Bio of John Connolly

John Connolly is proud of his having grown up in South Boston in a hard-working family of very modest means. Under such circumstances, he greatly appreciated the opportunity to attend and graduate from Boston College, to attend Suffolk Law School, and earn a graduate degree in Public Administration from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Today he is married to a wonderful supportive wife, and is the proud father of three terrific teenage boys. It should be of no surprise given his background, that he became a highly decorated and respected FBI Special Agent for approximately 23 years. John retired from the FBI honorably in 1990, accepting the position of being the Director of Government Affairs for one of New England’s largest utilities.

John Connolly retired from the FBI with numerous commendations for his investigative accomplishments in the field of organized crime. These numerous commendations, documented in court records, included eight (8) personal commendations from every FBI Director, from J. Edgar Hoover to Judge William Sessions. To read the commendations click here.

John Connolly, for the majority of his FBI career, was a street agent who put his life on the line by dealing – at the behest of the U.S. Department of Justice – with some of the most dangerous individuals in the world. In 1973, John first became assigned to the FBI office in Boston, and remained in this assignment until his retirement in 1990. He was primarily charged with developing so-called Top Echelon Criminal Informants, and this effort was particularly successful in New England.

The FBI’s Top Echelon Criminal Informant Program was at the time relevant to John’s career deemed to be a secret FBI program. It was designed by the FBI to recruit high-ranking criminals as informants in the U. S. Justice Department’s war on the American Mafia.

John Connolly was advised by FBI headquarters that he had developed more “member sources,” actual Mafia members, as Top Echelon informants, than any other FBI Agent and was periodically assigned to lecture to other FBI agents at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia on Informant Development Tactics and Techniques. As a member of the Boston FBI’s Organized Crime Squad, John was tasked to utilize his many Top Echelon informants to penetrate the innermost sanctions of the Patriarca Crime Family and emerge with the necessary “probable cause,” enabling his FBI collegues and federal prosecutors to indict and convict numerous members of the La Cosa Nostra and their associates.

John is one of the FBI’s most decorated Special Agents in the U.S. Government’s war on organized crime. Another one of the FBI’s most decorated Agents, Joseph Pistone, spent six years “Undercover” in the Bonanno Mafia crime family. He is the celebrated author of two books, and the subject of the popular film, “Donnie Brasco.” In his book, “The Ceremony,” former Special Agent Pistone wrote; “The reign of the Patriarca Family is ended. A substantial amount of the credit for the demise of that Mob Family must be given to one man, Special Agent John Connolly.”


(left) FBI Agent John Connolly and (right) FBI Agent Joseph Pistone (“Donnie Brasco”)
Taken at Joseph Pistone’s retirement party held at an undisclosed location.Former Attorney General Award winning FBI Agent, Joseph Pistone, author of “Donnie Brasco, My Undercover Life In the Mafia,” wrote the following in his book,”The Ceremony.”

“The reign of the Patriarca Family is ended. A substantial amount of the credit for the demise of that mob family must be given to one man, Special Agent John Connolly.”

There were trilogies of FBI investigations that are credited with bringing down the New England Mafia. The first was the installation of an electronic surveillance (i.e., bugs) in the Prince Street Boston Headquarters of Mafia Underboss Gennaro “Jerry” Angiulo. The second was the bugging of Vanessa’s Restaurant in Boston’s Prudential Center, where Mafia members were intercepted extorting $500,000 from two elderly Jewish bookmakers and threatening one of their lives. The third was the bugging of the now infamous “Mafia Induction Ceremony” on October 29, 1989, in Medford, Massachusetts. By conservative estimates, John Connolly furnished as much as 70% of the “probable cause” information utilized by the three U.S. District Court Federal Judges who approved the Title III electronic surveillances for all of these highly successful and critical law enforcment investigative efforts.






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