IG Michael Horowitz Releases Report on FBI’s Handling of Confidential Sources

Inspector General Michael Horowitz has released a 63-page report outlining results of an audit of the FBI’s handling of confidential human sources. Horowitz found a number of inconsistencies with the FBI’s stated policies on the treatment of confidential informants and other human sources of information.

In a video released this week, Horowitz explains his findings and the implications for the infractions his investigation discovered.

Horowitz Said:

Today we released a report on the FBI’s management of it’s 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 Attorney’s General to place a strong emphasis on oversight over confidential sources; and to the creation of Attorneys confidential source guidelines.

We identified significant issues in our audit regarding both the FBI’s oversight of it’s confidential sources and the FBI’s compliance with the Attorney General Guidelines.

Horowitz’ findings included:

  1. The FBI’s vetting processes for confidential sources, also known as validation, did not comply with the Attorney General Guidelines. This was particularly true with long-term sources.
  2. The FBI’s review committee, which approves the continued use of long-term confidential sources did not vet those sources in a timely manner and did not follow the Attorney General Guidelines.
  3. The FBI did not provide it’s agents with clear guidance for how to communicate with confidential sources.
  4. FBI agents were also discouraged from documenting conclusions and recommendations about their sources.
  5. There were issues with the ability of the FBI to align it’s confidential sources with it’s highest threat priorities.

He goes on to say:

Ineffective management and oversight of confidential sources can result in jeopardizing FBI operations, and placing FBI agents, sources, subjects of the investigation and the public in harm’s way.

The FBI has agreed with all the recommendations of the IG’s audit for improving it’s management and oversight over the Confidential Human Source Program.

Read the full report here.

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