The FBI Laboratory has an important national law enforcement function, and it is critical that the Laboratory meet its goal of being foremost in the delivery of forensic examinations and other services to law enforcement through, among other things, a total commitment to quality. Although our investigation identified some significant problems in the Laboratory, we believe the FBI's adoption of our systemic recommendations will help prevent the recurrence of such problems.


This report reflects an exhaustive effort to examine the multitude of allegations and technical issues raised by Agent Whitehurst concerning Laboratory personnel and management. We concluded that most of Whitehurst's claims were unfounded, but that some had merit. Our inquiry primarily concerned three units of the Laboratory -- the Explosives, Chemistry-Toxicology, and Materials Analysis units. Findings of deficiencies in these units should not be extrapolated to other units in the Laboratory, and in the three units that were the focus of our inquiry, and in other parts of the Laboratory, we observed some examples of impressive forensic work. In addition, we identified important issues that apply throughout the Laboratory. In Part Five of this Report, we discuss the allegations directed at specific individuals. Most of the persons named in the allegations are exonerated.


We have shared our information and conclusions with the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice. That Division has assembled a team that is working with prosecutors to address the disclosure implications of the Whitehurst allegations in individual cases.


Our objective was not only to review and resolve the Whitehurst allegations in a fair and impartial manner, but also to identify and comment on issues that should be addressed by the Laboratory to achieve excellence in forensic science. To that end, we have made recommendations in Part Six of this Report to help correct faulty or absent processes and other problems in Laboratory operations. We believe that full implementation of these recommendations -- although requiring a significant commitment of time, effort, and resources -- will bring the FBI closer to its goal of having one of the finest scientific laboratories in the law enforcement community.




Michael R. Bromwich

Inspector General





Members of the Scientific PanelSpecial Investigative Counsel


Nicholas S. CartwrightBarry Rand Elden

Dr. Paul B. FerraraScott Bales

Douglas M. LucasNicole Cubbage

Dr. Gerard MurrayLawrence Lincoln

Dr. Richard Schwoebel



Principal Contributors

Office of the Inspector General


David C. Frederick

Alison Murphy

Special Agent Robert Mellado

Special Agent Joseph LeStrange

Special Agent Kimberly Thomas





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