Audit of the FBI’s Management of its Confidential Human Source Validation Processes

Audit of the FBI’s Management of its Confidential Human Source Validation Processes


Hello, I’m Michael Horowitz, Inspector General
for the U.S. Department of Justice. Today we released a report on the FBI’s
management of its Confidential Human Source program. The FBI relies on confidential sources to
provide support for law enforcement and national security operations. But lessons learned from past confidential
source problems has led Attorneys General to place a strong emphasis on oversight over
confidential sources; and to the creation of the Attorney General confidential source
guidelines. We identified significant issues in our audit
regarding both the FBI’s oversight of its confidential sources and the FBI’s compliance
with the Attorney General Guidelines. First, we found that the FBIs’ vetting processes
for sources, known as validation, did not comply with the Attorney General Guidelines,
particularly with regard to “long-term” sources,
Second, we found that the Department’s review committee that approves the FBI’s continued
use of long-term confidential sources had not vetted long-term sources in a timely manner
and also did not comply with the Attorney General Guidelines. Third, we found that the FBI didn’t provide
agents with clear guidance for how to communicate with confidential sources. Finally, we found that FBI employees were
sometimes discouraged from documenting conclusions and recommendations about sources; and we
identified issues with the FBI’s ability to align its confidential sources with its
highest threat priorities. Ineffective management and oversight of confidential
sources can result in jeopardizing FBI operations, and placing FBI agents, sources, subjects
of investigation, and the public in harm’s way. The FBI agreed with all of our recommendations
to improve its management and oversight over this important program. To read the report and all of our findings,
visit our website, oig.justice.gov, or go to oversight.gov. Thank you for joining us.

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