Time To Put To Rest The Lie That Whitey Was Being Protected By His Brother

(1) JudgeI wrote how former State Police Colonel Thomas Foley suggested that in 1990 he did something extraordinarily brave by going after Whitey. I noted how he wrote “Everybody knew; don’t cross Billy Bulger.” The clear inference being that to go after Whitey you’d be crossing Billy and you’d suffer for it. Secondarily, that it was only someone quite courageous like Foley that would dare do it.

Implicit in the writings of others is the idea that because Whitey was not charged with a crime for 25 or 30 years no one was investigating him and the major reason for this was fear of Billy. How else could a top criminal not be charged with a crime over that period of time?

When Whitey got out of prison in 1965 he was around for ten years prior to becoming an FBI informant. During those years he was never charged with a crime either. We know he was involved in criminal activity as a member of the Killeen gang and if Martorano is to be believed in the murders surrounding Indian Joe. We also know that his brother Billy had little power during those years when he served in the Massachusetts House of Representative (1960-1970) and as a junior member in the Massachusetts Senate. During that time we cannot say he got a pass because of his brother or because of his connection to the FBI.

For me that makes the argument spun out by Lawyer Carney that he was a top criminal and was never arrested because of some corruption in the federal government or by others such as Foley that he was protected by his brother a lot less credible. Perhaps a good deal of credit must go to Whitey himself who seemed to be a very disciplined operative and aware of his environment at all times. The young woman who he was involved with after he got out of prison and with whom he had a son said of him that he seemed to know everything that was going around.

I have mentioned before that the groups I worked with never gave Billy a thought as we went after Whitey. Yes, that is absolutely true. Colonel Foley noted Billy had control over DA Reilly’s budget so in a like manner he had it over DA Delahunt’s where I ran the organized crime investigations. From 1975 on we were constantly after Whitey’s organizations. I happened to be reading some old FBI reports that were made back in 1984.

On 10/17/84, James Ring a Boston FBI supervisor noted that Whitey and Stevie were the targets of outside agencies. He wrote after meeting with them that : “They knew from their sources that District Attorney WILLIAM DELAHUNT had specifically targeted them as subjects and they further felt that Colonel JACK O’DONOVAN of the Mass. State police had a vendetta against them and concluded that the State Police would also participate in such an investigation.” As you can see both my office and the State Police had no fear of going after Whitey. Billy’s position had no effect on us nor did it on any other police agency I worked with.

At the time Ring was writing the memo he was doing so because the DEA was after Whitey. You can see he was not being given a pass by the state or some feds.

On 11/01/84 Connolly was required to write out a lengthy report about what Whitey and Stevie knew about surveillance being conducted against them. He wrote that Colonel O’Donovan has had a vendetta against them since the Lancaster Street bug was compromised in 1980. He told how State troopers two years earlier seized Flemmi’s car, towed it and put a bug in it. How back in 1980 the State troopers had bugged a row of pay phones trying to get Whitey and how Quincy police had been going through Whitey’s rubbish and how they made two entries into his condo when he wasn’t there on a pretext. For five pages he set out situations where they were under constant surveillance by the state police and even the Boston detectives from the Suffolk DA’s office. The “increased attention, they believe it has its inception in Quincy which means District Attorney Delahunt to them.”

Connnolly’s report continues telling how they have been taking precautions. He said the “do not talk business on phones, in cars, in rooms or offices of any kind, anywhere.” He pointed out they had “sophisticated debugging equipment;”and “elaborate alarms in their cars” and “Ditto for their houses.”

He added that they “do not talk to strangers”  and check people who approach them for bugs by patting them down. Connolly concluded that they had been “for several years in a constant state of alert.” Connolly followed up with subsequent reports showing the ongoing surveillance. On 2-25-85 he wrote they have “noticed current coverage on them and believed that this is a continuous “vendetta” against them by the Massachusetts State Police and Bill Delahunt’s Quincy cops.”

I suggest once and for all we put away the idea that state DAs, State Police, or local police like Boston or Quincy were laying off Whitey and Stevie because of Billy Bulger or that there were not intensive investigations going on against them. We can also see how they evaded arrests and charges because they isolated themselves and remained constantly disciplined and on guard. Add to that the protection they were getting from the FBI as Top Echelon Informants which allowed FBI agents to give them tips about investigations against them and guaranteed them that no FBI agent would investigate them.

You see there was no great corruption occurring in the Justice Department. Jeremiah O’Sullivan was not working to keep Whitey from being prosecuted. No one on the state side thought by bringing Whitey down they were crossing Billy. It was a simple matter of two highly disciplined gangsters being protected by the FBI   


  1. Thomas,
    It was an “all you can eat,” buffet in Suffolk and Norfolk Counties, and he and Whitey had “buy none, get two free” passes from the Ciulla case through Jan. 95 when Whitey fled, and Benji and his girlfriend got grabbed outside Schooner’s.

  2. Rather- I think you are correct, it was like a buffett of crime for him to get involved in, not being tied down with limits. I think Salemme was half Irish, indeed you are correct about him becoming a boss.

  3. Hi Matt and what was your understanding of the relationship between Billy and Whitey Bulger?

    Do you think that Myles Connor was an informant?

    What was the motives for killing the Bennetts?

    • David:

      The connection between Billy and Whitey is that they had the same mother and father.

      Myles Connor in one sense was an informant – he gave the cops information on how to locate articles that he had stolen in exchange for lenient treatment of himself. He did not give information against other people. For the most part he operated by himself following his own drummer.

      I’m not sure of the motives for murdering the first two Bennetts. The last one Billy was done because he was interested in getting revenge for his brothers murders. It seems to have had something to do with a Mafia take over of their business even though Wimpy was closely connected with Raymond. Baione is alleged to have been behind it. Flemmi and Salemme who murdered them stood to gain control over the rackets in Roxbury and the South End so it may just have been using the so-called Irish Gang War as a way to take control of it.

      • Matt,
        The game of “Pin the Tail on Billy” has been going on unsuccessfully forever.
        He is clean. They should get over it.
        His brother is a criminal, he is not.

        Disagree about Myles.
        That guy has done more time than a clock. Informing on yourself is called confessing, and pretty sure you can’t inform on an inanimate object.
        “He did not give information against other people” = NOT an informant.

        Blandishing Benji becomes Baione’s boy by blasting Bennett brothers….but,
        ….. didn’t Benji rebuff Larry’s advances to join the club?

        If so, as reported,…..that is strange because as Top Rat in Boston, wouldn’t he and the FBI wanted to have their own “Donnie Brasco” scenario? It would have gotten headlines and deflected EVEN MORE attention away from him and Whitey.

        • Rather- I agree, Flemmi rebuked LCN offers, but i always wondered why? Not sure if he is 100% Italian, although this has never really been substantiated as far as him turning it down. I think it comes from Flemmi himself in a Carr book. A person like Frank Salemme would know the most accurate reason he did not become a made man.

          • Thomas,
            If the offer was extended, which it apparently was, then the 100% rule was moot if Benji isn’t 100%,…?

            Brings up the question of whether the Bear was made, and I’m not positive but I think I heard that Salemme wasn’t 100%, and he was the boss.

            More likely is that Benji was playing ALL sides (Rico/Condon/Connolly, the North End, Winter Hill, and Whitey) against the middle. Or perhaps Whitey flat out forbid him to join LCN.

            Very interesting question.

  4. Matt- Do you think if William Bulger participated in an interview conducted by a straight shooting journalist, it could clear away some of these myths created by reporters with an unfair/unbalanced view? I know it would never happen, but it could help giving his final say on the whole matter. Billy Bulger reminds me of Bill Belichik , when it comes to speaking to the media, not very interested in trying to clear up some things.

    • Doubting:

      Billy spent a day or two with a reporter in 2007 (I believe) in which he gave an interview. I’m on the road and don’t have access to it at the present time but I’ll write about it at some point. Billy’s problem is he does not trust the media to accurately report on anything he says.

      Aside from that he has been subject to so much of an onslaught that most people have made up their minds based on the media’s false portrayals. An example is that some group in South Boston was planning to name a public library after him; a group of new arrivals who knew nothing about all the good he had done were opposed to it. The courageous mayor who should know better refused to take a stand. There’s a mountain of slander for him to climb even before he could get a fair hearing.

      Keep in mind you have guys like Jacoby at the Globe (and other Globe writers) who have slammed people for even being seen in public talking to him. He wanted everyone to ostracize him. It’s a blood libel on him the way they have suggested that he was somehow involved in wrongdoing based on his relationship to his brother. There is a lot to your point comparing the Bills, Belichik and Bulger. They both have the same attitude to the media that dealing with it is a dead end because of all the professions in the world media folk have no loyalty; you can bend over backwards for years pleasing them but if they can get a better story about you by slamming you they will do it. They are only loyal to themselves – that is because it is an odd profession that is full of critics and not doers so many are begrudgers looking to tear down. Belichik gets away with it because he is such a superb coach and has produced results. He would not give them the time of day but he is forced to by the NFL owners.

      • Your comparison with Bill Bellichick was apt. Bellichick was badly burned by the press in Cleveland. Hardly any need to explain Bill Bulger’s history with them. Humans learn and form attitudes from experience. Bellichick has to do a minimum and that’s all he does. Bulger doesn’t have to at his stage in life. We might like him to for history’s sake, but anyone who was at all reasonable would be scorned as a sell-out. Can’t win.

        • I never knew he developed the persona due to Cleveland issues. Thanks Brian. You wondering how he got that shiner aswell? We have a better chance with powerball as opposed to B.B letting us know.

  5. It’s a silly unfounded slander put out by people who couldn’t get at William Bulger any other way. He has handled the impossible situation in which is bother placed him with amazing dignity and class.

  6. Paul Mahoney,BCH 56

    I enjoyed the latest story on WMB.Its right on the money.

  7. Mike Dukakis. Enjoy the show. It’s gonna be a hoot!