DEA paid Amtrak employee $850k for info they didn’t need – DoJ

© Patrick T. Fallon
A single Amtrak employee was paid more than $850,000 to act as an informant for the Drug Enforcement Agency, but none of the information shared was new to the agency, according to the Department of Justice.

According to a report released Thursday by the Justice Department’s inspector general, the DEA made the payments totaling $854,460 over the course of 20 years to one Amtrak employee. The employee, who was not identified, acted as a source as part of a task force involving the DEA and the Amtrak Police Department to stop the trafficking of contraband, but the arrangement was a “violation of federal regulations relating to the use of government property” and wasted “substantial government funds.”

A second Amtrak employee collected $9,701 from the DEA in exchange for providing information as a confidential source, but the provided information was already freely available to the agency, according to the inspector general.

Additionally, the documents registering the two informants in the “confidential source program” did not identify them as Amtrak employees.

DEA spokesman Michael Shavers said that the DEA is currently working with the Department of Justice bring agency policies in accord with the Attorney General’s guidelines, according to the Washington Times.

The DoJ released a second report on Thursday, in which it found that the DEA had violated its own policy by registering a Transportation Security Administration screener in the informant program to provide information on passengers who might be carrying large amounts of cash. TSA employees are already obligated to provide such information to law enforcement.

In both reports, the inspector general’s office said that the reports were provided to the DEA for disciplinary action, but it does not specific if any such action was taken by the agency.

The TSA employee was ultimately not paid and was deactivated as a source because of their “inability to provide information.”

Thursday’s findings come as the inspector general admonished the DEA for failing to provide adequate oversight of its roughly 240 confidential informants. A July report found that the DEA exposed the US government to a large amount of risk because it did not abide by DoJ-established guidelines.