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The Boston Globe

Metro

Kevin Cullen

Repeat after me, Whitey was a rat

When he was this town’s biggest gangster and the FBI had his back, Whitey Bulger had a simple solution for things that bothered him. He made them disappear.

So, shortly after he agreed to be a stool pigeon for the FBI, he made Tommy King disappear. Tommy was one of the Mullens, the rival gang from Southie, which ostensibly joined up with Whitey in the early 1970s after a short, vicious gang war. But Whitey decided to kill as many of the Mullens as he could, and after he killed Paulie McGonagle and made his body disappear, he did the same to Tommy King.

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Then he killed Tommy King’s pal Buddy Leonard, another of the Mullens, and left Buddy’s body in Tommy’s car. He then went to his FBI handler, John Connolly, and told him that Tommy King killed Buddy Leonard.

So all the cops are looking for Tommy King, and he was buried on the banks of the Neponset River under the train tracks that connect Quincy and Dorchester.

The FBI thought it was using Whitey, and he was using them as his shield. He was literally dictating the course of investigations into murders he committed by pointing the cops in the wrong direction.

Paulie McGonagle and Tommy King weren’t the only people Whitey disappeared. He disappeared Debbie Davis and Debbie Hussey, the former the girlfriend of his partner in crime, Steve Flemmi, the latter the daughter of Flemmi’s other paramour. Whitey and Flemmi killed them and buried Debbie Davis near Tommy King, while Debbie Hussey was buried in the dirt floor of a house on East Third Street in Southie, about 200 feet from the home of Whitey’s brother Billy, the pol.

But, as testimony in federal court this week has shown, Whitey can’t disappear the 700-plus pages of his informant file. His defense lawyers have launched a Sisyphean effort, trying to make the jury believe that Whitey’s FBI handler made the whole thing up.

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I know they have a job to do, but it’s sort of embarrassing listening to grown men with law degrees try to tell you the sky is purple and the sea is orange.

Whitey was a rat. An informer. A stool pigeon.

He preferred the more benign “analyst,” or “liason,” or whatever jive he believed.

Whitey is so incensed by all this that he muttered in court the other day that he’s no (expletive) informant.

One thing I’ll give him and his defense lawyers is that he wasn’t much of an informant, ratting on rival Southie hoods, even some guys he got along with. If I’m Pat Linskey or Jimmy Lydon, I’m probably not happy that Whitey told the feds what I was up to. Still, being stooled on is preferable to what Whitey did to rivals like Paulie McGonagle and Tommy King.

The stuff he gave up on the Mafia — ostensibly the reason he was so coveted that the FBI not only looked the other way when Whitey murdered people but actually thwarted honest cops, including FBI agents from Oklahoma — was even more ridiculous.

I think he once told Connolly that Larry Baione, the consigliere in the North End, had a temper. That’s like telling somebody the sky is blue. Larry would yell at the weather.

I’ll give Whitey’s lawyer Hank Brennan this much credit: he’s right pointing out that John Connolly made up stuff in Whitey’s informant file. But it was stuff that pointed legitimate law enforcement attention away from Whitey when he was killing all those people in the 1980s. Or he was giving Whitey credit for information about the Mafia that came from Steve Flemmi, to make Whitey seem more important than he really was.

But Brennan and Jay Carney, Whitey’s lead counsel, are flogging a dead horse here. Whitey was a rat. Deal with it.

This charade will go on for some more time and will resurface throughout the trial, as Whitey’s lawyers, at his direction, continue to insist the moon is made of cheese, there really is a Santa Claus, and Whitey Bulger was no informant.

Now that the Bruins are done, the Sox are coming back to earth, and it’s hot as Hades, I guess this is what will pass for entertainment in these, the dog days of early summer.

So, again, repeat after me: Whitey was not a rat. Whitey was not a rat.

Whitey subscribes to the Dick Cheney theory on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq: If you tell a lie enough times, someone, somewhere might believe you.

The truth is much clearer, and Jimmy Marra, the Justice Department agent who has been reading Whitey’s FBI
file into the public record
and withstanding Brennan’s attempt to paint the file as pure fiction, said it best: Whitey Bulger was an informant for the FBI.

Kevin Cullen is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at cullen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeCullen.

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