This article from the New Yorker captures the desperation and broken promises that so often go with being an informant, and how informants are so heavily dependent on their handlers for protection and reward. The article is entitled “What do we owe a prison informant?” It chronicles the dangerous work performed by an informant referred to as “Cyrus” trying to work off part of his prison sentence, and how, notwithstanding the high value of his cooperation, he was never rewarded as promised. From the article:
Although [DEA Agent] J.J. didn’t make any specific offers of a shorter sentence, his relationship with Cyrus was predicated on assurances that Cyrus would benefit from helping the D.E.A. But J.J. had little control over what happened to him—Cyrus’s fate was in the hands of Georgia’s State Board of Pardons and Paroles, which is not beholden to anyone, and certainly not to the D.E.A. The way Cyrus and his family see it, Cyrus risked his life for years with an understanding that he would get leniency in return. And then, he says, he was abandoned.