Mostly all of us are aware that the FBI uses confidential informants, who are sometimes criminals themselves, to aid with their duties. After obtaining a mostly redacted copy of the FBI’s 2011 report, USA Today is revealing that the FBI actually allowed its informants to break the law more than 5,600 times. However, officials at the FBI feel that allowing their informants to break the law is “an indispensable” yet “distasteful, part of investigating a crime. This information came about after the FBI admitted that their agents permitted Whitey Bulger, a Boston mobster, to “operate a brutal crime ring in exchange of information about the Mafia.” Bulger’s federal criminal defense lawyer are insisting that their client was not an informant for the FBI.
According to the report, the agents were authorizing up to 15 crimes per day. These crimes range from illegal drug dealings, robbery plots and bribes to government officials. Thankfully, the agencies with informants are prohibited to allow them to commit any violent crimes and the crimes they actually do commit must be approved by the federal prosecutors. In their defense, the FBI has stated that during the times in which the informants are breaking the law, it is “situational and tightly controlled.” In addition to that, the FBI has stated that they almost always keep their informants’ work/crimes a secret.
Other agencies who employ confidential informants including the DEA and ATF have stated that they “cannot determine” the amount of times their informants are breaking the law.
One issue regarding the use of confidential informants is the fact that it is such a clandestine operation considering Congress does not have the information. Some representatives of Congress have sponsored a bill which would require the agencies to inform lawmakers of the crimes their informants are committing. The representative feel there should be complete disclosure to Congress.
Of course, the question on everyone’s mind is how much crime the government is allowing from informants? How much more information are we unaware of?
Being a confidential informant gives the person immunity from prosecution for the crimes they commit. For those who are not confidential informants and break the law, they are not immune and could face serious charges, prison time or probation. This is when it will be wise to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer about the facts of your case.
Having the support of a skilled federal criminal attorney is beneficial because it can provide security that you are dealing with someone who has the legal knowledge and experience necessary to ensure the best chance of having your case defended properly, especially at the trial level. Call a federal criminal lawyerto schedule your free consultation at The Mace Firm. Our criminal defense lawyers are well-versed in state and federal laws so you may feel confident that your case is being defended in the best way possible.