Trekking Toward The Truth – A Journey With Others Over The Road Less Traveled

Originally dedicated to the vagaries of matters involving Whitey Bulger and the FBI but now expanded into more general topics.

TTTT - Trekking Toward The Truth – A Journey With Others Over The Road Less Traveled

John Naimovich – An Insight Into The Whitey Bulger Case: Part 3

(I began this story two Sundays ago here and last Sunday here. I’ll continue posting this on Sundays until I finish it.)

Last week we saw that Jeremiah O’Sullivan learned the Massachusetts state police under Sgt Bobby Long had a six month jump on him and the FBI in the pursuit of the Mafia and they were putting an electronic bug into the Lancaster Street garage.

People still argue today about  how it happened that Whitey and Stevie knew about that bug. Some point to the crass Richard Schneiderhan who was a state trooper in the Attorney General’s office who was leaking information to his life-long friend Stevie Flemmi but if it were him the FBI wouldn’t have known; others blame an Israeli private investigator skilled at installing electronics (who I worked with for years and had no problems) because he later did some work for the Patriarca family but with him also the FBI would not have known; but I have no doubt it was O’Sullivan because too much was at stake for him to let the state police succeed.

What also gives credence to my belief is that the FBI and the gangsters knew at the same time about the bug. Corrupt FBI agent John Morris asked a Boston Police sergeant at an after work party when he had a wine or two if the state police had something going on at Lancaster Street. At the same time it was apparent the bug had been compromised. When confronted as to how he knew, he made up obvious lies, some of which he later admitted to after being confronted with them.

Maybe O’Sullivan had no choice since the consequences for him were so dire. Down the road his FBI wiretap succeeded to great acclaim and was held up as the way law enforcement should work. The local media played up the FBI’s accomplishments. But even with that, we heard testimony by O’Sullivan before a congressional committee that the special agent in charge of the Boston FBI office gave him a dressing down for daring to help the state police.

I’ve often wondered how O’Sullivan could sit there and not tell the state cops he was up to his eyebrows doing the same thing they were doing only they were six months ahead of him. Isn’t that just one of the indications of his intent to undermine them? Sometimes silence when words should be spoken tells the whole story. O’Sullivan sitting silently let them believe he would help them when he should have told them up front he could do nothing for them.

His problem was compounded by the adamant refusal of the state police to work with the FBI. They knew the FBI could not be trusted when it came to Whitey or Stevie. After the leak was known, they put in on the FBI blaming them for undermining their investigation. O’Sulllivan sat through that meeting and again kept his peace. The FBI would turn around after the meeting and write a report saying the state police were blaming them because it was covering up for two of its trooper who were suspected of being too close to gangsters.

After that relations soured between the FBI and state police  soured even more. Morris’s testimony last week had them being not so good even before that time. That’s another story how that came about but it involves around gangster named Myles Connor and the Norfolk DA’s office.

The bottom line was that the FBI knew the state police had almost bested them in 1980 – they were determined that it would never happen again. Not by working harder. Rather by controlling the state police.

In the mid-Eighties he FBI had great influence over the state police operations. Some of its agents like Dennis M. Condon took over positions such as Deputy Public Safety Secretary.  The state police operated under the control of the Public Safety Department.

At some point, it was decided that the FBI would in effect take over the state police organized crime operations. Some geniuses in the state police hierarchy liked the idea so a unit was formed where the state police and FBI would work together doing OC stuff.  This unit, like those joint terrorism task forces (JTTF), is a way the FBI keeps control of everything that is being done by the state and locals so that nothing will happen that will embarrass it.

It was into that joint task force that young trooper Foley gladly became a member thinking it a great feather in his cap to be working hand-in-hand with these agents. Foley was a witting participant in all their schemes. When he became older and wiser he realized how many times the FBI had been working against what the state police were trying to do and became disillusioned with it. He’d leave that unit and over time rise, like Charlie Henderson, to the top spot on the job.

Whitey Weekend Wrap – June 29, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





Short Post – The Curley Effect

BrahimWe’ve been wondering the genesis of the Boston Globe’s antagonism, to use an easy word, against Billy Bulger.  I was reading an article and came upon the term Curley Effect. Here’s what it said:

“There is a concept in political science called the Curley Effect, named for James Michael Curley, who was the intermittent Irish-American mayor of Boston over an astonishingly long period of time, first elected in 1913 and last elected in 1946. Curley had a special disgust for Boston’s Brahmin Establishment—“a strange and stupid race,” he once called the Wasps—and when in office, he did what he could to compel them to leave. He lavished funds on Irish neighborhoods and systematically neglected Anglo-American ones; he arranged his tax policies to redistribute wealth from the Wasp community to his own; and he kept up a rhetorical war on the Brahmins: “The Anglo-Saxon is a joke.” By his last term, the Yankee flight to the suburbs was complete.”

Perhaps since the Boston Globe was owned by a Brahmin family it saw in Billy Bulger the reincarnation of James Michael Curley. It felt an irresistible urge to destroy this monster before he drove them off to the wilds of Maine.

They had good reason to feel that. Billy Bulger has written a book about Curley.  He was a great admirer of his.

The writing was on the wall. This time however the WASPS stung back.

Whitey Wasn’t An Informant – Put That In Your Pipe And Smoke It!

IMG_3933A  lot of you who have struggled along with me in this blog know at some point early on as we developed a better insight into matters when I tried to throw of the fetters that bound me to a certain way of thinking and approach the story of Whitey’s life anew, going back to the earliest days.

Doing that I found much that we had been told by certain authors that was plainly untrue. These authors, and their minions in the press and Department of Justice, had bought into a story about Whitey that simply did not stand up to close scrutiny. I pointed this out as I proceeded to tell the life of Whitey based upon my background in some of these matters and from independent sources that I could find.

Writing it I came upon two truths I was pretty certain about: Flemmi was an informant of the FBI since the early 1960s up through the early 1990s; and the FBI’s records as to who are informants do not truly reflect a person’s status.

Morris confirmed the latter point today. He said people are not told they are informants, he knows of no case where an FBI agent ever took that “pink sheet:, the sheet that’s on top of an informant’s file and showed to an informant. I suggested in the past that there could be an informant file on all of us and we would not know it.

I pointed that out specifically with respect to the time in 1971 when FBI files showed FBI Agent Dennis Condon opened Whitey as an informant and closed him three months later as not being productive. I suggested without being sure that it was likely Whitey had no idea Condon did that. Now Morris confirmed that was most likely true.

Think of that a second. You can be listed on the FBI files as an informant and not know about it. You can be opened and closed on the files and not know about it. It’s all on paper and has no relation to actual facts. Which makes it crystal clear why the FBI has a saying: “If it’s not in writing it doesn’t exist” because the corollary of that is “If it is in writing it exists.” Therefore the FBI can make you an informant whether you are or not. Not only that it can put in your file 209 reports of information you passed on to them even if you never did.

The other thing I was certain of when going back through Whitey’s life was that Flemmi was an informant for Paul Rico, Dennis Condon and then John Connolly without interruption from the Sixties. I went through what happened back then to show that this was so. Flemmi would admit to the court that he was an informant.

One thing I struggled with in writing his life’s story was the question how did Whitey become an informant. Black Mass had the ludicrous story of Connolly meeting him at the beach and bringing him on board to help the FBI with the Mafia. I noted how little sense that made. He knew nothing about the Mafia. I also noted the authors skirted around the question how Whitey told Stevie Flemmi he as an informant.

Howie Carr was bright enough to know that didn’t fit. He came up with a theory that Whitey became an informant because the FBI agents knew some day his brother would be a big shot and could get them jobs. He too blurs how one guy told the other.

I couldn’t figure it out but since I assumed he was an informant. Yet within me I kept trying to envision a circumstance where one top hoodlum who was an informant would tell another top hoodlum that fact and on top of that convince the other to become and informant too. It just doesn’t happen.

But there was his informant file and everyone knew he was an informant so assuming he was one was easy. Right now I don’t remember how I worked it out but I was never comfortable with it.

I never entertained the idea he wasn’t an informant. Never gave that possibility a thought. But if I did, as I am now doing, I can see that what I could never envision occurring might not have happened. It is easier to believe Whitey was not an informant than that he was , because it never made sense Flemmi telling Whitey he’s been a rat since the Sixties and saying won’t you be my partner in ratting out people

Everyone struggled with, well some just ignored it, the unlikely fact that the two leaders of a criminal gang would both be informants. We believed because the FBI had informant records on them it was true. We never thought it may not be true. But after listening to Brennan’s cross-examination of Morris today where he has shown so much information in Whitey’s informant file was almost identical to information that existed in previous files, then I’m left to wonder whether Whitey was an informant.

If he wasn’t the consequences are enormous.

Brennan On The Moor and The Boston Globe’s Obsession

brennan's houseAnd it’s Brennan on the moor, Brennan on the moor, Bold, brave and undaunted was young Brennan on the moor.

If Whitey isn’t humming that tune to himself by this time there’s not a drop of Irish blood in him. If that were ever shown, then his whole defense that proud Irishmen do not inform therefore he couldn’t be an informant would go down the drain.  Maybe Wyshak should bring in a genealogist to trace his background — I’ve read somewhere that he had British blood in him.

I checked to see if the name Bulger was Irish.  I found this. “The name Bulger originally appeared in Gaelic as O Boguidir, which according to this site, meant yellow belly (from bolg dohar).”  I hope Wyshak doesn’t know that because it would fit into his theory Whitey was a rat if we consider the modern-day understanding of the term as a person being a coward.

However, it has a very interesting historical meaning.  So it’s not clear cut. It is an Irish word and being called a “yellow belly” at one time in Ireland was a something to be proud of. Here is one example: “A Wexford Man. called because of there jerseys. A real man, who saved the Irish in the Civil War, the 1798 rising. Also called yella belly.” It’s best not to mix cultures.

But back to Hank Brennan.

I think Margaret McLean a BC Law professor, who has written two books and is seen on TV each morning on NECN and other places, who is attending the trial and is a delightful intelligent woman summed it up perfectly in her tweet which went to the effect that during Hank Brennan’s cross-examination of Morris she didn’t have a chance to tweet because she couldn’t take her eyes off Brennan making Morris look like a liar.

Brennan tore into him on his past of lies. Morris would try to squirm out of some of the accusation but Brennan always managed to bring him back like a cat letting a mouse run a bit before nabbing him again. Morris would ramble a while and Brennan would let him and then ask the question he asked in the beginning. “So you lied about that also.” And Morris, seeing no one was buying into his excursions into nonsense would finally admit that was true that he lied.

He lied to his wife, to his girlfriend, to other agents, under oath, and on and on. He lied to benefit himself. Over and over again we had examples of him lying about big things, not so big things, and little things. If there is one thing the jurors went home with last night is that the guy on the stand who told them except for being caught lying to his fellow agents, his record in the FBI is clean, even though he admits he took lots of bribes from the gangsters, is a liar. They’ve already concluded he’s lying to them. Brennan has effectively, and he’s only begun, made Morris look very evil. If this type of man thinks he has a clean FBI record, what does that tell us about the mindset of some of these agents.

I was particularly interested in one part of Morris’s testimony on direct examination. He told how for months Gerry O’Neill of the Boston Globe was pestering him to give him information about Whitey Bulger and his relation to the FBI. This was back in 1988. Morris told how he succumbed and finally broke his oath and violated one of the most basic FBI commandments not to out an informant. Coincidentally, he did it after he had taken $5,000 from Whitey and thought Whitey had tape recorded the money pass.

He told how O’Neill was feeding the FBI information for them to investigate Billy Bulger. We’ve often speculated about the close relationship between the Boston Globe and the Department of Justice (DOJ) but here we hear it straight out. And this from Morris, who considers himself a friend of O’Neil’s.

What we get is a reporter feeding information to an FBI agent so that the FBI agent will go after a person so that the reporter can write a story about the FBI going after that person without disclosing he was the one who initiated the story. That seems sort of a strange way to go about reporting on things, at least to me.

Morris complies with O’Neill’s request. He opens an investigation on Billy Bulger. He does the investigation and come up with nothing and so after a while he closes it out. Morris testified O’Neill then turned on him and said he closed it out as a favor for Billy Bulger. Morris denied to O’Neill that was the case. He closed it out because there was nothing there. He closed it out on the merits.

This is the 75 State Street case. After Morris closed it the Globe forced the DOJ to reopen it and also pressured the Massachusetts attorney general to open an investigation. The Globe was hell-bent on getting Billy Bulger into difficulty with authorities even though there was no merit to the charges. How many in the public knew this?  These subsequent investigations also came up empty.

What was it that was motivating the Globe to begin an investigation and then when it doesn’t get what it wants to continue to defame a person?  Just the other day it was calling for people to shun Billy Bulger. Twenty five years chasing after him. What is behind this? Don’t you find it sort of odd? I do.






Friday Morning June 28, 2013 – Early Morning Update:

IMG_3095Last night after the jury left the judge and counsel remained behind discussing evidentiary issues for about a half hour or so.  The issue is whether Defense Attorney Carney can get some reports he received from the prosecutors into evidence so that he can show – which is a critical component of his case – that many of the reports filed by John Connolly were copied from earlier reports filed by others or were from information gained through ELSUR (that’s FBI for electronic surveillance.)  Carney’s push is to show, as we’ve heard for months, that what Prosecutor Wyshak calls the myth Whitey was not an informant is a not a myth. Carney believes putting in 30 or 40 of these reports showing the information preexisted Connolly’s reports will give the jury a basis for concluding everything filed by Connolly in his 209s (FBI for informant reports) was fabricated.

Wyshak is objecting to having them entered into evidence because a foundation for them has not been established. He’s not suggesting that they are not authentic documents, but that the mere fact such a document exists means nothing unless Carney can show Connolly had an opportunity to gain access to it. For example, if Connolly wrote the Whitey told him Tiger Jones is driving a blue car and there is a report from another FBI agent two days earlier that his informant told him the same thing, Wyshak argues that Carney has to show Connolly could have had access to that report.

That’s why there’s been a little bit of evidence about how the FBI informant files were maintained in the Boston office. At one point they were in a rotor which was a file system accessible to  everyone and then they were put into an informant file room where access was limited by some system which is not quite clear to me. Some suggest the SAC (special agent in charge) had to approve access but others have suggested it was more broadly available.

The problem with this whole discussion is that in reality the FBI in Boston, as Judge Wolf noted, marched to the beat of its own drum. It was a loose operation and the rules and regulations were there for cover but usually ignored and routinely breached. It also does not consider, as much of this case seems to omit, the everyday banter among these agents.

It’s sort of disingenuous for Wyshak to be pressing this point so hard because of the murder we’ll hear about again, that of Richard Castucci. Wyshak has suggested Whitey and his buddies murdered Castucci because they learned from Connolly that Castucci was informing on Joe McDonald and Jimmy Sims who were hiding out in New York. (I suggest the real reason was to beat the Mafia out of money in my book Don’t Embarrass The Family)

Castucci was the informant of Tom Daley a member of the C  – 3 squad, the same squad as Connolly. Wyshak has put in evidence that the Castucci’s informant file was available to all members of that squad. He has also put in evidence, and this seems to be where he wants to have his cake and eat it, that there were weekly meetings of the squad where agents spoke about what information was coming in and what the informants were saying. He doesn’t want Carney to be able to use the same type of proof as he used which is an inference that the existence of the knowledge of what’s in a report can be conveyed verbally among the agents.

Carney has said that the case will go on to Thanksgiving if he has to bring in each agent to explain all the circumstances of each report he wrote back in the late ‘70s or early ‘80s. Judge Casper listened to each side and is considering it. She asked the attorneys to try to work out some compromise. Carney said that was impossible. It seems to me they could come up with some type of agreement on this but I’m not trying the case and I know if I were I probably would be digging in my heels as counsel is doing.  The ball is going to have to go back to Judge Casper who’ll have to come up with a solution. I’m sure she’ll find one so I’m not trucking up to Boston during the football season.

Morning Looking Back Thursday June 27

IMG_2885Break for lunch. Morris was the highlight today. By now whatever happened with Marra is long gone into the recesses of the memory. Maybe it’ll come back some day.

I found several things that were interesting in Morris’s testimony. One was the information surrounding the Halloran murder.  I never knew before that Agent John Connolly was not around the office much during the time that Halloran had begun cooperating with the FBI.  This is according to Morris who said that because he was attending graduate school at Harvard he was not there often.

Morris had opposed Connolly going to that school. The reason is unclear because if Connolly was his best friend as he asserts, why would he not have supported it?

Halloran decides to cooperate and the FBI wants to get him into the witness protection program. We heard about efforts made in that direction and one involved Morris doing a threat assessment which was an attempt to determine what threats existed to Halloran from the criminal element. We’ve seen reports from which we are supposed to infer that Whitey is laying the ground work for doing a hit on Halloran. Connolly is filing information wherein Whitey is telling him about the many people who have grudges against Halloran like the Mafia and people from Charlestown.

I guess while Connolly is at school he is still filling reports from the information he is getting from Whitey. It’s hard to see him taking the time to make this stuff up as the defendant is alleging. That’s probably the best evidence to show Whitey is giving information.

But Morris today tells us that during the time this information from Whitey about Halloran being a target for other people is being written, from which we are supposed to believe Whitey is turning suspicion from himself and is planning a hit, Connolly knew nothing about Halloran being an informant.

So how is it that we are supposed to believe the idea which the prosecutor has asserted time after time and which is the common belief among those who pass them off as experts on this case that the reason Halloran was murdered was because Connolly tipped Whitey off that Halloran was informing on him when Whitey is laying the groundwork for the hit before Connolly is aware Halloran is an informant

That’s one of the big problems with understanding this case. Everything that the gangsters picked up on the street about what was going on is ignored. I’ve noted this before that we’re supposed to think what the gangsters know about the people they interact with on the street only comes from government sources. But here we see clearly that Whitey knows Halloran is cooperating long before Connolly knows.

And the whole Halloran story about Whitey and Stevie asking him to kill Wheeler is nonsense. Halloran was known as a coke head and drunk and a guy who couldn’t be controlled. He’s under indictment for murder which everyone knew. Would they take a chance and put their crime careers at risk by bringing him in to hit a guy in Oklahoma?  Halloran probably didn’t know there was an Oklahoma.

Another thing of interest was Morris talking about the Pallatta case.  Pallatta was a guy giving information out about Winter Hill.  Morris said that Connolly approached him and asked him if he could use some information from that case to approach Whitey Bulger to see if he could flip him.  That is apparently the genesis of the relationship between Connolly and Whitey.

We’ve been told stories about Connolly knowing him from youth, or Connolly meeting him in a car at night near a beach where Whitey sneaks up on the car like Batman, and have read in quotes the conversations that were supposed to have occurred, such as Connolly telling him we’ll both work together to take down the Mafia. I Morris is to be believed, they are all made up.  It was a mundane situation of going to Whitey with a file and saying I’ve got this information and would you like to work with us.

There’s so much fiction in the FBI that it is constantly bumping into reality. FBI files tell us Flemmi is not an informant until he was opened in 1980. Yet we hear Morris telling us that in 1979 he went to O’Sullivan and told him Flemmi is an informant and he shouldn’t indict him. We also hear of him doing other things with Flemmi before he is listed as an informant.  Flemmi tells us he was an informant all along since he first signed up in the early 1960s.

It’s a sad state of affairs when we have to go to the gangsters to get the truth.  #Bulger

Morris Testifying – Here’s What You Should Know – Part 2

IMG_2848The weird thing that happens is that Morris tells Agent Quinn who works under him to rewrite his affidavit. The purpose is to commit a fraud. Morris wants to include Whitey and Stevie in the affidavit, as informants. They are put in and disguised by a designation such as “Informant A-4”. They are not necessary to getting the order but are included so that they can be advised of the wiretap and cut their ties with Angiulo and his group during the electronic bugging operation.  Right off the bat the true picture of the Angiulo operation will be distorted and the agents will not be getting the full information that they should be getting.

During the interception, Morris and Connolly meet with Stevie and Whitey. They have their usual few glasses of wine, or at least Morris does, earning him the nickname Vino.  Stevie and Whitey are very abstemious when it comes to imbibing in alcohol. They play some of the tapes from the wiretap for the gangsters to listen to.  These are outrageous violations of Title III and they had the high potential of undermining all the guys in Morris’ unit who are working hard on the bug.

Morris begins to take what he says are gifts from the gangsters; cases of wine, cases of wine with $1000 in it; $1000 to fly girlfriend to New York; and special dinners with Whitey and Stevie. He becomes a rising star in the FBI. He was sent to Miami to oversee an FBI investigation of an FBI agent taking payoffs from criminals, like what he was doing. He successfully did that job and returned to Boston.

He was eventually made supervisor of another group of agents in 1988. This group had developed a case of a cop being paid off by a bookie named Baharian.  Aside from him, Stevie Flemmi is a target. Morris again has no trouble undermining the agents working under him.  He tells Stevie and Whitey about the wiretap. Whitey gives him $5000.  Life’s good for John Morris.

Then he gets this odd feeling that maybe it isn’t as good as he’d like to think. He begins to realize that once you get in bed with these gangsters it’s difficult getting out. They start wanting more and more. Sleep at night becomes more fretful. Morris worries about the last $5000 and starts to get the idea that perhaps his pal Whitey, the guy who calls him Machiavellian (and you have to wonder what Morris was doing for Whitey to get that cognomen) recorded that conversation.

Here’s when he comes up with the idea of getting Whitey killed. He meets with the Boston  Globe’s Gerry O’Neil, who will become his good friend, and tells him Whitey is an informant.  He has a spiel prepared about how that is bad for everyone, etc.  O’Neil sees a big story. He gets together with others to verify the story. O’Neil’s partner Lehr reaches out to former ASAC in the Boston office, Fitzpatrick  who confirms the story. At Whitey trial Agent Marra will say it is the prosecution belief that Fitzpatrick is not credible and is a serious revisionist of history. I suggested something to that effect a long time ago when I first reviewed Fitzpatrick’s book.

The Globe in the fall of 1988 at Morris’s behest discloses Whitey has a special relationship with the FBI. The Globe then starts writing other information about FBI doings, especially as they relate to Billy Bulger. Within a couple of months the Globe went from praising Billy to condemning him. A common ingredient in this sudden shift is Morris and Fitzpatrick feeding information to the Globe.

The FBI starts to realize some of its inner secrets are being released. It investigates and determines the Morris is the culprit. It confronts him. He lies. It confronts him again. He lies. Then despite his lies, and remember this is all kept in house, it determines correctly he was the one who did it. He gets a slap on his hand and his career goes on but now he knows he’ll never be an FBI star or one of the inside guys at the top in DC. He becomes an ASAC in LA in California and then goes to Quantico, Virginia. He’s just playing out the string when he learns his former pals, Whitey and Stevie are under indictment in Boston.

He knows they have the goods on him. He bides his time anxiously absorbing every bit of news he can get. He learns Stevie has said he was given the OK by the FBI’s Morris and Connolly to commit the crimes in return for becoming an informant. This puts Morris, the supervisor, squarely in the bull’s eye. He knows now the race is on because the government will want to rebut Stevie’s assertion, which it really never had to do.  It thinks it needs Morris or Connolly on its side.

The most likely target should be the supervisor but Morris has friends with connections to the prosecutor. He jumps first at the opportunity to get into the federal boat by blaming Connolly for everything.  He walks with his pension; Connolly does life in prison.

Ironically, he testified today he works part-time as a wine consultant and wine educator. He showed no appreciation that he got his start in that business with the nice wines Whitey used to buy for him.  The gangsters appropriately named him Vino.

Morris To Testify – Here’s What You Should Know – Part 1

The Bridge Leading To The Top Echelon Informant Designation

The Bridge Leading To The Top Echelon Informant Designation

I told about the man’s Machiavellian bent but here’s a view of what he did to achieve that fame.

His name is John Morris – also known to some as the Weeper because of his uncanny ability to weep at the time most conducive to gaining sympathy from people bringing up their motherly instinct to help. We know of crocodile tears and the tears shed by the Walrus as he dined on the oysters. Well the Weeper’s tears fit into that category.

I’m not quite sure where he learned how to do it. Maybe it was a course he took during his college days. He came to the FBI in 1970 via the University of Miami and then a three-year stint in the Army coming out as a captain. The first stunt that we hear about him doing after he arrives in the Boston office is when he plants an explosive on a car’s gas tank trying to scare the owner of the car, Eddie Miani, into becoming an FBI informant. Miani, like Ralph DiMasi, said no thanks.  He probably couldn’t afford the cost since in Morris’s world the FBI agent charged money for protection.

Around that same time he did manages to get another informant, a guy named Sammy Berkowitz. Sammy spent most of his time corrupting people in Chelsea like the mayors and operating his gaming operation quite openly. Sammy will be Morris’s only Top Echelon Informant – although Morris meets frequently with Whitey Bulger and Stevie Flemmi he’s only the backup agent, John Connolly is their primary handler.

Sometime around the time he failed to get Miani, Morris was put in charge of the FBI C – 3 squad or unit as its supervisor, trusted by the FBI to be in command of and lead 20 or so other agents dedicated to organized crime. One of the men under him was John Connolly. Morris was Connolly’s boss. (I know I said it twice but it bears emphasizing.)

Morris tells us that there were two groups in the FBI office in Boston, the old guys and the new guys, none of them apparently would let Morris play in any of their games or hang around with them. Gives you a good idea of what a guy like Morris is all about.  These FBI guys are like the salt of the earth – they might be captured in a culture that demands absolute conformity and secrecy to preserved its tarnished reputation – but outside of playing within those strictures for the sake of a paycheck the ones I’ve known are likeable and affable. Somehow that culture raised an oddball to a supervisory position.

Morris takes up with hanging around with Connolly because I guess Connolly accepted him. Morris suggests he was corrupted by Connolly but we know he’s not walking on the straight and narrow when he’s going about making people think someone is trying to blow them up or letter a bookie run roughshod over a small city. His leanings are to the dark side. It’s hard to corrupt a guy in his 30s unless he wants to be corrupted.

I should mention that while he’s involved with Berkowitz he’s taking small gifts from him such as food deliveries and some clothes and things for around the household. He didn’t need Connolly to teach him that. He’ll eventually “borrow “ $5,000 from Berkowitz, use his Florida condominium in Florida for vacations, and get other gratuities. And of course, he protected him so that he could continue to provide information to him.

We next hear how in 1979 Morris, the supervisor, and Connolly go to Strike Force Chief O’Sullivan and ask him not to indict Whitey and Stevie because they are informants and needed in the war against the Mafia. O’Sullivan denied he let them out of the indictment because of that but his denial rings shallow. Right there, that action alone sends out a signal something is not right. You cut informants out if they helped you in the matter you are investigating. If it’s a different matter you don’t, especially when you are indicted their partners.

How many times do you think it has happened that a prosecutor would let two leaders of a criminal gang escape because a cop asked him to do it. Morris and his unit are actively working with O’Sullivan at the time investigating the Boston Mafia (Angiulo). Connolly could not have gotten access to O’Sullivan without his supervisor opening the door.

In that Angiulo investigation other agents working under Morris are doing the grunt work developing information so that they can build a case to do electronic surveillance on the local Mafia headquarters. This is being done during the time O’Sullivan is involved in the Race Fixing case, the one where he cut Whitey and Stevie out. His indictment in that case effectively gave command of Winter Hill to Whitey and Stevie since the other leaders fled.

After that case, O’Sullivan goes back to work on the Angiulo case with Morris’s unit. This is the FBI’s number one national priority: get the Mafia. The case O’Sullivan is working is being closely watched by FBI officials in DC.  Here’s the rub: neither Whitey or Stevie are necessary for that investigation. The affidavit for the electronic surveillance is prepared without any input from them.

Then a weird thing happens.  I’ll go on in part 2.


Except For The Tears Machiavelli Would Be Proud

IMG_2907He had to mention it twice the time when he was talking. He felt quite proud of it although he tried to hide it. You knew he felt proud because it wasn’t necessary to mention it a second time. He was called Machiavellian by a man he wanted to be admired by. That man was Whitey Bulger.

Now if there is anyone who thought of himself as Machiavellian it was Mr. James “Whitey” Bulger.  I don’t know if he read the Prince or not but he certainly ascribed to one of Niccolo’s precepts, “it is better to be feared than loved.”  Margaret King of Southie testified how when her husband Tommy went missing she went looking to talk to Whitey.  Evidence will show Tommy was in the Mullen gang and was a rival of Whitey’s and likely murdered by Whitey. The word in Southie is he was feared by Whitey. FBI reports attributed to Whitey said he had to go because he was getting too wild.

Whitey was getting into a car and she had the audacity to approach him. She said she wanted to ask him if he had seen Tommy. He appeared very agitated that she asked.  It was either because he felt guilty that he had murdered him, or because no one approaches the prince without his permission.  I’d go for the latter reason.

Whitey lived by scaring people. Who wants to be around a guy who is known for pulling a trigger on people and whose rivals seem to disappear? So for him to suggest this other guy was like himself, Machiavellian, that was quite a tribute.

I can’t say Whitey erred in making that assessment.  You’ve heard how Martorano got 12 years for 20 murders; and how Weeks got 5 years for 5 murders; well this guy never did a day in jail. Not one. In a sense he got himself the best deal of all even though he was the one that really could have stopped all the killings if he was not so interested in lining his pockets with gangster money.

I got to give Whitey credit for this, he could smell this guy out from a mile away and with the flattery was able to quickly get him to fall in love with him, figuratively speaking. He was told by one of his underlings that Whitey and Stevie would do anything they could for him. He swooned. The Machiavelli cognomen was icing on the cake. He stood proud and tall hearing it.

His love affair with Whitey and Stevie lasted from 1975 until sometime in the late 1980s. It broke up, or I should say he broke up with Whitey. He thought Whitey had been recording some of their intimate and private conversations.

You’ve all heard of Michelle Kosilek who murdered her 36-year-old wife Cheryl McCaul when she was living with her as a man Robert Kosilek – well she got convicted of first degree murder and will die in prison.  I mention that because when one kills another in a close relationship, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts does not look too fondly on it. The same applies to one who tries to kill another to get out of such of a relationship.

What this Machiavellian guy did to break up his relationship with Whitey was to try to get him hit. He did it in an unusual way: one which left, as they say, no fingerprints; no way to trace back to him.  He managed to align himself with a broadsheet.  What better way than to send a message to the Mafia that someone is a rat than to do it through the newspaper. His intent, as he admitted, was to get Whitey killed.  If that happened the relationship would be cleanly severed and he could go on with his life.

This man, John Morris, will be the next witness. Oh, before I go, I must mention the tears. During his testimony he will cry on cue as he has done twice in the past when he tells about pocketing money given to him by Whitey.  It’s a great act. But I don’t remember Niccolo recommending them.