In a statement, the FBI said: “We are aware that we received information that may have been helpful in determining the identity of an individual who was involved in the theft of a safe containing an explosive device from a Department of Justice vault in January 2017.”

In January 2017, a man called in a tip that led to the seizure of the device at the FBI’s Quantico, Virginia, office.

The FBI has declined to provide details about the man’s identity, but said he told investigators he worked at the agency’s headquarters in Washington and that he “had some knowledge of the operation of a protected vault in Quantico”.

The bureau has been under scrutiny for its handling of an explosion that killed a guard at the Capitol building in February that was not reported to federal officials until the following month.

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