through hard work and enterprise .. moderator of the "chicago tribune." [applause] >> thank you. thank you all for coming out on a beautiful day here we are. we don't gate lot of those here. i'm phil rosin that with the "chicago tribune." i'm with ken cull less than, -- cull less than and shelley murphy who are here not to do
scouting on the chicago black hawks. [laughter] but talk about their new book on whitey bulger. the boston mobster caught on the lam after sixteen years. and first of all,let get the -- you have boston journalists for a long time. >> between us it's probably like what? sixty years? [laughter] we've been chasing him combined total fifty years each. >> wow. at this point in journalism, having a job is its own reward. you have an armful of to if i. a pulitzer prize, it's an impressive list. you know, it's a wonderful book. the thing that i was reminded of at the beginning, something when i was a kid my father was taking
friend of mine to see butch cass did i did. he said whatever the movie makes of them, they are the bad guys. and the ore thing that reminded of is the old line from mel brookeson, the 2,000-year-old man asked about robin hood and he said, what about robin hood? he stole from the rich and gave to the poor. it's nonsense. he stole everything and kept everything. how did it happen? he said, well, he had a guy named marty. marty would tell everyone he gave from the knew. who knew. he hit you so hard you didn't know. i of thinking about that about bulger. there is a myth and i don't know that we want to believe the myth or whether they want us to
believe the myth. they all seem to have myths. tell us about the myth of whitey bulger and it come apart when flushed against reality. >> when we sat down do the book, several narrative art. one is myth making of whitey bulger. from a very early age when he was a young teen criminal he lived in a housing project, the first built new england. and he had a car when no one else had a car. when he wasn't driving around with his girlfriend, he would be scouting and he wasn't scouting for criminal opportunity. hef looking for old ladieses. he would see the oldly i did, pull over, jump out. take the groceries and drive them home. it was a very conscious decision. they call it stoop talking.
every once awhile that jimmy is a hoodlum. all the old ladies. he's a lovely young man. he gave me a ride home from the market the other day. he was so conscious of doing that. he did it through. he was the one -- the difference about bulger and it wasn't just his narrative that he was pushing out there, he had very influential family and particularly his younger brother became hid advocate and bill was prop all gaiting the myth. he said to my face, my brother would never touch drugs. and jimmy -- whitey is good at -- he'll tell you he was never an informant. he never testified against anybody and put them prison. we found the file of 700 pages. he was very much an informant. he would tell you as a criminal that he had all the scruples and
never touched drugs. in fact we have a scene he's in in the car with drugs. the reality, he made millions and millions of dollars by shaking down drug dealers and letting them go through the neighborhood of south boston. i lived there in the '80s there was more there than any neighborhood in the city. whitey has that on his hands. >> you mentioned his younger brother, and billy end up becoming president of the montana senate, president of the university of montana, even when he was in the state house he would succeeded by the future mayor of boston. we're not talking a quiet power broker. this was a guy out there. they both came out of the family. the father had been injured. but more importantly where that those projects were south boston. tell us a little bit. >> south boston is a name hood
where there was an irish even to there were many different ethnic groups that live there had. the name identified as as the irish. even in the public schools, the al banon kids were forced to sing irish songs. it's a neighborhood where loyalty meant everybody. it's interesting billy, as you said, would was probably the most politician if in the senate for many years. he describes growing up in south boston in aid listic term about how close knit it was. and nobody had very much and they were feeling poor they were, you know, the kids hanging together outside playing games, kick the can, football, whatever. there was a lot of, you know, of it sort of not unusual for one family to have someone who would be a priest or a politician or a police officer. and another who would be a
gangster. it was not all that unusual in that city at that time. and one of whitey's closest associates also grew up in the project, and two of his brothers went to harvard university. and yet kevin could have gone. he was so brilliant. his father was prouder of kevin for working his way to the top enforcer than the two that went to harvard. there was a culture about the place. and loyalty did mean erg. that takes us to how the story starts with whitey being cultivated an fbi informant. it's an fbi agent that grew up in the projects who recruit him to be an fbi informant. >> that agent john connelly. the thing that was interested, and there are so many interesting aspect about the bulger story even the stuff where he's part of the cia research project with when he's in police and, you know, who
knows what the lasting effect of giving him lsd was. you'll hear it during his trial. but the really striking thing is this intertwined corruption of the mob and the fbi. if and so they thought -- first of all, did they think they were making an informant out of him? was it simply, you know, a bad idea corrupted at the core? >> one of the things we talked about this while we were planning the book out. could it have happened in any other city. my belief is no. there's no other city whether talk about new york, chicago, philadelphia, cleveland, l.a., atlanta, there's no city where you have these two strands of organized crime. one is irish, one is eye tal yab. in all those other cities the
mafia is more powerful, lucrative. in boston it wasn't that way. one of the things we try to show it went square or all went pear shaped in the '60s bobby kennedy went to hoover and said you neat to get -- hoover didn't accept there was an mafia. hef awarded you have to develop a trait gi. it didn't pick up until the '70s. that's a national policy. the problem with national policy that they don't take in it account regional differences inspect. boston the model didn't fit. you have the fbi agents were told do whatever you have to do to make our policy work. so in the 1906s they decided who would be killed in the irish gang in the sixties. whitey was lucky. he was locked up at the time. statistically it would have been a high change he would have been
a perpetrator or victim. instead he comes to a decimated landscape, it's wide open for anybody with opportunity and smart and vishnd and he had all of those things. he goes in and connelly is cynical. he's from the hood and he's saying the -- the other thing about the fbi. you get big salary raises based on your ability to make cases but tush informant. you want to have as inincredible. when john connelly recruits white you bull taber, he gets to say this guy is the leading member of the mob in south boston. it looks good for the fbi. the idea he was going give them anything on the match too -- the italians woptd have told whitey if his pans were on fire. his associate knew a lot about the mafia had been recruited
several times. always turned them down saying i want to stay on my own. and he does it for two,s. it looks good for him. there's an ult tier your mode m going back to the hood. that was protect the family. this is going to look great for me. make sure i'm okay. i'll keep talking to them. i can cover my tracks. anything i can use this -- i can send them off on people i want to get out of my way. >> that's absolutely right. right around the time that whitey becomes an inform mantd, he actually charged with 19
murders. he's charged with killing nineteen people. one of the people is a guy who had been kind of a rivel gang, and eventually basically sort of there was some mediation and worked together. he still had it in his mind he wanted to wipe out the guys he never liked from the rival gang. after he becomes an informant. he's charged with take the guy tommy king. killing him. he has a bulletproof vest on and get in the car. they hand out guns. tommy get blanks in his gun. and they kill him. and they bury him in a secret grave. and right the same time they decide to kill his friend, a guy named buddy. they kill him. so now the meeting meeting that
whitey has with the fbi handler he said, john, tommy king just killed hum and he's gone in to hiding. he's in a discredit grave. he's dead. heyed in the fbi file whitey told him that, you know, tommy king killed leonard. and this disseminated to boston police. they are looking for tommy king. now he goes back a couple of week later. he's like they have to be wondering where tommy went. he updates the fbi and said, well, you know, they told tommy you better get out of town. you're going get killed. >> he didn't want the cop -- he wait and said tommy king is dead. they killed him. now you'll never find him. this is how he's manipulating the fbi. over the course of the years and actually gets much worse and sinister than that. the allegations are that when
people went to the fbi to cooperate against whitey, they would leak it to whitey. hey. and he would kill them. >> they didn't see the pattern. and they -- [inaudible] they didn't care about it. the number in the victims in the case are fbi informant. at some point, you know, as he's more woven he can get away with anything. now later on we see, you know, business american legitimate businessmen who shaking them down and not killing them. summoning them meetings and give them a chance to buy your life. you pay me $400 ,000, and i'll let you live. don't go to the fbi, because if you do i'll know in five minutes. >> one thing we wanted to -- one of many things we wanted to do is show that the justice department narrative offing this be the creation of one -- was too close to the home boy is
maloney. and that was . >> thank you for saying that. >> he doesn't usually say that. he doesn't think about -- the fbi and the justice department is absolutely determined not to make this a big scandal. so they didn't indict other fbi agents. by my count at least a half dozen fbi agents could have been indicted including ones that called me in 1988 and said if i put in the paper that whitey bulger was an informant would be murder. that agent was allowed to testify. -- retire. and in 1998, i testified to that about him calling me and saying if you do this, you will be killed. now, the government had -- . rebut my testimony. >> he said, you know, -- like that. he claimed that a gangster
called and wanted to pass over. the gangster didn't know me from a whole in the wall. there's no way a gangster is going say i'm worried about kevin. it doesn't matter what happened. what happened is a series of hearings. i testify for three and a half hours. and tell my story. i have a note i was ordered to write after the phone call by the investigator. and the judge kept asking, are you going put the agent on the stand? they wouldn't put him up there. he would have perjuried himself or taken the fifth. they would have had to do something. they would had to do something to tom. no. the judge said i accept mr. connelly's testimony especially given you were not rebutted and the agent retires with a nice full fat pension.
that's the thing about this. we were talking about how we game out whitey is one thing. it's what this says about the justice department. it's the fbi. >> i agree. the institution, corruption that source. is it -- you think it's lunchtime now? >> now i think it will be interesting to whitey on the run for sixteen years, he's finally caught living in a rent controlled apartment in santa monica california where he was living for fifteen years. it's a crazy story how he's caught. it's actually, you know, an former neighbor who lives in, you know, a former misiceland who lives in santa monica several month after year and back home, she's watching a cnn n report on the latest combine to find whitey. she recognizes the wanted
posters on the, you know, of him and his girlfriend. he knows them because kathy, his girlfriend, by all the accounts a lovely woman. a complete, you know, it's whitey years old never have done the horrible thing. he loved animal, and she was feeding stray cats in the neighborhood. and this anna thought how wonderful. a what nice lady. she's kind to the cat. and she thought her husband is a little cranky. but she recognized them. called the fbi and how they caught them. we have received for the book a friend of whitey's who has been writing to him since his capture shared some of of the letter with us. i might add, it gives you a great instieght whitey. he may have a lot of problems. but self-est teem isn't one of them. in one of the writes a cat got me captured. >> they grewed up in the
subtitle. see the tub subtitle. it should say how a cat caught most wanted character. >> he's a fan of reading about himself. >> he absolutely. is. >> he likes to read in general. he's fond of the "boston globe." he shot up the officer because the way they -- the boston globe is a good company. he also, you know, took part of his social scrowt reach campaign, went after john f kennedy. because he was angry at the kennedys in general because the biggest is that a judge named -- [inaudible] a federal judge. bobby kennedy promoted him through the justice department. and then teddy kennedy became
his not only his prime to push him for federal judgeship. when gary issued the ruling which is controversial. and in the city in particularly we see they were poisoning the social experiment. and it was wouldn't assent all the rich white suburbs. they hated the kennedy and they were hated teddy. he fire bombs jack kennedy's bitter place and spray painted bust teddy. >> a swell guy. >> meanwhile his brother is also fighting against the -- and -- and . >> well, in rerning the book i traveled to california because
whitey spent federal years for bank robbery. and he was sent to alcatraz which was the first maximum federal security prison in the country. he looked at alcatraz fondly like where we look at our alma mater. it gave heath him a lot he went to al can raise. we have a chapter in the book called university of can trays. >> anybody can step through harvard. but in the boston area but when you can go to alcatraz. that's right. he was a high school dropout who earned his ged while he was in the air force. where he educate himself was in l can trays. he boasted he read a book a day. became well read. read military history. mack when they hear the -- i
think he's in the cleveland crew. [laughter] he knew who he was. took the lesson well. one of the interesting things you could ask about the family dynamic. he's in prison. his brother, billy, at the time is boston college of rule. law school. he's five years younger and determined to help him go straight. host lobbying while at law school to get whitey moved closer to home. get him early parole. and he enlists the dean of the boston college of law school, the to become whitey's prison pen pal. he's writing to whitey. it looks good for whitey. it look like he's trying to turn his life around. so you see this priest who is writing to help him. even within the prison system to do well, he also gets at the
time the speak much u.s. house to lobby also from south boston to lobby the prison, the bureau of prisons to get whitey special treatment. can you watch out for the guy. he comes from a wonderful family. he did. can you get him moved closer to home? whitey gets caught up in a prison escape attempt he ends up at alcatraz. the house speaker gets the head of the director of bureau of prison in washington to fly to san francisco, take the boat to alcatraz and pay a little visit to whitey bulger. and he how are they treating you? how are you doing here? how many -- bank robberies got whitey is seeing how political connections can pay off. >> when he got out he came brother is his protecter when he
was in the can. when he got out, he finally got very involved. anybody he perceived as a political faux of had his brother that would include the newspaper we worked for was an enemy. whitey would go after them. there was a guy named alan who was a state senator who suggest it on the floor of the massachusetts senate that billy bulger controlled the legitimate and his brother the gangster controls the ill legitimate. he was in the midst of a mental break down. no truer words have been ever been spoke. kevin told huhs he called and said this unanimously said i'm going kill you. that's the stuff that whitey did to anybody perceived as a threat to his brother. >> we're not amateur when it comes to families and politics and corruption. chij, -- chicago, illinois.
i have a sense that if you were a brother of well known mobster, you might run to a few -- you know, stumble along the way. it might be a problem. how did his rise continue while it was also going on? that's one of the things that i think would puzzle far from the story. >> the fbi protected him. we know that. >> yes. >> the legitimate why billy signed a lot of things. he a huge machine. i had cousins that got jobs that would have to have been approved by the bulger office. it's the way it went. they were interested in enormous intimidation factor. you weren't supposed to be sitting around a barroom talking about him. there was a sen if you stepped over a line -- the funny thing what we know now the bulger
organization was purposefully very small. criminal organization. i think the perception when i lived there it was huge. and there have a big brother was everywhere. and everybody was intimidated. the other thing, like i said, there were legitimate police officering trying to take out. there were few her res in the weak -- heroes in the book. there were three boston cop that tried to take him out. they were getting screwed at every point. they investigation being comprised. and one case it was a corrupt fbi state police officer who thwarted an investigation. everybody assumed it was the fbi. i that wasn't just me thinking it up. i was hearing it from the
people. they were frustrated at this point they could not take him down legitimately. in one case after bobby long and the state cops went after him it killed the salary for the state police commanders. no one ever figured how how it happened. it happened in senate. i wonder who could have done that. [laughter] the idea of family comes up in at love ways in this story. not all the conventional ways of a mob story. one is that he had so many. he was very complex and had lot
of -- he's an fbi informant even though he denies that. he's liaison. but, you know, he's an fbi informant. at the same time he's the head of the underworld. he is also juggling lot of different women. one of the most interesting story he had the two of the women were his longest relationship. he young woman named teresa who he met when she was a single mother with four children under seven years old. he meet her shortly after she get out of prison in the '60s. he never marries. he basically treats her children as his own. he buys her a house. he moves her out of the project. and insists on sit down family dinners every night around 6:00. no interruptions. no tv. no phone calms. and he lectured the kids on the important of staying away from bad influences. he -- there are kids they were hanging out with. stay away from that.
and he physically sit, study study hard. he could go off in the night and shock down drug dealers and bookmakers and legitimate businessmen. >> he has to earn an occasional murder. it was like a scene out of "father knows best" he would go off around 1:00 or 2:00 when the boors closed down he would head to his other girlfriend's house. she was ten years younger. the thirty years he's juggling another relationship nineteen years. kathy greg who ended up on the run with him. very interesting story. she was voted the prettiest girl in her high school class. she never thought that was good enough for whitey. she had cosmetic. he yachted from college.
kathy knew about teresa. as the clock is ticking and whitey is under investigation. he's likely to be indicted, and the p. he was as paive person. you know, okay. so kathy picking her upbringing her to her house. for the last nineteen years. he's been with me for the nineteen. it was dramatic scene. whitey walks in upon it. kathy is yelling .
>> what could possibly go wrong there? [laughter] >> according to both teresa and one of whitey's friends. kathy is screaming i'm tired of being the other woman. and whitey is strangling her on the ground and his friends pull her off. the way it resolve himself. all right. it's over. i choose you. lucky teresa. she was a . he take her on the trip to europe but teresa thinks it's a vacation. he's stop, in, you know, london and dublin and paris and hitting up safety deposit boxes where he stashed money and fake id. he's planning on a life on the run. he get the head up from john connelly. you better take off. off he goes with her. after a month on the run he said, you know, after the way he raised my kids and took care of
them and paid, you know, walked her daughter down the aisle and, you know, she said i would have felt obligating to stay with him. he drop her off south of boston. picking up kathy. and off they go. and it's an amazing story and how they lived on the run. because she's grateful to finally be the only woman. and he describes her as like his wife. they are like a married couple. she spend the . >> brings a tear to your eye. >> and the funny thing in the letters we obtain so they are captured and serving eight years in prison because she refused too cooperate again him. but he's writing letters to his friends saying those sixteen years were the happiest years of his life. it was like a sixteen year hon my moon. how dare the government sentenced her. they should have given a medal.
she kept me crime free for sixteen years. >> he doesn't count the thirty guns in the wall of the apartment. >> yeah. not that we need background checks or anything. >> it's a love story. >> it is. he's working hard to keep her. he's saying, you know, do what you must with me, how can you . >> that brings us full circle to the myth making. we have the letter when she said she offered himself for engs cushion. if only they let the woman i love go free. that sound very nice. t baloney. why. >> why? >> if he cared about kathy. all he had to do is go tow her lawyer, have his lawyer talk cohim. give me up. i'm going to die in prison. tell the fed whatever you want. the feds would have severely reduced the sentence and maybe not sentence her to any time in prison if he cooperated.
she wanted to be the culty girl. it's -- we talk about whitey being the myth making. the bad guy giving ride home to the nice laity and carry the gauche i are full circle to whitey the 8:00-year-old gang. down 155 pushup. it was meant to you to believe he's a good bad guy. >> there are two other points to the reputation is everything to hill what we no from the letters he's written. he's sort of resigned himself to the fact that the chances he'll get acquitted if the trial not next week but opening probably run through september. he said i'm going to spend the rest of i my life behind bar. >> 83. he thinks? >> he does. there's two things he wants to
achieve at the trial. i was never an fbi informant. i department kill the two women. two of the nineteen victims young 26-year-old women accused of strangling. let's face it good bad guys, gangsters with scruple. they don't rat on their friends and strangle women. >> you got word yesterday that you're going to be allowed to cover the. he put us on the witness list. >> we would be such good witnesses. >> i would be terrific defense witness for whitey. i fired back before the judge actually sided with us our lawyers made a first amendment argument saying our first amendment rights trump his sixth amendment right. we i actually wrote a column. i'm sure he was not fond of. he fired a motion back saying which i talk about the myth making and whitey wants you to believe.
whitey has -- i guess what the psychologist would call fit of grands grandiosity. he talks about what he has to prove in court is -- i feel like philip nolan. it's the protagonist in the short story "man without a country" it's about a noble character who peoples like he's being persecuted by his government. i ended up saying he's no nolan. history chip it was the protagonist in the great short story called "informer" he sold out his friends for money. i have to tell you, this is a greelt story. >> whitey would not have like the way jack nicholson portrayed him.
he was unkept, a little overweight. and whitey is more disciplined and his soishts told us he would never be that disorganized. whitey is not happy? he doesn't want people like us to defining him. that was, you know, in term of putting us on the witness list if you are on the witness list you are sequestered. we could not cover the trial. he's determined to tell it his way. how dare they write my story. he called me something i can't repeat on tv. [laughter] and called kevin another low life. >> just proves he did -- whitey is not happy. that's okay. white why with the book is "whitey bulger: "america's most
wanted" gangster. "we have a few minutes for questions. we have to use the mic. >> was whitey and his brother fans of -- hicks. since he was a reader did he read the book about his the that covered boston during the heyday? common ground? did he express and opinion? >> i believe he did. and yes, they were big fans of hicks. and there was a book when he went on the -- run the fbi seized belongings. a teacher had written. i'm not sure -- i don't think common ground was among those. he read all of those and wrote about how much he hated -- it was interesting in the book she mentions the bombing of the jfk birthplace. they found whitey's copy of the book. next to the section he writes in the margin of the book, too bad
ted wasn't in the house mary joe would have been happy. you know. >> nice guy. >> he would make a great -- [inaudible] >> your book shows us truth is stranger than fiction. i think the soprano is nothing unwhat this could be if we were watching it. i want you to ask you step away from the role of author and how close you are to it case but journalists, if you were reading this account and just how the fbi and people we look to as citizeny to protect our rights, protect us. how that comprised your livelihood. what you're supposed to. the role of journalist. and if you comment on that a little bit. professionally. what you uncovered and you you feel about that.
i expect criminals to be like that. i don't expect my government to act the way they do in the book. one thing we wanted to show is that the individual crouping of connelly was -- investigating the mother and threw them off the trail. rather than turn him over to law enforcement agencies. the other thing i deeply resent is the way that the government has tried to suggest -- he was only killing gangster. my government doesn't get to pick who lives and dies. the reality is that he killed a number of innocent people. davis was not a criminal. debra was not a criminal.
michael was a no a criminal. roger wheeler was no a criminal. the other thing we did try to show is where the john connelly taking money and protecting this guy is like corruption. you understand corruption. the justice department did teferg could. would not acknowledge the hurt. they never app fiesed. they gone out their way -- seeking compensation had been thrown out. and the way the justice department it is cynical. on the criminal side -- got people killed. send the civil thriewr a different courtroom and say they have to be thrown out. you can't believe a word of the
gangster. that's to me is corruption. that our government could that to the people. >> i thought just quickly that is one of the thing i found most startling. we covered the story since the '0u. after there were revelation in court about the fbi's current relationship with bull gear it thread a number of -- when the families filed the wrongful death suit alleging the government liable because of the handle of the two informant, they managed the to get most of the suit dismissed on technical grounds. you should known. you should have been watching tv and reading the paper more closely. you should known a couple of years ago that the fbi was to blame and you waited too long to sue. you have to state your claim within two years of knowing so you a claim. so they were dismissed on the grounds. to me that's just funny.
>> proud moment. time for one last question. i think you started to answer my question. it seems like what you said bulger was a "perfect storm" in term where he happened to be. are there other whitey bulgers? do you see that happening again? >> i don't believe the culture of the fbi has changed much. and last year i did a series of columns based on reporting that slelly, i, and another reporter have a lins ya did we found a guy named marc. i remember getting the first phone call about the story. accused of suspected and at least six . >> he's a mafia guy. they rolled him. the state police decided to
target him. he was a well known heroin dealer. he was not a nice guy. and so they thought he was an fbi informant. they called the fbi. it was two years ago. called the fbi and think it's your guy. we're going move on. no. no. t not your guy. as soon as we get the wire on -- they wifes on subpoena they get a court order to go on to the gangsters cell phone. the first very first conversation they report is him talk together fbi. >> i think the state police are coming after me. >> he was right. when they took them down. the same fbi sprucesser said -- call the state cop commander and said that was a great one. want to roll them together? the state cop looked him and said roll them? put them in prison. he said what are you crazy? he's a killer. he's killed at least six people and the response was we know only one.
he was the guy that killed one person is acceptable. so you ask me has it changed? i don't believe it's changed. i think fbi needs an enema. i'll go back to had. i walked by shelly and were in washington last week. i walked by the hoover building and thought what a disgrace that the name is up there. what with know about the guy he was one of the most corrupt government officials in the history of the republican. and his name is still on the building. his etho is still in the building. that's why all we talk about whitey gull we are bsh bulger. >> on that cheery note. [laughter] i would like to thank you for coming out. i would like to thank shelley murphy, kevin. the book is whitey