But the FBI may not have been so happy to hear Bulger was finally in federal custody, as new corruption revelations may create additional shock waves through the FBI.
Bulger had inducted several top FBI agents in the Boston office into his gang, and used the FBI as his enforcement arm to eliminate his rivals within his own Winter Hill Gang and in the Italian La Cosa Nostra (Mafia). According to his indictment, Bulger's gang committed at least 19 murders in a spree that lasted from 1965-1994. He spent 16 years evading federal officials, some of whom may never have wanted him to have been captured alive. Two FBI agents were eventually convicted of crimes related to helping Bulger commit murder, H. Paul Rico (who died in prison in 2004) and John Connolly (who will soon be transferred from a federal prison where he's serving time for a RICO conviction to Florida to serve 40 years for a murder charge).
The two FBI agents convicted of crimes may have been only the tip of the iceberg. Howie Carr told MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell after Bulger's arrest that "Whitey altogether gave 'gratuities' to at least 14 agents in the Boston office. You know, he had a saying at Christmas, when he'd be sitting in the back of his liquor store putting all the cash in envelopes. He'd say 'Christmas is for cops and kids.' And the FBI gave him good value in return." In addition, Bulger had reportedly kept more than a dozen Boston police officers on his payroll. Carr is the author of two books on the Bulger gang, including the best-selling The Brothers Bulger.
Carr isn't the only one predicting another wave of revelations of mob-tainted FBI agents. Edward J. MacKenzie, Jr., a former drug dealer and enforcer for Bulger, told the Associated Press that Bulger had more agents on his payroll, and that he has the personality to start talking. "Whitey was no fool. He knew he would get caught. I think he'll have more fun pulling all those skeletons out of the closet," MacKenzie told the AP June 24. "I think he'll start talking and he'll start taking people down."
Bulger is being held in a Boston jail awaiting trial, and even though he had some $800,000 in cash on hand during his arrest, he is currently using a public-funded defender for his trial.
Photo of James "Whitey" Bulger taken in 1994: FBI