Federal Bureau of Investigation Casework and Human Resource Allocation
Report No. 03-37
Office of the Inspector General
Following the 9/11 attacks, the FBI announced that it planned to shift a large number of resources to work on counterterrorism efforts in its National Foreign Intelligence, Domestic Terrorism, and National Infrastructure Protection/Computer Intrusion programs. To address where the FBI's resources were allocated prior to 9/11, we conducted a trend analysis of FBI resource utilization from October 1995 to FY 2001.34
As noted in Exhibit 3-1, in FY 1996 through FY 2001, the FBI utilized the bulk of its human resources in four primary areas: White Collar Crime (WCC), Organized Crime/Drugs (OC/D), National Foreign Intelligence (NFIP), and Violent Crimes and Major Offenders (VCMO). During that timeframe, there were at least 1,400 more personnel on board for each of these four programs in each fiscal year than for any other program. As seen on the bottom portion of the following chart, the remaining programs incurred much lower amounts of human resource usage. This bottom cluster consists of the National Infrastructure Protection/Computer Intrusion (NIPCIP), Domestic Terrorism (DT), Civil Rights (CR), Applicant Matters (APP), and Training (TRAIN) programs.
COMBINED AGENT AND SUPPORT UTILIZATION
FISCAL YEARS 1996 THROUGH 2001
In each of the six fiscal years reviewed, the FBI utilized the most human resources in the White Collar Crime program, at an average of 2,591 agent and support personnel per year. Further, this program experienced a general increase over the time period reviewed. Similarly, the trend in resource usage in the National Foreign Intelligence Program showed a general increase in utilization during the period studied. The other two programs in the top cluster, Organized Crime/Drugs and Violent Crimes and Major Offenders, also received a great deal of resources, with averages of 2,311 and 2,183 personnel, respectively. The highest annual number of human resource utilization in the bottom cluster of FBI programs came from Domestic Terrorism, at 428.
We also reviewed the FBI's strategic plan for 1998 through 2003 to determine the types of activities on which the FBI stated it was most important to focus its efforts.35 The strategic plan sets the agenda for the Bureau by establishing specific 5-year strategic goals and broad strategies for achieving those goals. It also divides FBI priorities into three levels (or "tiers") of importance, with tier one activities being the most important and tier three being the least important. However, FBI investigative programs are not clearly assigned within the tier structure. Some programs have activities that relate to more than one tier; for example, the White Collar Crime program includes activities that can be classified within each of the tiers.
Tier One: National and Economic Security - Tier one represents the area of highest priority for the FBI and focuses on national and economic security, including foreign intelligence, terrorism, and criminal activity of such importance to the U.S. that the FBI must be at full capacity to respond. These are also crimes over which the FBI holds exclusive jurisdiction.
Strategic goals for tier one include preventing and defeating foreign intelligence operations and terrorist activities before they occur, as well as preventing criminal conspiracies from defrauding major U.S. industries and the federal government. The strategic plan refers to the National Foreign Intelligence, Domestic Terrorism, and National Infrastructure Protection/ Computer Intrusion programs in the tier one section. In addition, significant investigations under the White Collar Crime program address issues related to economic security.
Tier Two: Criminal Enterprises and Public Integrity - Tier two priorities rank second in importance, and are predominately characterized by investigations of criminal organizations that exploit social, economic, or political circumstances.
Tier two strategic goals focus on disrupting and dismantling organized criminal enterprises, violent multi-jurisdictional gangs, and drug-trafficking organizations, and on reducing public corruption and civil rights violations. These goals apply to the Organized Crime/Drugs, Civil Rights, and White Collar Crime programs.
Tier Three: Individuals and Property - As priorities for the FBI, tier three criminal activities rank lowest. Crimes that fall into tier three are those where the FBI is expected to respond quickly and efficiently, but the FBI's role in these cases is to supplement the activities of state and local law enforcement.
The primary goal of tier three is to reduce the impact of the most significant crimes affecting individuals and property. According to the strategic plan, these goals apply to the Violent Crimes and Major Offenders program and some lower-level White Collar Crime program activities.
As noted in Chapter 1 of this report, the FBI Director released a new set of top priorities for the Bureau in May 2002. These priorities reiterated the place of terrorism-related work at the top of the list. Prior to the Director's memorandum, significant white collar crime involving economic security was a tier one priority. The new set of priorities, however, moved white collar crime to the bottom half of the list, where it was ranked in importance behind terrorism-related work, computer security, public corruption, civil rights, and organized crime.
Although the tier structure outlining strategic priorities has been in place since at least 1998, our analyses showed that the FBI's utilization of human resources between FY 1996 and 2001 had not supported its priorities. Two tier one programs, White Collar Crime and National Foreign Intelligence, are among the top four programs in terms of human resource usage, as evidenced in Exhibit 3-1. The other tier one programs (Domestic Terrorism and National Infrastructure Protection/Computer Intrusion), however, utilized comparatively little of the FBI's human resources between FY 1996 and 2001. At the same time, the other two programs using significant amounts of personnel resources, Organized Crime/Drugs and Violent Crimes and Major Offenders, are not tier one programs; rather, they are tier two and tier three programs, respectively.
Although looking at the FBI as a whole illustrates that the Bureau did not utilize its resources in line with its strategic priorities, an even more important trend is identified when the Bureau's utilization of special agent resources is separated from its utilization of support personnel.
When separated from support personnel, FBI agents worked predominantly in the White Collar Crime program from FY 1996 through 2001, while large numbers of agent resources also were devoted to the Organized Crime/Drugs, Violent Crimes and Major Offenders, and National Foreign Intelligence programs. Reflective of the overall combined trend, there were significantly more agents on board for these four programs in each fiscal year than for any other program. In contrast to the combined data, though, far fewer agents worked in National Foreign Intelligence than in the other three programs in the top cluster. In fact, in each fiscal year until FY 2001, at least 500 fewer agents worked on NFIP matters than on those in the next highest program, as shown in Exhibit 3-2.
FISCAL YEARS 1996 THROUGH 2001
As shown in Exhibit 3-2, in FY 2001 agent utilization increased in the National Foreign Intelligence Program and generally decreased in all other programs. This increase in NFIP agent usage is directly attributable to the events of 9/11, which occurred during the final month of FY 2001. Exhibit 3-3 shows that the number of NFIP agent hours worked was generally consistent at around 300,000 for the first 12 TURK periods of the year. This changed dramatically in the final TURK period of FY 2001 (during which 9/11 occurred), when agent hours rose more than 250 percent to more than one million. Thus, the data indicates that agent utilization in NFIP would have remained unchanged absent the events of 9/11. In turn, without this major terrorist event, Bureau-wide agent utilization would have remained the same in FY 2001 and would not have begun to come into alignment with the strategic plan.
In summary, prior to 9/11 more agents worked on White Collar Crime, Organized Crime/Drugs, and Violent Crimes and Major Offenders matters than in the National Foreign Intelligence Program. This resource utilization is not in line with the goals stated in the FBI's strategic plan because, while portions of the FBI's WCC program fall into tier one and relate to the FBI's strategic goal to ensure economic security, OC/D and VCMO program activities generally do not. Instead, they fall into tiers two and three, respectively. Although NFIP clearly is a tier one priority, it exhibited the fourth highest usage of agent resources from FY 1996 through most of FY 2001.
In contrast to the utilization of agent personnel, the National Foreign Intelligence Program utilized the most support personnel between FYs 1996 and 2001. As evidenced in the following graph of support utilization, more than twice the number of support personnel worked in NFIP than in any other program in each fiscal year of our review period. According to NFIP officials, this is because the program utilizes many different types of specialized support personnel (e.g., language specialists and surveillance specialists) that other FBI programs do not use extensively. Aside from NFIP, the White Collar Crime, Organized Crime/Drugs, and Violent Crimes and Major Offenders programs utilized the largest number of support personnel during the timeframe covered in our analysis.
SUPPORT PERSONNEL UTILIZATION
FISCAL YEARS 1996 THROUGH 2001
In fact, not only did more FBI support personnel work on National Foreign Intelligence Program matters than in any other single program, but as shown in the following graph, more support personnel worked on NFIP matters than in all other programs combined.
COMPARISON OF SUPPORT PERSONNEL UTILIZATION
NFIP vs. ALL OTHER PROGRAMS COMBINED
FISCAL YEARS 1996 THROUGH 2001
According to FBI Resource Management and Allocation (RMA) officials, field office management directs support resources where they are needed the most. The FBI does not allocate or budget support staff to specific investigative program areas; support resources are requested in the budget by using pre-determined formulas based on the number of agents. Specifically, the FBI uses different formulas to determine the number of investigative support staff, administrative/clerical staff, technical support staff, computer forensic specialists, and electronics technicians it needs. RMA officials also said that, although many requests have been made, the formulas have remained unchanged since FY 1996. Reflecting these formulas, the ratio between agents and support personnel has remained generally consistent at about five to one since FY 1998, as shown in Exhibit 3-6.
Prior to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the FBI did not devote a significant portion of its special agent resources to domestic and international terrorism issues. In comparison, the FBI consistently devoted the majority of its support personnel resources to terrorism-related matters because of the specialized nature of the work. However, even when agent and support personnel are combined, the FBI was not utilizing its collective personnel resources in line with its strategic priorities, which named national and economic security as the FBI's primary concerns.
Between FYs 1996 and 2001, the Bureau's White Collar Crime program was the leader in human resource usage and the Organized Crime/Drugs and Violent Crimes and Major Offenders programs utilized more special agent resources than its National Foreign Intelligence Program. Further, human resource usage in the FBI's Domestic Terrorism and National Infrastructure Protection/Computer Intrusion programs was far below that in the White Collar Crime, Organized Crime/Drugs, Violent Crimes and Major Offenders, and National Foreign Intelligence programs.
REDACTED AND UNCLASSIFIED