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Undercover Operations: The Design and Management of an Effective Law Enforcement Investigative Capability (From UNAFEI Material Produced During the 71st International Seminar, and the 72nd International Training Course, P 23-37, 1986 -- See NCJ-106500)

NCJ Number
J B Stephens
Date Published
15 pages
Undercover operations are becoming an increasingly important part of Federal law enforcement efforts and require careful design and implementation to be the most effective and to avoid excessive governmental intrusiveness or harm to law-abiding citizens.
Undercover activities are particularly useful for investigating organized, clandestine, and apparently victimless criminal activity that otherwise might not be detected and prosecuted. Examples of the success of this approach include Operation Rite Cross, an antiterrorist investigation aimed at preventing the assassination of Indian officials by Indian Sikhs; Operation Bancoshares, a front operation directed at money laundering; and Roughrider, that was directed at the illegal narcotics activities of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Gang. Operation Greylord focused on corruption of State court judges in the Chicago area, and the Abscam Operation led to the conviction of corrupt public officials. Decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court have upheld the legality of undercover operations and have set limits on them, particularly with respect to the entrapment defense. The U.S. Department of Justice established operational guidelines in 1980 to ensure that all operations would be properly initiated, managed, and controlled.