Witness Protection Program Law & Legal Definition


The U.S. Witness Protection Program is a federal program in which a witness to a criminal activity is protected. It is also known as the Witness Security Program or WITSEC. This program was established under the Organized Crime Control Act. This program provided a new identity to the witness, in exchange for testimony against organized crime groups. The new identity usually includes a Social Security card, driver's license, school record, and job history.

The program is administered by the United States Department of Justice, and operated by the United States Marshals Service. Few states such as California, Illinois, New York, and Texas, have their own witness protection programs for crimes not covered by the federal program. However, the state-run programs provide less extensive protections than the federal program.