Thursday, April 27, 2017

Rules governing confidential informants remain shrouded in secrecy

Daniel Franey’s case is part of a larger trend of law enforcement agencies using confidential informants to manufacture crimes which otherwise may not have taken place. The FBI is typically at the forefront of such cases, even using confidential informants to lure underage and mentally ill Muslims into initiating terrorist plots. According to George Washington University’s Program on Extremism, of the 104 Islamic State-related arrests in the past four years, at least 58 are the result of “the use of confidential informants or undercover stings.”

But the use of confidential informants by the FBI goes far beyond manufacturing criminal plots. In recent years, the FBI has sought to infiltrate mosques and Muslim student associations to look for young Yemenis to serve as informants. During the Keystone XL protests, it breached Department of Justice (DOJ) rules requiring prior approval before the agency can cultivate informants. At least one former informant has said that FBI agents asked him to have sex with Muslim women in order to gather “pillow-talk intelligence.” According to official records, the agency also authorized its informants to break the law 22,800 times over a four year period.

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