Senate Seeks Answers To FBI's Ties To Reputed Boston Mobster

Download Audio

There's another call for the FBI to clarify its relationship with a reputed Boston mobster — and it's not about James "Whitey" Bulger.

It's about Mark Rossetti, a 52-year-old East Boston man indicted last year on charges he ran a large criminal enterprise.

Sen. Chuck Grassley from Iowa, who is the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, has sent a letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller, demanding answers about the FBI's use of Rossetti as a confidential informant — a fact that has since been confirmed by WBUR.

"We have to make sure that the FBI conducts itself in a proper manner when they're dealing with people of the underworld," Grassley said on Morning Edition. "I think we ought to know everything about it we can, get all this information. It's part of my constitutional responsibilities of oversight. There's a lot of questions that need to be answered."

The senator said he would support legislation proposed by Massachusetts Rep. Stephen Lynch that would require that the FBI report on crimes committed by informants while they're working with agencies.

"I would support [the proposed legislation] from the standpoint that maybe if there is a legitimacy for the FBI to work with [serious criminals], that [the crimes they commit while working as informants] would be secured information until there were arrests and prosecutions, but the extent to which that's done, it ought to be out for the public knowledge," he said.

Grassley said the fact that we don't know much about how many instances there are nationwide, where the FBI works with underworld members, raises questions about the legitimacy of the FBI engaging in such practices.

This program aired on October 24, 2011.

Headshot of Bob Oakes

Bob Oakes Senior Correspondent
Bob Oakes was a senior correspondent in the WBUR newsroom, a role he took on in 2021 after nearly three decades hosting WBUR's Morning Edition.



More from WBUR

Listen Live