Op-Ed: Shadow Army of Informants
The American public just doesn’t believe we have 100,000 paid informants spread out in every one of our major cities. This is the same nation that dumped over 550,000 young men to Vietnam, a nation much smaller than California. We do indeed have a standing army of at least 100,000 paid informants in the shadows of America, and they are entrapping middle class Americans in a host of schemes to get paid.
By the FBI ‘ s own admission, they had alone had 50,000 paid informants in 2008 before they went on a recruiting tear. DEA, ATF, and USSS all have their shadow armies as well, but those numbers are not reported often. What would be the harm is at least publishing the total number of paid informants for each agency and the total dollars paid in commission for asset seizures? That aggregate number would at least show some general trends.
Michael Chertoff, the former head of DHS, described a redoubling of the “global intelligence network” with more Federal involvement by DHS in local police forces in his 2012 whitepaper for DHS. Unfortunately, this report seemed like a “whoops, I did again” apology after the fact hiring spree of new informants. The whole intelligence gathering complex of 1,257 Federal agencies and 1,910 contractors is now a complete black box.