Sharpton has taken offense with the characterization of being a “rat”, claiming instead he was the “cat who got the rat” but he’s confirmed the WILD story….he was a confidential paid FBI informant.
Or as he was known back then, “Confidential Informant No. 7.”
The news broke online:
Here are more details, from the Washington Times:
The report published Monday claims that Mr. Sharpton regularly interacted with members of four of New York City’s five organized crime families, specifically leaders of the Genovese family, and he secretly recorded their conversations.
After the news came to light, Mr. Sharpton admitted helping law enforcement officials by keeping tabs on Mafia contacts in the 1980s.
“I was not and am not a rat, because I was not with the rats,” Newsday quoted Mr. Sharpton as telling reporters. “I am a cat. I chase rats.”
Mr. Sharpton indicated he would cooperate again if he felt his life was threatened.
From the report: “[The Smoking Gun’s] account of Sharpton’s secret life as ‘CI-7’ 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.
Reports say he wore a wire and cooperated with the Feds.
Hmmm, how about cooperating with the IRS Al? Those are Feds too you know.
TIME had more:
The Rev. Al Sharpton has served as an outspoken civil rights activist, presidential nominee, television host, and, if a new report is to be believed, a key informant to the FBI.
According to a lengthy report by website The Smoking Gun, Sharpton, 69, served as “Confidential Informant No. 7” in the 1980s, playing a prominent role collecting information on New York City’s most prolific mobsters. Sharpton has denied the claims.
In a Tuesday morning press conference, Sharpton said that he wasn’t an informant but rather he was merely cooperating with the FBI. “I’m not a rat, I’m a cat,” Sharpton reportedly said, according to journalists live-tweeting the event. He continued that the only thing he was ashamed of were “those old fat pictures” that have been shown in conjunction with the reports.
The Smoking Gun’s report — based on interviews, court records, and hundreds of pages of documents obtained as the result of requests invoking Freedom of Information Act — claims that Sharpton worked for a joint FBI/NYPD crime task force that was primarily pursuing the notorious Genovese crime family. Sharpton allegedly was sent out to talk to mobsters with a bugged briefcase. The website said that information he obtained led to the bugging of two Genovese family social clubs, three cars and a dozen phone lines approved by eight different federal judges.
During Tuesday’s press conference, he admitted with working with the FBI for two years and wearing a wire to record conversations. “The conversations were recorded, and I would record them today,” he said. “We are victims trying to stop something.”
But my favorite story comes from the NY Post, which says Sharton was "real good at playing dumb". Take a look:
Meet Al Sharpton, “Confidential Informant No. 7.”
The longtime agitator, civil-rights activist and TV host was exposed Monday as an alleged former key FBI informant whose tips helped take down some of the biggest names in New York Mafia history.
The Rev. Al launched his sensational secret life as a paid mob snitch in the mid-1980s, pressured to cooperate after being ensnared in a developing drug sting, according to a bombshell report by thesmokinggun.com.
As “CI-7,” the then-portly Harlem leader would tote a customized Hartmann briefcase equipped with an FBI bug to hobnob with members of some of the city’s most notorious crime families, the site said.
Sharpton’s main job was to dig dirt on the Genovese crime family, according to sources and court documents.
He was so good at “playing dumb’’ that he wound up helping to bring down such names as Venero “Benny Eggs’’ Mangano, Dominick “Baldy Dom’’ Canterino and even the muttering “oddfather” of Greenwich Village, family boss Vincent “Chin’’ Gigante, the site said.He was a “very reliable informant, and his information ‘has never been found to be false or inaccurate,’ ” the report said, quoting a 1986 court document.