Bad news for Hillary Clinton: ‘Carlos Danger’ is back

Anthony Weiner during his New York mayoral campaign. Photo (cc) by Azi Paybarah.
Anthony Weiner during his New York mayoral campaign. Photo (cc) by Azi Paybarah.

At a time when no one knows anything about the latest Hillary Clinton email story beyond the cryptic letter that FBI Director James Comey sent to Congress last week, I decided that the best way to research this piece was to pour a glass of wine, grab some Halloween candy, and watch Weiner, a documentary released a few months ago.

I didn’t learn anything about the emails. But I did gain some insight, at least superficially, into the marriage between disgraced former congressman Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin, the top Clinton aide whose emails were reportedly found on her estranged husband’s computer.

Read the rest at WGBHNews.org.

The state of the Clinton email investigation

Based on what we know so far, FBI Director James Comey’s bombshell letter is likely to lead to very little. Having upended the election campaign with just days to go, Comey owes it to the public to tell us exactly what the FBI knows as soon as possible.

Here’s what we seem to know: Clinton and her top aide, Huma Abedin, exchanged emails (now, there’s a big surprise, eh?). Some of those ended up on devices used by Abedin’s estranged husband, Anthony Weiner, because they shared a computer.

It is already well established that Clinton used a private email account for her official business, that she showed bad judgment in doing so, but that she did not commit a crime. Somewhere between many and all of the newly discovered emails may be duplicates that the FBI has already looked at.

There is nothing new here—just more evidence of what a mistake Clinton made in not using her State Department email account. For one thing, sensitive emails can end up in the hands of someone like Weiner.

Update: Jane Mayer of the New Yorker weighs in with essential reading on Comey’s decision to go public.

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A polite debate over Apple, the FBI, and encryption

Previously published at WGBHNews.org.

I had expected fireworks—or at least strong disagreements—when Internet privacy advocate Jonathan Zittrain and former CIA director John Deutsch debated the impasse between Apple and the FBI over a locked iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters.

Instead, the two men offered nuance and a rough if imperfect consensus over how much access we should have to technologies that allow us to encrypt our personal data in ways that place it beyond the government’s reach.

“Many other paths to data are available. We are exuding data all over the place,” said Zittrain, a professor at Harvard Law School and the author of The Future of the Internet—And How to Stop It. “The FBI has chosen this case … in large part, I think, because there is so little privacy interest on the other side.”

Deutsch, an emeritus professor at MIT, sought to draw a distinction between law enforcement and terrorism investigations such as the San Bernardino case. Authorities say they need to know what was on the phone used by the late Syed Rizwan Farook because it might reveal the identities of accomplices who are planning future attacks.

“There’s a big difference between law enforcement and national security,” Deutsch said. Law enforcement, he explained, is about “catching bad people,” whereas the aim of national security is “to avoid a catastrophe.” There is a public interest in requiring cooperation from companies such as Apple in a national-security investigation, he said, with the courts setting boundaries for when such cooperation should be compelled.

If that sounds like disagreement, it was so polite and mildly worded as to create barely a stir. Indeed, people in the packed hall at Harvard’s Kennedy School on Monday evening—most of them Apple partisans, I suspect—seemed to appreciate a discussion that focused more on the fine points of technology and the law rather than on broad proclamations about Internet freedom versus the threat of terrorism.

Then, too, technology is changing so rapidly that the points raised during the debate may soon be obsolete.

Apple has been ordered to write software that will enable government investigators to gain access to Farook’s data; the company has filed an appeal seeking to overturn that order. But as Zittrain noted, Apple executives say they will soon offer encryption software to consumers that will make it impossible for anyone—even Apple itself—to break in. Such software, Zittrain added, is already available from various sources, which means that even if it were legally banned, it could still be used.

And that changes the nature of what’s at stake. As the San Bernardino case has played out, I’ve been more sympathetic to the government than to Apple. Why shouldn’t a corporation be required to comply with a court order to provide information in a terrorism investigation? And if it’s extraordinary to demand that Apple to write software so that the phone can be accessed, what of it? That’s simply a consequence of Apple’s engineering decisions.

As Deutsch put it: “That’s not really the essential point. It’s a minor part of the issue.”

On the other hand, I’m as uncomfortable as anyone with the idea that Apple and other companies could be forbidden to offer encryption so strong that even they would lack the means to bypass it. Requiring companies to build in a so-called back door would open the way not just to legitimate investigations but to privacy breaches and fraud, and would hand yet another tool to authoritarian governments seeking to repress dissent.

Zittrain and Deutsch talked about what role Congress and the courts might play in finding the proper balance between privacy and security. I asked them whether those institutions could have any role at all in a world in which no one but the end user would be able to bypass the encryption settings.

Zittrain responded that we have never lived in an era when every bit of data is accessible to a government investigator with a warrant. Even so, he said, there will continue to be vast amounts of personal data available to investigators despite the existence of strong encryption. “There’s a whole constellation of data points out there,” he said, calling it “an embarrassment of riches.”

I found Deutsch’s response more intriguing, reflecting as it did his both cloak-and-dagger days at the CIA and his long career in science.

“I don’t believe that phones irrevocably go dark,” he said, explaining that he believes Apple and other companies will retain the ability to unlock encrypted devices regardless of what they publicly proclaim. He also offered what he called “a suspicious paranoid point: all of these phones are made in China.” Would the Chinese government really allow the manufacture of technology that it couldn’t somehow access?

With technology changing so rapidly, Zittrain said, the current dispute between Apple and the FBI is “a bellwether rather than the case of the century.”

This time, in other words, Apple says that it won’t. Next time, it may say that it can’t.

FBI wants to know if journalists have been naughty or nice

I’ll be on “NightSide with Dan Rea” at 8 p.m. on WBZ Radio (AM 1030) to talk about this article in The Washington Times revealing an FBI plan to rate news stories about the agency as “positive,” “negative” or “neutral.” Reporter Jim McElhatton interviewed me for the story. And here is the FBI document (pdf) he unearthed.

Update, Aug. 8. The FBI backs off.

Naming names: Did the Globe make the right call?

redactedPreviously published at WGBH News.

We’re going to be hearing a lot about The Boston Globe’s decision to publish the names of the FBI agent and State Police troopers who were involved in the Florida shooting death of Ibragim Todashev, the Tamerlan Tsarnaev associate suspected of taking part in a triple murder in Waltham.

The story, by Globe reporter Maria Sacchetti, reveals that FBI agent Aaron McFarlane is a former Oakland police officer with a troubling past. The article raises serious questions about how law enforcement handled the investigation of perhaps the single most important figure connected to the Boston Marathon bombing suspects. Here is some background to keep in mind as the discussion unfolds.

This past January, David Boeri of WBUR Radio (90.9 FM) reported on the FBI-State Police interrogation that ended in Todashev’s death. Here’s what Boeri had to say about the names of the agent and the two troopers:

In the course of our investigation, WBUR has learned the names of the law enforcement officers involved in the shooting. We are not releasing the names at the request of both the FBI and the Massachusetts State Police, which cited specific concerns for their safety.

In today’s Globe article, we learn that the FBI agent’s name is Aaron McFarlane, and that he “has previously been publicly identified in a blog about the Boston Marathon case.”

That prompted Boston magazine editor-in-chief Carly Carioli to tweet:

(And by the way, in March Boston published its own long investigation into the shooting. The article, by Susan Zalkind, was also the subject of a one-hour segment on public radio’s “This American Life.”)

Carioli’s tweet leads to a site called “The Boston Marathon Bombings: What Happened?”, which on May 3 revealed the names of McFarlane and the two Massachusetts troopers, Joel Gagne and Curtis Cinelli. (As best as I can tell, that’s the first time any of the three officers was named.) According to the site, the names and uncensored crime-scene photos were obtained from PDFs of public records using techniques that sound similar to what the Globe did. The Globe offers this description:

The Globe obtained their names by removing improperly created redactions from an electronic copy of Florida prosecutor Jeffrey L. Ashton’s report — which in March found the shooting of Todashev justified — and then verifying their identities through interviews and multiple government records. Those records include voting, birth, and pension documents.

On May 5, the same “What Happened?” website revealed some of the problems McFarlane had as a member of the Oakland Police Department that are at the heart of today’s Globe story.

I should note that though the “What Happened?” site appears to have broken some important stories, it also traffics in rather, uh, unusual rhetoric. For instance, here is a photo of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, bloody and injured as he surrendered in Watertown, beneath the headline “2013: THE YEAR AMERICA BEGAN HUNTING DOWN AND SHOOTINGS[sic] IT’S [sic] OWN TEENAGERS. WHY?”

By all indications the Globe has been careful to do its own reporting — which it would in any case, but which is especially important when dealing with material like this.

Which brings us to the question I imagine we’ll be debating in the days to come: Should the Globe have released the names of McFarlane, Gagne and Cinelli? I’d like to hear arguments on both sides. But keep these three things in mind:

  • The official investigation into Todashev’s death had not been completed when Boeri was doing his reporting for WBUR in January. Since then the three have been cleared by investigators, and the matter is no longer pending.
  • Police officers are doing the public’s business, and we have a right to know as much information as possible about serious matters such as the Todashev shooting. Consider a much more routine example, reported by the Salem News, in which the Essex County district attorney’s office named officers involved in a fatal shooting in the course of disclosing the results of their investigation.
  • Because of the “What Happened?” report, the three names were, in fact, already out there. Whatever calculation Globe editors might have made if this had occurred 20 years ago, it is simply a reality that a mainstream news organization can no longer act as a gatekeeper to prevent the public from learning information that it can find out elsewhere. This change doesn’t call for lower standards, but it does call for different standards.

I realize I’m putting my thumb on the disclosure side of the scale. But I think withholding the names would have been a respectable decision as well. As Sacchetti writes today, “Even Florida, which often identifies such officers, declined to do so in this case, citing concerns for the investigators’ safety.”

At this early stage, I can be persuaded either way, and I’m curious to see and hear what others have to say.

Misplaced priorities at the Boston Police Dept.

Howard Zinn
Howard Zinn

Last October the Massachusetts chapter of the ACLU revealed that the Boston Police Department had been spying on left-wing activists such as the late Howard Zinn.

The police were working with the Boston Regional Intelligence Center (BRIC), a so-called fusion center through which the authorities could coordinate with the FBI and other agencies to find out who might be plotting a terrorist attack. Zinn, a peace activist, an elderly professor and World War II hero, was clearly someone to keep a close eye on.

Of course, we now know that at the same time the police were wasting their resources on Zinn, they were ignorant of what the FBI knew about Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Among those putting two and two together in the last few weeks were Michael Isikoff of NBC News;  Boston journalist Chris Faraone, who produced this for DigBoston; and Jamaica Plain Gazette editor John Ruch, who wrote an analysis.

Although it would be a stretch well beyond the facts to suggest that if the police hadn’t been watching left-wing and Occupy protesters they might have caught Tsarnaev, the BPD was certainly looking in all the wrong places. The police did a good and courageous job of reacting to the Boston Marathon bombings. The issue is how they spent their time and resources in trying to prevent a terrorist attack.

Spying on the antiwar left makes no more sense today than it did in the 1960s and ’70s. Police Commissioner Ed Davis needs to take a break from giving commencement speeches in order to answer a few questions.

And while I’m on the subject of questionable law-enforcement practices, I sure hope we find out what actually happened in Florida last week. Don’t you?

AP probe should be a wake-up call for journalists

Trevor TimmBy Trevor Timm

As part of a new leak investigation, the Justice Department has secretly obtained the call records for 20 phone lines owned by the Associated Press, which could put sources for as many as 100 reporters at risk. The AP called the move a “massive and unprecedented intrusion,” saying they “regard this action by the Department of Justice as a serious interference with AP’s constitutional rights to gather and report the news.”

We agree. It’s time to stop looking at all of these leak investigations and prosecutions as ancillary to press freedom; they are a direct attack on it. This should be an important wake-up call for journalists.

While this incident has brought the Justice Department’s crackdown on leakers to a new extreme, it’s important to remember, this storm has been brewing for a while now. In five years, the Obama administration has prosecuted more leakers under the Espionage Act than all other administrations combined, and virtually all these prosecutions have engulfed journalists in one way or another.

As part of this current investigation, we’ve known the FBI has been data-mining government officials’ phone and email records for months, looking for links to journalists on a systematic scale. The Washington Post reported in January, the FBI is using new, “sophisticated software to identify names, key words and phrases embedded in emails and other communications, including text messages, which could lead them to suspects.”

According to the Post, “The FBI also looks at officials’ phone records — who called whom, when, for how long.” Anytime the FBI found a government official has contact with the unknown number of “particular” journalists, FBI agents were “confronting” officials with this information.

A similar leak investigation to the one that has engulfed the AP is aimed at New York Times sources for its investigation into secret U.S. cyberattacks. The government refused to comment if the Justice Department has gone to similar extremes with The New York Times’ phone lines.

Regardless, as The New York Times reported on its front page in August of last year, these leak investigations are “casting a distinct chill over press coverage of national security issues as agencies decline routine interview requests and refuse to provide background briefings.” The Huffington Post recently interviewed several of the nation’s most prominent national security journalists, all of whom confirmed it’s a perilous time for journalists who are reporting on what the government considers secret.

The Justice Department does not deny this. When asked about the Obama administration’s crackdown on leakers last June, a senior Justice Department (DOJ) official told longtime national security reporter Shane Harris that the DOJ is “out for scalps.” Harris’ DOJ source also “made it clear that reporters who talked to sources about classified information were putting themselves at risk of prosecution.”

And it may be about to get worse.

In another leak case, New York Times reporter James Risen has been fighting a subpoena from Obama’s Justice Department for years. The Obama DOJ is after his sources for a chapter in his book “State of War.” (You can read the incredible chapter at issue, about a spectacularly bungled CIA mission that allegedly handed nuclear bomb blueprints to Iran, here.)

The Obama administration inherited the case from the Bush administration, and despite the fact that the district court judge sided with Risen during both the grand jury and trial, DOJ has continued to appeal the case. Last May, the DOJ argued before the Fourth Circuit that reporters’ privilege does not exist at all for national security reporters. Disturbingly, the Justice Department said that Risen protecting his sources was “analogous” to refusing to testify about receiving drugs from a confidential source.

The Fourth Circuit Appeals Court decision could come down any day now, and it will undoubtedly be the most important press freedom decision in a decade or more.

And while it has curiously receded from national headlines, the Justice Department also still has an active grand jury investigation open against WikiLeaks for publishing classified information. If such a prosecution succeeds, it will be open season on media organizations that publish stories that touch on information the government considers secret, putting virtually every national security journalist at risk of prosecution.

In fact, the House of Representatives held a hearing just last July in which multiple congressmen openly discussed throwing New York Times journalists in jail for publishing classified information about secret cyberattacks and CIA drone strikes. By staying quiet about the WikiLeaks grand jury, journalists only increase this risk.

The White House press secretary was quick to state that the administration is “not involved in decisions” in the AP investigation and heard about it from the media. White House officials are under investigation for this particular leak as well, so that’s no surprise. But one should not forget: the White House created this war-on-leaks monster. Congress has only encouraged its expansion, instead of investigating the wrongdoing that many of the leaks exposed.

And now, it’s out of control.

Trevor Timm is co-founder and executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation. Republished by permission.

The Globe, the tipster and the FBI (IV)

The FBI’s statement criticizing the Boston Globe for claiming the agency had acquiesced in the paper’s decision to name Whitey Bulger tipster Anna Bjornsdottir has breathed at least one day of new life into a story that seemed to be fading away. I’m not going to rehash everything, but here are a few observations for your consideration.

Dueling Michael Sullivans. When the Boston Herald first reported on Monday that the Globe may have endangered Bjornsdottir and harmed the FBI’s anonymous tipster program, it quoted former U.S. attorney Sullivan as saying, “They can’t guarantee her 100 percent safety going forward. It’s unnecessary publicity and unnecessary harassment.” Herald reporter Joe Dwinell uses that quote again in today’s follow-up.

Yet Sullivan appears to have had at least a partial change of heart, according to a story today by Denise Lavoie of the Associated Press. She writes:

Former U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan said he does not believe Bjornsdottir will face retaliation, citing testimony from several former Bulger loyalists who have cooperated with prosecutors in the past decade and not been harmed.

But Sullivan said he does worry the revelation could hurt the FBI’s ability to cultivate criminal informants and tipsters who report sightings in high-profile fugitive cases.

“For some folks who are informants or tipsters, the idea of anonymity is critical,” Sullivan said. “Some people just wouldn’t cooperate at all if they thought for a moment their identity is going to be revealed.”

I leave it to you to decide whether a news organization should be worried about reporting news that could harm the FBI’s internal operations, but that is clearly a far lower concern than Bjornsdottir’s safety.

And by the way, the Globe’s Travis Andersen covers the FBI statement here.

Dueling Herald columnists. Joe Fitzgerald today uses the FBI statement to go after the Globe big-time, calling the paper’s naming of Bjornsdottir “a chilling decision,” and writing: “Somewhere this morning, there’s a wannabe wiseguy hoping to move up, to ingratiate himself with the big boys, mulling the tipster’s whereabouts and thinking dark thoughts of career advancement.”

Yesterday, though, Peter Gelzinis, who spent years covering the Bulger saga while courageously continuing to live in Bulger’s South Boston neighborhood, was fairly dismissive of concerns about Bjornsdottir’s safety, writing: “If the Icelandic tipster had anything to fear after diming Whitey Bulger out to the FBI, then John Martorano and Kevin Weeks and Teresa Stanley, to name just a few, would already be dead.”

Gelzinis also makes the important point, as have others, that once law-enforcement officials revealed last June the tipster was from Iceland, it was only a matter of time before her name became known — a development that would suit the FBI’s purposes. Gelzinis wrote:

Having squandered their credibility for years in this city, the G-Men knew that unmasking the “phantom tipster” from Iceland would immediately remove the latest cloud of suspicion and skepticism hanging over the Boston office.

The FBI’s agenda. As guest columnist Juliette Kayyem, a terrorism expert, observes in today’s Globe, it was, in fact, federal authorities who outed Bjornsdottir last June, shortly after Bulger and Catherine Greig were arrested. The story that the tipster was from Iceland was first reported by David Boeri of WBUR Radio (90.9 FM), another longtime veteran of the Bulger wars.

Bulger and Greig had befriended Bjornsdottir during their years in Santa Monica, Calif. Once they learned of the Icelandic connection, they instantly knew who the tipster was. Kayyem writes:

Of course, that fact alone — the neighbor from Iceland — makes the whole debate over revealing her name somewhat irrelevant. Bjornsdottir was effectively identified as soon as law enforcement sources described her that way to WBUR’s David Boeri. Did anyone think there were two? Bjornsdottir’s identification was part of a very compelling narrative, controlled and then revealed by sources in the law enforcement world, about how the mythic Bulger was finally captured.

I think it’s likely that some observers would have expressed outrage at the time if so many hadn’t been caught up in speculation that federal authorities were lying about the Iceland connection. It just seemed too perfectly weird given the FBI’s long history of criminal dealings with Bulger and his gang. Now it turns out that it was true — or at least partly true. It’s still hard to know.

Which is what Boston University journalism professor Fred Bayles gets at in an interview with the Herald’s Jessica Heslam today. Yesterday’s FBI statement says the Globe was wrong to interpret the agency’s silence as a sign that it did not believe Bjornsdottir’s safety would be endangered if she were named. Heslam writes:

[Bayles] said, “The FBI has been known to leak information when it suited them. The FBI has been known to manipulate the media in terms of its own investigations.” Bayles said he remains skeptical that the public will know the full scope of the Globe’s dealings with FBI agents in this matter. “It’s something that probably we’ll never get to the bottom of, as to whether or not the FBI did know about it and either said nothing or said ‘OK,’ and now they’re coming back to cover their asses.”

Will this story now begin to fade away, or is there more to come? Well, we haven’t heard from Bjornsdottir yet, so my guess is there’s still another shoe or two to drop.

The Globe, the tipster and the FBI (III)

Whitey Bulger

Boston Globe editors today explain why they decided to release the name of Anna Bjornsdottir, the former actress from Iceland who tipped off the FBI that Whitey Bulger and Catherine Greig were living in Santa Monica, Calif. Sunday’s story, by Shelley Murphy and Maria Cramer, stands as the definitive look at Bulger and Greig’s life on the lam.

The comments from Globe editor Marty Baron and metro editor Jennifer Peter parallel those Murphy made yesterday on WFXT-TV (Channel 25): that the FBI raised no objection to Bjornsdottir’s being named; that Bulger surely knew her identity already; and that attaching a name and a face to the story was important given the FBI’s corrupt dealings with Bulger over the years. Those dealings led to widespread speculation that the Icelandic-tipster angle was just another ruse. Here’s Peter:

We were confident Whitey Bulger and Cathy Greig knew exactly who the tipster was. We asked people directly involved in the investigation if she would be in danger if we named her. No one told us she would be in danger at all.

Today’s story, by Peter Schworm, also quotes me as saying the Globe should have included this information in its original story on Sunday, and that the newsworthiness of the story trumps Bjornsdottir’s privacy concerns (Bjornsdottir declined to speak to the Globe, and her husband asked that she not be named). Let me explain.

Schworm and I were talking in the context of there being no safety threat. He asked me if I thought Bjornsdottir’s desire to keep her name out of the paper should be respected purely from a privacy point of view. I responded that as long as publishing her name wouldn’t place her life in any danger, then no. Newsworthiness should in most cases trump privacy concerns. She had come forward, contacted the FBI and accepted $2 million in taxpayer money.

If that sounds cold, journalists reading this knows how many stories would never see the light of day if they respected the wishes of family members who contact them. The idea is to treat people with dignity and respect, and not to make decisions that are gratuitously cruel — but to report the news. Given all that, I think the Globe made the right call.

The Boston Herald, which raised questions yesterday about the Globe’s decision to name Bjornsdottir, doubles down today with another front-page splash. This one quotes two congressmen, Stephen Lynch, D-Boston, and Dan Burton, R-Ind., as saying there ought to be an investigation into whether the FBI was complicit in Bjornsdottir’s name being released. But Murphy told Channel 25 yesterday that the Globe got the name from neighbors. Here’s her answer to the first question from anchor Kim Carrigan as to how the Globe learned Bjornsdottir’s name:

Really from going out to Santa Monica and interviewing neighbors. Word had come out shortly after Bulger’s arrest that the tip came from a woman in Iceland, and what we discovered in talking to neighbors is that there really was only one woman from Iceland who lived in that neighborhood and knew Bulger and Greig by name and could have called in that tip.

Another way of looking at this, though, is that the Icelandic connection was the real breakthrough, and that identifying Bjornsdottir was easy once it had been established that the tipster was an Icelandic neighbor of Bulger and Greig’s. Here is how the Globe reported it on June 25:

Also, a law enforcement official said yesterday that the tip that led authorities to Bulger came from a woman from Iceland who had crossed paths with the fugitives in Santa Monica. She was watching CNN when she spotted a story about a new FBI television ad campaign focusing on Greig and quickly called authorities.

On the same day, the Herald published this: “Meanwhile, media outlets reported yesterday that a woman in Iceland with ties to Santa Monica, Calif., was the tipster that reported seeing the couple.” (I can’t reconstruct the time line, but I assume the Herald refers to “yesterday” because the Globe published its story online the day before.)

Between June 25 and this week, the Herald published several articles and columns mocking the claim that the tipster was from Iceland, chalking it up to yet another instance of the FBI lying about the Bulger case. If folks at the Herald had considered the possibility that it was true (and I’ll admit that I thought it might be a lie), then they would have realized that someone in authority had indeed outed Bjornsdottir to the only person who might be interested in doing her harm.

In that respect, Lynch’s and Burton’s calls for an investigation into who leaked the Icelandic connection may be right on target. And the Herald’s outrage is three and a half months overdue.

The Globe, the tipster and the FBI (II)

How Whitey Bulger got caught: MyFoxBOSTON.com

Boston Globe reporter Shelley Murphy appeared on WFXT-TV (Channel 25) this morning to talk about her and Maria Cramer’s impressively detailed story about Whitey Bulger and Catherine Greig’s life on the run. And it turns out that anchor Kim Carrigan asked her whether she had any concerns that the tipster who turned in Bulger and Greig, Anna Bjornsdottir, might be in danger as a result of the Globe’s having identified her. Here is Murphy’s response:

I can tell you that before we ran the story, we did speak to federal officials. We spoke to the U.S. attorney’s office, we called the FBI, we told them we were thinking of naming her, and it was never suggested to us that there was any issue of danger. And her husband, when he emailed us, said he was concerned about her privacy. So we would not have printed her name if we had been told that her life would be in danger. And I do want to note that there are a lot of witnesses cooperating against Bulger. They’re not in witness protection. There are a lot of people out there and have been for years who cooperated against him.

When I wrote my first item, I had hoped that the Globe would respond in tomorrow’s edition to the question of whether the FBI tried to talk the paper out of naming Bjornsdottir. (Actually, I still hope to see that.) I did not realize that Murphy had already answered the question. Since writing that item, I have learned that (1) Bulger and Greig almost certainly already knew Bjornsdottir’s identity and (2) the FBI had already been given a chance to make any objections known, and apparently chose not to.

The answers to my questions were already out there. That’s a failure of due diligence on my part. I will try to do better.