James Whitey Bulger adamantly denies two of the 19 murders hes accused of committing and for which hes now on trial in a Boston federal court, along with facing a dozen lesser charges. Decades ago, the 83-year old reputed mobster allegedly ran much of the citys organized crime.
Whitey may be just another hoodlum, but what makes his reign of terror unique, as the Washington Post reported, is that he was aided and abetted by corrupt FBI agents. A 2004 House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform investigation concluded that numerous informants working with the FBI — not limited to just Mr. Bulger — were committing murders, about which G-men were no doubt aware.
And yet . . . did nothing.
Something to consider: With the federal government assuming awesome new powers, could such powers ever in our wildest imaginations possibly be abused?
Tipped off by a crooked FBI agent (who is now serving his own 40-year prison sentence), Bulger went on the run in December of 1994, just ahead of the FBIs plan to arrest him. That paced Bulger onto the FBIs Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list.
Nearly two decades later, in 2011, Whitey was found living in Santa Monica, California, with his girlfriend, guns, and $800,000 stuffed in the walls.
Quite a colorful story. Whitey Bulger exudes old-style gangster. He has a cool nickname that now fits at his age. And even the federal prosecutor complimented Whiteys work ethic, noting, He was no ordinary leader. He did the dirty work himself. He was a hands-on killer.
Perhaps it was a simpler time.
Furthermore, the FBIs role as Whiteys accomplice creates an über-timely cautionary tale now that the IRS has been found blocking the civil rights of conservatives and when we discover the federal government has all our phone, credit card and internet-usage data. His story gains a sort of unnerving frisson when contrasted with the too-common suggestion that massive government surveillance is no big deal unless you have something to hide.
But the Bulger story contains yet another twist: Whitey Bulger had five brothers and sisters, including younger brother, William Billy Bulger. Longtime Massachusetts residents remember Billy Bulger — the 36-year legislator, who spent 18 years as Senate President, and was once arguably the states most powerful politician.