Federal law enforcement has paid over $500 Million to informants over 9 years, some individuals even made millionaires: Government audits confirm
Informants Made Millionaires: The States Drug Business
According to a report from OpenTheBook.com, a website that attempts to track every penny used by the state, roughly $550 Million US dollars was paid to informants from multiple federal agencies between 2011 and 2020.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (FTA) among other agencies are among the biggest contributors.
The books are likely incomplete or missing extra payments made, and it is likely that it’s a much higher number.
A few of these informants made millions:
- Amtrack and delivery workers earned more than $1 Million.
Feds Allow Crimes
- Feds allowed the informants to commit crimes while employed as an informant. Over 20 000 Crimes were recorded between 2011-2014.
- FBI: The FBI paid approximately $294 Million between 2012 and 2018
- DEA: The DEA paid approximately $237 Million between 2011 and 2015
- AFT: The AFT paid approximately $17.2 Million between 2012 and 2015
The OpenTheBooks.com worked through all the documents from federal reports, they took the most recent data available. Some of the most recent data is several years old, proving some sloppiness from the agencies as well.
These reports claimed that the FBI would spend an average of $42 Million each year on using “confidential human sources” and that about 20% of the federal agencies’ intelligent relations were “long-term” informants.
The ATF reported that 1855 informants were paid an average of $2318 per year, racking up $4.3 million each year.
Employing nearly 2000 more informants per year, the DEA has employed over 18,000 informants.
According to a DOJ IG report “One federal agency, the DEA had over 18,000 active confidential sources assigned to its domestic offices, with over 9,000 of those sources receiving approximately $237 million in payments for information or services they provided to the DEA”
Some of the higher paid informants were an “airline employee who received more than $600,000 in less than four years, and a parcel employee who received over $1 million in five years.”
The informants have played a large part in taking down many Darknet vendors and even lead to taking down some of the web services. However many have scrutinized the use of informants including the Inspector General (IG) at Justice.
When the IG saw that one Amtrak employee was paid $1 Million over 5 years, he was frustrated, calling this “a substantial waste of government funds.” He claimed that this “could have been obtained by DEA at no cost through a joint task force with the Amtrak Police.“
Used as a Means For Corruption
The uses of paying informants were used as a means for corruption as well.
In 2017 the Congressional Oversight Committee had a hearing regarding the informants. The Charman Rep Jason Chaffets brought to light one particular case.
“a court released the testimony of one confidential informant in Atlanta who received $212,000 from the DEA from 2011 to 2013. She testified she wasn’t sure why she was paid. That was her testimony. She also testified to a sexual relationship with the DEA group supervisor, who allegedly convinced the subordinates to falsify reports to justify the payments. That case is currently under review by the inspector general.”
This is one of many possible cases where using an informant was a form of fraud rather than fighting crime.
“We found that the DEA did not adequately oversee payments to its sources, which exposes the DEA to an unacceptably increased potential for fraud, waste, and abuse, particularly given the frequency with which DEA offices utilize and pay confidential sources. For example, while DEA policy prohibits paying deactivated sources who were deactivated because of an arrest warrant or for committing a serious offense, we found two concerning instances of payments to previously deactivated sources.” – OIG report on the DEA
Allowing Criminal Activity
The FBI and DEA both reported over 22,000 crimes that were documented and more that were likely undocumented. These were crimes that Federal Agents not only allowed but pushed for the informants to pursue.
“Since 1980, the Guidelines have permitted agencies to authorize informants to engage in activities that would otherwise constitute crimes under federal, state, or local law if someone without such authorization engaged in these same activities.”
Many informants purchase drugs and other illegal items as a way to gain trust with the drug lords. Two particular cases with the FBI stood out.
Michigan Governor Kidnapping
In October 2020, multiple a gang was taken down for plotting to kidnap Governor Whitmer. The FBI confirmed that 12 informants were involved in this plot, but refused to help in proving necessary details.
Luckily 1 did, and the and 14 men were charged for terrorism and plotting to kidnap. However, a journalist from Buzzfeed reports that “some of those informants, acting under the direction of the FBI, played a far larger role than has previously been reported. Working in secret, they did more than just passively observe and report on the actions of the suspects. Instead, they had a hand in nearly every aspect of the alleged plot, starting with its inception. The extent of their involvement raises questions as to whether there would have even been a conspiracy without them.”
The trial is still playing out and multiple had pled not guilty.
The Capitol Riots
The major riots at the capitol on January 6th had at least 2 informants who were aware of the plots.
Julie Kelly from American Greatness reported that an “informant, according to ‘confidential documents’ furnished to the paper, started working with the FBI in July 2020 and was in close contact with his FBI handler before, during, and after the Capitol protest.”
And in the court case following the riot at the Capitol, a video was shown where a man encouraged election protestors to go to the Capitol. Thomas Massie, a Congressional rep, made comments that that man may have been an informant.
A common tactic seen on the darknet that was not seen in this article was the fact that Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) would arrest people that use murder-for-hire websites.
Some believe that more than half of all murder-for-hire services on the darknet are either scams or feds. Researchers often use backdoors to access siphon messaged that are sent between the site and its administrators.
Through the siphons, they can analyze messages and provide these details to the HSI. Especially when it is a deal regarding US citizens.
Informants are among us
It is clear that the state is willing to spend millions each year on informants, and there is no shortage of them. People who are willing to accept payments to take part in crimes are reported back to the feds.
Informants are used to capture a large portion of darknet vendors when possible. With the large-scale informant hiring, and the massive FBI and DEA taskforces, they have created decent methods to capture drug lords and other criminals, but this comes to a great cost covered by the state.