I’d like to say I have no experience with snitches. In a way; I don’t. I’ve never (knock wood) gotten in trouble via a snitch.
But over the years, countless numbers of fools have approached me asking my advice on how to do illegal acts. No doubt some of them weren’t fools, but lazy or unskilled informants. I’ll never know.
Carl Bussjaeger writes a pretty good account of how that sort of thing works.
Through a combination of luck and not-total-stupidity, most of us have evaded the trap. But I’ll bet everybody here knows somebody whose life has been ruined (or even ended) through the work of a rat or that related lifeform, the agent provocateur.
If you deal drugs, if you trade guns and gun equipment (even in the most benign and legal way), if you promote unconventional ideas, if you’re an activist anywhere outside the bland center of the political spectrum, if you flirt with militia membership, if you’re a hacker or hacktivist … you will have informants around you. It’s a dead-solid certainty.
One thing that makes snitches corrosive is that, with a few notorious exceptions, they look and sound just like us, and even like friends — until the shocking moment their inner selves are revealed and our entire selves are in deep yogurt.
I know there’s no certain way to ID a snitch before disaster strikes. But still there are often telltale signs — signs that are sometimes so obvious you wonder why people fall for them.
So what are some signs to look for? And let’s lump snitches and agents provocateur together here — since they often are.
I’ll start out, then please add your $.02. The best notions will go toward The Project.
Here’s an oldie. Goes back at least to the radical political groups of the 1960s, if not beyond: “You can always tell the FBI agent (or the snitch) because he’s the one who’s always trying to get you to bomb something.”
Today — since the courts have become so absurdly tolerant of entrapment — “You can always tell the FBI agent (or the snitch) because he’s the one who’s always trying to get you to bomb something … AND supplying the equipment … AND choosing the target … AND providing the transportation … And ….”
Equally true in other areas. The drug snitch who knows you’re just a casual user will try to get you to sell from your stash. The drug snitch who knows you’re a small-time seller will try to get you to sell more to make you a bigger, more valuable bust.
Any stranger or casual acquaintance who approaches you asking you to do illegal things — or help them do illegal things — should be viewed with suspicion.
A friend — even a good friend — whose behavior toward you suddenly changes in the direction of pushing you to do illegal deeds (or advise him in doing them) may have gotten in trouble and been turned by the cops.
One particular sign is if someone asks you to do something that simply doesn’t meet a reasonable person’s smell test. Randy Weaver was entrapped by an ATF snitch who persuaded him to cut down two shotguns for a few hundred dollars. He needed the money and never asked the crucial question — Why the hell should anybody need me to saw the barrels off shotguns when anybody with a home workshop could do that for himself?
If you’re in a group — militia, Occupy, anti-war, whatever — and some new person shows up and is just oh-so “helpful” or eager or ingratiating, that might be a sign. Particularly if the person soon starts pushing the group in an illegal direction. Or starts creating divisive factions.
Blabbermouths or braggarts may either be snitches – or prime attractors of snitches.
What else? This is just off the top of my head. What would you look for — especially you voice-of-experience people?