Tue, Feb 10, 2009 - Page 7 News List

Nevada man claims Feds disclosed his protected ID: case

US INFORMANT The defendant described himself as a retired bank robber and convicted felon who went undercover for the US federal government

AP , LAS VEGAS

A man who said he was a former FBI informant has filed a US$54 million federal lawsuit against the government, saying his life was in danger because his identity was compromised after he went undercover to help the agency.

“I was disclosed,” said Anthony Martin, 63, who described himself as a retired bank robber and convicted felon.

Martin said he volunteered to work undercover for the FBI after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. He said he was installed as a taxi driver in Las Vegas and provided information that led to the arrests and convictions of at least four “people entering the country illegally” on charges including fabricating false passports.

But while filing a complaint in 2004, he said, a Las Vegas police officer checked a computer database and addressed him as Lee McKnight, the name he gave up when he entered the federal witness protection program.

“I got a promise that my old name would never be disclosed, and it should not have,” Martin said. “They intentionally put me in danger.”

Martin, who is representing himself in court, claimed breach of contract, breach of oral agreement and violations of constitutional free speech, equal protection and the right against cruel and unusual punishment.

He filed the civil lawsuit on Jan. 29 in the US District Court for the District of Columbia.

US Justice Department spokesman Charles Miller declined to comment on the lawsuit, saying his department had not received a copy.

The FBI and US Marshals Service in Las Vegas also declined comment.

The disclosure of an informant’s name faces penalty that includes prison time. Former US vice president Dick Cheney’s then-chief of staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, was sentenced to two years in prison after being convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice for lying to the FBI about his role in leaking CIA operative Valerie Plame’s name and CIA affiliation to a reporter.

Former US president George W. Bush commuted the sentence, sparing Libby from prison.

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