• SNITCHING: Criminal Informants and the Erosion of American Justice
  • U.S. Attorney General's Guidelines on the FBI's Use of Confidential Human Sources
  • Sarah Stillman, The Throwaways, The New Yorker (2012) (article on the use of juvenile informants)

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

"ICE agents mishandle informants"

The Associated Press reports that the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency is having the same sorts of informant problems that its FBI and DEA counterparts have long struggled against. Here's an excerpt from the story:
One immigration agent was accused of running an Internet pornography business and enjoying an improper relationship with an informant. Another let an informant smuggle in a group of illegal immigrants. And in a third case, an agent was investigated for soliciting sex from a witness in a marriage fraud case.
These troubling misdeeds are a sampling of misconduct by federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel as the agency seeks to carve out a bigger role in the deadly border war against Mexican drug gangs.
According to documents obtained by The Associated Press under the Freedom of Information Act, ICE agents have blundered badly in their dealings with informants and other sources, covering up crimes and even interfering in a police investigation into whether one informant killed another.
I blogged about this last incident a couple of months ago--see Informants Killing Informants. Now it appears that ICE deliberately steered El Paso police in the wrong direction to protect their murderous source. This behavior is reminiscent of the FBI's cover-ups of mafia informant murders and other crimes in the 1980s and 90s. Indeed, the official toleration and facilitation of crime is the core compromise at the heart of snitching, and suggests that insofar as ICE is making informants the centerpiece of its border strategy, its problems in this arena are only just beginning.