How the FBI helped "Whitey" Bulger

A Boston mobster makes the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list for crimes committed with the FBI's help, and then it takes the FBI 16 years to catch him

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About six years after Boston mobster James "Whitey" Bulger disappeared, the bodies of his alleged victims started turning up all over Boston. As Ed Bradley reported in his 2001 60 Minutes story on Bulger, tips from former members of Bulger's gang led authorities to the bodies of at least six people Bulger himself allegedly tortured and killed.

Eddie Mackenzie, who once worked for Bulger, took 60 Minutes to one of those grave sites, where he told Bradley that he believed Bulger killed many more than the 19 for which he stands accused. "You're talking 70, 80 easily," Mackenzie said.


Bulger's brutality, as Mackenzie describes it, is shocking, but so is the revelation that some of these killings may have been done with the help of the FBI. It turns out that Bulger had been operating as a longtime FBI informant, committing crimes under the protection of corrupt federal agents.

Here's an exchange from Bradley's 2001 60 Minutes report, called "The FBI & The Mob:"

Ed Bradley: Let me ask you a difficult question, as a former FBI agent, do you, in any way, hold other FBI agents, the bureau itself, responsible for these murders?

Former FBI agent Robert Fitzpatrick: Yes, I do. Yes.

In the end, it took the FBI 16 years to catch a mobster who landed on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list for crimes he committed with the FBI's help.