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To accomplish our objectives, we reviewed applicable sections of the Federal Open Market Committee Rules and Authorizations and identified criteria by which to assess how the confidentiality of FOMC minutes should be maintained. We also reviewed other relevant guidance, including the Board Information Security Program, Appendix J: Board's Information Classification and Handling Standards, and the U.S. Government Accountability Office's Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government. In addition, we reviewed relevant documents that show how FOMC meeting minutes are distributed and the management controls in place within the distribution processes. We also reviewed records describing the events that led to the early release of the March 19--20, 2013, FOMC meeting minutes.
We interviewed Office of Board Members officials and staff, specifically officials from the CLO and Public Affairs, including PIO and the Web Communications staff. We also interviewed staff in the FOMC Secretariat, Monetary Affairs, and the Division of Information Technology. We conducted our fieldwork from April 2013 to May 2013.
The scope of our audit included the Board's processes for distributing FOMC minutes, after the minutes are approved and loaded into the publication system and before the FOMC minutes are loaded into the MAS and the Board's public website. We assessed the effectiveness of the Board's management controls to safeguard the FOMC minutes from early release.
We conducted this performance audit in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. We believe that the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives.