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FBI Delaying Release of File on Bulger

November 22, 2018
Mary Callahan holds a photograph of her murdered husband, John, at her Burlington home on June 23, 2011.

By Joe Dwinnell

Boston Herald

The FBI is saying “unusual circumstances” are jeopardizing the release of James “Whitey” Bulger’s potentially damning agency file, with the Herald being told it’s not a high priority.

In one excuse to not release the file expeditiously, the FBI said “the matter” did not rise to the level of “exceptional media interest” that raised “questions about the government’s integrity.”

Bulger was once a Top 10 Most Wanted fugitive -- listed for years just after Osama bin Laden. He was accused of 19 murders and convicted of 11 after being caught hiding out in Santa Monica, Calif., in the summer of 2011 with his longtime lover. Multiple movies and TV shows based on his murderous ways were pumped out by Hollywood, including the blockbuster “The Departed.”

Bulger’s corrupt FBI handler in Boston, John Connolly, is serving a 40-year prison sentence for his part in protecting the notorious killer. The 78-year-old has exhausted his appeals and remains locked up in Florida.

Bulger was beaten to death Oct. 30, hours after his transfer to a federal maximum-security prison in Hazelton, West Virginia. He was 89. A private funeral Mass was held a few days later in South Boston.

During his heyday as head of the Winter Hill Gang, Bulger was a prized FBI informant -- a dangerous deal with the devil that tarnished the agency for years.

Now the FBI is saying a Herald Freedom of Information Act request is too big in scope and may cost a hefty sum.

That, says the widow of a Bulger victim, is just a delay tactic.

“Everybody knows there’s more to Whitey Bulger than meets the eye,” said Mary Callahan Tuesday. “Was he murdered because he knew too much? Does anybody know about the money he left behind? Does the FBI know? Shouldn’t everything come out?

“Doesn’t the Freedom of Information Act apply here?” she added. “Come on. Those files belong to us, the taxpayers.”

Callahan’s husband, John, was shot to death and left in the trunk of a car in a Miami airport in 1982 because he knew too much about Bulger’s gang.

Steve Davis, whose sister, Debra, was killed by the Bulger gang, said any delay is rotten.

“It’s like the Watergate scandal,” Davis said Tuesday night. “It’s a shame we all have to suffer and wait now. We never get the answers we want.”

The Herald is appealing the delay and fee. The FBI did not respond to requests for comment.

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