Tuesday, February 14, 2017

How Dirty is the FBI?

For many or most in my generation, the FBI was admirable. They upheld the law without falling into the squabbles, nepotism and petty politics of local sheriffs and police departments. The "G Man" was highly-trained and above corruption. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover reportedly was highly concerned with the Bureau's reputation, even interviewing and organizing training for Efrem Zimbalist Jr. for his TV role depicting the FBI.

For Boston & New England people, the saga of James "Whitey" Bulger and his brother Billy dirtied the FBI's reputation. Whitey was collaborating with the Bureau even as he murdered people, and FBI agent John Joseph Connolly, Jr. provided the tip-off allowing Whitey to escape justice in late 1994.

Subsequently, Bulger was highlighted as America's "Most Wanted" by the FBI for awhile, but it became clearer his insider knowledge of important people's dirt may have led to him being "America's least wanted."

We common folk will never know the full truth. Yet there remain troubling points:

1) Was Mr. Bulger truly captured? If so, where's Whitey now?
We're told this infamous criminal is safely locked-up (in US Federal Penitentiary Coleman II, Florida). But is he really there? Whitey & the Feds did bad shit together. The government should supply periodic photos & updates of his alleged incarceration.

2) Whitey was on the run for 16+ years; thousands of tips & leads were supposedly tracked, and the FBI offered a US$2 million reward for Bulger's capture. In 2008, Keith Messina reported seeing Whitey in Santa Monica, California. Three years later, a more precise tip by an Icelandic woman led the FBI to the doorstep of Bulger & his fugitive girlfriend. Perhaps the FBI could easily disregard domestically-generated tips, but an Icelandic TV crew finding Bulger would surely be a black-eye to the Bureau -- they needed to act. The Icelandic tipster was paid her reward, but her name and personal details were leaked to media & publicized. Nasty take-away lesson: collaborating with the FBI is very dangerous! Surely policing is more effective when working together with the public. Government promises of confidentiality must be enforced.