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  • Honor and deception

    Honor and deception

    A secretive Air Force program recruits academy students to inform on fellow cadets and disavows them afterward

    By Dave Philipps
    [email protected]
    The Gazette
    Published December 1, 2013

    Facing pressure to combat drug use and sexual assault at the Air Force Academy, the Air Force has created a secret system of cadet informants to hunt for misconduct among students.

    Cadets who attend the publicly-funded academy near Colorado Springs must pledge never to lie. But the program pushes some to do just that: Informants are told to deceive classmates, professors and commanders while snapping photos, wearing recording devices and filing secret reports.

    For one former academy student, becoming a covert government operative meant not only betraying the values he vowed to uphold, it meant being thrown out of the academy as punishment for doing the things the Air Force secretly told him to do.

    “It was like a spy movie. I worked on dozens of cases, did a lot of good, and when it all hit the fan, they didn’t know me anymore.”
    - Eric Thomas

    Eric Thomas, 24, was a confidential informant for the Office of Special Investigations, or OSI — a law enforcement branch of the Air Force. OSI ordered Thomas to infiltrate academy cliques, wearing recorders, setting up drug buys, tailing suspected rapists and feeding information back to OSI. In pursuit of cases, he was regularly directed by agents to break academy rules.

    “It was exciting. And it was effective,” said Thomas, a soccer and football player who received no compensation for his informant work. “We got 15 convictions of drugs, two convictions of sexual assault. We were making a difference. It was motivating, especially with the sexual assaults. You could see the victims have a sense of peace.”

    Through it all, he thought OSI would have his back. But when an operation went wrong, he said, his handlers cut communication and disavowed knowledge of his actions, and watched as he was kicked out of the academy.

    “It was like a spy movie,” said Thomas, who was expelled in April, a month before graduation. “I worked on dozens of cases, did a lot of good, and when it all hit the fan, they didn’t know me anymore.”

    The Air Force’s top commander and key members of the academy’s civilian oversight board claim they have no knowledge of the OSI program. The Gazette confirmed the program, which has not been reported in the media through interviews with multiple informants, phone and text records, former OSI agents, court filings and documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.
    More. This is going to be a big deal out here.

    Gazette
    "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."

  • #2
    Originally posted by Gingersnap View Post
    More. This is going to be a big deal out here.

    Gazette
    That academy is so rotten, they ought to shut it down and start fresh, with all new faculty and management. Seems like one mess just begets the next there.
    "Think as I think," said a man,
    "Or you are abominably wicked;
    You are a toad."
    And after I had thought of it,
    I said: "I will, then, be a toad." - Stephen Crane

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