2 probes into secret Air Force Academy informants completed

Former Air Force Academy cadet Eric Thomas, a confidential informant for officials, shows documents from his files in May 2013, in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Thomas, whose information contributed to several convictions, was kicked out of the academy months short of graduating.


By DAVE PHILIPPS | The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.) | Published: March 8, 2014

Two Air Force inquiries into the secret confidential informant program at the Air Force Academy have been completed and will likely be released in the next two weeks, said Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson, superintendent of the academy.

Johnson made the statement Thursday to the academy Board of Visitors, a civilian oversight group.

The two inquiries — one by the superintendent's staff and one by the Air Force inspector general — were prompted by a (Colorado Springs, Colo.) Gazette investigation in December that showed that for years, the Air Force has employed a system of secret cadet informants at the academy to search out misconduct. The program encouraged informants to deceive commanders, teachers and their peers in violation of the academy's honor code. Some wore wires and used hidden cameras.

The Gazette showed that some informants were later disavowed by the Air Force's Office of Special Investigations, which ran the program, and expelled by the academy.

Amid criticism from academy graduates and the public, Johnson announced in December that the use of confidential cadet informants at the academy had ceased and initiated the two inquiries.

At the portion of Thursday's Board of Visitors meeting at the academy that was open to the public, Johnson said almost nothing about the informant program other than that the inquiries are largely complete and would be released in "a couple weeks."

Academy Spokesman David Cannon said the IG report looked at three issues: Use of secret informants across the Air Force, use of cadets as informants, and the case of Eric Thomas, an informant who worked on a number of major cases and was later disavowed by the Office of Special Investigations and expelled for doing things the Air Force asked him to do as an informant.

The academy's inquiry, Cannon said, looked at whether procedures are "fair, consistent, timely, provide due process, and are transparent for the cadet and the Air Force."


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