Fears for ex-beauty queen who led FBI to Whitey

A NEWSPAPER'S revelation that the tipster who led the FBI to notorious gangster James 'Whitey' Bulger is a former Miss Iceland is raising concerns about her safety.

The Boston Globe on Sunday named Anna Bjornsdottir, who met Bulger and his girlfriend in California, as the person who led the FBI to them after a hunt of nearly two decades. Bulger had been wanted in connection with 19 murders.

Bjornsdottir (57) is a former actress who starred in shaving cream commercials in the 1970s and was crowned Miss Iceland in 1974. It was reported that she spent months at a time in California, where she bonded with Bulger's girlfriend, Catherine Greig, over a stray cat.

The newspaper said she was home in Reykjavik when she saw a report on CNN in June about the FBI's latest publicity campaign to catch Bulger and Greig.

A later story said the tipster's name was already available to Bulger, who authorities say had a history of shooting anyone he knew or even suspected of double-crossing him. Bjornsdottir's current whereabouts are unclear. Bulger has been denied bail and is awaiting trial.

Former US 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 he was worried the revelation could hurt the FBI's ability to cultivate both 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," Mr Sullivan said.