Tuesday, December 10, 2002

Bill Bulger: the aftermath. Two fascinating postscripts on UMass president Bill Bulger's refusal to testify before a congressional committee investigating the FBI's corrupt deal with Bulger's gangster brother, James "Whitey" Bulger.

Herald columnist Peter Gelzinis today passes along some speculation that Bill Bulger's 17-year Senate presidency may have been jump-started by former FBI agents John Connolly and John Morris, the duo that served as Whitey Bulger's handlers and protectors. The question Gelzinis asks: did Connolly and Morris deliberately target state senators Joe DiCarlo and Ronald MacKenzie in the MBM scandal of the 1980s in order to grease Bulger's path to the Senate presidency? To be sure, Gelzinis offers nothing more than the whispers of an anonymous tipster, but it sounds like a matter worth investigating.

Differing 180 degrees is Globe columnist Tom Oliphant, who blasts the congressional investigation as an exercise in buffoonish grandstanding. Oliphant can't help himself -- he goes way too far, all but nominating Bill Bulger for the Nobel Peace Prize. Nevertheless, he's dead right in denouncing Watermelon Man Dan Burton's performance as a "farce" and a "sham."

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