Recent Blog Posts

Monday, November 28, 2016

Congress to hold hearing on DEA informant program

This Wednesday, November 30th, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will hold a hearing entitled "Oversight of DEA's Confidential Source Program."  The announcement describes the hearing as follows:

PURPOSE:
  • The hearing will examine the recent audits and investigations conducted by the Department of Justice Office of Inspector General (DOJ OIG) of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Confidential Source (CS) Program. 
  • Topics include the current state of DEA’s oversight and management of its CS program, changes it has made to the program, and DEA’s response to DOJ OIG’s recommendations.  
BACKGROUND:

  • The DEA maintains an extensive and recently expanding CS program. DOJ OIG found deficiencies in DEA’s oversight and management of this vast network of confidential sources dating back to 2005.  
  • These CSs included employees from Amtrak, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), private bus companies, and employees in the parcel delivery industry being paid for information.
  • A September 2016 DOJ OIG audit found that from 2010 to 2015, DEA had 18,000 active CSs, with over 9,000 CSs receiving approximately $237 million in payments from the DEA.  
  • Much of the activity identified by DOJ OIG occurred under the previous DEA Administrator Leonhart who resigned in April 2015 after Chairman Chaffetz, Ranking Member Cummings, and other members of the Oversight Committee released a statement expressing “no confidence” in her ability to manage the DEA.
The U.S. Department of Justice OIG audit can be found in this previous post.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Young Idaho informant is killed

Isaiah Wall was 19 and, according to his friends and his phone, working as a police informant. He was killed by a gunshot to his head.  The Idaho State Police have not acknowledged whether he was working for them, or whether his death was related to his undercover activities.  Here is the ongoing investigation: Unfinished Business.

10th anniversary of Kathryn Johnston's informant-related death

In 2006, Atlanta police shot and killed Kathryn Johnston, a 92-year-old grandmother. Her death--which involved the botched and illegal use of numerous informants--triggered a national inquiry into informant use, a Congressional hearing, and several criminal prosecutions.  This CNN retrospective looks back at the story and the reforms that Atlanta has instituted since then.  Here is a link to the original 2007 congressional hearing.