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FBI OKed Over 5K Crimes by Informants in 1 Year
2011 report says agency approved 5,658 'otherwise illegal' activities
By Ruth Brown, Newser Staff
Posted Aug 4, 2013 3:36 PM CDT
The Federal Bureau of Investigations headquarters on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

(Newser) – Whitey Bulger wasn't the only FBI informant whose criminal activity the agency turned a blind eye to: USA Today has its hands on the FBI's 2011 "otherwise illegal activity report," a tally it sends to the Justice Department every year reporting the number of crimes it has allowed informants to commit. The grand total for 2011? 5,658. The report doesn't say what the crimes were or how serious—they could be anything from selling drugs to bribing an official, though violent crimes can never be approved—and it also doesn't include crimes the FBI knew its sources had committed but didn't OK.

The FBI, which reported having about 15,000 sources in 2007, is the only law enforcement agency required to submit this kind of report. But given it was only responsible for 10% of crimes federally prosecuted in 2011, that 5,658 probably only scratches the surface of the total number of "otherwise illegal activity" OKed by cops and feds nationwide, says USA Today. The FBI would say only that these instances are "situational" and "tightly controlled." "It sounds like a lot, but you have to keep it in context," says a former FBI criminal investigations supervisor. "This is not done in a vacuum. It's not done randomly. It's not taken lightly."

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Showing 3 of 35 comments
Aug 5, 2013 12:27 PM CDT
Our FBI, who along with other so called enforcement agencies allowed 113 crimes to be committed in each state with their knowledge in 2011, and the beats keeps on.
Aug 5, 2013 8:14 AM CDT
So I guess the old adage is correct, 5658 wrongs do make a right?
Aug 4, 2013 11:48 PM CDT
hahahah, if you're an informant your crimes are forgiven but if your a normal citizen minding your own business the NSA will spy on you.