The Air Force relies on cadet informants to find bad behavior in the academy. However, these cadets are now speaking out about being thrown out of the academy for doing their jobs. This has raised important questions about the Air Force and how it handles informants.
The Air Force Academy has a secret program that recruits cadets to spy on others and report the findings, according to the Denver Post. Cadets share they have been asked to wear recorders, take pictures and try to find bad behavior. Assault and drug use are two of the main issues they target.
Eric Thomas reveals he was part of this secret program as a cadet. It was actually run by the Air Force and Office of Special Investigations. This seems to indicate that the academy may not be in control of the program. Thomas shares he went after drug and assault cases. His duties varied from setting up a drug bust to getting information about an attack on another student. He felt his role at the academy as an informant was important, but he found out that the Air Force did not support him completely.
Thomas shares that he was caught by the academy in one of his operations. He was thrown out of the Air Force Academy, and the Air Force did nothing to save him. In fact, they stopped talking with him completely and pretended he did not exist. All of his work as an informant meant nothing to them.
There are records that have been uncovered by the media that reveal Eric Thomas was an important part of several investigations. It is clear that his work as an informant was useful. However, the Air Force has refused to comment on his case. He says he was dropped for no reason.
The role of informants contradicts the Air Force Academy policy of honesty. People who are caught being informants are in danger of being thrown out for violating the policy. Since their actual roles are a secret, the academy does not consider their work.
Eric Thomas does not think the informant program will disappear. However, he suggests more oversight and protection is needed. He feels cadets are used and left behind without any help if something goes wrong. He was told this would not happen, but he quickly discovered the truth once he was in trouble. The program needs to change, according to Thomas.