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FBI Denies Playing Any Role in Boston Globe Naming Bulger Tipster

Updated Bulger photo/wbur

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The controversy surrounding the decision by the Boston Globe to publish the name of the woman who tipped off the FBI as to the whereabouts of mobster James “Whitey” Bulger, continued on Wednesday.

The FBI in Boston posted a statement on its website denying it played any role in the publication of the name, Anna Bjornsdottir, a former Miss Iceland, who split her time between Iceland and Santa Monica, Calif., where she lived near Bulger and his companion Catherine Greig.

“Recently, a news outlet chose to publish the alleged identity of one of the tipsters involved in locating FBI Top Ten Fugitive James “Whitey” Bulger and Catherine Grieg. It is important to note, despite numerous media requests to provide the name of one of the tipsters, at no time has the FBI furnished the name, provided comment, or confirmed the accuracy of any reporting about the tipsters.”

“In defending against public criticism about the decision to publish the name of the alleged tipster, reporters and editors from the news outlet attempted to justify it by stating the FBI did not raise any objections in advance.

“That explanation suggested the FBI was culpable for the publishing of this information. To the contrary, the FBI’s silence on these inquiries should not be seen as acquiescence to that editorial decision. Had the FBI responded one way or the other, the effect would have been to confirm or deny the identity of one of the tipsters.”

“The decision by the news outlet to use an individual’s name and photograph was a decision made solely and independently by that news outlet.”

The Globe reported on the FBI statement and provided further explanation for publishing the name.

Jennifer Peter, the Globe’s deputy managing editor for local news, said the newspaper never reported that the FBI had no objections to identifying the tipster, only that it did not raise any concerns about her personal safety.

“A great deal of thought and discussion went into the decision to name the tipster,’’ Peter said. “And in a case such as this, where there have been so many deceptions and lies in the past and where there were so many conspiracy theories circulating as to what actually happened, it seemed imperative to give as accurate and full an accounting as we could.’’

The Globe reported that is decision to publish the name of the tipster drew criticism from its rival, the Boston Herald and Globe readers.

 


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