By Jonathan Spicer and Ann Saphir
NEW YORK/ SAN FRANCISCO, April 26 The Federal
Reserve's inspector general expects to complete this quarter an
audit into the early release of minutes of the central bank's
most recent policy-setting meeting, according to the watchdog's
work plan posted on Friday.
The release, which the Fed has said it believes was
accidental, was the central bank's worst security lapse in
years. Minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee's meetings
can be market-sensitive, and some of the recipients of the
minutes, a full day early, were at banks.
"The objective of this audit is to review the processes for
distributing FOMC minutes to Federal Reserve staff and evaluate
the Board's management controls to prevent the early release of
those minutes," the inspector general said in its work plan.
Some 154 people, primarily congressional staffers and
employees of trade associations, had received the minutes of its
March policy meeting around 2 p.m. (1800 GMT) on April 9 - about
24 hours before their scheduled public release.
The minutes were contained in an email from a member of the
Fed's congressional liaison staff.
The list also included people employed at Wall Street banks,
including Goldman Sachs, Barclays Capital, Wells Fargo and
Citigroup, which regularly trade on new information about U.S.
Contacted by Reuters in the days following the release,
several of the recipients said they were not even aware they had
received the minutes early until after the Fed publicized the
"I saw the email and filed it to read later," said one
Congressional staffer. Said another recipient in the political
line, "I don't know what I would do with it. I wouldn't even
know where to begin. It's pretty obscure information."
Other recipients who worked at banks referred inquiries to
public relations staff, who declined to comment. At least two
of the recipients said neither the Fed nor regulators had
reached out to them to ask questions
After discovering the breach early on April 10, the day of
the scheduled release, the Fed decided it would publish the
minutes at 9 a.m. (1300 GMT), about five hours earlier than
"Every indication at this time is that the early release of
the minutes was entirely accidental," a Fed spokesman said at