Rev. Al Sharpton, who has made a career out of criticizing authority, was once a paid informant for the FBI, according to a report by The Smoking Gun.
The website says it looked at unsealed FBI affidavits and interviewed law enforcement officials who allegedly “worked” with Sharpton to secretly tape conversations of the powerful Gambino mob family in the 1980s.
Sharpton said Tuesday he cooperated with the FBI, but does not consider himself an informant.
On Twitter, Sharpton unleashed a rhyme. “I am not a rat. I am a cat, I chase rats thugs, gangsters, bigots, drug dealers. Bad cops whoever out of our community. That is right,” he tweeted from his verified social media account.
Even critics admit the activist has had a colorful life.
He got off to a rough start in New York City.
While a child preacher, Sharpton’s dad left the family to start another family with Sharpton’s older half-sister (you read that right). Sharpton’s mom became a maid, had to go on welfare and moved her family to public housing.
Investigators told The Smoking Gun that Sharpton “deftly extracted information from wiseguys” that was used to get authorization for several phone tapping operations. Information from the wiretaps led to multiple convictions of Mafia members and associates.
It’s a fascinating tale, and seems to be supported by documents, but Sharpton has said he never worked as an informant. When The Smoking Gun asked Sharpton specifically about taping conversations for the FBI, Sharpton was noncommittal
“I’m not saying yes, I’m not saying no,” said the Baptist preacher.
Why would Sharpton put his life in danger to help the FBI? To not be prosecuted, says The Smoking Gun, who alleges “Sharpton was secretly recorded in meetings with an FBI undercover agent posing as a wealthy drug dealer seeking to promote boxing matches.”
In that meeting, Sharpton did not negotiate the purchase of drugs, but was told by the FBI they may be able to prosecute him on conspiracy charges.
After that, Sharpton allegedly agreed to help the feds as “CI-7,” aka Confidential Informant 7, and the FBI went to unusual lengths to conceal his identity.
His relationship with the FBI allegedly ended in the late 1980s when Sharpton became “radioactive” to the agency by representing Tawana Brawley, a 15-year-old girl who falsely claimed she had been raped by white police officers.
In his 2013 book, “The Rejected Stone,” Sharpton wrote he was once “set up by the government,” whose agents leaked “false information” that “could have gotten me killed.”
Don’t believe everything you read is always good advice.
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