An informant is term for someone who provides privileged information about a person or organization to an agency. It is usually used within the law enforcement world, where they are officially known as 'confidential or criminal informants (CI), and can often refer pejoratively to the supply of information without the consent of the other parties with the intent of malicious, personal or financial gain. However, the term is used in political, industry and academia.


Slang terms for informants include:

  • Fink — this may refer to the Pinkertons who were used as plain-clothes detectives and strike-breakers.
  • Grass or supergrass, — rhyming slang for grasshopper, meaning copper or shopper and having additional associations with the popular song, "Whispering Grass", and the phrase snake in the grass.
  • Narc — this may refer to specialist narcotics police.
  • Nark — this may have come from the Romany term nak for nose or the French term narqious meaning cunning, deceitful and/or criminal.
  • Nose
  • Pursuivant (archaic)
  • Rat
  • Snitch
  • Snout
  • Spotter
  • Squealer
  • Stool pigeon
  • Tell tale or Tell-tale
  • Tittle-tattle
  • Trick

The term "drop a dime" refers to an informant using a pay phone to call the authorities to report their information.

Criminal InformantsEdit

Informants are commonly found in the world of organized crime. By its very nature, organized crime involves many people who are aware of each others guilt, in a variety of illegal activities. Quite frequently, confidential informants (or criminal informants) will provide information in order to obtain lenient treatment for themselves and provide information, over an extended period of time, in return for money or for police to overlook their own criminal activities. Quite often someone will become an informant following their arrest.

Informants are also extremely common in every-day police work, including homicide and narcotics investigations. Any citizen who aids an investigation by offering helpful information to the police is by definition an informant.

The CIA has been criticized for leniency towards drug lords and murderers acting as paid informants, informants being allowed to engage in some crimes so that the potential informant can blend into the criminal environment without suspicion and wasting billions of dollars on dishonest sources of information.

Informants are regarded as traitors by their former criminal associates. Whatever the nature of a group, it is bound to feel strong hostility towards any known informers, regard them as threats and inflict punishments ranging from social ostracism through physical abuse and/or death. Informers are therefore generally protected, either by being segregated while in prison or, if they are not incarcerated, relocated under a new identity.

Mob InformantsEdit


1. Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano - Underboss

2. Michael "Mickey Scars" DiLeonardo - Capo

3. Dominick "Fat Dom" Borghese - Soldier

4. Craig DePalma - Soldier

5. Frank "Frankie Fapp" Fappiano - Soldier

6. Primo Cassarino - Soldier

7. Joseph "Little Joe" D'Angelo - Soldier


1. Joseph "Big Joey/The Ear" Massino - Boss

2. Salvatore "The Chief" Vitale - Underboss

3. Richard "Shellackhead" Cantarella - Capo/Acting Underboss

4. James "Jimmy Tag/Big Lou" Tartaglione - Capo/Street Boss

5. Frank Coppa - Capo/Street Boss

6. Frank "Curly" Lino - Capo/Street Boss

7. Dominick Cicale - Soldier

8. Paul Cantarella - Soldier

9. Joey "Joe Mook" D'Amico - Soldier

10. Generoso "Jimmy The General" Barbieri - Soldier

11. Nicholas "PJ" Pisciotti - Soldier/Acting Capo


1. Anthony "Gas Pipe" Casso - Underboss

2. Alphonse "Little Al" D'Arco - Capo /Acting Boss

3. Joseph "Little Joe/Joe D" Defede - Soldier/Acting Boss

4. Anthony "Tumac" Accetturo - Capo

5. Peter "Fat Pete" Chiodo - Capo

6. Eugenio "Gene" Giannini - Soldier

7. Dominick “The Gap” Petrilli - Capo/Soldier

8. Thomas Ricciardi - Soldier 9. Frank "Goo Goo" Suppa - Soldier

10. Bruno Facciolo - Soldier

11. Joseph D'Arco - Soldier

12. Frank Gioia - Soldier


1. Carmine Sessa - Consiglieri

2. Greg Scarpa Sr. - Capo

3. John Pate - Capo

4. Michael "Mikey" Franzese - Soldier/Acting Capo

5. Salvatore "Big Sal" Miciotta - Soldier/Acting Capo

6. Rocco Cagno - Soldier

7. Joseph "Joe Camp" Campanella - Capo/Soldier


1. Joseph "Joe Cargo" Valachi - Soldier

2. Fiore "Fury" Siano - Soldier

3. Vincent "The Cafaro - Soldier

4. George Barone - Soldier


1. Ralph Natale - Boss

2. Philip "Crazy Phil" Leonetti - Underboss

3. Peter "The Crumb" Caprio - Capo

4. Ronald "Big Ron" Previte - Capo

5. Robert "Bobby" Luise Jr. - Capo

6. George Freselone - Capo

7. Thomas "Tommy Del" DelGiorno - Capo/Soldier

8. Lawrence "Larry/Yogi" Merlino - Capo/Soldier

9. Nicholas "Nicky the Crow" Caramandi - Soldier

10. Eugene "Gino" Milano - Soldier

11. Salvatore "Wayne" Grande - Soldier

12. Biagio Adornetto - Soldier

13. Rosario Bellochi - Soldier

14. Sergio Battaglia - Soldier

15. John Veasey - Soldier

16. Gaetono "Tommy Horsehead" Scafidi - Soldier


1. Vincent "Vinnie Ocean" Palermo - Capo/Acting Boss

2. Anthony Rotondo - Capo

3. Anthony Capo - Soldier

Chicago OutfitEdit

1. Nicholas Calabrese - Soldier

2. Louis “Lou” Bombacino - Soldier

3. Mario Rainone - Soldier


1. Anthony DeCanzio - Soldier

2. Joseph "Spike" LaNovara - Soldier

3. Angelo Monachino - Soldier

4. Anthony Oliveri - Soldier


1. Charles "Chuckie" Porter - Underboss

2. Leonard "Lenny" Strollo - Capo


1. Albert Marone - Capo

2. Pasquale "Patty" Calabrese - Soldier

3. Vito Aueci - Soldier

Kansas CityEdit

1. Joe Agosto - Soldier

St LouisEdit

1. John Vitale - Acting Boss


1. Angelo "Big Ange" Lonardo - Underboss

Los AngelesEdit

1. Aladene "Jimmy the Weasal" Fratiano - Soldier/Acting Boss

2. Louis Tom Dragna - Capo/Former Acting Boss

3. Frank "The Bomp" Bompensiero - Consiglieri

4. Salvatore "Dago Louie" Piscopo - Soldier

San JoseEdit

1. Orlando Catelli - Soldier


1. John Mamone - Soldier