Fugitive’s Brother Says FBI Only Recently Contacted Him

Posted June 20, 2003 at 10:02am

University of Massachusetts President William Bulger told lawmakers Thursday that the FBI had not been to his home until last week regarding his fugitive brother, who has eluded law enforcement since 1995, and that he did not know where his brother was.

The former Massachusetts state Senate president testified before the House Government Oversight Committee investigating the FBI handling of Boston mob informants and whether law enforcement was influenced to protect the brother of the prominent Bay State politician.

Bulger’s brother, James “Whitey” Bulger, was an FBI informant who was told by his FBI handler that he was going to be indicted on 21 murder charges. He is on the agency’s “Top Most Wanted” list.

Bulger testified that he didn’t believe the FBI had interviewed him as to the whereabouts of his brother before his 2001 grand jury appearance and that he had read reports that the FBI had tried to contact him at his home, but he only remembered them coming last week.

“Do you mean in 1995 your brother fled the commonwealth and eight years later the FBI gets around to inquiring of you and your wife?” asked Rep. Marty Meehan (D-Mass.).

Bulger nodded his head and said last Wednesday two FBI agents came to his house and told his daughter that if her mother could help them they would avoid “tearing the town apart” as in the North Carolina case of fugitive Eric Rudolph.

Bulger’s testimony comes after the committee granted him immunity in April. However, Rep. Christopher Shays (R-Conn.) said he was mystified as to the delay from a December hearing when Bulger declined to testify, citing the Fifth Amendment.

“It bugs the heck out of me that we had to delay six months,” Shays said. “What do you have to hide? Immunity doesn’t protect you from lying.”

Earlier in the hearing Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) said that by having the full cooperation of Bulger the committee could learn more about the victims of Whitey Bulger.

Throughout the hearing Bulger also repudiated two media-reported charges: that he had asked for copies of police reports against his brother and that during the 1995 phone conversation he told his brother not to turn himself in.

“I have never sought to punish anyone who was in law enforcement and was in pursuit of my brother,” he said. “It comes from the tabloid talk-show stuff in Boston.”

He later added that he hopes his brother does the right thing, but he is worried that the FBI might have tried to have him killed when the media was told that his brother was an FBI informant.