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The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob
Format: Trade Paperback
Pub. Date: 2000
Type: Non-Fiction, True Crime, Personal library
Pages: 331 + sources (333-336) + notes (337-371)
Rating: Really liked it ♥♡
Black Mass has been sitting on my bookshelf for quite a while, I was looking for a third book about Jimmy “Whitey” Bulger written by Dick Lehr, I have “Whitey” and have been trying to find “Underboss”. Then I saw the movie “Black Mass” (starring: Johnny Depp and Benedict Cumberbatch as the Bulger brothers and Joel Edgerton as John Connolly, former FBI agent) was scheduled to be released in September 2015. I decided I had to read the book before I saw the movie, which I desperately want to see (I haven’t seen it yet, I have seen “Pawn Sacrifice” and “Steve Jobs”).
In 1988 Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill started to write a story for the Boston Globe about the Bulger Brothers, Jimmy and Billy. One was Boston’s most powerful criminal and Billy was the most powerful politician (which some might say is the same, but hey he never killed anyone, that we know of). In the course of the investigation, they discovered that Jimmy Bulger seemed to be made of teflon, since 1965, while he climbed the ranks of Boston underworld from street soldier to boss, he had not been arrested, not once. He seemed to know when the authorities were closing in on him. He knew about wiretaps. Some in law enforcement felt ‘the fix was in’ even so far as ‘the FBI had secretly provided him cover all these years’. But there was no proof. Mobsters hated informants, this was the world Whitey Bulger lived in. In the end however, the FBI had to come clean, Bulger and Flemmi (Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi) had been informants for over 20 years.
The first meeting between John Connolly, FBI agent and Jimmy Bulger was in 1975, Flemmi was already an informant at this time, had already experienced the protection the FBI could offer, he was never questioned about his criminal activities, even the murders he may or may not have committed. When asked, he told Bulger “Go talk to him.” The deal was made, and the fix was in. There is more to this story than two mob guys being informants and more FBI involvement than one agent covering up. Connolly covered Flemmi and Bulger, other agents covered him. There was a massive head in the sand approach to what was going on. The truth started to come out in 1997, 10 months later after sworn testimony and the opening of secret FBI files the Boston FBI office was revealed to be a gigantic stack of shit. This book tells it all.
Detailed with extensive documentation this books read like a too good to be true Godfather book, except its true, and it’s fascinating. I recommend this to true crime fans in particular fans of mafia books.