US & Canada

FBI agents cheated on exam using answer sheets - report

FBI HQ
The FBI is being pressed to investigate further

FBI agents cheated on an internal exam by conferring, using crib sheets, and finding answers on computers, a Department of Justice probe has found.

Staff were required to take a test on their knowledge of new unified guidelines on domestic investigations.

Suspicions were raised when many passed the 90-minute exam in just 20 minutes.

The authors of the report said "a significant number of FBI employees engaged in some form of improper conduct or cheating".

After the controversial guidelines were introduced, staff were required to take 16.5 hours of classroom tuition and then take a 51-question computerised exam that was expected to take most people between 90 minutes and two hours.

They were allowed access to the guidelines while taking the test, which was mostly sat between May 2009 and January 2010.

The Office of the Inspector General was called in to investigate after 200 workers passed the test in under 20 minutes.

After interviewing staff in a number of field offices, investigators found people taking the exam had conferred, and that direct cheating had been employed.

In one field office, staff had exploited a lack of computer security to call up the answers to the test.

In another office, of 11 workers interviewed, three supervisors and four agents said they had used answer sheets for the exam. Some tried to justify the usage on the basis that these were "notes".

They also found that tutors were "training to the test", indicating which part of lessons would be on the exam by stamping their feet loudly during the relevant sections.

The Office of the Inspector General is recommending that those who directly cheated be disciplined and that there be a wider investigation than the small sample they spoke to.

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