The FBI work with FBI informants to take down terrorist threats both at home and abroad. They are the FBI’s sources of information without them much of the FBI’s achievements in counter-terrorism would not be possible. The work of FBI informants is so important that as of 2009, FBI informants have been key players in the success of approximately 50% of all domestic terrorism cases. And that’s not set to change anytime soon. So how does one become an FBI informant?
By definition, an informant is any citizen who passes on information to law enforcement officials during the course of an investigation. Citizens who have witnessed suspicious activity can report these incidences to the FBI in two ways: via the FBI’s online Tips and Public Leads form found on its official website or by emailing or calling an FBI field office.
Law abiding citizens aren’t the only ones who assist the FBI in their investigation. The agency also enlists criminals as FBI informants. Most of you would have already guessed this based on portrayals of the FBI on TV and in movies. Most times, a criminal’s choice to become an FBI informant self-motivated. Be it for financial gain or for revenge. But sometimes it is due to their conscience weighing down them. In some cases, an individual may have a case pending in front of the courts. If it turns out that this individual can be of some use to the FBI in their fight against terrorism, then the FBI will offer them a deal: a reduced jail sentence in exchange for their cooperation. A win-win situation depending on who you ask. The FBI does, however, use criminals who aren’t formally charged with a crime but who wish to have the FBI ignore their criminal activities. They’ll infiltrate criminal organizations and provide FBI agents with valuable information, which will then be used to arrest and prosecute offenders. In exchange, the FBI will pay these FBI informants for their cooperation.