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Licensed criminals: FBI informants authorized to break the law 5,600 times in one year

Published time: August 05, 2013 00:55
Edited time: August 06, 2013 09:30
AFP Photo / Joe Raedle

AFP Photo / Joe Raedle

In at least 5,658 cases in a single year alone, the FBI authorized its informants to commit crimes varying from selling drugs to plotting robberies, according to a copy of an FBI report obtained by USA Today.

After much redacting by the authorities, the watered-down FBI's 2011 report obtained under the Freedom of Information Act has revealed that agents had been authorizing 15 crimes a day on average, in order to get the necessary information from their informants.

The document does not indicate the severity of the crimes authorized by the agency, nor does it include material about violations that were committed without the government's permission. It just sites a number of 5,658 Tier I and II infractions committed by criminals to help the bureau battle crime.

According to the Department of Justice Tier I is the most severe and includes “any activity that would constitute a misdemeanour or felony under federal, state, or local law if engaged in by a person acting without authorization and that involves the commission or the significant risk of the commission of certain offenses, including acts of violence; corrupt conduct by senior federal, state, or local public officials; or the manufacture, importing, exporting, possession, or trafficking in controlled substances of certain quantities.”

The Tier II includes the same range of crimes but committed by informants acting without authorization from a federal prosecutor but only from their senior field manager in FBI. 

In the past, the newspaper revealed, the violations ranged from drug dealing to bribery.

As an example of severe crime committed by an authorized informant, the newspaper references the case of James Bulger, a mobster in Boston who was allowed by the Federal government to run a gang ring in exchange for insider information about the Mafia. Since then, the US Justice Department ordered the FBI to track and record the wrongdoings of the informants, results of which are due annually.

AFP Photo / Kevin Wolf
The FBI remains secretive about its informants. It is known that in 2007, the FBI estimated that around 15,000 confidential sources were employed by the bureau.

The Justice Department has requirements in place which spell out the rules of engagement with informants and “otherwise illegal activity.” Authorization of violent crimes are not allowed by field agents and serious offenses must first be approved by federal prosecutors. But as the publication notes, the FBI’s Inspector General concluded in 2005 that the agency routinely failed to abide by those rules.

The FBI’s scheme to gather information using such methods is believed to be only the tip of the iceberg as other local, state and federal agencies also reportedly engage in similar practices. The FBI’s share of criminal prosecutions in court only amount to 10 percent of all criminal cases.

Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for the FBI, Denise Ballew, declined to comment the report saying only that the circumstances in which the bureau allows its informants to break the law are "situational, tightly controlled.”

Comments (15)


kenn 07.08.2013 03:56

As this story states, it is not only the FBI using "Paid criminals" to spy on and set up the public. It's going on in every city and town in America. Protected drug dealing, human trafficking, and crimes for the chosen, then kick backs and pay offs for the Community and Service Club leaders, and it's called "GANG STALKING" by the victims and targets. Search the internet for info on "Psychological Warfare or Manipulation: In Covert Type Investigations" and "Gang Stalking"!!!


Daniel hudd 06.08.2013 11:18

By allowing some criminals to break the law, in order to bust another is nothing more than the worst practice of entrapment. It is a violation of the Constitution. Not only should the FBI be sued, those involved should lose their jobs and taxpayer pensions over this.


Max21c 06.08.2013 10:39

Washingtonians are crooks, criminals, and thieves. The secret police of the Washington Regime reflect the values of the Washington Regime. The US Government and its so called "intelligence community" is the worlds largest criminal enterprise. Its just one giant fencing operation over at the Pentagon, NSA, CIA, and FBI for the targeted theft and redistribution of stolen property, stolen intellectual property, stolen intellectual works, et cetera. They're all in on it and they all know what's going on and they all support it, condone it, go along with it, collaborate or help in some way in the coverups.

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