FBI Special Agent, Adrian Busby, has been charged for making false statements to protect a confidential informant who he was allegedly having an affair with. The confidential informant had been charged for identity theft leading Busby to give confidential FBI documents to her attorney to help her defense. He later denied this.
Busby’s relationship with the confidential informant clearly led him to subvert the cause of justice, illustrating the need for law enforcement to closely manage and oversee the use of informants. Busby faces up to 10 years in prison for the false statements that he made.
Read more at NYDailyNews.com
Wadie E. Said’s article, “The Terrorist Informant“, on the use of confidential informants in the fight against terrorism concludes that “the use of informants in federal terrorist prosecutions has been an overall failure” and that “the government should cease its current practice of using informants to generate terrorism prosecutions”.
Whilst Said does put forward a coherent argument for his case, I can’t help but feel that his conclusion is too simplistic. The use of confidential informants is complicated and involves risks, but the rewards for protecting citizens from terrorist activity can be great. Indeed, the benefits of utilising informants can save lives.
It is not satisfactory to say that informants should not be used. By improving the way that informants are managed, including proper risk assessment and monitoring, many of the legally contentious issues of informants can be averted. Informants are a crucial component in today’s law enforcement toolbox and a critical part of intelligence-led policing.
The jury-selection started this week for the trial of four men accused of plotting to blow up a New York synagogue and shoot down planes taking off from a nearby Air Force base. However, as reported by The Christian Science Monitor, significant attention will be given to a fifth man who infiltrated the terrorist group whilst acting as a confidential informant for the FBI. It is likely that defense attorneys for the four accused men will claim that they were subjected to entrapment tactics.
This illustrates the difficulty of using confidential informants to support criminal investigations. Law enforcement agencies have to be very careful to make sure that informants abide by codes of conduct and don’t encourage potential villains to commit crimes that they wouldn’t otherwise have committed. Policy and procedure are crucial, as well as regular communication with the informant and subsequent documentation of that communication. There is no room for error when the stakes are so high. abmpegasus helps law enforcement agencies to manage processes surrounding confidential informants.