US Congressman Stephen Lynch introduced a bill that would increase Congressional oversight of law enforcement agencies’ use of confidential informants.
The Confidential Informant Accountability Act of 2011 (H.R. 3228) would extend the statute of limitations for tort claims arising out of criminal misconduct by a confidential informant, said a press release from Lynch's office.
“While the use of confidential informants can be an effective crime-fighting tool, unfortunately, we have also seen the practice abused, innocent people killed, falsely imprisoned and families torn apart as a result,” said Lynch. “By enhancing Congressional oversight, hopefully, the past will not be repeated.”
earlier this week as a part of his Congress on the Corner tour.
Federal law enforcement agencies would be required to report to Congress on a semiannual basis, on all serious crimes committed by confidential informants while under the supervision of law enforcement agencies, with the proposed bill.
Lynch has previously called for an investigation into the FBI's involvement with the notorious and recently caught gangester, James "Whitey" Bulger.
The proposed law would require specific information about crimes committed must be included in the report, but the inclusion of individual informant names, control numbers, and other identifying information would be prohibited.
The House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform, the House Judiciary Committee, the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, and the Senate Judiciary Committee, all committees that are tasked with the oversight of federal law enforcement agencies, would receive the reports.
The bill would extend the statute of limitations for tort claims due to criminal misconduct by a confidential informant from two to three years. Notably, this provision would also be retroactive to May 1, 1982, thereby allowing existing claims against the government to proceed.
“These families have been the victims of government-assisted and government-enabled crime. They deserve justice. We cannot let this decision stand. We need to do everything we can to ensure that the government is held accountable, otherwise this will continue to happen,” added Lynch.