Report: Cadet ‘Failed’ His Mission As Secret Informant
AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (CBS4) –A report released by the Air Force Inspector General defended the use of secret informants at the Air Force Academy.
The report also sharply criticized expelled cadet Eric Thomas, who the academy said “failed” his mission.
The report, which was obtained by The Gazette, said Thomas “did a tremendous amount of good in helping solve investigations and then bring those so deserving to justice.”
The report goes on to say that the mission of all cadets is to graduate.
“None of this is a secret, all cadets are aware of this fact, they know their mission and that to succeed they need to remain focused on that mission throughout their USAFA careers. From the evidence we gathered, Mr. Eric Thomas failed to focus on this mission.”
Thomas was shocked by the findings. He said the report is “bogus on several points.”
The Gazette reported that Thomas became close with a number of football players suspected of drug use and sexual assault, wired to record conversations and sent on drug buys. His work got him in trouble and he was kicked out for misconduct.
The report said that up to as many as six cadets would be ‘wired-up’ to secretly record conversations, be taught how to look like they were using a drug when they actually weren’t, would secretly meet with one or two agents off the base to discuss new information, and would be taught the nuances and law concerning the avoidance of entrapment.
Brig. Gen. Gregory Lengyel, the Commandant of Cadets, who oversees cadet life, told Air Force investigators there seemed to be inherent conflict between the informant system and the cadet honor code, which prohibits cadets from lying.
“I am not in favor of cadets actively, you know, trying to set up a drug buy,” Lengyel said. “I’m not in favor of anything, even for law enforcement generation, I do not support cadets violating the Honor Code.”
Deputy Judge Advocate General Steve Lepper told investigators that sometimes the honor code must be broken.
“There might be something else out there that is so important that is would justify a lie,” he said. “The security of our nation is one of those things…the safety of your fellow Airmen is one of those things. I don’t want drug dealers. I don’t want sexual predators to be in my Air Force. And I’m not going to let the honor code be something that people can hide behind,” he went on to say in the report.