Column: ATF’s Melson May Have a Second Wind; Should FBI Have Used Violent Gun Smuggler as Informant?
"...If you haven’t been following that closely: ATF was looking at some guy, who had a reputation as a violent gun dealer for the Mexican Cartels — only to find out that the FBI was using this guy as an informant. So of course, ATF had to back off..."
"...maybe, just maybe, the FBI needs to draw the line with some informants (like Bulger) when it appears their crimes out weigh the benefits of getting the information..." As far as the FBI goes, the line has been drawn...If there is any hint that an informant is committing unauthorized illegal activity - the FBI shuts him/her down. This is part of the reason that the FBI doesn't...well...arrest alot of people. When they are successful, often times, at the end of an investigation, when all the bad guys are in jail...and they talk to each other...they figure out that the one bad guy not in jail...was the informant.
"...Then there’s the issue of doing the right thing. The FBI was dealing with a major gun runner. It should have given ATF a heads up that it was working the guy. It didn’t. Now, with this mess, who knows. The informant may end up dead as a result of this all coming to the surface..." I wonder if the FBI agents knew their "informant" was a major gun runner? If so - score! I can tell you this, if the FBI muckety-mucks had known - he would not be an "informant", game over, shut down - they would rather NOT arrest anybody, NOT shut down the gun running, than face the headlines...that they are facing. Which, to me, shows they (the muckety-mucks) didn't know.
"...In any event, this whole mess can’t be good for anybody and it certainly can’t help the already strained the relationship between the FBI and ATF..." True that. Then again...why is there an ATF? Why is there a DEA?
Question: Do you know what FBI agents, ATF agents and DEA agents have in common?
Answer: They all applied to the FBI.
Just kidding! Can't we all just get along. There needs to be some tightening up at the ATF...but there needs to be some loosening up at the Bu...
The average hard-working, minds-his-own-business principled American usually has no value as an informant since they so rarely know what's going on in criminal realm. Hence, law enforcement has to get that info from scuzzy lowlifes who likely have ulterior motives. Probably darned hard to tell what is solid info and what is red herrings and when the informant has crossed the line. I don't think I'd want that responsibility.
>>>Then again...why is there an ATF? Why is there a DEA?
They should be divisions of the Bureau. But that would mean fewer plum jobs for new Presidents to hand out to their buddies, so it'll never happen.
I haven't followed FBI internal politics for a couple of years. But there was a time not all that long ago when a decision had been made at the Director level to change the FBI to what would amount to an intelligence agency. It made no sense to me when I heard it, but an Asst. Dir told me, so it came from the top.
I have no problem using informants. ATF ran into trouble when it decided to WALK firearms to cartels. Ask any 5th grader and they'd tell you it would be a bad thing to do.
DEA sprang from BNDD and evolved. ATF used to be about revenue, moonshine, etc. and it evolved. However, I wonder if ANYONE is directing the evolution. The FBI is a terrible intelligence agency, however when they do their core work, they do a good job.
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