An FBI agent used photos of co-workers as "bait" in a human trafficking investigation and could be punished.

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source: finance.yahoo.com

An FBI agent used photos of co-workers as "bait" in a human trafficking investigation and could be punished.

The agent did not obtain written consent from those involved, and putting the photos online could even have criminal penalties.

The findings follow a scathing report by the inspector general issued last month, which found that the FBI office had botched its investigation into allegations of sexual abuse against American gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar.

An FBI agent faced possible disciplinary action when an internal Justice Department supervisor revealed in an investigation that he allegedly asked a support employee to provide him with "provocative" photos of him—used as bait in a secret sex trafficking operation.

In a memo on Monday, Inspector General Michael Horowitz said the investigation revealed to his office that the agent's conduct was not an isolated incident.

In other cases, agents asked the office staff to impersonate underage girls or sex workers in sting operations.

While their faces were blurred and remained clothed, Horowitz said the personnel whose photos were used were not undercover or certified undercover agents.

The investigated agent never obtained the women's written consent and advised them not to tell anyone, "including their supervisors, about UC's [covert] operations."

"This conduct presents potential adverse consequences" for certified non-covert personnel, Horowitz said, noting that posting their photos online could put them "in danger of becoming victims of criminal offenses."

Horowitz said the FBI has no policy on the use of images of unverified intelligence personnel in covert operations.

He urged the FBI to set one up and ensure agents get the written consent of female employees featured in black ops photos.

Brian Turner, the FBI's deputy executive director, responded in a July 27 memo, saying the office "will evaluate existing policy and determine which policies require adjustments." He said the findings related to the conduct of the particular agent would be adjudicated by the Office of Professional Responsibility.

The findings follow a scathing report by the inspector general issued last month, which found that the FBI office had botched its investigation into allegations of sexual abuse against American gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has said it intends to hold a supervisory hearing on the FBI's failures in the Nassar case.