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Tag: boston globe

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.

FBI Arrests California Man for Threatening to Kill Boston Globe Reporters

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The FBI arrested a California man who repeatedly threatened violence against Boston Globe journalists, calling them “the enemy of the people,” echoing a phrase often used by President Trump.

An FBI SWAT team armed with military-style weapons arrested Robert Darrell Chain, 68, during a dawn raid in his home in Encino, Calif., the Boston Globe reported

Agents found 20 firearms in the home, including a rifle purchased in May.

Authorities said Chain was angry with the newspaper’s editorial campaign denouncing the president’s attacks against the media.

Chain was charged Thursday with threatening to shoot and kill journalists from the Boston Globe. He was released from jail on a $50,000 bond and told reporters outside federal court that “there’s no free press in America.”

Chain faces up to five years in prison and could be charged with additional crimes related to the weapons found at his home.

Boston Globe: No Urgency on Clinton Investigation ‘Unfair to the Country’

hillary-clintonBy Joan Vennochi
Boston Globe

If FBI Director James Comey feels no deadline pressure to wrap up the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s e-mail server, he should.

“The urgency is to do it well and promptly. And ‘well’ comes first,” Comey told local law enforcement agents in Buffalo on Monday, according to the Niagara Gazette.

“Well” is important. But so is “promptly,” and the FBI’s definition of that is unclear.

The probe, underway for a year now, addresses a fundamental question: Did Clinton intentionally or recklessly forward classified information in a way that put the country at risk?

Getting the answer sooner rather than later seems only fair.

“Yes, there surely is a professional, ethical, and moral obligation of the Feds to finish the investigation ASAP rather than leave a cloud hanging over the electoral process,” said noted criminal defense lawyer Harvey Silverglate. What’s also troubling, said Silverglate, is that “we don’t even know who is ignoring his/her ethical obligations, since we have not been informed, to my knowledge at least, who is in charge of the investigation.” Is it Attorney General Loretta Lynch, he asks, or — given the highly charged political nature of the investigation — a designee?

Democrats have a special interest in reaching closure before picking their nominee. Even the most loyal Clinton supporters wonder if an indictment is more than right-wing wishful thinking.

But an investigation that drags on past the convention, into the fall, is more than a partisan concern. It’s unfair to the country as a whole.

To read more click here. 

Other Stories of Interest

Boston Globe Editorial: Border Patrol Needs to Be Reigned In to Keep Its Focus

By Editorial Board 
Boston Globe

Most Americans have a pretty firm idea of where the borders of the United States lie. But most are unaware that the federal government has an entirely different — and alarmingly far-reaching — definition of the nation’s boundaries when it comes to immigration enforcement. In fact, Customs and Border Protection agents have the authority to stop and conduct searches on vehicles within 100 air miles from any external boundary of the United States, including the coast.

For a while now, this 100-mile rule has been the focus of the American Civil Liberties Union — for good reason. Consider this: Nearly two out of three Americans (or close to 200 million people) live within 100 miles of the US land and coastal borders, according to the US Census. The ACLU claims border patrol agents routinely violate the rights of innocent people, sometimes acting like this 100-mile zone is Constitution-free. This practice is problematic on many levels, and should be discontinued.

Primarily, “pushing the border in” for 100 miles inland creates a waste of resources: The government agency in charge of enforcing immigration in the country’s interior is Immigration and Customs Enforcement, known as ICE. Empowering border agents to operate in the 100-mile zone diverts them from doing their job at the US-Mexico and US-Canada borders.

Even more alarming are the potential consequences of this 100-mile zone rule in light of the newly released policy guidelines regarding the use of profiling by federal law enforcement agents. The Department of Justice announced that, while profiling on the basis of race was already illegal for most federal agents when deciding whether to investigate someone, they will no longer be allowed to consider religion, national origin, gender and gender identity, or sexual orientation. The rule doesn’t cover local or state police departments, and it alsoexempts border agents. This generous exclusion — which Attorney General Eric Holder was opposed to, but was overruled by the White House and the Department of Homeland Security — means that border officials will still be allowed to use profiling when conduct screening and inspection activities near the border.

To read more click here.

Boston Globe Editorial: Border Patrol Needs More Reforms, Not More Money

By The Boston Globe
Editorial Board

The ebola crisis has sparked no small number of irrational statements, but one of the least sensible is the call to invest heavily in US border enforcement. President Obama’s highly anticipated plans for executive action on immigration, announced Thursday, included boosting border security. A more secure border, the thinking goes, should be the policy priority, not creating pathways to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

But there’s a problem with that reasoning: The United States already has piled additional billions into border security, creating Customs and Border Protection, which is now the largest law enforcement agency in the country, with 60,000 agents and staff.

The number of border agents has nearly doubled in 10 years. In a compelling 10,000-word exposé in Politico magazine, writer Garrett M. Graff presents a portrait of an overstaffed, dysfunctional Border Patrol, a force within Customs and Border Protection that is home to rogue agents and cloaked in secrecy. Many of the agency’s problems are attributable to its rapid growth, much of it originally funded in George W. Bush’s second term and maintained afterward.

A surge in funding would exacerbate the issues plaguing the border patrol, which placed too many inexperienced agents in the field without proper training, and continues to struggle with internal misconduct and corruption cases.

Politico’s Graff layers in many chilling points about the patrol and its officers, whose green uniforms prompted Washington officials to dub the agency the Green Monster. It is likely one of the US government’s deadliest agencies, with 46 fatal shootings in the past 10 years.

To read more click here.

Opinion from the Boston Globe: Secret Service Should Not Cordon Off White House After Jumper Incident

By Kathleen Kingsbury
Boston Globe

 Last Friday, a man with a knife was able to jump the White House fence on Pennsylvania Avenue and make his way into the president’s residence. The intruder allegedly had more than 800 rounds of ammunition in his car, a federal prosecutor said on Monday.

In response, the Secret Service is reportedly considering expanding the security perimeter around the White House — possibly even making tourists go through checkpoints when they’re several blocks away, according to the New York Times.

It’s terrifying to think that 42-year-old Omar Gonzalez, believed to be a war veteran suffering from PTSD, made it to through the White House’s unlocked front door unimpeded. But erecting a larger cordon around 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. — and restricting access to “the people’s house” — is an overreaction. The White House isn’t an ordinary private residence; it’s the president’s home only at the will of the electorate. The building and its grounds should be as open to the public as security allows. Regardless of which administration is in office, I always feel a little swell of patriotism every time I happen by it, when I’m walking or driving in Washington, D.C.

So perhaps a better plan would be to make sure the Secret Service does its job better. The episode raised serious questions about potential lapses by the agency, which is overseen by the Department of Homeland Security. The harsh criticism aimed at it over the weekend is appropriate; so is the announcement that Secret Service will conduct an internal review. That will give time for perspective: It’s still worth remembering that agents put their lives on the line to protect the president. And given Gonzalez’s apparent mental illness, their response to the episode may have involved some warranted restraint.

To reach more click here.

 

 

 

Boston Globe Reporters Publish New Book: “Whitey Bulger: America’s Most Wanted Gangster and the Manhunt That Brought Him to Justice”

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Boston Globe reporters Kevin Cullen and Shelley Murphy have penned a new biography on mobster James “Whitey” Bulger , which reveals some interesting tidbits about the one-time fugitive accused of killing 19 people.

The book, “Whitey Bulger: America’s Most Wanted Gangster and the Manhunt that Brought Him to Justice,” talks about his brooding in his prison cell and how he had been willing to be executed if the feds let his girlfriend Catherine Greig go free.

Ticklethewire.com reported on the content of the book by the Globe reporters on Feb. 11, but mistakenly attributed the content to another new book on Bulger by authors Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill that was cited in the Boston Herald.

 

 

Boston Globe Editorial: FBI Found Right Balance in Probe of CIA Director Petraeus

By Boston Globe
Editorial
 

What, exactly, would critics want the FBI to have done differently? The agency is coming in for a lot of second-guessing in Congress for its handling of the inquiry into the extramarital affair between former CIA director David H. Petraeus and biographer Paula Broadwell. The bizarre case, involving anonymous e-mails, catty rivalries on the Tampa social scene, and a cast of deeply immature people, has no immediate precedent. Although the facts are still coming out, it seems the Department of Justice handled the investigation about as well as it could have.

To some, the agency never should have gotten involved at all. Sex between consenting adults is legal, romantic rivalries are none of law enforcement’s business, and FBI snooping into private affairs creates an uncomfortable echo of the abuses of the J. Edgar Hoover era. The questionable role played by an FBI agent who had sent a shirtless photo to a woman involved in the case only makes the agency’s involvement more awkward. Still, when the FBI became aware of a prominent national security figure involved in secretive escapades, it had an obligation to ensure that no sensitive information was compromised.

To read more click here.