The FBI has confirmed that it paid $2.1 million for the information that led to the capture of notorious Boston gangster James “Whitey” Bulger and his girlfriend, Catherine Greig, but that’s all the bureau wants to say.
“As of Friday, Sept. 23, 2011, the FBI has paid this reward money to more than one individual,” the bureau said in a statement, according to a report on Talking Points Memo. “To protect the anonymity and privacy of those responsible for providing information which directly led to the arrests of Mr. Bulger and Ms. Greig, the FBI will not comment further regarding this matter.”
Talking Points cited an account in The Boston Globe, which said one tipster is a woman in Iceland. How a woman in Iceland figured in the 16-year pursuit of Bulger, who has been linked to a score of murders, may never be clear. Bulger, who turned 82 on Sept. 7, and Greig, 60, were captured in June in Santa Monica, Calif., but the arrests were not cause for unalloyed celebration in the corridors of the FBI, as Main Justice reported.
It’s known that Bulger was himself an informant for the FBI, a fact that has raised questions about how far the bureau went to protect him. Indeed, John “Zip” Connolly, a former FBI agent in Boston who is in prison for murder and racketeering, is alleged to have tipped off his fellow “Southie” Bulger that the FBI was closing in on him, causing Bulger to flee Beantown.
Of the $2.1 million paid by the FBI, $2 million was apparently for information on Bulger and a mere $100,000 for information on his girlfriend. No word yet on whether the disparity has caused jealousy or friction in the relationship. But Allan Lengel reports on his Tickle the Wire blog that Keith Messina of Las Vegas thinks he should have gotten a reward for spotting Bulger on the Santa Monica pier back in June 2008.
Why didn’t that sighting lead to a quick arrest? That’s one of many questions that may never be answered.