Informant Naming Sparks Row Between Feds And Newspaper - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Informant Naming Sparks Row Between Feds And Newspaper

Published October 14, 2011

The FBI has disavowed having revealed the identity of the Icelander who helped bring down wanted gangster James “Whitey” Bulger, while the Boston Globe – who broke the story – claims the FBI’s silence over the reveal was a form of consent.
As reported, former actress Anna Björnsdóttir was revealed by the Boston Globe to be the Icelander responsible for identifying Bulger, resulting in his swift arrest. He now faces 19 murder charges.
Since then, a heated discussion has begun as to whether or not revealing her identity puts her in any personal danger. While members of her own family have said they believe she will be safe, the FBI has issued a statement on the matter, which reads in part:

Recently, a news outlet chose to publish the alleged identity of one of the tipsters involved in locating FBI Top Ten Fugitive James “Whitey” Bulger and Catherine Grieg. … In defending against public criticism about the decision to publish the name of the alleged tipster, reporters and editors from the news outlet attempted to justify it by stating the FBI did not raise any objections in advance. That explanation suggested the FBI was culpable for the publishing of this information. To the contrary, the FBI’s silence on these inquiries should not be seen as acquiescence to that editorial decision.

Boston Globe news editor Jennifer Peter has defended naming the informant, and also clarified her position on the matter; that the FBI’s silence did not necessarily mean they were happy about the reveal, but that it could be taken to mean the informant was in no physical danger, adding:

A great deal of thought and discussion went into the decision to name the tipster. And in a case such as this, where there have been so many deceptions and lies in the past and where there were so many conspiracy theories circulating as to what actually happened, it seemed imperative to give as accurate and full an accounting as we could.

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