FBI agents call confidential informants a necessary evil and a vital part of crime fighting, but recent high profile court cases have some agents thinking twice about working with a high level snitch, reports National Public Radio in a three-part series. This time last year, former FBI agent Lin DeVecchio was in a Brooklyn courtroom charged with murder. His accuser, the longtime girlfriend of a Mafia hitman, Greg “the Grim Reaper” Scarpa, said DeVecchio had given Scarpa – one of his confidential informants – information he needed to kill four people. It was a mob girlfriend’s word against DeVecchio’s. Smething unusual happened – two journalists came forward with a very key piece of information.
When Mafia expert Jerry Capeci of the Web site Ganglandnews.com and Village Voice reporter Tom Robbins interviewed the girlfriend, Linda Schiro, in 1997 for a book, she had absolved DeVecchio of any involvement in the murders. “There is no way that is what she told us back in 1997,” Capeci says.”And we felt we had to explain that is not the only story she told about those four killings.” A short time later, the Brooklyn district attorney withdrew the case against DeVecchio. The key witness had been discredited. It isn’t surprising that agents are worried that they could be caught in the same web – that their top informants could implicate them in their crimes, or a victim will sue them for not preventing one.