• 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)

Recent Blog Posts

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Air force academy informant policies ignite debate

The New York Times has been following developments at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs after the academy's informant program came to light and was subsequently dismantled. NYT story here: Informant Debate Renewed as Air Force Revisits Cadet Misconduct. The informant program turned out to be the impetus for the only three prosecutions of sexual assault in the last 15 years. The ability of the informant program to produce such benefits, even as it mistreated and eventually expelled its own participants, reflects the constant dilemma of informant use: is the information it produces worth its significant costs? From the NYT:
Defending the practice, a retired deputy judge advocate general Maj. Gen. Steven J. Lepper, said [] that the academy’s honor code sometimes had to be broken to expose crimes like drug dealing and sexual assault. ... But the idea of having students spy on one another is controversial, with both alumni and experts on campus sexual assault arguing that it violates the honor code's ban on lying and erodes trust among cadets.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Families sue DEA for informant handling policies

From the Associated Press:
"The family of Jason Estrada recently filed a $50 million lawsuit against the agency, the second suit in recent months alleging problems with the DEA's handling of informants. . . . Edward Quintana, 31, has been charged with killing Estrada. He also is charged with criminal sexual penetration of a child under 13. . . . The lawsuit and attached documents show Quintana became an informant for the agency in 2011 after Bernalillo County sheriff's deputies served a search warrant on his home and seized nine ounces of heroin, $12,000 and three loaded semi-automatic handguns. . . . Another lawsuit filed last month said DEA agents paid a struggling addict in crack cocaine during an undercover investigation into a Las Vegas, New Mexico, drug operation."