Undercover Populism

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter contrasts the targeting decisions of American and European – German in particular – law enforcement agencies in their design of undercover operations. The contribution shows that the lack of subject matter restrictions on American undercover operations makes it easier for American law enforcement agencies to use such investigations to target elites who are not themselves members of criminal organizations as well as ordinary consumers whose demand for illegal commodities fuels the supply of illicit commodities. The use of undercover tactics against broad sectors of society has a long history in the United States among progressive social reformers, social scientists, private detectives, and law enforcement. The chapter is based on a literature review, as well as empirical research that was conducted both in the USA and Germany.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationContemporary Organized Crime
EditorsHans Nelen, Dina Siegel
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-56592-3
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-56594-7, 978-3-030-56591-6
StatePublished - 2021

Publication series

NameStudies of Organized Crime
ISSN (Print)1571-5493


  • Undercover policing
  • Criminal investigation
  • Germany
  • USA
  • Sting operations


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