Monday, May 26, 2008

Conflicts of Interest Within FBI By Pegging Mole Pay To Arrests?

Though the Minneapolis news story is not about legal ethics as such, the same perverse-incentive reasons we have conflict-of-interest rules in law may explain my horror in reading this blog report (can this be true?!) that the FBI is recruiting citizen-moles to infiltrate the Republican convention's protestors.  AndChicken_eggs_2 their pay depends on causing arrests. 

See also this blog post, emphasizing the weird targeting of vegans at their "potlucks." One commenter there asks, Are vegans even allowed to throw eggs?    [Alan Childress]

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Reminds me of the savings and loan crisis and the subprime mortgage crisis: in both instances loan officers and mortgage brokers were paid when loans closed. Quantity was rewarded. Quality was not. The devastating consequences were easily foreseeable and avoidable but too many people got what they wanted in the short run. Sensible people kept their mouths shut because (a) they were making money or (b) were afraid to rock the boat. It's hard to believe that the FBI would use the same kind of incentive in law enforcement.

The story can't be true, can it?

Posted by: W.R. Chambers | May 26, 2008 1:44:28 PM

Yes, nice analogy, WRC.

Posted by: Alan Childress | May 26, 2008 5:02:02 PM

looks like a blogosphere chain yanking to me. if it's posted it must be true, no one would post something not 100% accurate on the internet would they?

Posted by: fred | May 27, 2008 12:35:13 PM

Fred, you may be right that the story is a new urban myth. I hope so. But it is not really a blog creation, since it started, FWIW, with a real newspaper. That does not mean it is true, but to my mind it makes it more likely that there was an actual source for it. That could mean that the story is fake but people wanted the paper to report it. The next best thing to infiltrating a protest group would be to make them think you are, so everyone might be a mole, chillingly. But yeah I hope you are right AND that the FBI actually disavow it so my other scenario is less likely.

Posted by: Alan Childress | May 27, 2008 7:16:04 PM

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