Ex-FBI Agent Says Mob Informants Were Outliving Usefulness

Like milk, informants have a limited shelf life — at least that seem to be gist of the testimony earlier this week.

Mobster "Whitey" Bulger/fbi photo
Mobster "Whitey" Bulger/fbi photo

By Shelley Murphy
Boston Globe Staff
MIAMI – The FBI dropped James “Whitey” Bulger and Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi as informants in 1990 because their handler, agent John J. Connolly Jr., was retiring and told his bosses that the notorious Boston gangsters were themselves retiring from their criminal activities, according to testimony yesterday at Connolly’s murder trial.
“My impression was they were living on a reputation more than on current events,” said Edward M. Quinn, a retired FBI supervisor. He added that Bulger and Flemmi were dropped as informants because it would have been difficult to get another agent to handle them and, more important, Connolly said they were in “semiretirement mode.”
At the time, the Massachusetts State Police and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration were targeting Bulger and Flemmi in an investigation that would later be merged with an FBI probe and result in a sweeping federal racketeering indictment against the gangsters.
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