Endangering Innocent Lives? Boston Globe Outs Tipster of Dangerous Gangster

Is the Boston Globe endangering the life of an Icelandic woman who led the FBI last June to capture the notorious and dangerous Boston gangster, James “Whitey” Bulger?

Today (Sun., 10/8/11), the Boston Globe has published a compelling, behind-the-scenes story of the capture of Bulger, who was high on the FBI’s Most Wanted list for several years.

The Globe, however, raises eyebrows in its story by publishing the name, background, and picture of the woman who recognized Bulger and his female companion, who hid for several years in Santa Monica, California.

It turns out that the woman, a veteran actress, travelled often between Iceland and Los Angeles. She would stay at a hotel across the street from the apartment in which the fugitive pair was living. The woman became acquainted with Catherine Greig, Bulger’s companion, while noticing Greig’s kindness to a homeless cat.

In June, after CNN broadcast a story on the search for Bulger and Greig, the woman recognized the pair and called the FBI. The FBI seized the couple shortly after the woman’s call, and it is believed the tipster pocketed $2 million in reward money.

Why did the Globe feel the need to publish the name of the tipster? Could there be companions or sympathizers of Bulger who are able to carry out vengeance against the woman? No one can know for sure.

Bulger was wanted on 19 murders in addition to charges of extortion, money laundering, and drug distribution. The demonic Bulger wreaked fear and havoc on the streets of South Boston for decades. He fled Boston in December 2004 after a rogue agent informed him that he was about to be indicted. When the FBI finally captured him in June, the agency seized over $800,000 in cash and a large cache of weapons hidden in his Santa Monica apartment.

Indeed, how does the Globe’s publication of the woman’s name affect future manhunts? Is a person now more likely or less likely to report a dangerous individual to the FBI if the person believes that his or her name might be trumpeted in the media? The answer seems obvious.

The Icelandic woman does not seem too pleased that the Globe has approached her over the last several months. The paper reported, “When a Boston Globe reporter approached [the woman] outside her Reykjavik apartment in July and again in September, she ran inside without saying a word. In response to a note from the Globe asking about her role in Bulger’s capture, [her] husband sent an e-mail on her behalf saying she would not talk.”

The Globe’s decision to publish the name of this Icelandic woman hero is curious, to say the least. The paper may very well be jeopardizing the safety and wellbeing of this brave woman.

-- Dave Pierre is the author of the book, Double Standard: Abuse Scandals and the Attack on the Catholic Church. Dave is also the creator of TheMediaReport.com.