Tuesday, August 25, 2009

James "Whitey" Bulger now small potatoes

Where’s Whitey?

Who cares?

Not Warren Bamford, the very earnest and squared-away gentleman who runs the FBI’s Boston office. Not really. Don’t get me wrong, Bamford said all the right things when he stopped by the Herald yesterday. Yes, he knows that James “Whitey” Bulger is a “career criminal” who killed at least 19 people we know of. And yeah, Bamford is still expending the “appropriate resources” to find the Southie gangster who still haunts post office walls right behind Uncle Osama. But the fact is, the White Man is coming up on 80.

And though he’s just miserable enough to live another 20 years, nobody on the FBI’s “Bulger Task Force” expects this seasoned killer to board a train or drive through a tunnel with a bunch of plastic explosives strapped to his chest.

Whitey may be a wrinkled monster. But he’s no terrorist.

And at this moment in time, terrorists are to Warren Bamford what an Italian mobster was to J. Edgar Hoover. In other words, the White Man’s basically a pimple on the arse of the universe. Bamford has bigger fish to fry.

To understand how much the world has changed since 9/11 is to hear Warren Bamford speak about how his FBI office reached out to the Somali community in Boston. Why? To alert them to the possibility of young Somalis returning to the homeland for terrorist training.

None of his agents are venturing over to the Beer Garden on East Broadway to address the boyos about a geezer psycho, who may or may not be stalking the green fields of Kilarney.

When I asked Bamford whether the FBI would consider allowing U.S. marshals to join the Whitey hunt, he seemed wide open to the possibility. The more the merrier. That’s when I knew that Whitey had indeed become small potatoes on today’s FBI playlist.

While Bamford may hold a federal management position under the big tent of the U.S. Justice Department, he declined to venture an opinion on the raft of civil suits, or millions in claims handed down for the past sins of imprisoned local G-man John “Zip” Connolly.

A week from now, Warren Bamford and his Whitey Task Force will call the media in for a Whitey update in advance of the old killer’s 80th year in this vale of tears. There will be accounts of new tips, new look-alike photos - maybe even a “we just missed him” tale. But no Whitey.

Truth is, Warren Bamford couldn’t care less. Sooner or later this awful old gangster will either die on the road . . . or have his brother bring him back to die in jail. In the meantime, we got all those terrorists to worry about.