ” Picture? ” … Monsignor 🙂

    • John:

      I’m not into flattery nor is it flattery to state what one observes. You do have a compelling memory as you’ve shown over the past. We are all gifted to a greater or lesser extent and that seems to be one of the gifts you received which most of us, myself included, do not have. In law school there was this guy who was a real screw off always looking for a good time. He’d spend about 1/4th of the time studying that I did. He’d read something and retain it almost word for word. He had a near photographic memory and much of law is shooting out what you ingest and remember. We were good friends and despite my diligence and hard work he always bettered me in the exams. I knew I’d never be able to keep up with him. But that’s life after all, we’re all endowed with different abilities so all we can do is take what we have an do the best. But even with a gift, you still have to do the work to make it shine.

  9. John King McDonald

    Matt ..Producing that missing post now would be anticlimactic … though if you can a belated appraisal would reveal that I edited out references to the stinging tails of the traditional WASP Ownership and hierarchy at the Globe as well as mention that the nonfiction Classic of the actual truths of this period is yet to be written. I have not seen it. Rather, too many books by too many scribes at the Globe and elsewhere rehashing the myths, fables and fabrications about James Bulger that you have painstakingly and very effectively delineated in your blog. Naught is red nosed about your labors, blue nosed snarkiness was a riff on bluebloods and their well concealed propensity to drink while at the same time leveling this imputation historically at the Irish. As to admiring James Joseph Bulger Jr. for murder …. I come not to praise Bulger nor to bury them he is accused of killing in graves where they rest uneasy … The evil that Jimmy did lives after him … The evil of many others lies interred with the bones of those he alone is adjudged as murdering …. Perhaps this is best … Perhaps we should so let it be with Jimmy Bulger. Fine !!! …. Just do not insult our collective intelligence with lurid nonsense about naps after exhausting stranglings of Ditchman’s molestation victims and exploited young girlfriends. Not Bulger’s style at all. He is a gunman. He lived a bloody creed and is not to be admired so much as understood as giving as well as he got with a roll call of Fellow Travelers and Characters who were anything but ” Victims ” . This was not exclusively, but largely, the case. To accept otherwise is to be in a Trance !!!

    • John:

      Nice compelling comment. Must say I agree with most especially: “He is a gunman. He lived a bloody creed and is not to be admired so much as understood as giving as well as he got with a roll call of Fellow Travelers and Characters who were anything but ” Victims ”” with one caveat that the two women were not deserving of the outcome he led them to at the behest of Benji Ditchman.

  10. John King McDonald

    Khalid … It’s the irredentism … the whole stolen territory thing and reversion to real estate historically claimed by one group or another that becomes the reductio ad absurdam. Where do we start … when will it end ??? Ask the Inca and Aztec before LaRasa and the Reparations Committee. Ask the Jews. Ask the Irish. Ask divers groups in all epochs of Mankind’s bloody history and ask Carlos Fuentes and the Horse Black Jack Pershing rode in on. The Horse will probably make the most sense 🙂 … Una Rasa Una Fasa … One Race One Face epitomizes my take at 55 years with Humankind and its stories about itself. McMurtry’s VOICE one of millions … So is yours … So is mine. Be still and listen. Your points well made and taken. As to Ad Hominen or Ad Feminan arguments my style pretty consistently playfully gentle. I did find your … if that is not too personal a pronominal reference. 🙂 … original comment somewhat tart in tone and so responded with ironic humor. I trust no real offense taken as none intended. I appreciate your learned and stimulating response courteously and civilly delivered. And I lay this particular topic now here against this shade tree the better that we may both take siesta in its thoughtful gloom and kindred spirits, share a good belly laugh at the cosmic riddle of our shared Humanity. Finis … And The Rest Is Silence ……

  11. John

    I’m fond of poetry, but, I’m even more fond of scholarly historical research. Larry McMurtry is a fine novelist who based his historical novel on Texas history, but, he is a novelist, not a historian. If you would like to read a fact based history of race relations in Texas, I suggest you glance at historian David Montejano’s “Anglos and Mexicans in the Making of Texas, 1836-1986.” Professor Montejano cites numerous instances of the Texas Rangers being used to break strikes, and, repress the Hispanic population. His book focuses primarily on the densely settled Lower Rio Grande Valley, where the conflict was most acute. In that context, he examines two important movements of this period–on the one hand, an irredentist guerilla war waged by Texas Mexicans, and, the repression carried out by Texas Rangers, on the other, the conventional politics that pitted old-timer against new-comer for control of local government (Montejano 105).

    “O bury me not on the lone praire-ee
    where the wild coyotes will howl o’er me!
    In a narrow grave just six by three
    where all the Mexicans ought to be-ee!
    (Texas Ranger Patrol Song, circa 1900)

    “Come on, you cowardly Rangers;
    No baby is up again you.
    You want to meet your daddy?
    I am Jacinto Trevino!

    Come on, you treacherous Rangers;
    Come get a taste of my lead.
    Or did you think it was ham
    between two slices of bread?
    (Ballad of Jacinto Trevino, circa 1912)

    In modern times, the use of Texas Rangers to suppress the civil rights movement in Texas is well documented:

    “The Texas Rangers played a familiar role in the farm worker strike (1975), arresting, and, beating strikers, and, supporters, including clergy and one state senator. The Rangers, and, their parent organization, the Department of Public Safety, were constant observers of the Raza Unida Party, as they harassed, and, occasionally arrested organizers, and, members of the party (Montejano 289).

    If you can get beyond the ad hominem arguments, I’ll be happy to discuss this issue.

  12. Petulance and sweeping generalization under the color of meaningful balanced historical analysis about people of color, the Rangers and The proto-Nazi regime you seem to style the Lone Star State is banal and at variance with insightful remarks you have historically made on this blog Khalid. The Rangers rose and rode to the demands of their Times. We live in a Culture that alllows glib portrayals of complex, complicated and truly dense social and historical conditions and those of ALL COLORS who actually lived them with anonymous keystrokes. History is written by the winners said Orwell. Poetry is written by the losers. Don’t know who penned that,but I like it ! …. Retrospect is an exact science and like the Texas Rangers each of us will one day ride into the sunset ourselves. I wish more people realized that Old Stony Lonesome awaits us all. We would be fully involved in the NOW instead of in psychological trance to a past, however warty, we are obsessed with reviving. Well …. Adios Companero. …. Incidentally … perhaps the most heroically drawn character in McMurtry”s rosy panegyric to the Texas Rangers LONESOME DOVE was Josh Deets … an INDIVIDUAL.who I am sure painted life not just as a Person of Color … but in any Color he damn pleased !!! … Color you … well …. Read. 🙂 if you choose to pick it up. Khalid … NAMASTE 🙂

  13. Texas Rangers? You mean the notorious strike-breakers, and, up-holders of the racial status quo in the Lone Star State? You must be reading the white people’s history of the Texas Rangers. People of color don’t have such a rosy view of the Rangers.

    For the record, Capone’s folks were from Naples.

  14. John King McDonald

    INFALLIBLY FAITHFUL TO DETAIL etc. …… Damn that Voice Recognition !!!!!!!!! 🙂

  15. John King McDonald

    Matt … near photo memory so will just reproduce that lost or errant post. … u had written conciliatory note about a punctuation mark voice recog misplaced and I follow up corrected and cited numerous punctuation mishaps by yourself … So … We pick up The Thread 🙂 ………. Matt, I am a stickler for detail ! … The fault sometimes lies not in ourselves, but in the technology we employ. I always assumed this accounted as well for your so called punctuation errors. Regardless, I have never had a difficulty reading Sub Rosa with your lively prose. You preach to the choir here regarding the vilification of Billy B. by interests inimical, notably the Globe. Matt, never would I accuse you of the snarky blue nosed malevolence that the Globe directs towards its favorite bogeyman Senate President Bulger! … It is of a different … immoral cloth … altogether than the very tough weave of your moral cloth that barely diguises your indiscriminate malevolence directed at your favorite bogeyman … Brother Jim ! 🙂 …. THERE IT IS MATT !!! … A memory forensic in scope and infallliby faithful to detail has lifelong been my Blessing and Curse !!! 🙂

    • John:

      Life has its interruptions and I will still find the “missing comment” and then I can compare it with your most recent to determine how neare “photo memory” you have. You infer I have the Globe’s “snarky blue nosed malevolence” toward Brother Jim. I don’t buy into the blue nose concept, red nose might be better, but I do have a dislike for Whitey as I would for anyone who would murder another person, in the same way I feel about Murderman, Benji Ditchman, or any of their buddies. You, as a learned man, knows that anyone who murders others has done the most reprehensible thing one can do. This is compounded by the premeditated aspect as in some of Whitey’s murders as with the young women. How anyone can have any feeling of admiration toward Whitey is beyond me.

  16. It is instructive to read John S.’s comments. It gives the reader of this Blog a snapshot of the problems that curse law enforcement in the Boston area. It is attitudes similar to “John S” that stand in the way of effective law enforcement.

    There were and are some good and dedicated agents in the Boston office, I met several of them. But there were some who lacked the intestinal fortitude to confront John Connolly and some of his fellow co-conspirators.

    Mass State Troopers were able to make things happen with little or no resources. The FBI had the power of the Justice Department and the excellent forensic technology of the FBI and they continuously stumbled in Boston and then gave us Whitey Bulger.

    The important difference between Massachusetts State Troopers and FBI agents is that when corruption visited their respective agencies, Troopers wanted to clean their own house, FBI Agents wanted to minimizing the damage to their image. The FBI continues to perpetuate the fiction that Connolly was a rogue agent and they fantasize that the only honest cops are FBI agents.

    The FBI is a great investigative agency, staffed by talented and courageous individuals but their agency has lost their way and they are surviving on the shoulders of their remarkable past history.

    In contradiction to what John S is trying to sell you, with all their faults, your best bet is to be standing next to a Trooper.

    Robert L. Cerra
    Massachusetts State Police (RET)

    -I’ll bet John S is a retired FBI agent, who might be timid about properly identifying himself.

    • Robert:

      You are exactly right when it comes to John S. But I was glad he wrote because for once we see the attitude of some of the FBI agents which seems to permeate the Bureau as a whole strutted about openly on the stage. I worked mostly with state police and had many disagreements with them but none were about their integrity or ability. I couldn’t work with the FBI because of the attitude exemplified by John S. You can’t work with people who don’t deal with you at the same level and somehow think they are better. One thing you’ll never hear the FBI giving credit for is the work the state police did in the gambling area where there constant pursuit of those involved in illegal gaming was the seed which allowed Whitey and his friends to be undermined. From its operation in Plymouth where they caught John Martorano through its operations with me where it caught Joey Yerardi, Jimmy Katz, Michael Desotell, and to its capture of Chico Krantz were all major factors in securing the indictments against Whitey, Salemme, Martorano and Flemmi. It wasn’t the FBI doing these things it was the state police. True the FBI has all the resources and power whereas on the state side we had little but what did the FBI do with all of it. And, never mind that it was the state police in 1980 that could have brought down both Winter Hill and the Mafia if the FBI didn’t expose their bug. Good comment.

  17. John King McDonald

    By the way Matt … the ” Loyal Opposition ” 🙂 response was complete, comprehensive and wonderfully comprehensible ! You really pay attention and write superlatively when someone gets your hackles up. If John S. puts the blood scent in your nostrils again then like the Great … Bundini 🙂 …. I say … Roar Young Man, ROAR !!!!!!!!

    • John:

      John S. was really refreshing since he laid out for all to see what some FBI agents really think about other law enforcement. It is worse than I imagined.

  18. John King McDonald

    Goodness Matt … the Lion, bearded in his den by this intriguing fellow with disposable e-mail accounts and what you maintain are authentic Fed credentials accuses Agent Mysterioso of … blather ??? … Yes, brevity is the soul of wit but the prolix response is hardly a novelty on this blog . 🙂 … Sometimes you have to let your quarry chase you in order to catch it. John S. wanted to engage. He was steps from the Father Matt Connolly confessional booth in The Church Of The Whited Sepulchre and our irascible Monsignor turned the light above the door off. This was an opportunity to draw articulate witness from one of ‘dem FBI Sinnah’s … Lost !!!

    • John:

      As you may know Confessional hours are limited, or at least they were in my times and when the clock stuck 8:00 the good monsignor would have one of his acolytes lock the doors and he’d speed through the remaining penitents. Maybe I should have been more patient but he laid out the FBI position so well and then was out of habit using the FBI tactics or accusing others of malfeasance and shifting the subject that one could only handle so much.

  19. Matt: I have not read your blog for about a month. I decided to look at it today wondering if you or someone else had the chance to catch the documentary at the Coolidge Theater last evening on Bulger but it was sold out. I started reading this blog and the comments written by John S. To John S. I am retired from the MSP and have worked over the years with Matt on numerous cases involving Org, Crime and Electronic Surveillances. I also had the opportunity to work with the FBI on numerous cases involving Org. Crime and Electronic Surveillance. During the Anguilo Invest the MSP had a companion invest on going in Worcester County. One of duties was to follow an individual from Worcester to the North End (Joseph’s Aquarium) where he dropped off a satchel of money to North End faction. During the Investigation I would have to go the FBI
    Office on a weekly basis where John Morris would introduce me to out of state agents so they would recognize me during their surveillances at the restaurant. These investigations I/c a Trooper by the name of John Naimovich and not one of these investigations was compromised. We had just completed a major Electronic Surveillance in Norfolk County and it was leading up to Bulger and Flemni. A short time later John Naimovich was arrested by the FBI and State Police for compromising investigations. He was eventually found not guilty. Tell me he was not set up by the FBI to protect them and other members of his Unit from seeking Bulger and Flemni. Sorry to rant on. John S., if you want to seat down with me I am more than willing.

    • Bob:

      John S. was so FBI he might has well have flashed his credentials. I’m glad you set out your experience especially as it relates to Naimovich. I wrote a response to Bob Cerra where I pointed out that the state police did the ground work that led to the downfall of Whitey. It was you and the guys in your unit that worked hard and diligently out of the lime lights for many years going after the organized crime networks. You developed the intelligence and convictions which allowed the federals to knuckle guys like Jimmy Katz. It would be good if a guy like John S got off his high horse and sat down with a couple of troopers who could tell him what really went on. Thanks for the comment.

  20. Matt, your characterization of the FBI is spot on. How in a Democratic Reublic did we end up with a national police who won’t identify themselves by name, and seem to have a carte blanch to do whatever they want, and never have to answer to anybody.
    John S. needs to go back and read the Constitution carefully for a start. Please keep on pressing for transparncy in the tOdashev matter.
    I agree with the person who said the “Cheyken” should not get the death penalty. He will wake up to what a mistake he made, how his crazy
    mother and Brother misled him. Then he may be an asset.
    All those billions and lives lost overseas but no effective battle in Propoganda at all.
    Keith Richards was righrt when he said “Rock and Roll and Blue Jeans brought down the Berlin wall”, butaccording to Eastern Europeans I’ve talked with Voice of America played an important part. I don’t percieve we’ve done this re. “Islamic” extemists.

  21. Matt … John has his own POV and vacuous not the descriptive I would employ. If his affiliation seems obvious then why let what he might consider an impolitic acknowledgement of it hinder you. His remarks have content and merit as do yours. … My complaint … is more aptly a raised eyebrow than outright grievance. I use voice recog to post and part of that ” Lost Message ” …stated that … perhaps the fault lies not in ourselves, but the technology we employ … close quote 🙂 …Perhaps this is the present case. I do know that it did post in the queue properly yesterday and then … Vanished 🙂 … Anyhoo … would like to see you and John argue to some meaningful conclusions that further the spirit and mission of this blog.

    • John:

      Good point. Vacuous is the wrong word. Perhaps misinformed would have been better. I will search my mail for the phrase “the fault lies not in ourselves” and if I find it I will certainly post it.

      • Matt- John S., I believe is a FBI agent. I smell the arrogance in his federal supremacy clause comment. Does he realize that saying “FBI laughs at DA subpoenas and Grand Juries” is not a good thing?

        • Doubting:

          Of course it was stupid of him to say they laugh at DAs and grand juries but the simple fact is that they are protected from going before a state grand jury. That is part of my ongoing complaint that there is no one to whom the FBI is responsible. His arrogance demonstrates that he believes the FBI can take over any investigation, which it can’t. Further, he employs a typical FBI trick, which must be taught to them, that when you point out some wrongdoing in the FBI they won’t answer it but would rather point out someone else is just as bad. The old two wrongs make things better notion for the first evil doer. I came early to the conclusion he is an FBI agent notwithstanding his denial.

  22. Matt- I will respect your wishes and this will be my last post. Perhaps through introspection you will see that I have one or more valid points. Perhaps I will do the same. While I respect your service to the Commonwealth, I disagree with the system your represented and believe the whole story should be told. All of that aside, I intended no insult to you personally, just the justice system in MA as it currently exists. The federal justice system is also far from perfect and I will be the first to admit that. In either case, we can agree to disagree. Our debate was spirited yet civil as is the hallmark of a free society and good men can have differing opinions and remain decent human beings. I believe you are a decent human being and I wish you the best.

    • John S.

      Thanks for responding to my request. We reached a point where further discussion would just go in circles. There are a few things I’d like to make clear.

      My relations with the State Police were never what you described. It was strictly a business relationship with very little personal interaction. It was mostly arm’s length to the extend its special units were not allowed to work in Norfolk County with me because I refused to restrict the law enforcement officers doing my wiretaps to state troopers. I was also told by a state police colonel that unless I stepped down from handling a case which was a joint project of the FBI and state police (which I was not handling) I would “destroy the morale of the state police.” That’s how much I had been disliked by the state police that they were so spooked by rumors about me a colonel came to my office to tell me that.

      My task forces were always a combination of local police departments and state police departments and they operated very well. My first wiretaps were with locals. I continued to do them with locals as well as my task forces. Your suggestion that the state police and I had less than the best relations with locals is totally unfounded and a myth created by your agency.

      Of course not all state cops liked locals just as not all locals liked state cops, and just as some state cops and locals could not abide me. My first introduction to that was a knock put on a state cops by locals who I respected. When I met that cop I realized the knock was unjustified. I had state cops tell locals they should not work with me; I had locals tell DEA agents that they should not work with me. However I did work with ATF and DEA agents without any problems. It was only your outfit that gave me problems and that was because of its desire to protect its top echelon informants who were my targets during some of my wiretaps.

      I appreciate your point of view although you generalize about things that are clearly wrong but that is a product of your training and probably the malicious 302s that you read. Keep in mind that the FBI agents protecting Whitey continually denigrated Norfolk County because as one of them said “Norfolk County has a vendetta” against Whitey. When Whitey found the DEA bug in his car he told the DEA agents that Norfolk County was harassing him.

      I found your personal attacks on my ethics and expertise a little beyond the pale. You don’t know me nor have any idea of what I did and what my relations were with other police departments. As to your suggestions I have some inner motives of jealousy or an animus toward the FBI agents nothing could be further from the truth. I respect, appreciate and give credit to them when they do the job; I avoid bringing up individual FBI agent’s failings as emblematic of all FBI agents; but I do think those agents who are consummate professionals work in an organization that has violated the rights of many Americans, is in great need of external supervision, must get over its inordinate fear of being embarrassed, and has set up a system where the best do not thrive.

      Thanks for your comments. I hope we both learned something from the exchange.

  23. Semantic quibbles aside re: terms La Cosa Nostra, Cosa Nostra, Mafia or THE BLACK HAND 🙂 … Let us stipulate that these are VERY BAD MEN with well known historical antecedents and organizational structure and pet names aside what is at issue here? … Matt … Seems John’s argument distilled is … PHYSICIAN HEAL THYSELF! … John .. seems Matt’s distilled is .. PHYSICIAN HEAL THYSELF! … This is common ground at least .. Where do we go from here … Doctor 🙂

    • John:

      Don’t particularly feel the need to heal myself after listening to John S. His points were vacuous and his failure to own up to his affiliation which seems obvious is quite telling. I spent too much of my time reading his long winded comments and hope he goes away. By the way I’m still looking for that comment you complained that I didn’t post.

  24. First, I’m not going to continue to debate it but you’re completely wrong about your definition of the Mafia. I know Norfolk County was a hotbed of organized crime activity but you must have missed the briefing on that subject. You are by no means an expert on the subject.

    Out of curiosity, did any of the wiretaps you mentioned pertain to marijuana trafficking? The irony that the DA you once worked for and who signed off on those applications is now a partner in a medical marijuana venture is obscene. We can now plainly see where his priorities lie. The rule of law my foot. I hope he doesn’t forget that possession and distribution of marijuana is still a federal crime and invokes money laundering violations as well.

    Unfortunately Matt, these are my opinions alone and not those of any agency I may or may not work for. Thus, my employment is irrelevant. Besides, why would you want to know? So you could inform your trooper buddies who would then order the code red and attempt to intimidate me through moving violations. The legal end result of such tactics would be newsworthy but I digress. This is your blog and you put yourself out there to be taken to task on your opinions. You won’t answer the questions posed to you about what you did to ensure the equality you speak of during your tenure nor what you did to prevent the state police from acting like the FBI and your silence speaks volumes. I have made my point.

    • John S:

      Your reluctance to identify yourself speaks loudly as to your affiliation. You see you can’t hide certain things about your training that come out throughout your writings. Everything you have written only points to one thing. Even when you demean my ethics by suggesting if I knew your identity that I would sic people on you is telling as is your demeaning my expertise and my relationships with the state police and others when you have no idea what that was or is. I really don’t gain much from people like you who throw out insults to me and others, engage in ad hominem attacks without any basis, and hide to the extent they use a disposable email accounts. I’d ask you to have some decency and not comment here anymore. I find I’ve wasted too much time in responding to your comments full of blather.

  25. John King McDonald

    John …. funny that … just a few days ago reluctantly finished reading Larry McMurtry’s LONESOME DOVE … so good a novel it required savoring … its two central characters are former Texas Rangers Gus McCrae and F.W. Call … really got across the grain of these guys … they lived an ethos of individual honor and rugged character embodied in great extent in their own sense of Being The Law … autonomy of action guided by Law and Honor …. and sanctioned by Law … their Creed! … These agencies … Federal … State …. Local .. are composed of individuals ultimately … not all know how to shoot and fight while mounted … A Texas Ranger innovation … instead of dismounting to fight … but many do 🙂 … not all are wastrels and strutting dummies .. though all agencies have their share … many are quite capable … all right then … back to the Riot !!!!!!!! 🙂

  26. Matt,

    Time to do some more research. The LCN members at the Mafia induction ceremony bugged by the FBI in Medford, MA called their organization “La Cosa Nostra” themselves which translates to “this thing of ours.” The FBI didn’t invent it and the Sicilian Mafia is a completely seperate organized crime group than the LCN. They do business together but that are not one in the same. The Pizza Connection case was the Sicilian Mafia, NOT the LCN although the LCN got in on it once they realized there was money to be made.

    • John:

      Enough of your FBI historical distortions. You should admit when you are wrong. There is no LCN in Sicily or Italy, it is the Mafia. The group in America came from Sicily and Italy and it had roots in the Mafia from the old country and continue its traditions today. La Cosa Nostra does not translate into “this thing of ours” other than in the FBI manual. La in Italian means “the” not this; nostra means our, cosa thing. Only the dumb Mafia members in Boston would call it the same name as the FBI – “The our thing.” The NY mob called it “Cosa Nostra” meaning our thing. No self respecting Italian other than one as a member of the FBI ever would use La Cosa Nostra.

  27. Two other points of clarification that I missed: First, if the federal government through the Attorney General decides it is going to assume primary jurisdiction over a federal crime, they have every authority to exclude the DA, the state police and anyone else from the crime scene. Those refusing to comply would face arrest for obstruction of justice.

    Secondly, you mentioned that joint task forces are destined to fail as long as the FBI has no respect for a fails to treat their state police counterparts as equals. For my benefit as well as your readers, try and tell me with a straight face that the state police respects and treats the local police as equals. For extra credit, do the same by denying you were never present in the DA’s office for a conversation led by troopers about the ineptness and incompetence of the local police. I’d like to see you swear on a bible on that answer. If you were present for such a conversation and I’d bet money you were, what did you do about it? Did you admonish them that they are all equals and no such talk will take place under your watch? Further, how many actually incompetent troopers worked under your supervision because they knew someone when they actually belonged supervising oil changes on state police cruisers? How many troopers with 5 years experience did you send out to oversee the investigation of a death by a 30 year veteran local police detective who has forgotten more about police work than that trooper will ever know? Ever held a meeting on a murder case with the state police without inviting the local police to “coordinate” the investigation as the law requires? If you insist that it is appropriate that the DA control death investigations, then why not do so using the detectives of the jurisdiction in which the crime occurred? I can suggest one answer: there has to be somewhere to hide over 2,000 troopers in a state 1/20th the size of Texas which has 2,119 troopers and 140 Texas Rangers who incidentally, are the oldest statewide law enforcement agency in the country, not the Mass State Police as they allege. If you want to read about the history of a statewide law enforcement agency that is beyond reproach and demands international respect, read up on the Texas Rangers. The Mass State Police stole their motto which is “one riot, one ranger” and changed it to “one riot, one trooper.” It was originally coimed by Captain Bill McDonald, Texas Ranger. When inmates in the Rusk State Hospital for the Criminally Insane rioted and took hostages, Ranger Captain R. A. “Bob” Crowder walked into the maximum security unit armed only with the .45 on his hip. Crowder and the leader of the mob had a conversation and the inmates surrendered. Now that’s a reputation to be proud of. It’s too bad the state police don’t have a similar one and have to steal the Ranger’s hard earned reputation. Most importantly perhaps, I am told that the Rangers work exceptionally well with the local police in Texas and are the consummate gentlemen, not in the least bit affected by their outstanding reputation or authority. It’s too bad the state police didn’t decide to steal the Ranger’s ethics instead of their motto. Even with all of their phoney Marine Corps language (despite the fact that 3/4 of them were never Marines nor would they even survive a week at Parris Island) and bravado, their inflated reputation is nothing but part of a huge propaganda machine.

    Back to my point. You know how the game is played and you think such a system is just? Do you truly believe the state police have to come in, tell everyone to “make a hole” and lead the investigations of serious crimes? Are you suggesting agencies like Quincy, Brockton and New Bedford can’t handle their own homicides? You were right in the middle of it. Tell us what you did personally to create an environment of the equality you refer to. Perhaps I might even change my opinion based on your answers even though I already know the answers to some of the questions I’ve asked. I’m just curious how candid you’re willing to be with your readers.

    • John S:

      Before you continue with your unfounded suppositions about how I related to the troopers I worked with, how about a little candor on your side. Identify yourself and the agency that you work for. I’ve suggested that you are an FBI agent which you deny. Put your cards on the table then we can continue the discussion.

    • John- You are raving pissed at the world, At who is the real deep rooted question????

      • Doubting:

        John S. lives in the dreamland where the FBI is this super hero and all the rest of us are merely flawed individuals. I hope to post a couple of blogs examining his comments which as I noted earlier reinforced many things I’ve written over the past year.

  28. John King McDonald

    Matt .. fair enough … yes, we have had back channel communications since inception .. it did originally post … I leave it in your Good Offices then and trust it shall re-appear …

  29. John King McDonald

    Matt ….reading thread .. complete context and all u know … realize u deleted my very reasonable post … originally shown …. re: your preaching to the choir viz Senate President Bulger and the cultural gate keepers at the Globe … as this seems a censorship the type of which you say you abhor then please repost … I took the time and energy to respond to … your response … to a post … in an acceptable and gentlemanly manner … if you are going to be pruning your blog so as to always seem the most luxuriant bloom in the flower bed then I am reminded of Dorothy Parker’s famous pun about horticultire … As spoken at the Algonquin …. You can lead a horticulture, but you cannot make her think! 🙂 ….. Surely your tending of your blog does not include removing the Roses along with the weeds Matt? … I await with interest to see if my remarks … originally posted in response to your sally of wit … are re-posted .. It will tell me everything I need to know about you as a gentleman.

    • John:

      Haven’t deleted a post in a long time. Can’t figure out what you are referring to. Maybe you sent it another way. I know you have in the past. I’ll go back onver them and see if I can find it. If I do I’ll post it.

  30. Matt-

    This is your blog and I’m not going to monopolize it any further with off topic remarks. I will try to close with this. First, you are an attorney. You’re not a police officer, special agent or any type of investigator except as self appointed in your capacity as deputy DA. As a result, your job is in the court room, presenting and arguing the evidence collected by law enforcement, not in the field playing or dictating to cops. Your job is to answer questions about the intricacies of search and seizure, not to suggest who gets interviewed and in what order. Cops know a hell of a lot more about the law than you give them credit for and many DAs know a hell of a lot less than you think.

    The system is most certainly adversarial because as a prosecutor, you take the facts, fill in the unknowns and develop a theory of a case which you argue, right, wrong or indifferent. It gets so adversarial in fact that even when a group like the Innocense Project develops proof that a defendant is factually innocent, most DAs still oppose their release.

    Your comments about homicide investigations being a specialty are incorrect. Crime scene personnel document the scene and the body (a Medicolegal investigator in 49 other states) and a pathologist determines the cause and manner and any peculiarities about the cause of death. The investigators then take that information and work backwards looking for motive, opportunity and means. It involves interviewing, collecting evidence and getting confessions just like every other crime against a person. So, you are sorely mistaken if you believe otherwise and you’ve bought into a myth perpetuated by years of brainwashing by troopers in your offices. Remember when AG Bellotti threatened to remove the state police from his office? My goodness…the Commonwealth would have gone to hell in a hand basket without their so-called expertise.

    My issue Matt is that from what I read in Foley’s self serving book, aside from the corruption which was a real issue, his other problem was that his ego was bruised because he wasn’t shown the proper deference by the FBI that he felt he deserved. In all your years at the DA’s office, are you trying to tell me that the state police didn’t equally defecate on the local police just like the FBI apparently did to the state police? That’s my problem, Matt. Organizationally, the state police is an out of control agency with little to no supervision and they are guilty of all of the same atrocities that you accuse the FBI of. The real problem however is that they have brainwashed the DAs over the years through favors and donations and thus have their power behind them to back them up.

    Once again, I realize your blog is about the FBI. Maybe someday I will start one about the state police. Incidentally, read the review of the ME’s office when you have a chance. It would have been a lot more interesting if the study were done by someone who wasn’t a former employee of the AG with potential inherent bias.

    If you want concrete examples, how about the drug dealing, extortion, domestic violence, perjury and drunk driving committed by troopers all within the past year just for starters? No, not all troopers are bad and i commend those who have done their jobs honestly and well, especially those that paid the ultimate price (which is more credit than you’ve ever given the FBI), but does that not smack of an agency with a serious supervision problem? How many FBI agents in Boston were arrested during the same period? Have you ever almost been run off the highway by a trooper commuting to or from work? Yes, that’s the hallmark of a professional organization. How about the trooper who alleged at Bulger’s trial that the state police were protecting Mortorano and permitting him to continue to commit crimes? Was that ever investigated properly? It seems like they branded him a liar and crazy because he dared impugn the reputation of a veteran trooper. Why would he make that up? The list goes on and on. Someday, sunshine will disinfect that organization and expose it for what it really is…an out of control group of elitist thugs answerable to no one just like you suggest the FBI is.

  31. A point of clarification for your readers: The FBI uses the phrase La Cosa Nostra (LCN) to distinguish this group from the several other Italian Mafia type groups currently active in the U.S.: the Sicilian Mafia; the Camorra or Neapolitan Mafia; the ’Ndrangheta or Calabrian Mafia; the Sacra Corona Unita or United Sacred Crown and of course, the LCN, which has its roots in Italian organized crime but has been a separate organization for many years. The distinction is made to classify the type of group being targeted, not because Hoover invented the term. That is the back story on the phrase LCN.

    • Clarification is wrong. The LCN is the Sicilian Mafia, the group that operated out of Sicily. It included other Italians from other parts of the Italy. There is no LCN and Sicilian Mafia and to make such a statement indicates to me that you are connected with the FBI. The Mafia in the US called itself Our Thing so as not to use the term Mafia with its old world associated meaning even though it was the same thing.
      It has been the FBI’s position for many years that the Mafia did not exist in the United States until the meeting of 100 or so Italian gangsters was broken up by the New York State police. That group was predominately a Sicilian led group and it was that group that J. Edgar Hoover called the LCN, (La Cosa Nostra which would be translated :”the our thing” which makes no sense and no self-respecting Italian speaker would use such term.. He gave it that name because he was so fearful of being wrong that he thought by using the term LCN he could still maintain the position that the Mafia did not exist. As we can see it has been quite effective because people like you are trying to distinguish the Sicilian Mafia from the LCN.
      Even though the Mafia was mainly Sicilian it did have other Italian men who became part of it. The American Mafia’s Sicilian roots are can be shown Joe Masseria , Lucky Luciano, Frank Costello, Tommy “Three Fingers Brown” Lucchese, Salvatore Marzano, Al Capone, Sam Giancana, Joe Bonanno. Tony Accetturo, etc all from Sicily or sons of immigrants from Sicily..

  32. I’ve made my points Matt. I’m not an FBI agent and I haven’t received a speeding ticket from some trooper. I just believe that your focus on the FBI is motivated by something a little more than your sense of right and wrong. A book similar to yours about the FBI could just as easily be written about the state police. Everything Foley accused the FBI of doing to the state police has been done by the state police to the local police and more, outright corruption issues aside. The Mass State Police is an agency that desperately needs some serious oversight that has been lacking for decades. As an organization, it has many problems. More troopers have been arrested for drunk driving, extortion, drug dealing and luring teenagers on line for sexual purposes than anyone in the FBI’s Boston Office or anywhere else. So, just because you found this isolated one-off group of corrupt agents in a single squad in Boston does not make a patently corrupt organization.

    My comments are not meant as personal attacks against you. They are designed to point out the hypocrisy in your writing.

    Incidentally, I’d be interested in knowing what is so different about investigating a homicide than any other major crime? The only expertise specific to such crimes that’s required comes from the medical examiner, not the investigators. Your comments suggest that not only are the FBI incompetent to investigate homicides but the local police must be also. Thank goodness we have the state police to save us from crime.

    Interestingly, a study was done several years ago that confused that the state police had infiltrated the Massachusetts Medical Examiner’s Office which is supposed to be an independent agency. The National Assocation of Medical Examiners who accredits medical examiners offices requires each office to have a functioning Medicolegal invetigator program whereby these investigators respond to death scenes and act under the authority of the ME to examine and document the body. When the ME’s office tried to start one consistent with the standard, guess who sabotaged it? You guessed it…the state police. As a result, the ME’s office remains unaccredited and the state police have never left as was suggested 10 years ago.

    As an aside, the incident at the abortion clinic was a massacre, not a local homicide as you portrayed it.

    Now that we’ve raised the issue, this brings me to my conclusion about the propriety of DA’s offices controlling homicide investigations. As you know, the defense bar is an advocate for the defendant and the DA is an advocate for the Commonwealth. Having an advocate for either side directing an investigation, controlling who and what gets presented before the grand jury, deciding what exculpatory evidence should be disclosed and pressuring crime lab analysts how to write their reports is a recipe for disastrous miscarriages of justice. Massachusetts is one of very few states who have such an arrangement. Please don’t counter with attorney’s being bound by ethical standards to prevent such incidents because we all know how well that has turned out over the years. One merely has to look to the Duke Lacrosse case for an example or perhaps you remember when the Worcester DA refused to release autopsy results to the Northborough Police after two teenagers were tragically killed in a car accident after the sitting Attorney General asked him not to who coincidentally had received donations from the victim’s father, thus stymying the Northborough Police’s investigation into who supplied the alcohol that may have led to their deaths. Those are just two of hundreds of examples of attorney ethics at work. Interestingly, the CMR’s pertaining to the release of autopsy reports to the local police in whose jurisdiction the crime occurred were written to prevent their release to the local police without the specific approval of the DA. In other states, they’re public records! I wonder who wrote the CMR?

    In almost every other state, the local police investigate homicides. If they need legal advice, they ask the DA. If they need manpower or specific expertise, they request assistance from the state investigative agency who become a resource, not a occupying force. In other words, it is as it should be and it works quite well as opposed to this bizarre arrangement in Massachusetts where legislators file bills to permit this type of fiasco based on the political power of the state police and the DAs.

    My point in all this is to enlighten your readers about what really goes on. You’re correct about many of the things you have written and I commend you for your research. However, there needs to be some balance I hopefully I have provided it. It’s clear that you hold the FBI in the same disdain that I hold the state police, ironically for similar reasons. We can agree to disagree but both sides need to be fair and balanced.

    • John S:

      Stop evading the topic, if you know something the state police has done which merits your attack on them spell it out. Foley pointed to actual happenings in the FBI to make his case. You should read his book. You may learn to be specific and to set out facts rather than general allegations. My blog involves the FBI. I worry that the FBI is not doing the job that it should be doing. You want to shift the focus from the FBI by making unsupported allegations about the state police and then accusing me of hypocrisy for not chasing them down.

      For one who says he’s not intending personal attacks the use of “jealousy” and “paranoia” gives lie to that. In your opinion my hypocrisy is that I don’t want to write about the state police. That’s true because I find no reason to criticize them as I am doing the FBI. If something happened that piqued my curiosity I would write about it as I have done in the past when I get into some state matters. It’s just I haven’t found much to write about but even if I did the state police is a side issue. The FBI is intricately involved in the Whitey case for it empowered and protected him. That is the subject of the blog, not the state police.

      I suppose someone who hates the DEA could yell about my failure to cover it; or another who has an ax to grind about the Boston Police could do the same. Perhaps then someone would accuse me of hypocrisy for not writing about the Medway Police. Don’t you understand the FBI is germane to my topic and that’s why I write about it.

      What’s your problem with the state police that you twist what I said. I never said locals have no expertise in investigating homicide cases. I know Boston cops who are highly expert who I’d welcome in on homicide investigations; Brookline detective Billy McDermott played a big role in the abortion murder investigations and our office and the state police relied on him. I said that in local homicides the FBI does not have the expertise state or local cops have because they don’t deal with them all the time. And, I do consider homicides more difficult to investigate than other crimes. For one thing, all of the witnesses to the crime are not available to give evidence. Your lack of understanding of the expertise needed in homicide cases shows in your statement that the only expert necessary is a medical examiner.

      I’m not sure what you intend to point out in your paragraph about lack of accreditation by the national ME. Has that hurt any investigations done in Massachusetts? If so you may have a point, otherwise it is meaningless. Also I’ve no idea what you suggest by saying the murders at the abortion clinic were a massacre and not a local homicide.

      You misunderstand the role of a district attorney. The district attorney represents the people of the Commonwealth which includes the person accused of the crime. The system is not an advocacy system prior to someone being charged. I found that it was highly important for the district attorneys to direct the investigations because of their understanding of the legal issues involved in them. A wrong step by a cop not skilled in the law could destroy a case. In an arson investigation most cops don’t know how to proceed after the initial entry onto the scene; in a homicide investigation what is legally permissible without a warrant and when must a warrant be obtained is important to know. You are talking to the wrong guy when you suggest DAs not be involved in investigations since I spent my career insisting that we be involved which often produced conflicts with both the state and local police. Cases that were messed up were those that were done without the input of the DAs like the case in Braintree involving Amy Bishop where the DAs office was not notified of the homicide.

      In Massachusetts local police are involved with the state police in the investigations of homicides. The DA directs the overall operation. That is how it should be.

      You say in other states local police investigate homicides and if they need legal advice they ask the DAs. You approve that. Yet earlier you state the DA is an advocate and having such direct an investigation will become a miscarriage of justice. Should the local cops not be asking the DAs? In giving legal advice DAs are directing the investigation. You point to the Duke Lacrosse case and something in the Worcester DA’s office to suggest the system isn’t working. But it did work in the Duke case in the end when the underhanded tactics of that DA were exposed. He is hardly representative of 99% of the other DAs. (I’m not familiar with the Worcester case.) You talk about exculpatory evidence, all that has to be provided to defense counsel. Like in any system there are always going to be a handful of people who don’t follow the requirements of the law but they are few and far between.

      If you want to enlighten my readers you should give concrete examples where things are wrong. You don’t like the state cops but have not given any explanation for your animus. I’m waiting.

  33. One last comment…you mentioned the FBI laughing at the state police and not treating them as equals nearly guaranteeing the failure of joint task forces. Do you honestly believe the state police treat the local police as equals? Are you asserting that you were never present for a local police bashing session at the hands of the state police? This was probably the same conversation where the state police heirarchy told you that the FBI wasn’t qualified to investigate homicides. That’s a hilarious proposition. What did you do as deputy DA to put a stop to that trend? Please enlighten us.

  34. Matt – First, I am not an FBI agent but I know a thing or two about this subject. I am not asserting that the FBI should be beyond review. The DOJ reviews them just like the DAs and the AG can review the state police. The comparison is precisely equal. You do not see the state legislature or house of representatives reviewing the state police yet it’s ok for a former DA like Keating with an apparent axe to grind to do so? Why doesn’t he stop distracting them and let then do their jobs? When he was DA, it was well known he hated the FBI and he appears to be carrying that forward.

    When you mention the FL shooting, you’re making statements about a topic of which you know literally nothing about except what was written by the decdent’s father which is completely non-sensical. You weren’t there so a responsible person would hold their comments in abeyance.

    With regard to the abortion clinic shootings, first, if they wanted the jurisdiction, you and your troopers would have been escorted from the crime scene. Secondly, the FBI has been investigating homicides on federal reservations, Indian country, military reservations, cruise ships and many other locations since before you were born. They have processed the world’s biggest mass death scenes in world history including the 9-11 attack, the first WTC bombing, the OKC bombing, the Khobar Tower bombing, the Beiruit bombing, TWA flight 800 and hundreds of others and you’re trying to say with a straight face that they don’t have the expertise to process an abortion clinic shooting? Their crime lab alone is the finest in the world. They have investigated more deaths than the entire state police combined. Your attitude about this probably comes from one too many rounds of golf with troopers from your office who have convinced you that only they could handle the job. Heck, the Brookline Police probably could have done as good as or better a job as the troopers. Yes, the state police has some troopers with valuable homicide experience but when you take one who was running radar on the Mass Pike and move him to a DAs office and call him a homicide investigator a few weeks later after a political donation as is often the case, you’re way off base and the Commonwealth suffers. Homicide investigators in cities like LA, NY, Baltimore and Chicago investigate more homicides in a month than most troopers will investigate in a career. Sorry to burst your balloon Matt but those are the facts. I’m pretty sure you know that, too.

    Regarding Connelly’s Florida conviction, he was charged with crimes outside the scope of his authority and apparently rightfully so. What I am referring to is an FBI line of duty shooting. You, as a DA, have no authority to investigate that. You can try and you can even indict the agent if you like but the DOJ will bring the state case into federal court, dismiss it if they believe its justified and you will have absolutely no recourse. The DOJ decides if FBI shootings are justified, not local DAs just like the local DAs decide if state police shootings are justified. Are you asserting that AG Eric Holder would permit an FBI agent to get away with murder? I highly doubt it. The real difference however is that FBI agents don’t play golf, eat lunch with and party with Holder nor do they or their PAC donate to his campaign because he’s not an elected official which makes him more impartial.

    Since you mentioned Judge Wolfe’s report on the Bulger affair, it makes me wish that a similar judge of his character would complete one on the state police. The results would likely be astounding. How many local police officers do you think would line up to testify how the state police compromised their investigations, not for corruption purposes in most cases but for their own personal advancement so that the Mass State Police could take the credit. If you paid even the slightest attention during your tenure as deputy DA, you know this went on every day.

    Once again, tell the whole story Matt and stop being a sycophant for the state police.

    • John S:

      Don’t make me laugh. The DOJ reviews the FBI? I know that on paper it is supposed to do it but when was the last time it did that. Hoover made sure the DOJ stayed out of the FBI’s business. If the DOJ won’t do it then it falls upon Congress. The Church Committee was a Congressional body that looked into the FBI as did the Committee on Government Reform in 2001 and 2002. Because of its vast powers it is traditional in this country for Congress to oversee its actions. The legislators in Massachusetts control the state police’s budget and through the Commission of Public Safety follow up on its work.

      I know Congressman Keating having met him probably three times in my life. I went to lunch with him once. You fall into the trap suggesting that because he questions the FBI he has a hatred for it. I doubt that. No one wants to be on the opposite side of the FBI – it’s an uneasy place to be especially with all of its supporters in Congress and its power there. I was at a hearing about some FBI issue a few years back and after the hearing each Congressman was surrounded by a bevy of agents pushing their agendas. I give Keating tons of credit for his stance and don’t think the idea that he asks them to answer some questions is much of a distraction. After all with 17,000 agents and another 18,000 other workers you’d think the FBI would respond to him rather than stonewalling him.

      I know quite a bit about the Florida shooting. An FBI agent and others had Todashev who they were questioning in his apartment for over four hours and the FBI agent shot him. This killing was done in a closed environment. What else do you need to know? The investigation should have been complete in a day or two. Eight months spells out cover-up.

      In the abortion clinic shootings I was intimately involved and know the FBI wanted to take jurisdiction. They have not right to escort state cops and local cops, who worked for us from the scene as much as they might think so. So that statement is absurd. To suggest the FBI has the level of expertise State Police have in investigating local homicides is laughable. They may investigate mass slaughters but local homicides are of a different breed.

      What’s with all the personal attacks? Discuss the issues. First of all I’ve never golfed with a trooper; secondly you have no idea who in the state police do our homicide investigations. Your suggestion that law enforcement officers where the most murders occur investigate more murders than others is self evident. If you follow the analogy then you make my point, state troopers do more homicide investigations than FBI agents especially if there are no Indian Reservations in their area.

      Connolly was not charged with crimes outside his authority. He was charged with murder for trying to keep Whitey Bulger safe which is part of his duty as an FBI agent handler of Top Echelon Informants.

      You’re getting absurd with your golf, lunch and campaign contribution statements. What’s your point – every DA in the state is corrupt if they go to lunch with a cop? Or is it that because the DA is elected he or she is corrupt? Or is it everyone who holds elective office is corrupt? If that is the case, then wouldn’t a person appointed by a corrupt official also be corrupt?

      I’m beginning to think you got pulled over for speeding by a state trooper recently with your attack on the state police. I’m also thinking that you are not on the level when you deny being an FBI agent. As far as a judge investigating the state police, you know the FBI can do that as well as any judge. If there was anything there I’m sure it would have been glad to do it as it did under Morris when it investigated the Boston police. Stop tossing out nonsense about state police corruption to try to divert attention from the FBI. It’s a good ploy but it is based on nothing.

  35. Thank you, John. One of the things that I find funniest is ret. State Police Col. Foley’s book on his Whitey Bulger investigation. I couldn’t bring myself to buy it after reading portions of it in a book store. His attempt to portray himself as a cross between Serpico and Melvin Purvis who all but singlehandedly built the case against Bulger is nauseating. Yes, there were several very corrupt agents in the Boston Office of the FBI. However, the extremely self serving and self promoting nature of his book makes it unworthy of my time. Literally the only reason he was able to accomplish what he did was because the US Attorney’s office permitted him to do so be extending the federal government’s authority to him under the oversight of an assistant US attorney and a DEA agent who ran the show behind the scenes. It was a peace offering of sorts so Foley could be the hero on behalf of the Mass State Police in helping build the case against Bulger to help mend fences between the agencies. To read his book, however, one would think he was a combination between FBI agent Joe Pistone, aka “Donnie Brasco” and FBI agent Joaquin “Jack” Garcia who infiltrated the Gambino crime family for a record-breaking 26 years. That’s real deal high level organized crime police work. Who bugged Gerry Angiulo’s office and put him away for many years? The FBI did. Who bugged John Gotti’s office and put him away for life? The FBI once again. I could go on with another hundred examples but I won’t drag this out. The point has been made. Arresting a few two bit book makers and holding oneself out as an organized crime investigator like Foley or his successor Col. Alben who himself has developed a reputation of treating the local police like the FBI treated the Mass State Police, does not make one a legendary investigator despite what their own egos would lead them to believe.

    All of this being said Matt, don’t you think it’s about time you give credit where credit is due? Yes, members of the Mass State Police helped put Bulger away but certainly not within the level of their own authority and certainly not without extensive federal oversight. What say you about the FBI’s countless successes against organized crime across the country? Were all of those agents corrupt as well or just exceptionally talented investigators who earned their reputations on the street and not on the golf course? I’m also waiting for you to mention former trooper Richard Schneiderhan. Do you really believe he’s the only corrupt trooper who gave information to organized crime members over the years? I highly doubt it. He’s just the only one who was caught…at least yet.

    Lastly, there are over 200 agents in the Boston FBI office. The squad that Connelly and Morris belonged to was one of many and as you know, several of the other members of that same squad knew what was going on and tried repeatedly to stop it. Knowing that, is it fair to paint the whole Boston office or the entire bureau with such a broad brush? Your paranoia seems to originate with the COINTELPRO era which occurred before most of your readers were even born.

    One sided reporting and news analysis does not engender respect. You will likely continue to write as you have but the jealousy apparently engendered by the FBI’s power, capabilities, exceptional talent, accomplishments and worldwide reach oozes through the pores of every word you write.

    • John S:

      I’ve never said FBI agents are corrupt. Where did that come from? I said they need to work for a better outfit. It seems to me that the best guys and gals do their jobs well but there are some who are mainly concerned with promotion, schmoozing, and credit and unfortunately they end up making the FBI rules.

      The FBI did a good job on organized crime but it could have done the same thing without the Top Echelon Informant program. It came to the game late after the New York State Police (one of those agencies you say the FBI laughs at) broke up the Mafia meeting at Apalachin in New York. Hoover was dragged into the fight yelling and screaming by others. Once it got involved it managed to destroy the Mafia, or as Hoover would have it the LCN – a name that is used mainly by the FBI for the Mafia when all others in the world call it the Mafia. I’ve often given it credit for that.

      As for Foley, he’s not high on my list because of his involvement in John Naimovich’s case. He and the FBI managed to have an innocent state trooper indicted. I hope you know that story how the FBI began investigating him because it believed he was a leak, it found out the leak came from the FBI, it continued to investigate him anyway to find something? Think that was on the level?

      As for Foley saying he is a super cop, I don’t think he suggests that. He tells of his actions and how the FBI continually undermined him. You don’t like to hear it so you’d rather knock him than read his book to find out what he wrote. You mention he was able to do what he did with respect to Whitey because of the federal resources behind him and the help of Dan Doherty and others at DEA. No one suggests otherwise. Nor has Foley ever said otherwise. He spelled out those who helped him and those who hindered him: the FBI was in the latter group.

      The FBI did bug Angiulo but who was there before them. The State Police. Unfortunately when the FBI learned of the State Police investigation which would have taken down the Angiulos and some of Winter Hill it did its best to undermine it.

      As far as Dick Schneiderhan is concerned I’ve mentioned him before. He’s the guy the FBI was covering for when they put Naimovich out on the line. I’ve mentioned that the State Police erred in not putting the hammer on him. One of the problems Foley encountered was he was behind the push against Naimovich and when he recognized that the real leak was Schneiderhan, he had already made his bed so he had conflicting motives when it came to him. The investigation of Schneiderhan should not have been left in Foley’s hands but should have gone to someone else. I have no way of saying with certainty Schneiderhan is the only trooper who provided organize crime information to the Mafia but in my experience doing extensive electronic surveillance with the State Police I had no reason to think there were other leaks since most of those turned out as they were supposed to. I did have one that was compromised; the guys on the State Police suspected one of their own; I was able to use the grand jury to show how it came about which showed it wasn’t the guy they thought but from inside the phone company.

      Connolly and Morris’s actions were known by most in the Boston office as well as every supervisor, ASAC and SAC and by many supervisory agents at FBI Headquarters. Many of these men circulated throughout the FBI. No one tried to stop anything. In fact, they did just the opposite. They tried to hide it – you know the First Commandment: “don’t embarrass the family” – and make it prosper. Read Ralph Ranalli’s book or Judge Wolf’s findings about how two supervisors from squads other than Connolly interviewed Joe Murray who told them Connolly and another in the FBI office was leaking stuff to Whitey and he had information on murders committed by Whitey and they did nothing except file a report closing out the matter.

      You like to throw terms like jealousy and paranoia around. That’s a tactic to get away from the issues. I’m not surprised when someone supporting the FBI will respond to me with that type of tactic rather than discussing the issues at hand. You want us to believe the only corruption was in the Boston FBI office but how can we know that since you point out that no one can investigate what has been done in all the other FBI offices. We would not have known of the Boston corruption except for Judge Wolf and the federal prosecutors including Fred Wyshak who were determined to get to the bottom of the FBI’s relationship with Whitey, Stevie Flemmi and other criminals. I’ve read of problems in the New York FBI office involving corruption in the Top Echelon program so we know it is beyond Boston.

      The COINTELPRO is another example of the FBI hiding under the rug its abuses. So what if it happened in the Sixties. It is something that never should have happened by an American law enforcement agency. Not only were most people who read this probably not alive when it happened they probably have no idea today that it happened since it has mostly been suppressed. The FBI wants us to forget about it but it is necessary to keep in mind to show what happens when a law enforcement agency operates without supervision. It wasn’t just COINTELPRO – for decades the FBI secretly opened mail, broke into private residences, and placed unauthorized bugs into private locations. When LBJ stopped it from doing it one agent said it was the worst day of his life. I’m sure you’ve heard about those black bag operations.

      Those old abuses of civil rights don’t concern me too much except to show the FBI is not all that it has been cracked up to be. Now I’m more concerned with the Top Echelon Informant program that protects murderers and other high level criminals which is ongoing today. The FBI said it would stop doing such things after the Whitey debacle but it didn’t. We only knew it continued because an FBI agent was caught by the State Police talking with a Mafia capo who was his informant. It is a corrupt program where the FBI enters into agreements to protect and “keep safe” people who are top criminals in exchange for information.

      You sound like you work in the Public Records Propaganda Section of the FBI with the line “FBI’s power, capabilities, exceptional talent, accomplishments and worldwide reach oozes through the pores of every word you write.” Sadly, you may think so but what I suggest my writing points out is the FBI needs a great deal of oversight, that its past is not something to be proud of, and that it could do a much better job if it was less afraid of embarrassing itself and more concerned with telling the truth about things and not hiding behind the wall “under investigation.”

  36. John King McDonald

    Hell of A Bow Shot John … Well reasoned and incisively articulated … My experience grounded in the basic drill though of if not always giving the devil his due … it is a serious miscalculation not to give the Mass Staties and the BPD theirs. It is a very old game we play and while keenly aware of the respective powers of the pieces on the board, there is a reason we call it Chess 🙂 Not Checkers. I enormously enjoy your style, message, and game orientation abilities. I relish the Loyal Opposition’s response … Matt ???

    • John:

      If that was a bow shot it must have been friendly fire. I only hope the guy is an FBI agent, preferably one from DC in the upper ranks. My response has been to thank the other John for proving my case – reminds me of the times I had my witnesses put in what should have been inadmissible hearsay evidence while opposing counsel listened with rapt attention not recognizing I was doing a job on his client. Never know from what quarter one will receive help.

  37. Matt-Your ravings about the FBI over the years smack of years of jealousy engendered by your inability as the deputy district attorney in Norfolk County to have any control over the FBI. I do not believe they have anything whatsoever to do with your alleged outrage over the Bulger matter. That has been beaten to death by you and many others. 

    On to the most likely reason for your obsession and many other DAs. You see, the various DAs in this state consider themselves the supreme powers in their individual counties. They have the power to subpoena people before grand juries, subpoena records and to commence and dismiss prosecutions. They also have their incestuous relationship with the politically selected state trooper minions assigned to their offices who do their bidding. As a result, a discussion of a DAs office would be incomplete without mentioning the Mass State Police because of the quid pro quo relationship they have with all the DAs. All in all, they have the power to intimidate almost everyone, everyone except the FBI that is.

    As you know, whether you’re the DA, the AG or anyone else in state government, you have zero power over the FBI and that drives every single DA and deputy DA in Massachusetts crazy, yourself apparently included. The FBI laughs at your subpoenas, grand jury or otherwise and if you sent a few state troopers to the local FBI office with a search warrant to forcefully execute for some alleged evidence you wished to seize, they would find themselves under arrest and being arraigned before a federal magistrate judge before the day was over with the DA who sent them probably not far behind. Think you’re going to charge an FBI agent with a crime related to their official actions? You better refresh yourself with the federal supremacy clause.

    However, what really drives all the DAs crazy is that every once in a while, one of the so-called untouchable DAs finds themselves being lugged away in handcuffs by the FBI after their offices were bugged and their telephones tapped during a public corruption investigation. You see, not only are the DAs powerless against the FBI but they’re subject to their investigative authority. How threatened they must feel.

    Like every other DA or deputy DA, you apparently couldn’t stand not being the top dog. This includes Keating who has about as much authority to direct the FBI as a congressman as he did as the DA. They all but laugh at him. Especially given the fact that he’s a former DA in Massachusetts who accomplished nothing except to feather his nest for congress.

    Google Massachusetts DAs and you will see that at least one has recently been under investigation by the FBI. It won’t be the last time either.

    The FBI’s investigators, capabilities, accomplishments and international reach make agencies like the Mass State Police look like the keystone cops. You see, their agents aren’t appointed to specific squads because they can get their co-workers free rounds of golf or because they made donations to the DA’s campaigns like in the Mass State Police. They are there because they are the world’s best and brightest and have solved the most infamous crimes across the world.

    Even if they had such jurisdiction, would the US government send a representative of the Mass State Police to Baghdad to interrogate Saddam Hussein? How about to investigate the Khobar Tower bombings or the 9-11 attacks? Of course not. There isn’t enough talent combined in the entire Mass State Police to do what the FBI does on a daily basis. In the marathon bombing, they dragged along a couple of token troopers to make it look good with instructions to be seen and not heard.

    So, do you think they really care what 50 state police agencies and thousands of DAs offices think when they have over 12,000 agents working in hundreds of field offices across the country and hundreds across the world? The fact is, they don’t and some state police agency, DA or Deputy DAs opinion in some two bit state or county means nothing to them, including yours. They’re too busy trying to protect the country.

    Good luck with your continuing obsession with the FBI. You’re simply wasting your time and breath. Their work actually keeps the United States and its citizens safe from foreign and domestic threats on a daily basis and you’re trying to criticize that and compare them to DA’s offices who mostly try drunk driving cases and the state troopers who rape the Commonwealth on a daily basis with their detail rackets at the airport? Please, Matt. I’ve got an idea…why don’t you write an article or two about the various scandals and antics the Mass State Police have pulled over the years? You want to talk about transparency? The Mass State Police has investigated every officer involved shooting involving a trooper since the system started. Oh, that’s right, with the “oversight” of the DAs with whom they golf and party with. Yup, that’s real transparency and yet you know all this but fail to mention it. Ever venture a guess why almost every local police agency in Massachusetts despises the Mass State Police? Could it be because they wield their limited powers toward the locals much like the FBI does toward them and no one respects them? Time for some unbiased analysis Matt and enough with the  one sided bologna. If you’re going to tell a story, tell the whole story.  

    • John: Sometimes it takes an extensive effort and lots of time to get a rattle snake out of its nest from under the rocks. Your comment proving all I have been writing about is my reward for this time and toil.

      You tell how the FBI is subject to no one else. It is precisely what I have been pointing out. I suggest that is a bad thing for in a democracy where all should be held accountable. Having impunity allows the FBI to create monster programs as the Top Echelon Informant program and the infamous COINTELPRO ; it has allowed itself to violate the laws of this country as shown in the Church Report and in the writings of former FBI agents. Your welcome comment was like the first warm sunny spring day after a harsh winter. The only clouds would be that you weren’t an FBI agent.

      I really wonder if the attitude you expressed toward other law enforcement agencies is one held by the FBI if so, the problem is greater than I ever could conceive; if so, the idea of joint task forces makes no sense because the FBI would never treat others in law enforcement as equals with all the laughter you tell us is going on in the Bureau;. if so, everything we’ve read, like Tom Foley’s tales of FBI deceit and undermining of state investigations is a gross understatement and our country’s lot is much more dire than ever could be imagined.

      Your point that no one can investigate the FBI but the FBI can investigate everyone seems to me to show that all the others in law enforcement, including the DAs, are doing their jobs properly. If no one can investigate the FBI how can we say that? And that is exactly what my complaint is about. It’s not about jealously since I had a very successful career mindless of the FBI except perhaps when it wanted to intrude upon our investigation of the murders at two Brookline abortion clinics. We wanted the state police with their expertise in homicide investigations knowing the FBI did not have that expertise.

      I go by my experience. My relationship with the State Police at times was quite rocky. It was not because I had any doubts about its integrity but our approaches to investigations. I look at them with impartial eyes and find they are an excellent force of courageous officers as I assume are almost all our other state and local departments throughout the nation. I feel sorrow if you are correct when you say the FBI thinks otherwise.

      I know the FBI investigated Das. They investigated my office. They investigated Billy Bulger. Nothing ever came from those investigations which suggests to me there was nothing there because as all know you can indict a ham sandwich. Tell me when a DA or assistant DA in Massachusetts was lugged away by the FBI in handcuffs. It hasn’t happened but you can’t say that about the FBI.

      I appreciate your post. I will continue to call things as I see them. Although I have enormous respect for FBI agents I believe they deserve to work for a better outfit. I suggest the FBI as a whole needs a slap off the side of the head to wake it up that there are other law enforcement agencies as good if not better than it and that we’d be much better off as a free people if the FBI was less afraid of embarrassing itself and was subject to outside control. I believe further that if any in the FBI have the attitude you expressed that they’d best get another occupation since they are doing a disservice to our country.

      A few direct replies to your assertions:

      You wrote: “Think you’re going to charge an FBI agent with a crime related to their official actions? You better refresh yourself with the federal supremacy clause.” I suggest you familiarize yourself with the case of John Connolly.

      You wrote: “The FBI’s investigators, capabilities, accomplishments and international reach make agencies like the Mass State Police look like the keystone cops. You see, their agents aren’t appointed to specific squads because they can get their co-workers free rounds of golf . . . “ I believe the John Connolly trial showed it was the FBI agents who were getting the freebies like tickets to the Red Socks, Bruins and Patriots and using their access to ingratiate themselves and their bosses with politicians.

      You wrote: “There isn’t enough talent combined in the entire Mass State Police to do what the FBI does on a daily basis. In the marathon bombing, they dragged along a couple of token troopers to make it look good with instructions to be seen and not heard.” I hope you are not pointing to the Todasheve case. Is that the type of talent you are talking about where the FBI agent gunned down a man in custody?

      You wrote: FBI agents are “too busy trying to protect the country.” and “Their work actually keeps the United States and its citizens safe from foreign and domestic threats” Well protected are we? What agency dropped the ball on Tsarnaev ? What agency had evidence which if properly pursued may have prevented. 9/11? What agency has had its informants murdering people while it gave them protection? Judge Wolf didn’t excoriate the State Police or DEA or Boston police, it was the FBI.

      You write: “The Mass State Police has investigated every officer involved shooting involving a trooper since the system started. Oh, that’s right, with the “oversight” of the DAs with whom they golf and party with.” I’d point out that first every such incident is investigated, unlike what the FBI does. Next, the State Police are subject to the oversight of the Das, who you apparently consider corrupt, and also the Attorney General. They have their cases presented to grand juries. Further, the FBI can always stick its nose into any action by the State Police if it has concerns. Yes, the State Police do investigate themselves but are subject to much review and oversight. That’s the idea behind all my writings about the FBI. It has none of that. The most disgraceful episode in its recent history is its killing of Todashev which happened in a closed environment in front of other police officers and it has taken it more than 8 months to tell us why it killed this man who had valuable evidence. It should have taken 8 hours, or at most 8 days.

      Thanks for setting out a defense of the FBI. All you write confirms what I have been writing. You made my day.

  38. John King McDonald

    … puerile in its tone etc. … damn that voice recognition ! 🙂

    • John:

      Errors in punctuation are not even noticed on this blog especially since they are so frequently made by myself.

  39. John King McDonald

    Thought you had deconstructed the WHITEY MYTH 🙂 … Now comes the deconstruction of the deconstruction. Your blog, alternately deeply insightful and puerile in it’s tone regarding your favorite bogeyman has been a worthy labor. Perhaps though it is time to put up your burden of the rank speculation you engage in regarding : who killed whom, when, why, how, where, for what reasons, and at what respective ages. This last measuring stick is perhaps the most absurd example of a moral forensis leaving one scratching their head and saying … WHAT DOES IT MATTER what age he was compared to Johnny M. or Jimmy B. or Stevie F. or Howie W. when first he killed. You will never know! … It is a very bloody chapter. This book is closed. The ship is long sailed and only ever suffered from mutiny. To jump on it you must swim in an Ocean of uncertainty and be able to walk on water. Like Keats’ epitaph MY NAME IS WRIT IN WATER … So too are Jimmy Bulger’s deeds and those of a beloved Agency with which we all are joined at the hip for better or ill . God Bless America !!!

    • John:

      There’s little mystery in the matter, a lot less than you suggest. Whitey’s not my creation but that of the media, the FBI, the Mafia and others who have benefited from making him into something which he is not for the sake of besmirching the character of his brother, the Bulgers in general, and South Boston. If you are looking for bogeymen then look at the Boston Globe’s attitude toward Southie.

      I suggest it is quite clear that Whitey did not murder anyone until into his forties. He surely didn’t do any before he got time and after that he did not get involved until the killing of Paulie McGonagle’s brother, and it is likely Billy O’Sullivan did that. I just think it speak a lot to the type of person Whitey is that he became a murderer in his middle age, certainly an unusual happening. The book is not closed. A lot of people have been wronged by what happened in the way the Whitey matter was presented to the public.

  40. Morris was in bed with those guys too!! Only after he got caught did he try and do the right thing….. not the same as trying to do the right thing initially. Also, he willingly took bribes from Bulger Gang and looked the other way. Not the best guy

    • SJM:

      Agree. Morris was bad and only came forward in a race between him and Connolly to see who would sink the other.

      • Matt-Do you know How far behind was Connolly in getting stuck without a chair when the music stopped? Just by street smarts, You maybe would think Connolly would have been more sharp with trying to screw Morris in the end. Something tells me Connolly was believing his own hype and was too cute by a half and got smoked for it. Just watch the Emily Rooney interview, he is dripping with arrogance and self centeredness.

        • Doubting:

          Morris had the inside track. He was friends with Gerry O’Neill of the Boston Globe and he was not related to Billy Bulger, the ultimate target of the Wyshak gang.
          Connolly’s only hope was to give them Billy which he couldn’t do so the federals went for Morris.

          Connolly did seem to have a lot of arrogance. He lived a life of being a protected FBI agent for over 20 years doing whatever he felt like doing. (See the discussion I have with John S. in the comments on the FBI’s Use of Whitey to get a feel for how the FBI thinks.) Even after he left the job he still felt he had some type of impunity when he got involved in helping our Stevie Flemmi and dealing with Kevin Weeks.

          I look upon him as being his own worst enemy. He had lots of stories to tell most seemed to have little relation with reality that came back to haunt him like being friends with Whitey as a kid and meeting him at Wollaston Beach. He’d come to believe them.

          In my few dealings with him he seemed an OK agent and I saw none of the arrogance. During the time in court when I spoke to him he didn’t have it either. He really was a guy who got involved in doing the job he was supposed to be doing and the building came down upon him because a scapegoat was needed. I tend to think he might have taken some money from Whitey, not much, certainly nothing near the level Whitey’s attorney Carney suggested. I think he considered it a present and not a bribe because it did not effect his relationship to him, in other words he would have done the same thing regardless of the gift. Always remember Connolly did not create the Top Echelon Informant program, that was done by J. Edgar Hoover. Under that program Connolly was supposed to protect and keep his informants safe in exchange for information. That he was doing and that’s what the big outcry is about. When the FBI recognized the public outcry over it having Whitey and Stevie as informants, it had to come up with the idea that Connolly was a rogue agent which is successfully did. No one seems to focus on the idea that Connolly was doing what he was supposed to be doing.

  41. You can’t say nobody did anything…Morris tried to do something. I wish he succeeded.

    • Matt:

      Morris tried to get Whitey murdered by the Mob so that he could hide his corruptness. Other than that he had his hand out not only to Whitey but also to a big Chelsea bookie named Berkowitz who corrupted Chelsea while paying Morris with gifts, his home in Florida, etc. Morris tried to hide his relationship with Berkowitz until his wife was about to out him and then at the 11th hour just before the Connolly trial he fessed up. Morris was the worse of the worse, he was in a supervisory position and was taking money.