BOSTON (CN) – The government must pay $3.1 million to the family of a government informant who was killed by mobsters after a former FBI agent leaked his identity, the 1st Circuit ruled.
The court upheld the 2006 decision of U.S. District Judge Reginald Lindsay, despite the government’s exhaustive efforts to prove that John Connolly was a “rogue agent” acting outside the scope of his employment.
Because of Connolly’s disclosure, informant John McIntyre was tortured to death in 1984 by mobster James “Whitey” Bulger and his partner Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi.
The parties agree that Connolly never had explicit authority to leak McIntyre’s identity. But Judge Lipez held that his disclosure “was within the boundaries of the FBI’s longstanding method of handling Bulger and Flemmi through Connolly.”
The FBI viewed Bulger and Flemmi as “uniquely effective tools” in helping the government bring down La Cosa Nostra, a notorious mob.
“As a result, the two men received kid-glove treatment from all levels of the FBI for decades,” Judge Lipez explained.
Although McIntyre’s death was a regrettable outcome, Lipez said, the leak of his identity “was in keeping with both the deferential treatment Bulger and Flemmi regularly received from all levels of the FBI and the kind of conduct Connolly undertook on other occasions with seeming acquiescence from his superiors.”
Thus, the former agent had not acted as a renegade agent, and the government must pay for what happened to McIntyre, the court concluded.