Yes, I Cheated on that Exam

Imagine being a hiring manager, and you administer a test to determine the best candidate. Cheating is not allowed, not even in an open-book test.

Let’s take it one step further. The cheaters are working in the security industry -- for the FBI. Does this catch your eye?

Apparently the Inspector General of the Department of Justice has found widespread cheating by certain employees of the FBI on an examination designed to test their knowledge of the Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide. The IG report raises concerns concerning the integrity of these law enforcement officials.

The findings are, to say the least, alarming. In fact, in one case, two special agents in charge took the exam in the same room with a legal advisor while discussing the answers with each other. And, to confuse matters even more, the head of the Washington Field Office took notes for when he took the course at a later date.

This isn’t security. It’s cheating.

“The findings of the IG raise serious questions about the integrity of the FBI employees, as well as the FBI’s overall regard for the significance of the DIOG,” said Sen. Susan M. Collins, ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. “To be successful, the FBI must use the full array of its authorities within boundaries that are defined by the Constitution, our laws and the DIOG.”

Collins is absolutely correct in calling for an investigation because there is no shortage of high-profile cases that demonstrate the need for FBI employees to understand the full scope of their authorities, yet still appreciate the lawful limits of their activities.

“A more complete understanding of the DIOG and other authorities by Joint Terrorism Task Force employees might have helped avert the attack on Fort Hood,” Collins wrote in a letter to FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III.

DIOG instructions and limitations must be instinctive for FBI employees, and for security’s sake, agents just appreciate the nuances and legal underpinnings of the guidelines.

Cheaters never prosper, and in this case, cheating raises serious doubts about the commitment of many FBI employees.

About the Author

Ralph C. Jensen is editor-in-chief of Security Today magazine.

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