Criminal Justice

ATF, DEA Permit Informants To Commit Crimes, Don't Track How Often

Wait ... You can get permission to commit a crime?

|

The nation's top drug and gun enforcement agencies do not track how often they give their informants permission to break the law on the government's behalf.

U.S. Justice Department rules put strict limits on when and how agents at the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives can authorize their informants — often drawn from the ranks of the criminals they are investigating — to commit a crime. But both the ATF and DEA acknowledged, in response to open-records requests and in written statements, that they do not track how often such permission is given.