U.S. Inspector General — Audit of the DEA’s Management and Oversight of Confidential Source Program

In one case, the DEA reactivated a confidential source who previously provided false testimony in trials and depositions. During the approximate 5-year period of reactivation, this source was used by 13 DEA field offices and paid $469,158. More than $61,000 of the $469,158 was paid after this source was once again deactivated for making false statements to a prosecutor.

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We reviewed confidential source files associated with six DEA field offices with interdiction units – enforcement units whose primary activity is to intercept drug trafficking at transportation and other facilities. We found these units relied heavily on Limited Use confidential sources who were employees in the travel and parcel industries with access to passenger information or private facilities. We also found that Special Agents gave instructions and guidance to these sources about what information to provide the interdiction units and what actions to take to assist them, testing the boundaries of what it means to provide information “without direction.” For example, some Agents requested that sources provide them with suspicious travel itineraries that met criteria defined by the Agents, and in some cases requested entire passenger manifests almost daily. Similarly, some parcel employees were told to provide information related to suspicious parcels and, at times, followed DEA instructions to directly transfer customer packages to the DEA. Some of these sources received significant payments for their assistance, including an airline employee who received more than $600,000 in less than 4 years, and a parcel employee who received over $1 million in 5 years. We believe that DEA Agents directed the actions of these sources extensively enough that they could not reasonably be understood to have acted “without direction” and therefore do not fit the definition or purpose of “Limited Use.”

Office of the Inspector General, United States Department of Justice: Audit of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Management and Oversight of its Confidential Source Program, September 29, 2016.

Image by Damian Gadal U.S. Inspector General -- Audit of the DEA's Management and Oversight of Confidential Source Program

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5 thoughts on “U.S. Inspector General — Audit of the DEA’s Management and Oversight of Confidential Source Program

  1. Maybe I don’t understand the intricacies of all this, but it’s absolutely AMAZING to me that anyone would green light financial remuneration for the activities described, not to mention paying a half million US to a known liar.

    At a minimum, it certainly makes the Timothy McVeigh conspiracy theories that much easier to believe.

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    • Additionally, we were extremely concerned to discover the DEA condoned its confidential sources’ use of “sub-sources,” who are individuals a source recruits and pays to perform activities or provide information related to the source’s work for the DEA.

      Well, when you start with an operation which is fundamentally immoral it shouldn’t be a surprise to find that the immoral people involved will act immorally.

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