BOSTON (AP) — A former FBI supervisor who wrote a book on reputed gangster James “Whitey” Bulger testified yesterday that he tried to terminate him as an FBI informant, but his bosses would not do it.
Robert Fitzpatrick, a former assistant special agent in charge of the FBI’s Boston office said that in 1981 he was given the task of assessing Bulger to see if he was providing the FBI with useful information on the Mafia. At that point, Bulger had been an FBI informant for about six years.
Fitzpatrick said that when he met with Bulger, he repeatedly changed the subject, “played the tough guy,” and said he would never testify against anyone.
“At one point, he even said he was not an informant,” Fitzpatrick said.
“Basically, he was not giving me any information that I was out there trying to get,” he said.
Bulger, 83, is on trial in a massive racketeering indictment charging him with playing a role in 19 killings while he allegedly led the Winter Hill Gang in the 1970s and ’80s. He was one of the FBI’s most wanted fugitives after he fled Boston in 1994 until he was captured in 2011 in Santa Monica, Calif. Bulger has strongly denied being an informant.
After his initial meeting, Fitzpatrick said, he recommended that Bulger be terminated as an FBI informant. But he said his supervisor and top brass at FBI headquarters in Washington did not act on his recommendation.
The defense has tried to show Bulger wasn’t an informant in order to undercut the credibility of prosecution witnesses. They claim his FBI handler, John Connolly, fabricated Bulger’s FBI file to advance his own career at a time when bringing down the Mafia was a national priority for the FBI. Fitzpatrick testified that he revealed misconduct by Connolly, who is now in prison.