Entrapment is too risky for federal agents and informants

Entrapment is too risky for federal agents and informants

In political circles, the words “Church Committee” conjure up images of a federal law enforcement apparatus drunk on power and paranoia, bent on influencing some of the civil and racial justice we’ve come to widely respect today, including Dr. . Martin Luther King Jr.

The committee, chaired by Idaho Sen. Frank Church, detailed many covert activities of the federal three-letter agency in 1975 and 1976, including disastrous adventures in Central and South America such as the overthrow of democratically elected Chilean President Salvador Allende. In 1973.

Yet for many Americans, the most exciting findings involved the FBI’s counterintelligence programs, which infiltrated and co-opted domestic political and social movements. Now it seems the specter of COINTELPRO has never fully dissipated, ie New reporting at The Intercept George Floyd details how the FBI paid an informant — a convicted felon with a history of violence against women — to join Denver’s racial justice movement during the 2020 police brutality protests, take a leadership role, sow division by accusing other leaders of being informants. And fan the flames of violence.

Perhaps most egregiously, informant Mickey Windecker and an undercover officer tried unsuccessfully to lure two local racial justice leaders into signing on to a plot to assassinate Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser, a shocking terror plot pushed by no one but two men on the federal payroll. . Windecker is also credited with organizing some of the violence that otherwise affected First Amendment-protected activity.

From fighting the Ku Klux Klan and other violent terrorist organizations to fighting organized crime, federal and local law enforcement rely on informants and infiltrators. But the good guys — and those who work undercover for them — shouldn’t try to engineer the very situation they’re supposed to thwart.

Creating offense to trap target groups can be counterproductive and has a chilling effect on protected speech as well. We have words for countries where government agents actively disrupt internal political organization, and none of them are good.

#Entrapment #risky #federal #agents #informants

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button