Whosarat main page
Type of site
|Crime, law enforcement|
|Created by||Sean Bucci|
Whosarat.com is a controversial website, which, in its words, allows individuals to "post, share and request any and all information that has been made public at some point to at least 1 person of the public prior to posting it on this site pertaining to local, state and federal Informants and Law Enforcement Officers."
The site was founded in August 2004 by Sean Bucci, who is fighting marijuana dealing charges. A Boston Herald story quoted him as saying "I'm trying to level the playing field." His experiences gave him "a deep, deep hate for the system for the way they handle informants."
The site's extensive disclaimer notes that in part that "All posts made by users should be considered as inaccurate opinions unless backed by official documents." It urges members to "Please post informants that are involved with non-violent crimes only."
A Boston Globe reporter illustrated the site's mix of false and true information by interviews by quoting both a site user who "had knowingly posted false information about people she did not believe to be informants" and "a paid informant for the FBI [who] has been living on the run, afraid for his life, since his profile appeared on the website."
The Department of Homeland Security is said to have issued an advisory about the site, warning law enforcement officers not even to view the site. "Visiting the site could result in the compromise of government IP addresses. Searching the site for a particular name could result in that name being cross-indexed to the IP address of the computer used to make the inquiry. Searching for the names of officers or informants could compromise those individual's identities. Any website is capable of collecting IP address and search information from visitors, but this site is remarkable because it makes visitor information public."
The site believes it is protected by legal precedents set in connection with another website, charmichaelcase, which also posts information about informants.
- Who's a Rat? Website
- SIS Bulletin #137 Whosarat Website Advisory Cryptome website: text of what is described as a Department of Homeland Security advisory
- Website rouses informants' fear, investigators' ire, Kathleen Burge, The Boston Globe, March 21st, 2005 (does not identify the site but names Anthony Capone, spokesman and domain registrant for whosarat.com as "a spokesman for the site")
- Ethics Scoreboard