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Journalist Who Exposed ‘Whitey’ Bulger’s Ties with FBI Dies

One of the books co-written by Gerald O’Neill.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Gerald M. O’Neill, an intrepid Boston Globe journalist who helped expose mobster James “Whitey” Bulger as an FBI informant, has died.

He was 76.

O’Neill was a longtime investigative reporter and editor for the newspaper’s Spotlight Team when he revealed in 1988 that Bulger was killing people while snitching for the FBI. At the time, the bureau was protecting the murderous crime boss.

“That stopped time in Boston,” Stephen A. Kurkjian, one of the original Spotlight reporters, told New York Times for an obit.

Kurkjian said the FBI told the Globe its information was erroneous and would embarrass the newspaper if it dropped the bombshell report. But editors stood behind O’Neill’s investigative work and published the story. After all, O’Neill had valuable sources within the FBI.

“It was a nerve-racking moment,” Dick Lehr, a Spotlight reporter who worked on the series with Mr. O’Neill, told the Times.

A decade later, the FBI finally admitted publicly that O’Neill and his team was right – Bulger was an FBI informant.

O’Neill and Lehr wrote two books about Bulger. One of them, “Black Mass: The Irish Mob, the FBI, and a Devil’s Deal,” which was published in 2000, was turned into a 2015 movie in which Johnny Depp starred as Bulger.

O’Neill died at his Boston home Thursday after complications with interstitial lung disease.


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