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.