chapter  7
18 Pages

Infiltration, "Badjacketing," and the Use of Agent Provocateurs

Another Action Mode for the suppression of dissent involves the infiltration of informants who engage in intelligence gathering, create internal dissension, and/or incite illegal activities. The use of informants is quite common. In fact, according to the Church Committee (Senate III 1976, 228), "the paid and directed intelligence informant is the most extensively used technique in FBI domestic intelligence investigations" of dissident groups and individuals. More specifically, a 1976 Government Accounting Office (GAO) study titled "Domestic Intelligence Operations of the FBI" found that eighty-five percent of domestic intelligence investigations involved informants, while only five percent involves electronic surveillance (Senate III 1976, 228). Historically, the u.S. Army has also infiltrated and surveilled domestic political groups, although it has not received the same public attention as the FBI (Senate II 1976, 77). The IRS also has an informant apparatus (Donner 1980, 325, 327, 341-348; Senate III 1976, 835-922). As of 30 June 1975, the FBI had more than 1,500 informants engaging in domestic intelligence gathering on dissident citizens, and these informants were bound by few standards in terms of the scope of their activities. In fact, at the time, the domestic political intelligence program's budget was more than twice that of the organized crime informant program budget (Senate III 1976, 228). Estimating on the conservative side, Donner (1980, 137) reports that between 1940 and April 1978 the FBI hired approximately 37,000 informants, more than 29,000 of them working under the rubric of "security" and almost 8,000 working under the category of "racial and extremist."