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Former DEA Whistle Blower Testifies To Sub Committees Investigation Into The Use Of Informants.
"paid professional informants have to be stopped because they are nothing more then hired hit-men who could easily concoct cases against anyone in the country. These informants didn't need a gun or a badge, their weapon was credibility."
Most recently, the feds dusted off the 1990 sworn testimony provided by one time undercover operative John J. Swint to Democratic Senator Harry Reid and a senate sub-committee that was looking into allegations that informants had more power then their agent handlers. Swint, worked deep undercover on high profile cases for at least the DEA – ATF in the mid to late 1980’s. His own credibility went from 100 to zero overnight when he blew the whistle on national TV after becoming convinced informants had more power and authority then the agents themselves.
Swint gave sworn testimony through his attorney in Las Vegas Nevada that the use of paid professional informants had to be stopped because they were nothing more then hired hit-men who could easily concoct cases against anyone in the country. These informants did not need a gun or a badge, their only weapon was credibility. In 1988 Swint was finally disillusioned buy it all and went to the media with accounts of how some federal agencies had set up and entrapped innocent people across the country.
How some agents relied solely on informant’s without ever investigating if that person’s prior credibility was strong. Most astoundingly was the revaluation that Swint himself decided to test his own credibility just to see how much faith the federal government could put in their professional undercover people. Something that to this day has both amazed and frightened officials as to the magnitude of the problem. And it would be this case that convinced politicians that informants have way to much power.
In 1987, John Swint was able to mobilize the entire ATF agency to converge on Jacksonville Florida in what was called the largest weapons deal in that time period. An arms agreement between undercover agents and the White Supremacist group, the “Arian Nation” who were also allegedly converging on Florida to buy 300 M-16’s and 20 LAWW rockets. A storyline right out of an action movie, Swint convinced agents he was in touch with a long standing member of the white supremacist group and they wanted to buy a cache of weapons to continue in their bank & armored car robberies.
If that wasn’t scary enough, Swint actually tried to squash the fictitious deal after he realized just how serious the feds were taking him. To the point where a SWAT team was brought in. Reports state at one point, Swint even told the agents how the suspects wanted a picture of him and his partner holding a machine gun and LAWW rocket and a copy of that days Florida Times Union. Positive that the agents would not go for that was a mistake. Next thing Swint knew they were out at the naval air station holding the weapons and newspaper having their pictures taken. The feds actually mailed the pictures out to the Idaho compound to their leader, Richard Butler.
It became so bizarre that feds had him call the Idaho compound where he was able to get Richard Butler on the undercover phone acknowledging that he had received the pictures and was looking forward to his people making the trip to Jacksonville. Those tapes were actually used against Butler years later in a conspiracy case.
In the end, the deal fell through because no one from Idaho showed up. According to Swint, he was elated because he never thought that in a million years the feds would believe him. From that moment, he began speaking out about the use of informants to anyone who would listen.
John Swint also wrote a book exposing details of his undercover work. A link is below.