Seeking Informants, FBI Targets Wall St.’s ‘Keep-It-Quiet’ Culture


The FBI officials in New York are increasingly employing tools and techniques used to hunt terrorists to take aim at a different kind of criminal: white-collar con artists and inside traders, says the Wall Street Journal. At a time when the public has grown suspicious of Wall Street and lost confidence in the government’s ability to police it, investigators say they are expanding a number of methods, including the use of human sources, so-called tripwire programs, and internal intelligence reports, to try to get a better handle on crimes in the marketplace.

“We’re trying to apply the principles of the national-security side so we can prevent something from becoming a $50 billion fraud by catching it early on,” FBI Special Agent-in-Charge James Trainor said. Trainor said he is trying to change what he says is the culture of silence on Wall Street along with the culture of investigative work in his office. As part of its own overhaul, the SEC launched an effort earlier this year to cultivate more informants and sources. Trainor said the feds are working to wear down the “keep it quiet” culture among financial-sector workers who are afraid of being blackballed in the industry if they report their suspicions to authorities.

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