WASHINGTON (SBG) - A watchdog group says government agencies paid informants millions of dollars in recent years to collect insider information and in some cases, authorized informants to commit crimes to get the job done. Open the Books say they found evidence of thousands of informants in the government.
“There are three agencies with the biggest budgets that employ tens of thousands of informants every single year, and it's the FBI, it's the DEA, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the ATF," said Open The Books’ Adam Andrzejewski to The National Desk’s Jan Jeffcoat. “The top-line budget in recent years was up to $550 million, which is a half-billion dollars.”
Andrzejewski says Open the Books found at least two informants were “minted as millionaires over a five and six-year period.”
“There was a parcel employee, think UPS, FedEx. There was an Amtrak employee that made up to a million dollars as a federal human confidential source and informant,” said Andrzejewski.
According to Andrzejewski, in the case of the Amtrak employee informant, there was “no additional benefit to that relationship on information.”
“They could have got the same information for free if they just partnered with the Amtrak police,” said Andrzejewski.
In order to be an informant, Andrzejewski says you have to have “subject matter expertise” and an “FBI handler.”
“These informants are authorized in special circumstances to actually commit crimes,” said Andrzejewski. “Open the Books found evidence that over a four year period, 23,000 crimes were actually authorized by federal law enforcement handlers.”
Crimes like violence or obstruction of justice are never authorized, according to Andrzejewski.
“It's up to the agencies with the protocols to determine the rules on payments to informants,” said Andrzejewski.