Another remedy to the FBI laboratory’s difficulties is the decision by Director Louis J. Freeh to seek accreditation for the FBI facility by the American Society of Crime Lab Directors. The accreditation process allows outside experts to review examination techniques and practices and test the proficiency of lab personnel.
Freeh said last week that he ordered the accreditation, in January 1995, as soon as he learned that it had not been sought before. Weldon Kennedy, the FBI’s deputy director, said the bureau had not sought outside approval before because, “frankly, we were not ready for accreditation.”
FBI documents show that until Freeh began the accreditation process, the bureau had repeatedly rejected external scrutiny for nearly 20 years.
The FBI helped design a federally funded proficiency testing program for state and local laboratories in 1975 and subjected its lab personnel to the testing regime briefly. The practice was stopped by FBI supervisors who argued that “the tests involved were an additional burden on bureau resources and not directly related to casework,” according to a 1977 FBI report.
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