As part of a new program called Confidential Informants, the FBI is hiring confidential informants for various investigations.
As of now, the government is only offering job openings to FBI employees who have served at least 10 years of their career with the agency, but those who have not have been granted immunity from prosecution under a law called the Espionage Act.
A new report by the Government Accountability Project (GAAP) suggests that the FBI may have violated federal law when it announced its plan to open a new confidential informant program last year.
The FBI, in a statement to The Verge, said the program would be limited to “senior federal law enforcement officials who are actively participating in an ongoing criminal investigation or investigating a specific matter.”
“As part of the plan, the Bureau will only hire federal law-enforcement officers who are engaged in a federal investigation and/or investigation of a specific case,” the FBI said.
“Those employees will be paid $10,000 per year, while federal employees who are not currently engaged in an investigation or investigation of any type will be eligible for up to $25,000.
The agency also is limited to hiring only those who will cooperate with ongoing criminal investigations or investigations, not those who are acting on their own.”
The new program is a continuation of an effort begun by President Obama’s administration in 2015 to bring federal law Enforcement Agencies under the control of the Department of Justice.
In March of last year, the DOJ announced that it would open up to 200 new positions to federal employees, including a number of positions that would have previously been available to law enforcement.
The move to hire confidential informants is an attempt to prevent the federal government from using informants to obtain sensitive information without the oversight of a judge or jury, according to GAAP.
The DOJ has argued that the new program will give law enforcement a greater degree of control over the information that it is gathering, because it will be easier to get a judge to sign off on it.
“By limiting the hiring of federal law agents and prosecutors to those who would cooperate with federal investigations, the new informant program would create a legal loophole for the government to circumvent the Fourth Amendment and other legal protections,” GAAP said.
While the DOJ’s new initiative has some detractors, the program is still a big step forward in protecting the public from a potentially damaging government surveillance program.
The program has already been approved by the US Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which will decide whether the FBI has the authority to use confidential informants.
In a recent ruling, the DDC Circuit said the government could not justify the new hires because they were not authorized by a judge.
Despite the recent ruling in the DRC, the US government has not stopped using informants and it appears that the DOJ may still be looking to expand the program.
Last week, the New York Times reported that the Justice Department has been looking to hire 200 more federal employees to carry out the new “confidentiality-oriented” investigation program.