(WASHINGTON) -- "Fidelity, Bravery, and Integrity," is the FBI's motto. But when it comes to taking tests, some agents have had a problem living up to the integrity portion of that pledge. An investigation released Monday by the Justice Department's Inspector General found that "a significant number of FBI employees engaged in some form of cheating or improper conduct," on an exam designed to test an agent's knowledge of the new Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide (DIOG).
The investigation covered four FBI field offices, and found that the Bureau had "implemented training and a rigorous exam on the important requirements of the new DIOG. Unfortunately, however, the conduct of some FBI employees undermined those actions." The investigation describes the kind of cheating that might be expected from a group of middle school students, not from professional law enforcement officers. For example, the investigation notes, "some consulted with others while taking the exam when that was specifically forbidden by the test-taking protocols. Others used or distributed answers sheets or study guides that essentially provided the answers to the test. A few exploited a programming flaw to reveal the answers to the exam on their computers."
The report noted that the cheating was not limited to rank and file agents. Some supervisors participated as well. The Inspector General's office recommended that the cheaters be disciplined, and that the FBI launch a more wide-ranging investigation of cheating on the test. It also said the Bureau should make everyone take a new exam.
In a written statement, the FBI said it was "disappointed with the misconduct described in the report," but that an "uncompromising commitment to integrity remains the backbone of the FBI workforce." The Bureau said it is taking personnel actions in cases where the misconduct has been determined, and following up on each of the 22 cases the Inspector General found.
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