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Exclusive: FBI allowed informants to commit 5,600 crimes

Jango

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The FBI gave its informants permission to break the law at least 5,658 times in a single year, according to newly disclosed documents that show just how often the nation's top law enforcement agency enlists criminals to help it battle crime.

The U.S. Justice Department ordered the FBI to begin tracking crimes by its informants more than a decade ago, after the agency admitted that its agents had allowed Boston mobster James "Whitey" Bulger to operate a brutal crime ring in exchange for information about the Mafia. The FBI submits that tally to top Justice Department officials each year, but has never before made it public.

Agents authorized 15 crimes a day, on average, including everything from buying and selling illegal drugs to bribing government officials and plotting robberies. FBI officials have said in the past that permitting their informants — who are often criminals themselves — to break the law is an indispensable, if sometimes distasteful, part of investigating criminal organizations.


"The million-dollar question is: How much crime is the government tolerating from its informants?" said Alexandra Natapoff, a professor at Loyola Law School Los Angeles who has studied such issues. "I'm sure that if we really knew that number, we would all be shocked."


"This is all being operated clandestinely. Congress doesn't even have the information," said Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., who sponsored a bill that would require federal agencies to notify lawmakers about the most serious crimes their informants commit. "I think there's a problem here, and we should have full disclosure to Congress."
USA TODAY

:shock:

The F.B.I. is allowing crime to happen! WTF? I sure hope murder and rape is not permitted under this informant program.
 

Zyphlin

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This doesn't surprise me one iota. And I don't necessarily have a HUGE issue with it. If the crime is primarily lower end things, to allow the informtant to stay capable of actually informing, that allows us to catch the bigger and more important/dangerous/impactful fish then I can kind of understand it.
 

mak2

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Oh my, the FBI is allowing informants to buy drugs...bribe govt officials...kinga like sting operations? Oh, the outrage.
 

MaggieD

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USA TODAY

:shock:

The F.B.I. is allowing crime to happen! WTF? I sure hope murder and rape is not permitted under this informant program.
You can't have someone planted on the inside of a criminal organization and expect they will not break the law. I really don't know why this is news. If it told us murder was sanctioned, I'd feel differently. (Murder probably has been sanctioned, I'd venture, but we'll probably not find out about that.)
 

Blue_State

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You have to break a few eggs to make an omelet. I was always under the impression our undercovers do this.
 
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