“CI-7.” That’s the name by which famed civil rights activist and MSNBC host Reverend Al Sharpton used to go by during his days as a top secret FBI informant, according to a new report from The Smoking Gun.
The detailed report highlights the reverend’s alleged time spent as an FBI informant, interacting with New York City’s most famous organized crime families and tipping off the feds in the process.
According to The Smoking Gun’s William Bastone, “CI-7” spent four years during the 1980s as a paid informant, secretly recording conversations and helping the FBI to bring down the top mob organizations in the city.
The Smoking Gun says their report, “is based on hundreds of pages of confidential FBI affidavits, documents released by the bureau in response to Freedom of Information Act requests, court records and extensive interviews with six members of the Genovese squad, as well as other law enforcement officials to whom the activist provided assistance. Records obtained by TSG show that information gathered by Sharpton was used by federal investigators to help secure court authorization to bug two Genovese family social clubs, including Gigante’s Greenwich Village headquarters, three autos used by crime family leaders and more than a dozen phone lines.”
In an interview with the Daily Beast following the shocking allegations from The Smoking Gun, Sharpton vehemently denied the claims, saying that if he “brought down the mob, I want my ticker tape parade.”
“I think they take a lot of leaps here,” said Sharpton of the allegations. The Smoking Gun article takes a lot of time to really comprehend, but one of the most shocking parts about it are the claims that Sharpton was “flipped” by the FBI and brought on as informant, instead of being prosecuted, after he was caught on camera talking about helping import cocaine at $35,000 a kilo. Sharpton denies those allegations completely.
“The government was trying to entrap a civil rights kid on some crimes that were never committed, and failed to trap him,” said Sharpton of the cocaine accusations. “That’s the unsaid part of it: Why did they go after Sharpton in the first place? What was the crime? The one interesting thing that we’re looking at, three decades later, is that no one can identify, with all of the documents Bastone’s got, what it is they came after me for? There is no crime here.”
Still, William Bastone, who authored the article and founded the Smoking Gun website, says that even if Sharpton doesn’t believe or won’t admit he was an informant, FBI documents prove otherwise.
“If he didn’t think he was an informant, the ‘Genovese squad’ of the FBI and NYPD officials sure knew him to be an informant,” said Bastone. “He was paid to be an informant, he carried a briefcase with a recording device in it, and he made surreptitious tape recordings of a Gambino crime family member 10 separate times as an informant. He did it at the direction of the FBI, he was prepped by the FBI, was handed the briefcase by the FBI and was debriefed after the meetings. That’s an informant.”
Despite lengthy FBI documents and convincing proof provided by Bastone, Sharpton is still sticking by his claims that the entire story is a stretch.
“I was never told I was an informant or I had a number or none of that,” said Sharpton. “Whether or not they used some of the other information they got during that period for other purposes, I don’t know.”