To the FBI he was known as informant BS 1544-OC, the OC designating "organized crime." He was later upgraded to BS 1544-TE, designating "top echelon informant."
That role as FBI informant as well as ties to rogue FBI agents helped accused Boston mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger build a criminal enterprise for the Winter Hill Gang, according to testimony from Special Agent James Marra with the Department of Justice Inspector General's Office today.
Bulger, 83, is on trial in federal court for a list of crimes including 19 murders.
FBI commander John Morris took $7,000 in bribes and FBI special agent John Connolly took a two carat diamond ring, testimony in the case has already revealed. And they often met with Bulger and his partner, Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi, Marra told the court.
"They frequently met together as a team. John Connolly would meet with Mr. Flemmi and Mr. Bulger together," Marra testified.
That team ran the Boston rackets for at least 15 years, according to a file of informant documents and FBI reports. Some of them, Marra admitted on the stand, were filled with false information disseminated to other law enforcement officials to divert attention away from Bulger. Others were filled with information on Bulger's rivals in La Cosa Nostra, the Italian Mafia.
"Based upon your review is there any doubt in your mind that Mr. Bulger was an FBI informant?" Assistant United States Attorney Fred Wyshak asked Marra.
That prompted an objection from Bulger's attorneys, who have been unrelenting in their insistence that their client was not an informant. The jury was dismissed so that the line of questioning could be discussed at a sidebar with the judge.
Defense attorney Hank Brennan said that the Boston FBI's sordid relationship with Bulger "goes all the way up to the DOJ," and that there is no evidence that he was an informant. Certainly, Marra had no direct knowledge, he argued.
Wyshak called the argument "a ridiculous contention." "It's not like we have one report, or two reports, but 15 years worth of reports," the prosecutor said.
The paperwork entered into evidence with BS-1544-OC and BS-1544-TE was voluminous and filled with tidbits from Bulger's relationship with the FBI.
Marra read from one report filed by an FBI supervisor Bulger in which he reportedly said:
"No one would dare believe he [Bulger] would be a federal informant. It would be too incredible."
That report also stated that Bulger was not motivated by money, but because of his friendship with John Connolly, who was also from South Boston and shared not only "mutual childhood problems" but also a "deep hatred" of the Italian Mafia.
The report also stated that Bulger said: "If he should be killed it would be because of a vendetta between the Winter Hill gang between because of the muscle each had to retaliate. It would not be because of his relationship as an informant."