Retired FBI Agent John Connolly was recently arrested on racketeering charges. Connolly was the agent who recruited Whitey Bulger and Steve Flemmi, leaders of the Winter Hill organized crime Gang, to act as informants. It is generally believed that someone in the FBI warned Bulger and Flemmi that they were about to be arrested a few years back, giving them time to flee their stomping grounds (Flemmi was caught but Bulger is still at large). It is also widely suspected that Connolly's relationship with the two crooks accounts for the difficulty experienced by several persons who attempted to come forward with information on the mob, many of whom were told to forget about it, and at least two of whom were killed (the body of John McIntyre, who bumped into a marijuana smuggling operation while trying to run guns to the IRA, was found under the Southeast Expressway last week).

The FBI should be apologizing, but instead they are locking up Connolly and making him out to be a rogue cop. (Connolly says his actions were consistent with FBI policy. He also denies betraying any would-be informants.)

To put a human face on Whitey Bulger's reign of terror in South Boston, and its links to Boston racial politics, you should read the harrowing memoir by Michael Patrick MacDonald, All Souls.

A "Swifty" is a grudging apology. Lieutenant Governor Jane Swift was busted in the papers two weeks ago for making her aides look after her infant daughter and for using a state helicopter to bypass holiday traffic last Thanksgiving. After a week of insisting she had done nothing wrong, a stance which seemed to generate even worse publicity than the original infractions, she was finally persuaded to apologize, but without much conviction.

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