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DOJ OIG Releases Management Advisory Memorandum of Concerns Regarding Use of Photographs for FBI Employees for Online Undercover Operations

Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz announced today the release of a Management Advisory Memorandum to the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) identifying concerns with the use of photographs of FBI employees who are not certified undercover employees (UCE) or certified online covert employees (OCE) in online undercover (UC) operations.

The DOJ Office of the Inspector General (OIG) identified these concerns during an investigation in which an FBI Special Agent used photographs of female support staff employees to pose as underage females in a sex trafficking investigation. These employees were not certified UCEs or certified OCEs, and the Special Agent who was the subject of the OIG’s investigation did not document which employees were used, obtain written consent from the employees, inform the employees’ supervisors, document the websites on which the photographs were posted, or document when the photographs were posted. The OIG believes that this conduct poses potential adverse consequences for non-UCE/OCE employees participating in UC operations, including potentially placing them in danger of becoming the victims of criminal offenses.

The DOJ OIG made three recommendations to the FBI to address the concerns we identified. The FBI agreed with the recommendations.

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