Confidential Informants

The banks and the financial industry have an outsized role in US economic and political affairs. Yet, they’ve also been accused of engaging in an ongoing crime spree. Rigging markets, hoarding commodities, hiding massive amounts of plundered lootevading taxeslaundering drug money from some of the most heinous drug cartels, the list goes on and on. Yet, not one banker has been charged with a crime or done any jail time.

In the last few posts–here and here–I’ve explored why.

However, maybe I’ve been looking at this the wrong way.

The intrepid and indefatigable Marcy Wheeler at the blog emptywheel.net, has an interesting thesis on why there’ve been no prosecutions of the banksters.

“To what extent have banks won themselves immunity by serving as intelligence partners for the federal government?

Wow. So, in addition to the wealth, power and class thing they have going for them, maybe the banks have been enlisted in the war-on-drugs and war-on-terror as confidential informants for the US government. Think about it: any sort of intelligence operation involves confidential informants, who are promised a pass for their own criminal conduct in exchange for information.

After I stopped laughing, I remembered the case of Whitey Bulger, the Boston-Irish mob kingpin and hit-man who served as an confidential informant for the FBI and was shielded from justice, free to carry out his own criminal activities including murder, robbery, extortion and racketeering. In 2013, to the eternal embarrassment of the FBI, he was found guilty on 31 counts, including racketeering, and was found to have been involved in 11 murders.

In a way, enlisting the banksters as intelligence partners and confidential informants makes perfect sense in our present milieu, where everything has been privatized and it’s hard to tell where government ends and corporate America begins.

Update: Marcy finds more criminality among confidential informants. I guess it’s not just banks committing all those crimes.

“The FBI gave its informants permission to break the law at least 5,658 times in a single year, according to newly disclosed documents that show just how often the nation’s top law enforcement agency enlists criminals to help it battle crime.”

 

 

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