The website of the Inspector General for the Department of Justice lists a number of investigations the Inspector General’s office is undertaking. In particular, it lists this one:

FBI’s Confidential Human Source Program

The OIG is auditing the FBI’s Confidential Human Source Program. The preliminary objectives are to: (1) assess the FBI’s management and oversight of its Confidential Human Source Program, to include the FBI’s oversight of payments to confidential human sources, (2) examine the FBI’s confidential human source policies to ensure consistency with the Attorney General Guidelines, and (3) assess the FBI’s process of determining reliability and appropriateness of confidential human sources.

My question is, has the Inspector General’s Office what prompted this review? Has it stated that President Trump prompted this review?

The reason I ask that when it was reported in May 2018 that in 2016 the FBI had used a confidential human source, London-based American Professor Stefan Halper, as part of the Trump-Russia investigation, President Trump referred to this as “Spygate” and called on the Department of Justice to investigate it. (What Stephan Halper did was approach Carter Page and George Papadopoulos and asked them whether they knew about Russia’s email hacking efforts.) And in response Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein asked the Inspector General’s Office to investigate it.

But at the time DOJ spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said that this would be looked into a part of the Inspector General’s FISA abuse investigation, not as part of some separate investigation:

The Department has asked the Inspector General to expand the ongoing review of the FISA application process to include determining whether there was any impropriety or political motivation in how the FBI conducted its counterintelligence investigation of persons suspected of involvement with the Russian agents who interfered in the 2016 presidential election. As always, the Inspector General will consult with the appropriate U.S. Attorney if there is any evidence of potential criminal conduct.

So has the Inspector General’s Office discussed whether this was just a routine audit of the FBI’s Confidential Human Source Program, or whether this was prompted by Trump’s concerns about the FBI’s use of Stefan Halper?

EDIT: My question has been revised to be about what the Inspector General’s Office has stated, not about “intentions”, so I request that it be reopened.

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    @Sjoerd do we know for sure there is no official communication?
    – JJJ
    Apr 4, 2019 at 18:48
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    @Sjoerd so what's to say there are no other official records that do answer the question? These statements don't say that the reason for the investigation are confidential. There may well be a statement from officials that can be used to answer the question.
    – JJJ
    Apr 4, 2019 at 19:19
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    @Sjoerd there is a difference between preemptively closing all questions asking for public statements and just letting them be open for a bit. Why the rush to close? In addition to that, people with knowledge of the subject might no more about what sparks routine investigations, thus knowledge can answer this question, not just speculation.
    – JJJ
    Apr 4, 2019 at 19:26
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    I think this question as revised has an unambiguous answer and I would like to provide it.
    – Joe
    Apr 5, 2019 at 14:20
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    @Joe I hope the answer will be more interesting than "no". Apr 5, 2019 at 14:54

2 Answers 2


By definition, Audits are routine

Audits conducted by the Inspector General are routine performance evaluations of various programs run by the Department of Justice. They are not prompted by allegations of misconduct. Efforts to look into allegations of misconduct are referred to as Investigations.

There are two different divisions in the Inspector General's office that run Audits and Investigations.

OIG has been auditing all Confidential Human Source programs since before Trump was elected

  • ATF's Confidential Human Source program was audited in 2017, though most of the work was probably done in 2016 given the report came out in March.
  • DEA's Confidential Human Source program was audited in 2016, and the report came out in September 2016, before Trump was elected.

If there is anything involving the OIG looking into Stephen Halper, it would be an Investigation

Also, the following text from the same page you cite may refer to Stephen Halper:

Examination of the Department’s and the FBI’s Compliance with Legal Requirements and Policies in Applications Filed with the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Relating to a certain U.S. Person The OIG, in response to requests from the Attorney General and Members of Congress, is examining the Department’s and the FBI’s compliance with legal requirements, and with applicable DOJ and FBI policies and procedures, in applications filed with the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) relating to a certain U.S. person. As part of this examination, the OIG is also reviewing information that was known to the DOJ and the FBI at the time the applications were filed from or about an alleged FBI confidential source. Additionally, the OIG is reviewing the DOJ’s and FBI’s relationship and communications with the alleged source as they relate to the FISC applications. If circumstances warrant, the OIG will consider including other issues that may arise during the course of the review.

In which case, it would be rather clear that the audit is totally unrelated to whatever else is being looked into re: Donald Trump, Stefan Halper (the "alleged FBI confidential source"? Maybe?), Carter Page (who might be the US Person who has had FISC applications involving him?) or anyone else involved in that entire sordid affair.

  • The person mentioned there isn’t Stefan Halper, it’s Christopher Steele. It’s about the use of Christopher Steele’s information in the FISA warrant application of Carter Page. The announcement of this investigation and this description of it came out long before May 2018. Apr 5, 2019 at 16:19
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    But it is true that now the FISA abuse investigation has also been expanded to include the use of Stefan Halper as a confidential human source. Apr 5, 2019 at 16:21
  • @KeshavSrinivasan Fair enough; I can hardly keep all of those people straight
    – Joe
    Apr 5, 2019 at 16:48

With the audit results now released, it seems pretty clear the answer is no, the 2019 audit of FBI Confidential Human Sources (CHS) processes was not prompted by President Trump, nor any of his appointees. As stated in the final report: "This audit primarily covers the FBI's CHS program from fiscal year (FY) 2012 through May 2019." It appears to be follow-up on problems identified by FBI management during earlier administrations.

The audit makes reference to earlier reviews of the CHS program's internal controls, specifically guidance from the attorney general most recently updated in December 2006, and the FBI began a program to change the system for managing CHSs The FBI's Inspection Division identified a staffing concern in the 2013 National Program Review of its CHS program", and program changes were made in 2016 in an effort to address the backlog of CHS validations. The audit seems normal follow up to asses the effectiveness of the changes the FBI made in terms of the Attorney General's guidance on the use of confidential human sources.

Neither Trump nor Halper are mentioned at all in the CHS program audit report.

  • We didn't actually need the audit results to be released to know this, given that by definition audits are not prompted by allegations of specific misconduct.
    – Joe
    Jan 3, 2020 at 15:24

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