In 1984, after getting a tip from the FBI, Bulger and Flemmi kidnapped Chris’s brother John, who’d been cooperating with the government. Bulger strangled McIntyre with a boat rope while he was tied to a chair, and when he failed to die, Whitey shot him in the back of the head. Flemmi pulled his teeth out with a pair of pliers and they threw him into a hole for 15 years. Though the McIntyres recently won three million dollars in a wrongful-death suit against the FBI, the horror doesn’t go away.

“I really believed Kaiser when he said he was the ‘new sheriff in town.’ He turned out to be the same old stuff. They don’t want to catch Bulger. They’re worse today than they were 20 years ago, because they’re covering up all that crap.”

From the Parker House to the old Federal Courthouse in Post Office Square, it’s only a few more blocks — also within range of a machine gun from Bulger’s arsenal — to the end of High Street and the spot where the State Police and DEA team spent January 5, 1995, looking for Steven Flemmi. They had a warrant for his arrest, and that night when they spotted him, they executed it with a gun to his head and a set of cuffs. Arresting Bulger was supposed to be the FBI’s assignment.

“What did the bureau tell you about Bulger?” I asked retired State Police major Tom Duffy, who helped arrest Flemmi.

A KILLER GROWS UP: Bulger in an early mug shot (top) and more recently (bottom) at a grand jury appearance.
“That they had Jimmy in pocket,” Duffy answered.

“ ‘In pocket’? Do those words ring a little hollow all these years later?” I asked.

Duffy almost spit: “He’s still not in pocket.”

Bulger wasn’t “in pocket,” Duffy and the world now know, because he’d been warned off by former FBI star John Connolly, who got the leak of the secret indictment and pending arrest from FBI supervisor Dennis O’Callaghan, the number-two agent in the office.

Don’t count on finding Duffy, former colonel Tom Foley, detective lieutenant Steve Johnson, or DEA agent Dan Doherty at the table to toast Kaiser. They were the four horsemen who led a tight unit of state cops that built the case against Bulger in the face of the FBI’s resistance. And they take a dim view of celebrating anything on January 5.

“The bureau’s image would be better off if they ran a fundraiser instead and used the money as a down payment on a civil settlement with the families of Bulger’s and Flemmi’s many victims,” Duffy says.

When told about the timing of Friday’s tribute to Kaiser, Bulger’s former leg breaker Kevin Weeks did what everyone except the victims’ families did. He laughed. On that January 5, in 1995, after Weeks learned about Flemmi’s arrest on the TV news, he paged Bulger, who had been on the road since Weeks had relayed Connolly’s warnings to him the last week of December 1994.

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  •   HOLLOW JUSTICE  |  October 05, 2011
    When Whitey Bulger was arrested in Santa Monica, California, this summer, it may have seemed that a new day had dawned for the local FBI and for the Justice Department.
    I get a lot of calls about Bulger, but this one was different.

 See all articles by: DAVID BOERI