FBI Director Robert Mueller told Congress on Wednesday that he doesn't know how many of his agents cheated on an important test about the limitations of the bureau's powers to conduct surveillance and open cases without evidence that a crime has been committed.
The Justice Department inspector general is investigating whether hundreds of FBI agents cheated on the test - a brewing scandal that could be further embarrassment for the FBI as it continues cleaning up after years of collecting phone records without court approval.
Asked by Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., about an Associated Press report on the cheating, Mueller told the Senate Judiciary Committee he didn't know the exact number of agents involved.
"I've got a general idea, but I do not know how many," Mueller testified. "And I am not certain the IG knows how many either. He has pointed out instances orally to me where there maybe persons in a particular office where it was widespread and maybe attributable to a lack of understanding and confusion about the procedures."
In some instances, agents took the open-book test together, violating rules that they take it alone. Others finished the lengthy exam unusually quickly, current and former officials said.