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October 2011


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Sen. Grassley Writes FBI Director; Concerned About Boston FBI’s Mobster Informant Mark Rossetti

Robert Mueller

 By Allan Lengel

Shades of Boston mobster Whitey Bulger?

A letter from Sen. Charles Grassley to FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III seems to suggest so.

If you recall, the Boston FBI caught hell for letting Bulger run wild and commit crimes while he acted as informant and snitched on his rivals back in the day. Bulger, who was captured in June,   is a suspect in 19 murders.

Now comes mobster Mark Rossetti, a “capo” and “acting consigliore” who worked as a confidential informant for the FBI all while committing his fair share of serious crimes. There are concerns by some inside and outside law enforcement that the FBI should have cut off Rossetti as an informant when it became clear how dangerous a criminal he was.

In a letter to Mueller, Grassley wrote:

“As a Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, I write to inquire about recent reports from the Boston area regarding the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) ties with alleged mafia “capo” and “acting consigliore” Mark Rossetti as a confidential informant and reports that the FBI misrepresented Mr. Rossetti’s status as an informant to the Massachusetts State Police.”

“Mr. Rossetti is currently under state indictment for a multitude of crimes including home invasions, heroin and marijuana trafficking, gambling, and loan sharking. Additionally Mr. Rossetti was convicted of armed robbery, beating a Massachusetts State Trooper nearly to death and was a suspect in multiple murders and the Isabella Steward Gardner Museum art heist, the largest in Boston history.”

“Despite all these alleged crimes and the claim that Mr. Rossetti was running a ‘sprawling criminal enterprise,’ it appears that the FBI may have engaged in a long-term relationship with Mr. Rossetti.

“In fact, as early as 1992, an FBI agent’s pager number was found on Mr. Rossetti and former Massachusetts State Detective Bill McGreal stated that an FBI agent declined to pursue a case against Mr. Rossetti saying, ‘we decided to pass on Rossetti” despite strong evidence from a cooperating witness.'”

“According to media reports, the FBI initially misrepresented Mr. Rossetti’s status as an informant to the Massachusetts State Police. An August 16, 2011, Boston Globe article titled “Sleeping with enemy, again” reports that FBI agents initially denied that Mr. Rossetti was an FBI informant prior to commencing their investigation into his activities.

“According to the article, the FBI agents denied that they were working with Mr. Rossetti and it was only when Massachusetts State Police electronic surveillance picked up conversations between Mr. Rossetti and his FBI handler, that the FBI finally came clean and admitted its relationship to the Massachusetts State Police.”


“Given the well documented FBI malfeasance in the Whitey Bulger saga, the FBI’s actions related to organized crime in Boston deserve a heightened level of scrutiny. In light of these past experiences and the questions raised by local media, please provide answers to the following questions:


1) Was Mr. Rossetti a confidential informant for the FBI?

a. If so, when did he become a confidential informant?

b. If so, when was this relationship terminated and why?

c. If so, was he a paid informant and how much was he paid?

2) When did the FBI first become aware of Mr. Rossetti’s criminal activity?

3) What alleged crimes was the FBI aware of?

4) Prior to being made aware of Mr. Rossetti’s alleged criminal activity by the Massachusetts State Police, was the FBI aware of any crimes alleged to have been committed by Mr. Rossetti?

a. If so, were any of those alleged crimes felonies, violent felonies, or homicides?

5) Did the FBI conduct an internal inspection, investigation, or review by the Office of Professional Responsibility into its agents’ handling of Mr. Rossetti?

a. If so, when was this investigation conducted and what entity conducted the review?

6) Have FBI agents at any time claimed to Massachusetts State Troopers that Mr. Rossetti was not a confidential informant for the FBI?

a. If so, describe the circumstances of these representations by FBI agents and when they occurred.

b. Were FBI agents ever disciplined for making representations that Mr. Rossetti was not a confidential informant? If so, please describe.

c. Please provide a written statement of the FBI’s policy regarding use of confidential informants and any other informal policies related to criminal informants and criminal activity.

Thank you for your cooperation and attention in this matter. I would appreciate a response by October 31, 2011. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Chris Lucas for the Committee on the Judiciary at (202) 224-5225.


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