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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  August 24, 2013 7:00pm-7:46pm EDT

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having me. i've enjoyed it. ..
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>> now from the recent chicago tribune lit fest, boston globe reporters discuss their book "whitey bulger: america's most wanted gangster and the man hunt that brought him to justice." , the trialgan -- began june 12,
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2013. [applause] >> thank you for coming out on such a beautiful day. we don't get a lot of those here. i'm with the chicago tribune, write a business column with kevin and shelly murphy of the boston globe who are here not to do scouting on the chicago black hawks. [laughter] but to talk about their new book on whitey bulger, the boston mobster caught on the lamb after, what, 16 years, and first of all, let's get -- you guys have been boston journalists for quite a long time at this point. >> somebody said between us it's, like, what, 16 years? yeah, we've been chasing him combined total for 25 -- i mean, 25 each, so 50 between us. >> wow.
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i was reminded in the beginning, when i was a kid, my father was taking a friend of mine to go see butch cassidy and the sun dance kid. he said, you know, remember, whatever the movie makes of them, they are the bad guys, and the other thing that it reminded me of was the old line from mel brooke in the 2,000-year-old man asked about robin hood, and he said, you know, asked, you know, he says, what about robin hood, stole from the rich, gave to the poor. that's nonsense. he stole from everybody and kept everything. he said, well, how?
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he goes, well, he had a guy named marty the press agent. he went out and told everybody, gave to the poor, who knew. you didn't know what happened. i was thinking the story, and every mobster. they have myths. tell us about the myth of whitey bulger and where it comes apart when flushed against reality. >> we sat down to do the book, and we try to look for several narrative arcs, and one of them was the myth making of whitey bulger, so whitey bulger from a very early age, when he was a young teenage criminal, he lived in the housing projects, the first one built in new england, and he had a car when no one else had a car, and when he was not driving around with his girlfriend, he would be out
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scouting, and he was not scouting for criminal opportunities. he was looking for old ladies. when he saw an old lady with the groceries, pulled over, jumped out, swing open the door, take the groceries off, put them in the backseat, drive to the old lady's home. it was a conscious decision. you know, when everybody -- they call it stoop talking in the projects. people would stand on the stoop and trade story, and they said, jimmy, he's a hoodlum, all the all ladies said, he's a lovely young man. i got a ride home from the market the other day. he was conscious of doing that, and he did it through, and he was the one that the difference about bulger is -- it was not just his narrative that he was pushing out there. he had a very influ enrm family, and his younger brother, bill, his advocate, and bill bulger was out there propagating too. he said on several occasions, my
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brother would never touch drugs, and he's very much an inform manet. he told you that, you know, he, like, as a criminal, that he had all the scruples, would never touch drugs. in fact, he's in the -- the reality is he made millions and millions of dollars by shaking down drugs. i lived there in the 8 os and 90s, and there was more drugs per capita in south boston than any neighborhood in the city. that was hn iowa hands. >> his younger brother, and billy would be president of the massachusetts senate, president of the university of massachusetts, even when he was in the state house, he was
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succeeded by the future mayor of boston, so, i mean, we're not talking just a quiet power broker. this was a guy out there, up there, and important. they both came out of the family, the father had been injured in boston arm, and more importantly, where that -- where the projects were, south boston. tell us a little bit. >> well, south boston, you know, is a neighborhood where there was a real irish ethos. many groups lived there, the neighborhood really identified itself as irish. even in the public schools, the kids were forced to sing irish songs so, i mean, it's a neighborhood where loyalty met everything, loyalty to family, loyalty to neighborhood. there was a lot of pride in the neighborhood, and, you know, it's interesting. billy bulger, you know, as you said, would be, you know, was probably the most powerful politician in the state for many years, and he describes growing up in south boston in very
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idealistic term, and nobody had much, poor, kids hung outside together playing games, kick the can k football, whatever, and there was a lot of, you know, it was not unusual for one family to have someone to be a priest or a politician or a police officer and another as a gangster. it was not unusual in that city at that time. one of whitey's closest associates also grew up in the projects, and two of his brothers went to harvard university, and yet kevin could have gone there. he was brilliant. his father was prouder of kevin for working his way into the position of whitey's top enforcer than he was of the two that went to harvard. there was a culture about the place. loyalty did mean everything, and that takes us to how the story starts, whitey cultivated as an
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fbi informant. he grew up to the bulger family who recruits whitey to be the fbi informant. >> the age of john conley. what was interesting, and, you know, there's so many interesting aspects about the story whether it's, you know, even the stuff where he's part of the cia project, while in prison, you know, who knows what the lasting effects of giving him lsd was. >> you'll hear that in the trial, believe me. >> yeah, but, you know, the really striking thing is this intertwined corruption of the mob and fbi if you can separate them in this case. they fought. did they think they made an informant from him or just a bad
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idea corrupt at the core? >> what's chilling, and i talked about this while mapping the book, could it have happened in any other city? my belief is no. there's no other city whether it's talking about new york, chicago, philadelphia, cleveland, l.a., atlanta, no city where you have the two strands of organized crime, one irish, one italian, and in all the other cities, the mafia is by far bigger, more powerful, and lucrative. in boston, it was not that way. what we tried to show is this all went square or pear shaped in the 60s. when bobby kennedy went to hoover said, you have to get serious. now, at this point, hoover didn't accept there was the mafia. he was ordered by the attorney regime, you have to develop a strategy. they went after the mafia. it really didn't pick up until the 70ings. that's a national policy. the problem with national policies is they don't have regional differences, and in
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boston, the model did not fit. you had agents told, do who yo have to do to make the policy work. in the 1960s, what they did is they played god. they decided who to be killed. there was an irish gang lord in the 60s, and more than 60 men were killed, and whitey was lucky because he was locked up at the time. statisticically, that was a high chance he would have been a perpetrator or victim of the violence. instead, he comes out to a decimated landscape, it's wide open for anyone with opportunity and smart and viciousness, and he had all those things, and he goes there, and they are cynical. he is saying, and the other thing about the fbi, you get promotions. you get salaries based on ability not to make cases, but turn informants. you want as many in your file. it's a notch in the belt. you want a top echelon
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informant. when he recruits him, he says he's the leading member, the head of the mob in south boston. that looks good for the fbi, but the idea he would give him anything was a joke. they wouldn't have told whitey if the pants were on fire. the criminal associates did know a lot about the mafia was recruited by the mafia several times turning them down saying, no, i want to be on my open. he does it for two reasons. first of all, looks good, but there's a motive, going back to the hood, back to to protect the bulger family, to save them from whitey dragged off to prison. >> right, backtrack a little bit. the reason we talk about this is, well, is that whitey figures out, and it's, you sort of wonder how could nip not figure this out?
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i can use this. it will work great for me. not only does he look out for me ensure i'm okay because i'll keep talking to him, but i cover the tracks on anything. i can send them off op people i just want out of the way. >> oh, that's absolutely right. i mean, right around the time whitey becomes an informant, he actually, you know, charged with 19 murders, going to trial next week, charged with killing 19 people, but one of the people is a guy who had been part of the rival gang and there was mediation to work, but he had it that he wanted to wipe out the guys, never liked, you know, the rival gang so after being an informanet, he's charged with taking this guy namedded tommy king, killing him, and it's an interesting story, riding in the car, saying they will kill
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someone else, and there's a bullet proof vest on, gets in the car, and they hand out guns to everybody in the car, and tommy gets a blank in his gun, and they kill him, and they bury him in a secret grave, and right around that same time, they decided to kill his friend, a guy named buddylandon, and they hill kim. they say to him, hey, john, tommy king just killed buddy, and he's gone into hiding. well, meanwhile, he's in a secret grave, you know, dead. john writes it in the fbi files, you know, that whitey told him that, you know, he was -- tommy killed buddy. now he waits -- this is decimated to boston police. they are looking for tommy king, and now he goes back a couple weeks later because he's like, oh, you know, they will wonder where tommy went. he updates the fbi saying, well,
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you know, they told tommy to get out of town because, you know, you're going to get kill. >> you don't want the copping fumbling over they shouldn't. >> right. he goes back later and says tommy king's dead. they killed him. they got him. you'll never find him. [laughter] this is how he manipulated the fbi. over the course of the years it's more worse and sinister more than that. the allegations are that when people went to the fbi, they leaked it to whitey, and he killed them. >> they didn't see the pattern. >> or care it. a number of victims are fbi informants, and as he's more and more emboldened to get away with anything, now, you know, later on, we see, you know, businessmen, legitimate businessmen who shake them down, and they are not killing them, but thumbing them to meetings saying, hey, i'm going to give
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you a chance to buy your life. you pay me, you know, $4 # #00,000, and you can live. by the way, don't go to the fbi because if you do, i know in five minutes. >> and he did. >> yeah. >> one of the many things we want to do is show that the justice department narrative, the creation of a rogue agent too close to the home boy is bologna. >> thank you for saying that. >> i he doesn't usually say tha. >> i know. >> i would have hit him. >> the justice department was determined not to make this a big scandal and they didn't indict other agents. by my count, there's a half dozen agents that could have. indicted including ones who called me in 1998 saying if i put it in the paper that whitey was an informant, i would be
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murdered. i was subpoenaed to testify in the hearings that the judge convenedded in 1997, and in 1998, i testified to that, about him calling me at the globe saying if you do this, you will be killed. the government rebutted the testimony. he claimedded a gangster called. he didn't know me from a hole in the wall. they don't say, i'm worried about kevin. [laughter] put it this way, it doesn't matter what happened. there's a series of hearings. i testified for three and a half hours, and i tell the story, i have a note that ordered to write after the phone call by the editor of the spotlight team, and the judge asked, the government, do you put him on the stand to rebut the testimony? they would not put him up there because he would have purged
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himself or he would have taken the fifth, and they would have had to do something. they would have had to do something to tom, and instead, they just let him, no, we're not putting him up. the judge says, i accept the testimony, especially given you will not rebut it, and agent daily retires with a nice, full, fat pension. >> well, i feel good every time i fill out a tax form now. >> that's the thing about this. it's what they say about the justice department and the fbi. >> i agree. >> it's corruption at the worst. >> do you think it's flushed out now? >> no. >> no, i think what will be interesting, you know, whitey's on the run for 16 years, finally caught living in a represent controlled apartment in california, two blocks from the beach where he had been living
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for 15 years, and that's a crazy story how he's caught, and it's a former neighbor who lives in, you know, a former miss iceland, who lives in santa monica like several months out of the year, and she's back home, and she's watching a cnn report on the latest campaign to find whitey, and she recognizes the wanted posters on the, you know, of him and his girlfriend, and she knows them because his girlfriend, by all accounts, lovely, lovely woman, complete, you know, insists whitey never did these horrible things, loved animals, and she was feeding stray cats in the neighborhood, and this thought, oh, how wonderful, what a nice lady, so kind to that cat, and she thought her husband, charlie, that's what he called himself, was cranky, but she recognized them, called the fbi, and that's how they caught him, and, in
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fact, we have received, you know, for the book, a friend of whitey's who wrote to him since the capture, she had letters with us, and i might add you get a great insight, and we say whitey may have a lot of problems, but self-esteem is not one of them. 234 one of the letters, you know, he says, oh, a cat got me captured. [laughter] >> we screwed up in the subtitle. see that? it should say whitey bulger, how a cat caught america's most wanted gangster. >> he would have loved that. he is a fan of reading about himself. >> absolutely is. >> he likes to read in regime. >> not fond of the boston globe because in 1975, he shot up the office. he opposed the way the globe supported to desegregate public schools. >> in good company because he took, you know, part of the
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social outreach campaign, went after john f. kennedy -- >> fired on that birthplace because he was angry at the kennedys in regime because the biggest boogyman was a judge, a federal judge, and jack kennedy made him the u.s. attorney when he was elected, and bobby kennedy promoted him through the justice department, and then teddy kennedy was not just the prime mover to push him for federal judgeship, but they issueded the ruling, very controversial, the city, we've seen they were hosting a social expeemplet on the poorest people, and it wouldn't affect the rich white suburbs, far more segregated than the cities. they hated the kennel dis, and really hated teddy. he fired on the birthplace, spray painted on the house, "bust teddy." >> what a swell guy.
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meanwhile, his brother is fighting against the forced busing, and i think, you know, how much interaction was there? feeling cheap? >> you know, what i thought was fascinating, in researching the book, you know, i traveled out to california because whitey spent nine years in federal prison as a young man in the 50s, and he was sent to alcatraz, the first maximum security federal prison in the country, and he looked at alcatraz fondly like many of us look at where we went to high school or college. he was proud of that. [laughter] that gave him a lot of stature in the boston underworld because people were, like, hey, he went to alcatraz, you know. we have a chapter in the book called university of alcatraz. >> anybody can step through harvard when you're in boston, but when you can go to alcatraz,
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that's -- >> exactly right. he actually, you know, was a high school dropout who earned the ged in the air force, but where he educated himself was in alcatraz where he boasted that he read a book a day, well read, read military history, read, and kevin jokes that -- >> most wise guy thinks -- they hear, you know, i think he's in the cleveland crew. whitey knew who he was. >> he knew. >> tookless sops well. >> you asked about the family dynamic. whitey, in prison, his brother, billy, at the time, is at boston college law school, and he's really, you know, he's five years younger than whitey, determinedded to try to help him go straight, and he's lobbying, you know, while at law school to get whitey moved closer, a prison closer to home, get him early parole, and enlists the dean of the boston college law
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school, to become the prison pen pal, writing to whitey. he's getting letters from priests and looks like he's trying to turn his life around, and so, you know, the priest is writing, trying to help him, even with the prison system to do well. he also gets, at the time, the speaker of the u.s. house, john mccormick to lobby, from south boston, to lobby the prison to try to get whitey sort of special treatment, you know, gee, watch this guy, comes from a wonderful family, which he did, can you get him moved closer to home? whitey is caught up in a prison escape attempt, ends up at alcatraz, and the house speaker, he gets the head, the directer of the bureau of prisons in washington to fly to san fransisco, take him out of alcatraz, pay a visit to whitey
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bulger, and how are they treating you? how you doing, jimmy? how many -- bank robbers got visits from the bureau head of the prison. from an early age, he sees how political connections pay off. >> when he got out, he became his brother's -- his brother was his protecter in the can, and when he was out, he got very involved. anybody perceivedded as a political foe of the brother's, including the newspaper we worked for, was an enemy, and whitey went after them. there was a guy named allen who was a state senator who got up and had this courage to suggest that billy controlled all the legitimate interests in south boston, and his brother, the gangster, controlled the illegitimate interests. he was in the midst of the mental breakdown when he said it, but no truer words have been
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spoken on the floor. kevin, who cooperated for the book, he called him, and anonymously, saying, i'm going to kill you. i'm going to kill you. that's the stuff whitey did to anybody he perceived as a threat to his brother. >> we're not amateurs when it comes to families and politics and corruption in chicago. >> oh, really? >> cook county? [laughter] >> i do have the sense that if you were the brother of a well-known mobster, you could have a few, you know, stumbles along the way, might be a problem, and how did his rise continue while this was also going on. that's one of the things that i think would poz 8 -- >> well, -- >> far from the story. >> the fbi protects him. we know that. >> yes, i know. >> billy bulger silenced a lot of things. he had a huge patronage machine. i had cousins that got jobs that
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would have to have been approved by the bulger office. that's gist the way it went. a lot of people cowarded by that. just an enormous intimidation factor. i know that you were not to sit in a barroom talking about bulger. that was just not done. it was a real sense that if you stepped over a line in south boston -- funny thing is what we know now. the bulger organization was purposely very small, the criminal organization. i think the perception, at least, when i lived there, was that it was huge, and big brother was everywhere, and everyone was intimidated, but the other thing, like i said, there were legitimate police officers trying to take out. i mean, very few heros in the book, but some of them are named bobby long, and cops, and there were three boston cops, and they were trying to good agents, and they were screwed at every turn.
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their investigations were compromised, and in one case, it was a corrupt state police officer who actually thwarted an investigation or underminded it, but they assumed it was the fbi. that's the other thing. in the mid-80s, i said whitey is an fbi rat. that's the only explanation for him being on the street. that was not me thinking it up. i heard it from the people i mentioned, but they were so frustrated at this point, that they could not take him down legitimately, and in one case, there was, after -- when bobby long and the state cops went after him, somebody vet secretly incerted a rider into the state police budget killing the salaries for all the state police commanders. no one figured out what happened, but it happened in the state senate. huh, i wonder who could have dope that. [laughter] >> oh, dear.
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the stories, not all conventional ways of a mob story, one is that the -- the way he -- well, there's a lot of families, didn't he? >> that, to me, is the interesting parts of the story too is that, you know, here's a guy who had so many -- very complex, and i mean, he had -- he's an fbi informanet, he denies that and prefers the word "liaison." >> tour guide. >> an fbi informant, and at the same time, head of the underworld, and he's also juggling a lot of women, and one of the most interesting parts of the story is that he had these -- two of these women were his longer relationships, and he had a young woman named teresa stanley, a single mother of four all under seven years old. he never marries, but he basically treats her children as
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his own. he buys her house. he moves her out of the projects. he encysts on sit-down family dinners every night around six o'clock. no interruptions. no tv. no phone calls. he lectures the kids on the importance of staying away from bad influences. he -- if there were kids -- >> only the the table, but stay away. >> you know, be physically fit, study hard, and, of course, then he went off into the night and allegedly, you know, shake down drug dealers and bookmakers, and businessmen. >> guy's got to earn. >> the occasional murder. >> it was like a scene from father knows best how he treated the kids, and then he went off at one or two in the morning when the bars closed down, headed to the other girlfriend's house. now, she was ten years younger than teresa so of the 30 # years with her, she's juggling another relationship for 19 of the years with another woman, kathy greg,
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the one on the run with him all the years. interesting story. she was voted the prettiest girl in her high school class but that was never good enough. she had cosmetic surgery done. she graduated from north eastern university with a bachelor's degree to pursue a career in the health field. ended up teaching at a dental school in boston, but then gave it up, quit, to basically take care of him, and, but it was very frustrated at being the other woman all the time, so -- >> she knew she was the other woman. >> she knew, but teresa knew nothing of her, but kathy knew about teresa. the clock is ticking, whitey's under investigation, likely to be indicted in the fall of 1994, kathy decides, all right, i need to force him to make a decision. he has to choose between the two of us. she calls kathy up one night and says, we need to talk.
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something bad is going on. teresa, a passive person, okay, goes to her house, and says for the last 19 years you've been with him, he's been with me for 19 of the last 30 # years, and so very dramatic scene. whitey walks in upon it, and kathy's yelling -- >> what could go wrong? >> according to both teresa who i interviewed and a friend there, kathy's screaming, "i'm tired of being the other woman," and whitey is strangling her on the ground, and the friend pulls him off. he says, it's over. you're the one, i choose you. lucky teresa, such a catch; right? he takes her on this whirlwind trip to europe, but she thinks it's a vacation, but whitey's stopping in, you know, london
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and dublin and paris hitting up state deposit boxes where he stashed money and fake ids planning for a life on the run. when they come back to boston within a matter of weeks, he gets the head's up from john to take off, you're going to be arrested. off he goes with teresa, but after a month on the run, she says yowrgs -- you know, after he cared for my kids, walked my daughter down the aisle, she said, you know, i would have felt obligated to stay with him, but knowing he betrayed me all the years, no. i owe him nothing. take me home. he drops her off south of boston, picks up kathy, and off they go, an amazing story of how they lived on the run because she's just so grateful to finally be the only woman, and he described her as like his wife, they are like a married couple, and -- >> brings tears to your eyes. >> the follow-upny thing, in the
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letters -- funny thing in the letters, she's serving eight years in prison because she refused to cooperate against him, unrepenting, but she's writing letters saying the 16 years were the happiest years of his life, like a 16-year honeymoon, and he says how dare the government sentence her to eight years in prison. they should have given her a metal because she did what no law enforcement person could do, and that's keep me crime free for 16 years. [laughter] >> he doesn't count the 30 guns in the wall of the apartment. >> he had guns in the wall, yes. >> not that we need background checks. >> it's a long story. >> it's a love story. he's working so hard to keep her. saying, you know, do what you must with me, but how can you do that to her? >> that's full circle. >> yeah. >> the mess making, we got the letter when she said he offered himself up for execution. if only they let the woman i go for free. that sounds nice.
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>> doesn't, doesn't it? >> it is bologna because if whitey really cared about kathy, all he had to do was go to her lawyer, have his lawyer talk to her, i'm going to die in prison. tell the feds whatever you want, and the feds would have, no doubt in my mind, they would have severely reduced the sentence and maybe not sentence her to anymore time in prison if she cooperated, but, no, she was the salty girl, stand by my man, the salty accent. you know, that's, like i said, it's -- you talk about whitey, the myth making, the good-bad guy giving rides home to nice old ladies, carries groceries for them, it's full circle to whitey, the 83-year-old gangster doing 155 pushups on the cell floor every day saying he'd die for the woman he loved. it's all myth. it's meant for you to believe he's a good-bad guy. >> there are two other points to, you know, the reputation that is everything to him, and
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what we know from the letters written, you know, he's sort of resigned himself to the fact that the chances he gets acquitted, trial starts next week with openings, probably, runs through the end of september saying i'll spent the rest of my life behind bars. >> at 82 -- >> 83. >> so he really thinks he will? >> he does. there's two things he wanted to achieve at this trial, and that is, i was never an fbi informant, and i did not kill those two women. two of the 19 victims are young 26-year-old women that he's accused of strangling, and face it, good-bad guys, gangsters with screw up les, they don't rat on their friends or strangle women. >> the gamesmanship is continuing to the day, and you just got word, what, yesterday? >> that you're going to be allowed to cover the trial because you trieded to stop that? >> he put us on the witness list. >> because we would be such good witnesses. >> i would be a terrific defense witness for whitey.
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[laughter] i actually fired back before the judge sided with us after her lawyer's made a first amendment argument basically saying our first amendment right trump his sixth amendment rights, and i actually wrote a column, which i'm sure he's not fond of because he fired a motion back saying i talk about the myth making and whitey wants you to believe, and whitey has what psychologists call fits of grandiosity, and he likes to talk about himself in literary terms. he talked about what he has to prove in court is that and feels like philip nolan, the protagonist in the great short story, "man without a country," about a noble character who feels like he's persecuted by his own government. that's how whitey sees himself, but i ended the column saying
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he's chip nolan, he was in the story called "the informer," and he sold out his friends for money. >> well, i have to tell you, the departed was an interesting movie. >> great. >> this would be a great story. >> he didn't like the way jack portrayed him because he was wild, undisciplinedded, overweight. >> exactly. >> whitey's like much more disciplined and the associates said he would never come, like, disorganized with blood on his hands. >> whitey's not happy? >> he wants his story his way, not people like us to defining him, and that was, you know, in terms of putting that on the witness list, that would have been the point not to cover the trial, and he says, how dare those two write my story. he called me something that i
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can't repeat on tv. >> really. >> and he called kevin another low life. >> just proves it's one thing right. >> well, you know, whitey's not happy. i say, well, that's okay. i can live with that. >> doing something right. >> yeah. >> the book is whitey bulger, america's most wanted gaping steer and man hunt that brought him to justice. i think we have a few minutes if there's questions. we have someone coming up to the microphone. we have to use the microphone otherwise people can't hear. >> were the brothers fans of louisa hicks, and because he was a reader, did he read the book about his -- the cover of boston in the hay day, commonground, did he express an opinion on that? >> he did -- i believe he did, and, yes, they were big fans of louisa hicks, and there was a book, on the run, the fbi seized his belongings, and there was a book called "salty won't go," i
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don't know that common ground was among the books, but he was well read and read all of those, and he wrote about how much he hated -- >> what was in the book? >> in the book, salty won't go, she mentions the bombing of the jfk birthplace, and they found whitey's copy of the book, and next to the section of the bombing, he writes in the book, too bad ted wasn't in the house, mary joe would have been happen. >> thank you. >> lovely guy. yes? >> so his book shows us truth is stranger than fiction. >> absolutely. >> i think the sopranos has nothing on what this could be if we watched it, but i want to ask you this to step away from role as authors and how close you are to this case, but as journalists, if you read this account, and how the fbi and
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people we look to as citizenry to protect our rights, protect us, how that compromise, your lifely hoods, what you do, the role of journalism, and, you know, if you could comment on that a little bit, just professionally what you up covered and how you feel about that. >> i mean, that's -- i'm glad you asked that because in the sense that we're talking about whitey being a sociopathic murderer, killer, extortionist, blah, blah, blah, i expect criminals to be like that, but not expect the government to be the way they do in the book. what we wanted to show is beyond the individual corruption was the institutional corruption. there were -- when the fbi knew he was a murder, and suspected of murders, the fbi lieded to its own people in oklahoma investigating the murder to throw them off the trail. they consciously made a decision to keep bulger on rather than
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turn him over to other agencies. another thing i deeply resent is the way that the government has tried to -- he was only killing gangsters. >> my government does not get to pick who lives and dies. i don't care if they are criminals. bulger killed a number of innocent people. debra davis was not a criminal. debra was not a criminal, michael was not a criminal, roger wheeler was not a criminal. but the other thing we try to show, too, this sort of john conley taking money and protecting his guy is like corruption. you understand corruption. it's quid pro quos, people get money. to us, corruption goes to the day in the sense that the justice department did everything it could to hurt the victims' families, and they would not acknowledge their hurt. they've never apologized to them, out of the way to make sure the cases seeking compensation have been thrown out, and the way the justice
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department did it is cynical. on the criminal side, they went in there, said, john conley is a road rage to get people killed, and the reason we know this is the criminal associates of bulger, john, kevin, and steve say so, and then that same justice department sent civil lawyers into a different courtroom and say, oh, these claims have to be thrown out because you can't blee the word of the gangsters. that's -- that, to me, is corruption, that our government would do that to these people. >> i thought, just to quickly -- that is one of the things i found most startling. i mean, we've covered this story since the 1980s, but it was startling that, you know, after the revelations in court about the fbi's corrupt relationship with bulger that it led to a number of murders. when the family's filed wrongful death suits saying the government was liable because of the handling of the informants, whitey and his partner, steve, the government managed to get most of the suits dismissed on
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technical grounds, and they argued, and they never got to have a day in court, and what they argued was, you know, you should have known -- you knew sooner, you should have watched tv, read the paper closely, should have known a couple years ago that the fbi was to blame, and you waited too long to sue because you have to state your claim within two years of knowing you have a claim, and they were dismissed on those grounds. to me, that's just funny. >> a proud moment. time for a lat question here. >> i think you started to answer the question, but it seems like what you said at the beginning was that bulger was sort of a perfect storm in terms of where he happened to be and where he grew up. >> time and place. >> all that. >> uh-huh. >> so is there -- are there other whitey bulgers, and do you see that happening again? >> well, this is my argument. i don't believe culture of the fbi has changed much, and last year, i did a series of columns based on some rude reporting that shell, i, and another
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reporter did in which we found a guy named mark, and i remember getting a first phone call about this story by a state cop who worked on the bulger stuff, and he called him a mini bulger. this guy was accused of being -- of suspected in at least six murders, a big mafia guy, and they rolled him. the state police decided to target him because he was a well-known heroin dealer. not a nice guy. they thought he was an fbi informant, so they called the fbi. this is just two years ago. they calledded the fbi saying he's your guy, we'll move on him. >> oh, no, not our guy, absolutely not. >> as soon as they have the wire up, they get wires on him, a court order, go on to the gangster's cell phone. the first, very first conversation they record is him talking to his fbi hand leer. >> i think the state police are coming aer


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