The Federal Bureau of Investigation's Efforts to Improve the Sharing of Intelligence and Other Information
Report Number 04-10
Office of the Inspector General
We provided the draft audit report to the FBI for review and comment. The response from the FBI is incorporated as Appendix 7 of this final report. Our analysis of the FBI’s response to specific recommendations is provided below. In addition to responding to the recommendations, the FBI provided additional comments and listed improvements it says it has made since the completion of the audit.
At the FBI’s request we analyzed and incorporated into the audit report significant developments in the FBI’s intelligence sharing program that occurred subsequent to the completion of a draft of this report. After our audit fieldwork was completed, we met with FBI intelligence officials at their request in September 2003 and provided them an opportunity to raise any additional changes that the FBI was making in its intelligence sharing capabilities. We subsequently incorporated the changes they identified in the final report.
The FBI’s response states that the audit process by its nature is slow and implies that this report’s findings and recommendations no longer reflect “realities”. In addition, the FBI cited in its response 17 additional items which it said should be included in the report to make it more complete. However, none of these were cited to us by the FBI in the comments made in September 2003 on an earlier draft of this report. Moreover, while we agree that the FBI is making positive changes in the intelligence sharing process, we disagree with both the general comment about the audit process and the implication about the findings and recommendations of this report. We recognized that the FBI has made and will continue to make changes in its information-sharing process; however, the fact that the FBI’s intelligence program is evolving is made clear in the audit report and does not detract from the accuracy and relevance of our findings.
With regard to the 17 additional items cited by the FBI, many are already discussed in the report, others are still in the planning or development stages, and others are not recent initiatives. For example, the FBI cites the establishment of Field Intelligence Groups in all 56 field offices. However, the report discusses the FBI’s intelligence capabilities and staffing on a number of pages, including 18, 29-31, and 46. Completing the establishment of intelligence groups may be a recent development.
The FBI cites the establishment of a presence on “Intellink” and “SIPERNET”. Assuming these references are meant to be to “Intelink” and “SIPRNET,” they do not appear to be recent developments. On June 10, 1998, Michael A. Vatis, Deputy Assistant Director and Chief of the FBI’s National Infrastructure Protection Center, testified before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Technology, Terrorism, and Government Information that:
We are currently in the process of designing an information architecture that will serve our mission needs. This will consist of analytical tools; computer resources; and connectivity to other federal government agencies, State and local governments, and private sector incident response teams and companies. In the meantime, we are relying on existing communications capabilities including: INTELink for access to intelligence information; SIPRNet and ADNet for communication with the Department of Defense; the National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (NLETS) and Law Enforcement On-Line (LEO) to communicate with State and local law enforcement; the Awareness of National Security Issues and Response (ANSIR) program for communicating with industry; and FBInet for communication within the FBI.
Further, we mention SIPRNET on pages 38 and 40 of the report and Intelink on page 54.
The FBI cites completion of a web page on Law Enforcement Online (LEO) as an important step in sharing sensitive information. However, the LEO system itself is not a recent initiative. The FBI’s August 2000 Law Enforcement Bulletin stated that:
Every day across the country, law enforcement, criminal justice, and public safety professionals are “signing on” to Law Enforcement Online (LEO), a secure Intranet communication system built and maintained by the FBI, to share sensitive information. They rely on LEO as their primary tool to communicate or obtain mission critical information, to provide or participate in online educational programs, and to participate in professional special interest or topically focused dialog.
We mention LEO on pages 44 and 59 of the report. The FBI also cites the connection of LEO to the Regional Information Sharing System Network (RISSNET). RISSNET is mentioned on page 59 of the report.
The FBI cites that training has been provided for analysts since September 11, 2001. The report on pages v, 19, 31, 37, 49 and 50 discusses the FBI’s ongoing efforts to develop an analyst training program.
The FBI cites the multi-agency Terrorist Screening Center, administered by the FBI, which is described as being operational. Although the establishment of the Terrorist Screening Center was announced in September 2003 and began operations on December 1, 2003, the FBI has stated that the initial capabilities of the Center will be limited. We have added a notation on the Terrorist Screening Center to the report.
The FBI cites the Global Intelligence Working Group as its advisory board on intelligence sharing. However, the internet homepage for the this group describes it as an initiative not of the FBI but of the Office of Justice Programs:
The IACP [International Association of Chiefs of Police] Criminal Intelligence Sharing Report contained a proposal to create a National Criminal Intelligence Sharing Plan (“Plan”). The most central and enduring element of the Plan advocated by Summit participants was the recommendation for the creation of a Criminal Intelligence Coordinating Council comprised of local, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement executives. The Council’s mandate would be to establish, promote, and ensure effective intelligence sharing and to address and solve, in an ongoing fashion, the problems that inhibit it. In fall 2002, in response to this proposal, the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs (OJP), Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), authorized the formation of the Global Intelligence Working Group (GIWG), one of several issues-focused working groups of the Global Advisory Committee (GAC). [Emphasis added.]
In sum, many of the FBI’s stated improvement efforts are either discussed in the report or have been underway for years and have not yet come to fruition. As stated above, we anticipate that the FBI will continue to make progress in these areas.