DEA

DEA Paid Millions to Confidential Informants Who Could No Longer Be Trusted

One informant lied in court and still worked for the DEA, pocketing over $469,000 in a five-year span.

|

Generous with the loot
DEA/Wikimedia Commons

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) relied on information provided from 18,000 confidential informants from 2010 to 2015, of which it paid about $237 million to over 9,000 of them, according to a recently published audit by the Justice Department's Inspector General (IG). During the period covered in the audit, a mere nine sources earned $25 million collectively, and one source who has been working for the DEA for 30 years has been paid over $30 million by the government.

Included among the roster of informants were 800, who despite being "deactivated" for serious offenses, continued to receive payment from the DEA. Collectively, they received approximately $9.4 million in DEA cash. As noted by McClatchy DC, one of these deactivated sources had continued to work with the DEA—earning over $469,000—despite being deactivated for lying in court.

The IG's audit report states that "DEA headquarters offices do not provide comprehensive oversight to ensure that field offices' establishment and use of sources, and payments to them, are appropriate, reasonable, and justified." Just as importantly, the report expresses concern about the DEA's reliance on "Limited Use" sources, commonly known as "tipsters," who share information with the DEA voluntarily and are paid for the service:

Limited Use category is regarded by the DEA as low-risk and therefore DEA policy requires the least supervision. Yet we found that Limited Use sources were some of DEA's highest paid sources, with 477 Limited Use sources during the period of our review having received an estimated $26.8 million.

Among these "Limited Use" tipsters were 33 Amtrak employees, who together pocketed over $1.4 during a four-year span, often for handing over personal information about train travelers to the DEA. The best part is that this was in violation of Amtrak's own policy as a participant in a "joint task force" with the government, meaning this very same information could have been delivered to the DEA at no additional cost to the government, but that DEA agents didn't feel like putting in the effort of making requests through the required official channels. They just preferred to make payouts for swifter results.

In a statement to The Intercept, an Amtrak spokesperson wrote:

"The DEA violated federal regulations by selectively approaching and paying Amtrak employees for information that the DEA would have received for free," the company said of the DOJ audit. "Amtrak does not tolerate fraud, waste, abuse or any behavior inconsistent with our company values and standards of conduct. Our employees are expressly prohibited from sharing information for personal gain."

Other "Limited Use" sources included TSA, airline, and parcel company employees, who made a nice chunk of change handing over customers' information and packages to the DEA.

Read the whole report here.

Advertisement

NEXT: 'Student arrested by East Tennessee State University police for "Civil Rights Intimidation"'

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Among these “Limited Use” tipsters were 33 Amtrak employees, who together pocketed over $1.4 during a four-year span, often for handing over personal information about train travelers to the DEA.

    So what is that 1/10 of a penny per tip? 😀

    1. The recession hit CIs pretty hard I guess.

    2. My best friend’s sister makes $97 an hour on the internet . She has been out of a job for six months but last month her check was $14750 just working on the internet for a few hours. Go this website and Go to tech tab to start your work… http://tinyurl.com/zp242lj

      1. You best friend’s sister is a narc! Why do you want to mess with us, NARC? We’re just trying to have a GOOD TIME.

  2. Fuzzy Dunlop earned every penny.

  3. The DEA violated federal regulations

    Consequences? None at all.

    1. More training with training pay. I’d hardly call that “none at all”.

  4. Those deactivated informants, I imagine, were still good enough to get a judge to sign a warrant. Who cares if they can’t take the stand?

  5. “Amtrak does not tolerate fraud, waste, abuse or any behavior inconsistent with our company values and standards of conduct. Our employees are expressly prohibited from sharing information for personal gain.”

    So, these wayward employees will all get a stern letter in their personnel file, to be removed after a year?

  6. A-licky-boom-boom-dowwwwwn

  7. Just to pile on to Reason’s disappointing performance during this election, here’s a story that a libertarian publication interested in defending the rule of law might run with:

    A judge just blocked the disclosure of the draft indictment of Hillary Clinton for Whitewater. His reasoning, in part, is laughable:

    “Disclosure of the drafts of the proposed indictment would not shed light on any agency’s performance of its statutory duties, but potentially shed light solely on the character of Mrs. Clinton, independent to her position as a public official, which is not the objective of the FOIA.”

    http://www.politico.com/story/…..z4M8FeIANd

    He’s basically saying that the disclosure of this investigation, conducted while Hillary was First Lady, will not illuminate the issue of whether she got special treatment because she was First Lady. Its absurd, but the Total State knows, and protects, its own.

    1. but potentially shed light solely on the character of Mrs. Clinton, independent to her position as a public official

      What the hell? We’re through the looking glass here.

      1. He should have just been honest and said “because fuck you, that’s why”.

      2. I presume the idea is that a ‘First Lady’ is not a public official, and not everything about her during that period is necessarily subject to FOIA

        Which is odd, because i have a distant memory of Clinton herself arguing the opposite

        June 23, 1993

        WASHINGTON, June 22? Ruling that Hillary Rodham Clinton was a full-time Government official, a Federal appeals court today approved the secrecy of her task force on health care and essentially acquiesced in Mrs. Clinton’s views about the role and powers of the First Lady.

        The ruling, by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, came in a case filed by doctors and others seeking to force the panel, the Task Force on National Health Care Reform, to conduct its business in public.

        The judges ruled that the secrecy was legal, but the practical effect of the ruling is uncertain, because the task force and its staff of more than 500, which did most of the work, were disbanded last month. The court sent the case back to a Federal district judge to determine whether the staff might have to make its voluminous records and working papers public.

        the rationale of the ruling is not limited to Mrs. Clinton. It would seem to permit any Presidential spouse to engage in official and semiofficial activities of a type normally preformed by Government employees.

        1. I presume the idea is that a ‘First Lady’ is not a public official, and not everything about her during that period is necessarily subject to FOIA

          That’s part of the argument. Of course, it completely elides the fact that what is being asked for is relevant to the performance of government agencies. Many FOIA requests involve how the government treated a private party; to say that disclosing this information isn’t required by FOIA guts FOIA.

        2. Its not just Hillary arguing the opposite – there’s actually a federal court ruling to that effect.

          Like I said: The rule of law is dead.

          1. i should have added, ‘and winning’

      3. Now y’all realize the genius of putting her in charge of one of the most major policy decisions in the nation’s history. She wasn’t an elected official. She wasn’t even an appointed official. Man, the Clinton’s are playing chess while the rest of us are playing checkers.

    2. Jesus Christ, why would you care about this when Trump once called a woman fat?! Let’s keep the focus on the important issues!

      1. Great point.

  8. Amtrak does not tolerate fraud, waste, abuse

    lol

    http://www.cato.org/blog/amtraks-budget

  9. “Hey, its not like its *real* money; you know, like the stuff we seize from people. this is taxpayer script.”

  10. As noted by McClatchy DC, one of these deactivated sources had continued to work with the DEA?earning over $469,000?despite being deactivated for lying in court.

    Despite getting caught lying in court. The DEA loves informants who lie in court, just not the ones that get caught.

    1. And apparently they still kinda like the ones who get caught. Christ on a crutch – I don’t know which is worse: paying a perjurer for testimony, or using a perjurer’s testimony to jail someone.

  11. Who knew there was so much money in being a snitch? Kind of makes me wish I hung around with more drug dealers and criminals so that I could rat them out for money (not really).

  12. DEA Paid Millions to Confidential Informants Who Could No Longer Be Trusted

    That’s a completely unfair way to characterize the situation. For example, that one who collected $400,000 – sure, he was suspended twice. Two times the DEA caught him lying and suspended him *until he learned his lesson*. Then he was trustworthy again.

    See? The system works!

  13. pocketing over $469,000 in a five-year span

    So crime DOES pay after all!

  14. Because of the misuse and abuse of responsibility and credibility as well as incompetence. The enforcement power of the D.E.A. should be removed and placed back into the hands of the state. A semi-secret elite police force within what is already a police state is way over the top. America does not need this throw back to the cold war era. These Federal offices have become an renegade authoritarian haven of despots and tyrants commandeering and miss-directing hundreds of millions into their drug war against citizens and likewise funding state police regimes both within the U.S. and worldwide..It is these federal agencys that have created the drug problem solely to commandeer funding and as their power base. These renegade authoritarians need to be controlled or removed.

    1. Yep. Point on.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.