FBI Retired Signature Directories

Confidential Human Source

Confidential Human SourceThe FBI processes many pieces of information each day, some because of reports generated by agents, but most because people are inclined to report “suspicious” activity. As an example, a school guard might report seeing a suspicious car the day a bank robbery occurs or a garbage collector might suggest activity inside a house is somebody cooking meth. But still others are generated because the FBI sometimes uses an individual classified as a Confidential Human Source [CHS] to gather information, formerly categorized as a Cooperating Witness and Confidential Informant—all for the purposes of collecting intelligence.

The FBI now refers to these resources as a Confidential Human Source.

Not considered an employee of the United States Government yet occasionally credited with being the “eyes” and “ears” of the FBI—appropriately used—a Confidential Human Source can be an effective weapon combating crime. And combined with technology a Confidential Human Source can be an invaluable tool for law enforcement—collecting evidence and identifying suspect law breakers.

Briefly speaking, a Cooperating Witness working as a Confidential Human Source is someone whose assistance generally includes “monitoring” and/or “recording” conversations with a suspect—meaning their identity can become known when someone is charged with a crime [and they are so warned]—while a Confidential Informant working as a Confidential Human Source is someone whose identity and assistance the FBI will endeavor to protect, but cannot guarantee because of the rigors of the Justice system.

But like any tool used by law enforcement, a Confidential Human Source can be misused and/or “not” adequately monitored and/or supervised resulting in evidence being manufactured and/or destroyed. Because conversations can be selectively recorded—even erased—police authorities and FBI agents must ensure that any Cooperating Witness and Confidential Informant being used as a Confidential Human Source is appropriately monitored and supervised—protecting “not” only innocent persons, but the integrity of any investigation.


Accordingly, list members can be extremely helpful to persons seeking information and/or wanting a professional opinion concerning a Confidential Human Source. Looking for an expert, interested individuals should use the website’s search feature, entering the appropriate skill and geographical area, and thereafter make contact with the listed expert—using the contact information provided.


Retired FBI Agents and Analysts with a background using a Confidential Human Source, interested in securing a Directory listing and/or a personal email address, need only submit a brief online application to join the website.

Agents with Confidential Human Source skillset