WASHINGTON - The FBI is investigating the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, Justice Department officials said yesterday, following allegations of misconduct from former employees.

The investigation of Stuart Bowen involves possible electronic tampering, including alleged efforts by the inspector general to go through e-mails of employees in his office, said two officials close to the inquiry. It is being handled by the FBI's Washington field office, according to law enforcement officials, who like the first officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation.

According to one of the officials close to the investigation, the FBI is looking into several issues of possible fraud and abuse and has interviewed a number of former and current employees - some two or three times. A grand jury has been impaneled, and has issued subpoenas for documents.

The official said that in addition to the allegations involving Bowen accessing employee e-mails, the FBI is also looking into whether Bowen and his deputy, Ginger Cruz, may have inappropriately used taxpayer funds to pay their legal expenses associated with an administrative investigation that began in 2006. *