WASHINGTON — A report issued by the Justice Department revealed that the FBI gave informants permission to commit 5,568 crimes in one year. Although the FBI has admitted to allowing tipsters to break the law in the past, the new report indicated that white informants committed 89% of the sanctioned crimes.
The FBI said that what is known in the bureau as “otherwise illegal activity” is a necessary part of apprehending major criminals. “We’re trying to catch the big fish,” said Eric Velez-Villar, Assistant Director of the FBI’s Intelligence Division. “We have overwhelming statistical evidence that most crimes committed by white people lead to bigger crimes committed by African-Americans and other minorities.”
Agents authorized an average of 15 crimes a day that ranged from robbery to drug trafficking and the bribing of government officials. “If we let enough white people commit crimes, eventually they’re going to lead us to minority criminals, which are often the root of the problem,” added Velez-Villar.
Velez-Villar said the FBI looks at “the big picture” when it comes to crime. “Take narcotics, for example. We could arrest all of the white people that we know use drugs, but where does that get us? If we allow drug activity to continue for long enough, it will eventually lead us to a minority suspect, and then we know it’s time to act.”
The American Civil Liberties Union called the report’s findings an “outrageous violation of citizens’ rights” and vowed to launch an investigation into all levels of the criminal justice system. Crimes permitted by the FBI make up only a small percentage of the total number of offenses allowed for informants working with local, state, and federal agencies each year.
“There is no reason that the FBI or any other agency of the law should pit different races of people against one another, regardless of the affect on crime,” said Tony Sartoris, a spokesman for the ACLU.
The FBI countered that stopping crime should come first, in spite of racial implications. “We understand how the numbers look,” said Shauna Dunlap, a spokeswoman for the FBI. “But our job is to stop crime, not hold hands. Besides, we are not entirely responsible for the demographics of our informants. We can’t help it that white people are pretty much the only ones willing to snitch.”