FBI Officials Admit Bulger was Informant

What has long been suspected is now official: Fugitive crime boss James J. "Whitey" Bulger was an informant for the FBI.

Faced with an ultimatum from a US District judge -- the result of maneuvers by defense lawyers -- the FBI revealed its relationship with Bulger rather than jeopardize its case against several suspected crime bosses.

Mr. Bulger was an F.B.I. informant from 1971 to 1990, living openly in South Boston while the Justice Department jailed almost all his rivals. He even collected a share of a $14.3 million state lottery jackpot.

At the same time he was boss of South Boston's murderous Winter Hill Gang, a mostly Irish mob, Bulger was an FBI informant, supplying information about the rival New England Mafia. But he fled in January 1995 when an agent tipped him off that he was about to be indicted.