| WASHINGTON, Sept 29
WASHINGTON, Sept 29 The U.S. Drug Enforcement
Administration's program for paying confidential sources to
assist with narcotics-trafficking investigations is riddled with
deficiencies that could open the door to fraud and abuse, the
Justice Department's internal watchdog said Thursday.
In a new audit, the Justice Department's Inspector General
found that the DEA continued to pay so-called "deactivated
sources," or people who did not qualify to receive money because
they had been arrested or had committed serious crimes.
In one instance, the report says the DEA paid a source who
had provided false testimony in trials and depositions. Over a
five-year period, this confidential source was used by 13
different DEA field offices and paid $469,158.
All told, the audit found that the DEA has paid about $9.4
million to more than 800 deactivated sources from fiscal year
2011 through 2015.
"While we did not review the circumstances of all of these
payments in depth, for available information it appears that
paying deactivated sources is common enough to justify much
closer managerial oversight and review of such payments," the
The report also raises questions about the DEA's practice of
paying so-called "limited use" sources, or tipsters who offer up
information independently to the government.
These kinds of sources are considered low risk, yet the
audit found they were among some of the highest paid sources.
Of 477 "limited sources" reviewed, they received a
collective $26.8 million.
In a response provided to the inspector general, the DEA
acknowledged the risks associated with the confidential source
payment program and said it has taken steps to improve it.
It also said it is reviewing policies and practices to
improve oversight of its payments to limited use confidential
(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch)