The FBI Used Its Secret Spy Program To Protect Killers, Jail Innocents, And Screw Victims
By Sean Davis 24, 2018
“Facts matter. The FBI’s use of Confidential Human Sources (the actual term) is tightly regulated and essential to protecting the country,” Comey tweeted on May 23. “Attacks on the FBI and lying about its work will do lasting damage to our country.”
While Comey’s record on truth-telling is decidedly mixed, he is correct that facts matter and that the FBI’s use of informants is governed by strict guidelines. How and why many of those guidelines came to be are important facts that the American public deserves to know as it considers revelations that the FBI used wiretaps and spies to surveil Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, his transition, and perhaps even his presidential administration.
Those guidelines, many of which the Government Accountability Office found were not being followed as recently as 2015, were put in place after rogue FBI agents working in the Boston field office routinely worked to cover up murders committed by their informants. You might say they were the direct result of justifiable attacks on the FBI for unconscionable violations of the public trust.
In fact, years-long violations of the rules about the FBI’s use of secret spies have led to massive investigations across every branch of government, including a multi-volume, 3,528-page congressional investigative report in 2003, a scathing 314-page report from the Department of Justice (DOJ) inspector general in 2005, and even a scathing 228-page, $102 million ruling against the government in 2007 after a federal judge ruled that the FBI deliberately withheld evidence, leading to the wrongful convictions of four men, in order to protect a mob informant. (Three of the men were originally sentenced to death; two died in prison awaiting justice for a crime they didn’t commit.)
The 2007 ruling from U.S. District Court Judge Gertner, which the federal government chose not to appeal, reads more like a John Grisham novel than it does a legal dictum. In her introduction, Gertner made clear that the horrific miscarriage of justice perpetrated under the guise of the FBI’s confidential spy program wasn’t the result of innocent missteps by a few bad apples, but was instead a coordinated conspiracy involving the rogue agents, their supervisors, and even the FBI director himself. …