File:Al Sharpton 2 by David Shankbone.jpg

Al Sharpton

According to documents obtained by The Smoking Gun, Reverend Al Sharpton was previously an FBI informant. A long time activist Sharpton apparently used his reputation and connections to find information on the criminal underworld for law enforcement. The information Sharpton provided served as the basis for various court orders to install surveillance equipment and executing search warrants of mafia owned and controlled locations.

For a period of decades Sharpton, known as “CI-7″ or Confidential Informant Number Seven, worked with the FBI and NYPD to help bring down some of New York’s most powerful mafia families.

Beginning in the mid-1980s and spanning several years, Sharpton’s cooperation was fraught with danger since the FBI’s principal targets were leaders of the Genovese crime family, the country’s largest and most feared Mafia outfit. In addition to aiding the FBI/NYPD task force, which was known as the “Genovese squad,” Sharpton’s cooperation extended to several other investigative agencies.

Sharpton’s work went beyond relaying information to law enforcement on the activities of the mafia, he also secretly recorded conversations where he solicited information on criminal activity and legal strategies.

Genovese squad investigators–representing both the FBI and NYPD–recalled how Sharpton, now 59, deftly extracted information from wiseguys. In fact, one Gambino crime family figure became so comfortable with the protest leader that he spoke openly–during ten wired face-to-face meetings–about a wide range of mob business, from shylocking and extortions to death threats and the sanity of Vincent “Chin” Gigante, the Genovese boss who long feigned mental illness in a bid to deflect law enforcement scrutiny. As the mafioso expounded on these topics, Sharpton’s briefcase–a specially customized Hartman model–recorded his every word.

Sharpton has repeatedly denied ever working with law enforcement and more or less did so again when contacted by The Smoking Gun responding “I’m not saying yes, I’m not saying no.” when questioned on being an informant for law enforcement.

Another question that remains unanswered is under what circumstances Sharpton worked with the FBI and NYPD. Often those who end up serving as informants are “flipped” when law enforcement discovers a person is committing crimes and subsequently offers to drop or reduce charges if the person agrees to cooperate and inform on others.

Did the FBI have something on Sharpton?

Photo by David Shankbone under Creative Commons license.