The Drug Enforcement Administration paid confidential informants millions of dollars without appropriate oversight and used sources in ways that might run afoul of the Constitution, the Justice Department inspector general found.
Those findings were part of a withering 65-page report released Thursday that outlined serious missteps in the DEA’s use of confidential informants and that recommended that the agency substantially tighten its policies and procedures.
Deficient oversight led to instances of fraud and abuse, Inspector General Michael Horowitz found. In one, according to the inspector general’s report, the DEA paid more than $469,000 over a five-year period to a source who had previously been deactivated for lying in trials and depositions. In another, the DEA paid an Amtrak employee hundreds of thousands of dollars “for information that was available at no cost to the government,” the inspector general found.
The DEA wrote in its official response to the report that it had already made many improvements in agents’ use of confidential informants and would work to make even more. A DEA spokesman did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.