Using a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, USA Today has obtained a copy of the FBI’s 2011 Report and has unearthed some very troubling facts. For starters, the FBI granted its informants permission to break the law 5,658 in one year, which amounts to a shocking 15 times a day. While I think we all understand that some of this activity is necessary in law enforcement, this seems to be a pretty lofty number for an agency supposedly so concerned with the rule of law.
More importantly, I think we might all feel a little bit better about the whole thing if the FBI actually nabbed a single person responsible for let’s say the destruction of the U.S. economy, war crimes, IRS targeting, Benghazi or spying and lying to Congress? Nope, no big bankers are in jail, nor any high-profile politicians or defense contractors. None of them. So the FBI is allowing folks to break the law at least 15 times a day to catch who exactly? Aaron Swartz?
From USA Today:
WASHINGTON — 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.
USA TODAY obtained a copy of the FBI’s 2011 report under the Freedom of Information Act. The report does not spell out what types of crimes its agents authorized, or how serious they were. It also did not include any information about crimes the bureau’s sources were known to have committed without the government’s permission.
Now here is where it gets really scary…
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