Every cop is not a criminal, as The Rolling Stones allege, but they sometimes work with them.
This became obvious, again, during the trial of James ‘Whitey’ Bulger, an alleged Boston mobster accused of participating in 19 murders.
Bulger claims he was given immunity from prosecution in a deal he cut with now-deceased federal prosecutor Jeremiah O’Sullivan. Testimony in the trial indicates the FBI allowed Bulger to operate a Boston crime ring in exchange for information on other mob activity.
Bulger was not unique.
USA Today reports the FBI gave its informants permission to break the law at least 5,656 times in 2011, an average of 15 crimes per day. Crimes ranged from drug dealing to bribery of government officials to robbery.
The report obtained by USA Today says the agency maintains a file on each “Confidential Human Source” and each year reports to the U.S. Attorney General’s office the total number of times “Otherwise Illegal Activity” is authorized.
The FBI said in 2007 that it has a network of 15,000 confidential sources.
Since the FBI is responsible for about 10 percent of criminal cases prosecuted in federal court, the number of informants breaking the law is likely much higher.
Other federal agencies, including the ATF and the DEA, say they cannot determine how often they allow their informants to break the law. It is not known how often state and local law enforcement agencies cut deals with informants.
FBI officials have said that permitting informants to break the law is an indispensable, distasteful part of investigating organized crime.
Here are more interesting headlines I found on the Interwebs: