The Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General conducted this audit to determine: (1) how effectively the DEA recruits, trains, and retains intelligence analysts, and (2) the quality, usefulness, and effectiveness of the DEA’s intelligence reports and related products.
Scope and Methodology
Generally, our audit covered the period from FY 2004 through March of FY 2008. As part of the audit, we reviewed applicable sections of 21 U.S.C., regulations, and the DEA’s policies and procedures applicable to hiring, training, and retention of intelligence analysts along with the quality, usefulness, and effectiveness of the DEA’s intelligence reports and related products produced by intelligence analysts and reports officers.
We conducted our audit in accordance with the generally accepted Government Auditing Standards and reviewed data and performed tests necessary to accomplish the audit objectives. In connection with the audit, as required by the Standards, we reviewed: (1) selected portions of the DEA Agents Manual; DEA’s policy orders, criteria, and curriculum for the intelligence analysts’ basic training program; and a sample of the DEA’s strategic reports and reports officer cables; (2) interviewed selected officials within the DEA’s Intelligence Division; and (3) transmitted web-based questionnaires to 675 intelligence analysts and 4,843 Special Agents inquiring about their hiring, training, and retention experience in the DEA, along with questions to Special Agents about the effectiveness of contributions by intelligence analysts, whether their products were useful and timely, and a question about resource requirements.
We interviewed officials from the DEA’s Intelligence Division, the Office of Training, the Human Resources Division, Office of Finance, and the Office of Inspections. We also received briefings from the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Fusion Center, the El Paso Intelligence Center, the Special Operations Division, and the Office of Special Intelligence. Furthermore, we interviewed key users of DEA’s strategic reports and reports officer cables at the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of State, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. In addition, we performed on-site audit work at the following DEA locations:
DEA Field Sites Selected for Audit
|DEA Headquarters||Washington, D.C.|
|DEA Office of Training||Quantico, VA|
|Dallas Field Office||Dallas, TX|
|Houston Field Office||Houston, TX|
|Los Angeles Field Office||Los Angeles, CA|
|Miami Field Office||Miami, FL|
|New York Field Office||New York, NY|
|San Diego Field Office||San Diego, CA|
Analysis and Testing
To determine how effectively the DEA recruits, trains, and retains intelligence analysts, we:
Conducted interviews with DEA officials responsible for recruiting, training, and retaining intelligence analysts;
Obtained and reviewed supporting data reflecting the practices used to recruit and train intelligence analysts;
Obtained and reviewed the attrition rates for DEA intelligence analysts for the past 3 fiscal years;
Reviewed the contract and statement of work regarding the requirements for report officers;
Obtained and reviewed supporting data reflecting the BIRS training classes conducted at the DEA Training Academy in Quantico, Virginia;
Discussed with DEA training management the three levels of BIRS course evaluations conducted or planned;
Obtained and reviewed the Intelligence Analyst Mentoring Program Handbook;
Obtained and reviewed various DEA policy orders and applicable portions of the DEA agents manual;
Obtained and reviewed DEA’s staffing and budget data from FY 2004 to FY 2007;
Obtained and reviewed supporting data for intelligence analyst security clearance levels;
Obtained and reviewed the intelligence program’s budget justifications for FYs 2007 and 2008;
Interviewed a sample of field intelligence managers, group supervisors, intelligence analysts, and Special Agents at the Dallas, Miami, and Los Angeles Field Offices to inquire about tactical, investigative, and strategic intelligence;
Interviewed SACs, ASACs, field intelligence managers, group supervisors, Special Agents, and intelligence analysts at the Dallas, Miami, and Los Angeles Field Offices regarding the intelligence contained in DEA closed case files;
Reviewed a total of 26 DEA closed case files at the Dallas, Miami, and Los Angeles Field Offices to determine the types and content of intelligence produced by intelligence analysts;
Reviewed a total of 1,860 Reports of Investigation in closed case files in the Dallas, Miami, and Los Angeles Field Offices to determine how many were prepared by intelligence analysts. The number of reports were then compared to the hours charged to the case file to justify the hours worked;
Obtained and reviewed the SMARTS Work Hour Analysis from DEA domestic field offices to determine what percentage of time intelligence analysts used to conduct strategic and investigative work in FY 2006;
Interviewed SACs, ASACs, a field intelligence manager, group supervisors, intelligence analysts, and Special Agents at the San Diego and New York Field Offices to inquire about the benefits of the previous BIRS training and the BIRS 14-week training class in July 2007;
Obtained and reviewed the DEA’s Intelligence Top Down Review developed in 2004 by a private company; and
Obtained a list of DEA databases utilized by intelligence analysts in the analysis of intelligence.
To determine the quality, usefulness, and effectiveness of intelligence reports and related products produced by intelligence analysts and reports officers, we performed the following:
Obtained briefings from the Intelligence Division, Special Operations Division, Special Intelligence, Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Fusion Center, and the El Paso Intelligence Center, among others.
Interviewed DEA headquarters staff about the strategic reports produced by intelligence analysts.
Reviewed 16 strategic reports produced by intelligence analysts at the DEA headquarters’ Domestic Strategic Unit to determine the content and information produced.
Sampled and tested 81 reports officer cables, from a universe of 393, over 4 different months from March 2006 through February 2007. We tested the time-line to produce and distribute the cables and the content of the reports officer cables compared to the original DEA Reports of Investigation.
Obtained and reviewed Monthly Activity Reports from the Los Angeles Field Office to determine some of the performance measures used to evaluate the quality and effectiveness of intelligence analyst products.
Interviewed officials at the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of State, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence concerning use of DEA’s strategic reports and reports officer cables.
We also developed a survey that consisted of 69 questions that we sent to 675 DEA intelligence analysts (GS-132 series). We received a total of 487 survey responses, a 72 percent response rate. In addition, we developed a survey that consisted of 14 questions that we sent to 4,843 DEA Special Agents (GS-1811 series). We received a total of 1,700 survey responses, a 35 percent response rate. We summarized the responses and calculated frequency tables for each survey. Each questionnaire also included open‑ended questions that were not included in the compilation of the frequency tables. We analyzed, summarized, and reported pertinent results from these survey questionnaires.
Finally, because of DEA’s sensitivity concerns about open case files, we limited our review to closed case files. Accordingly, we express no opinion on active cases.