Whitey Bulger: Hidden in plain view, Part II
The Herald raises a valid point
: Was it right to oust the anonymous tipster in the Whitey case? The arguments against: it could put the tipster's life in danger and discourage anonymous sources in future cases. I get the main points. But here's why this case is different:
1. The entire Whitey case was a moral mess precisely because of the government's past use of secret informers. It's more than a little ironic that some are now whining about the integrity of the anonymous-informant system.
2. The FBI has lost so much credibility that some doubted whether anyone was really paid off for the Whitey tip. Count me among the skeptical. A little extra transparency in this case is justified.
3. The law enforcement community has leaked like a sieve throughout Whitey's gangster career. Does anyone seriously think the name wasn't already floating out there before the Globe identified her?
4. Two-million dollars is a lot of public money to let go without public accountability -- especially in a sordid case like this one.
5. The Whitey saga has been a media circus since the day he was tipped off by an FBI agent and went on the lam in '94. Books and movies are being planned about the Whitey saga as we speak. No one should be shocked by this latest twist.
6. The remnants of Whitey's gang a.) mostly hate Whitey for being an informant. b.) they like the fact he was caught. c.) they're not about to reach out for international retribution. d.) the gang is beyond over the hill. It's kaput.
Still, you've got to be a little nervous about the tipster's safety. How can you not be? But I don't believe terrible risks have been taken.