WASHINGTON (AP) - A Justice Department investigation has found
that FBI agents, including several supervisors, cheated on an
important test covering the bureau's policies for conducting
surveillance on Americans.
Justice Department Inspector General Glenn Fine said Monday that
his limited review of allegations that agents improperly took the
open-book test together or had access to an answer sheet has turned
up "significant abuses and cheating."
Fine called on the bureau to discipline the agents, throw out
the results and come up with a new test to see if FBI agents
understand new rules allowing them to conduct surveillance and open
files on Americans without evidence of criminal wrongdoing.
The troubling review of the exam on surveillance rules follows
Fine's report last week on the FBI's scrutiny of domestic activist
groups. That investigation found that the FBI gave inaccurate
information to Congress and the public when it claimed a possible
terrorism link to justify monitoring an anti-war rally in
Pittsburgh in 2002. That IG report also criticized the factual
basis for opening or continuing FBI domestic terrorism
investigations of some other nonviolent left-leaning groups.
In the inquiry into the exam, the inspector general looked at
only at four FBI field offices and found enough troubling
information to warrant a comprehensive review by the FBI.
In one FBI field office, four agents exploited a computer
software flaw "to reveal the answers to the questions as they were
taking the exam," Fine said.
Other test-takers used or circulated materials that essentially
provided the test answers, he said.
Fine said that almost all of those who cheated "falsely
certified" that they did the work themselves, without the help of
Last year, Assistant Director Joseph Persichini, the head of the
FBI's Washington field office that investigates congressional
wrongdoing and other crime in the nation's capital, retired amid a
review of test-taking in his office.
Persichini took the test alongside two of his most senior
managers and one of the bureau attorneys in charge of making sure
the exam was administered properly, current and former officials
said. The two agents who took the test with him have been moved to
headquarters while the investigation continues.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)