An FBI agent allegedly asked a female support staffer to provide 'provocative' photos of herself that he used as bait in an undercover sex-trafficking operation.
The agent now faces potential disciplinary measures after an investigation by the Justice Department's internal watchdog's revelation.
In a memo on Monday, Inspector General Michael Horowitz said the investigation led his office to discover that the unidentified agent's conduct was not an isolated incident.
An FBI agent allegedly asked a female support staffer to provide 'provocative' photos of herself that he used as bait in an undercover sex-trafficking operation
He said the agent posted the photographs on social media without seeking the approval of supervisors or documenting where the images were displayed, USA Today reported.
He added that there were also other cases in which agents have asked female office staff to pose as minor children or sex workers in undercover operations.
While their faces were blurred and they remained clothed, Horowitz said the staff whose photos were used were not certified undercover or covert employees.
The agent under investigation never obtained written consent from the employees, and he advised them 'not to tell anyone, including their supervisors, about the UC [undercover] operations'.
The report found: 'The (agent) said he was 'fishing' on social media sites but not recording which sites he used.
'The (agent) did not inform the support staff employees' supervisors that the employees were involved in (undercover) operations, and the (agent) advised the support staff employees who provided photographs to not tell anyone, including their supervisors."
In a memo on Monday, Inspector General Michael Horowitz said the investigation led his office to discover that the unidentified agent's conduct was not an isolated incident
It added that the agent and his supervisor couldn't document 'how the photographers were obtained or used'.
Horowitz said that 'this conduct poses potential adverse consequences' for non-undercover certified staff, noting that posting their photos online could place them 'in danger of becoming the victims of criminal offenses'.
He added that the FBI had no policy in place concerning the use of photos of non-certified undercover staff in undercover operations.
Horowitz urged the FBI to establish one and to make sure agents obtain written consent from employees who appear in photographs for undercover operations.
Brian Turner, an executive assistant director at the FBI, responded in a July 27 memo, saying the bureau will 'evaluate existing policy and determine which policies require adjustment'.
He said the findings concerning the special agent's conduct would be adjudicated by the Office of Professional Responsibility.
The findings follow a scathing inspector general report issued last month, which found that the FBI bureau had botched its investigation into sex abuse allegations against disgraced US Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar.
The Senate Judiciary Committee has said it intends to conduct an oversight hearing into the FBI's failings in the Nassar case.