DOJ watchdog warns about FBI using female support staff photos in sex-trafficking stings

The FBI has pledged to alter its practices after the Justice Division’s inspector basic raised considerations about brokers’ use of images of feminine assist workers members in intercourse trafficking investigations and “probably putting them in peril of changing into the victims of prison offenses.”

In a report made public Monday, Inspector Common Michael Horowitz discovered that no FBI coverage required particular brokers “to acquire written knowledgeable consent” from assist workers members once they use their photos as bait on-line. The FBI accepted Horowitz’s suggestions to provoke a proper coverage.

Horowitz found the dearth of a coverage in an investigation of a particular agent who was “alleged to have engaged in an inappropriate relationship with an FBI assist workers worker,” which included the agent’s asking the worker to “present him with provocative photos of herself for on-line UC (undercover) operations.”


“Throughout the course of our investigation, the OIG realized that SAs generally used images of younger feminine assist workers staff to pose as minor kids or intercourse staff to entice sexual predators on numerous social media web sites,” Horowitz’s report stated. “SAs” are particular brokers.

The assist workers members “will not be licensed undercover staff or licensed on-line covert staff,” Horowitz stated. The report doesn’t specify how widespread the observe was, and it doesn’t accuse the brokers of getting used the pictures towards the workers’ will or with out their data.

“Within the cases we reviewed in reference to the OIG investigation, the workers’ faces have been blurred and the workers have been clothed,” the report stated. “Nonetheless, the SA who was the topic of the OIG’s investigation didn’t doc which staff have been used, acquire written consent from the workers, doc the web sites on which the pictures have been posted, or doc when the pictures have been posted. The SA stated he was ‘fishing’ on social media websites however not recording which websites he used.”

Moreover, the report discovered, “the FBI had no documentation or info concerning whether or not the pictures nonetheless seem on the web sites or how lengthy the pictures appeared on the web sites, throughout which period the pictures may have been — and probably may nonetheless be — downloaded, copied, or additional disseminated. The OIG believes that this conduct poses potential antagonistic penalties” for the non-undercover staff, “together with probably putting them in peril of changing into the victims of prison offenses.”

In a response letter, the FBI stated it “totally accepted” Horowitz’s suggestions and can implement modifications to make sure that pointers are in place. The FBI stated that if such photos are used sooner or later, it’ll have insurance policies to make sure that the staffers and their supervisors are formally notified and that the photographs are tracked and used “safely and appropriately.” | DOJ watchdog warns about FBI utilizing feminine assist workers photographs in sex-trafficking stings


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