Office of Special Investigations

The Office of Special Investigations (OSI) is a specialized unit within GAO created to meet the Congress' need for quick, focused responses to questions and issues of criminal activity, fraud, and abuse. Staffed with senior criminal investigators, its primary mission is to identify and investigate potential fraud, criminal misconduct, and serious wrongdoing involving federal funds, programs, and activities.

OSI has two special publications created as a service to the investigative and law enforcement communities. The first publication, Investigators' Guide to Sources of Information (GAO/OSI-97-2) is available to the public and is intended to be a resource for investigators in identifying information sources concerning people, property, business, and finance. The most recent version of the guide was published in April 1997.

The second publication, Electronic Law Enforcement: Introduction to Investigations in an Electronic Environment (GAO-01-121G) is a reference tool restricted for use by the federal law enforcement community because it contains sensitive law enforcement information. The guide discusses the various tools, resources, and strategies available for use when investigators encounter electronic or digital evidence.

If you are a criminal investigator with a federal law enforcement agency and you wish to access the online version of the second publication, please contact us with your request. Send your name, law enforcement affiliation, and office telephone number to us at We will respond with information about how you may access this document. Please note that at least Version 4.05 of the Acrobat Reader is needed to access this document.