Earlier this week, the Air Force Academy located in Colorado Springs responded to a Gazette report about the academy’s use of cadet informants instructed to deceive comrades, professors, and commanders.
The spies are part of an Air Force-wide program and provide “vital information about criminal activities” among students, The Gazette reports.
The Air Force’s Office of Special Investigations uses the informants to hunt illegal drug use, sexual assault crimes, and other misconduct among cadets.
Informants are recruited after multiple lengthy interrogations and then advised to gather evidence via smartphone cameras and recording devices. These academy student operatives are sent to infiltrate cliques, setup drug buys, and follow suspected rapists while secretly sharing information back to OSI.
Ironically, all cadets take an oath never to lie when entering the publicly funded academy in Colorado. Through the informant program, agents direct cadets not to only betray this initial vow to honesty but also to break academy rules — without protection from the OSI.
Here is an excerpt about student informant Eric Thomas, who was expelled for misconduct he blamed on OSI:
“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.”
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