Is there a word for a person who doesn't commit murder himself but gives the contract to murder to someone else?
someone who pays (or otherwise incites) you to commit a wrongful act
Though, this word was more common in the past. Today, in law, it is mainly used for someone who induces a person to commit perjury.
Technically speaking, suborn doesn't just mean induce someone to conveniently "forget" something in the witness stand, or otherwise get creative with their imagination. An inducement to any kind of crime is suborning, but by far the most common use is in the legal sense above. Or "witness tampering," as the cops call it.
From the book "Searching Shakespeare: Studies in Culture and Authority By Derek Cohen":
Also, employer is commonly used in current vernacular.
But most often, the reason for the Contract on the Hitman is because the employer doesn't want anything linking the killing that the assassin did back to them, and wants the assassin eliminated because — say it with us, people — He Knows Too Much.
From the book "Hitman" By Max Kinnings:
...Firstly, I wanted to introduce myself to you and secondly I wanted to request that you desist from your misguided attempt to collect the bounty that your employer placed upon my head...
From the book "Targeted Violence: A Statistical and Tactical Analysis of Assassinations, Contract Killings, and Kidnappings" by Glenn P. McGovern:
...If a hitman's employer is going to arrange a meeting at a specific time and location...
The person who contracts a murder is a murderer.
At least that is the case in Australia, and I believe, in Britain. The person who instigates the killing is guilty of murder, as is the person who does the deed.
Edit: all of the above assumes that the murder is carried out. Thanks to Frank for his extensive comment :-)
The term for someone that pays someone else to do the dirty work is "paymaster."
- As long as "paymaster" has both a neutral connotation and a pejorative connotation to it, the simplest way to check on whether what I'm claiming here is fact is to google the phrase "the alleged [paymaster] of," and see the results for yourself.
Congress demands speedy probe of "Godman" Chandraswamy - alleged paymaster of LTTE in Rajiv murder.
"The business and political sectors behind many genocides have often remained invisible and unpunished, since responsibility is usually attached only to the direct perpetrators, whether military or police, but not to their paymasters."
The Secret History of Assassination: The Killers and Their Paymasters Revealed. Magpie Books. Burke, Edmund (1986).
"Again, the resistance of an oppressed population to a brutal military occupation is "terror," from the point of view of the occupiers and their paymaster."
"It was dirty work, but somebody had to do it. The contract went to David Yallop, a man with melancholy eyes accustomed to dealing in violence and conspiracy. He was handed a list of 10 names. Get rid of these people, he was told. The paymaster promised about USD 156,000..."
"Only today I have written a chapter that tells of a furious argument between a contract killer and his paymaster that ends up with a fight..."
- Also, sponsor is commonly used in current vernacular.
sponsor: a person who vouches or is responsible for a person or thing.
"In particular, Reagan took aim at Muammar Qaddafi, the leader of Libya and sponsor of numerous terrorist attacks..."
"Rev. David Ugolor, the alleged sponsor of the murder of Olaytan Oyerinde, has been discharged and acquitted by an Evboriaria Magistrates Court.."
"Daily leaks from the Style campaign highlighted the Bureau's failure to identify the killer and his sponsor..."
The most famous contract killers organization called themselves the Combination: Murder, Inc. (or Murder Incorporated or the Brownsville Boys; known in syndicate circles as The Combination) was the name given by the press to organized crime groups in the 1920s through the 1940s that resulted in hundreds of murders on behalf of the American Mafia and Jewish Mafia groups whether formed the early organized crime groups in New York and elsewhere. The name was a journalistic invention.
Though the press term was popularized, the client (who
inchoates) , Combination (syndicate), and hitman (Button man) were all legally co-conspirators
Although not usually used in this regard, a hitman/contractor can be considered an agent, so agent handling will need to be used to appropriately use agents.
In the computer game Hitman there are NPCs called handlers that assign contracts to their agents (like Diana Burnwood). This is also used in the Bourne series, where Nicky Parsons is referred to as the Logistics Technician officially, but as a handler (perhaps as a slang) several times. Both the game and the movie center around contract killing.
Another word used to describe the handler. According to Spy Museum, Controller is an individual in charge of agents. So it is synonymous with handler.
While spies and hitman are not the same thing, the covert nature of these professions would indicate that they would share some similar traits as individuals from one may be employed in the other. Whether this is true or not can be left for debate (CIA most probably won't admit to having an assassination program), the terminology is pretty common if it has seen its way into movies and computer games
It would be interesting to see where and when these terms originated. Did Ian Flemming, creator of the James Bond series, ever refer to M as his controller in the novels? Was it used even prior to this?