We provided a draft audit report for review and comments to the Office of the Deputy Attorney General (ODAG); the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); t he Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP); the National Security Division (NSD); the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS); and the U.S. National Central Bureau of Interpol (USNCB). Our report did not include any recommendations addressed to the BOP, NSD, or USMS and these components had no comments on our report. The comments that we received from the ODAG, ATF, DEA, FBI and USNCB, which detail the actions taken or plans for implementing our recommendations, have been incorporated in Appendices I through V of this report. Our analysis of these responses and a summary of the actions necessary to close each recommendation are found below.
- Resolved. The Office of the Deputy Attorney General agreed with this recommendation. According to the Office of the Deputy Attorney General, it understands that the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) is considering issuing watchlist nomination guidance to the entire Intelligence Community (IC) and DOJ will coordinate its issuance of Department-wide policy with the DNI’s issuance of IC-wide guidance. Although this recommendation was not specifically directed to the FBI, the FBI also offered its comments and stated that, in collaboration with the Terrorist Screening Center (TSC) and National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), it will develop uniform standards and protocols for watchlisting.
Resolved. The FBI concurred with this recommendation and stated that its Terrorist Review and Examination Unit (TREX) will draft an electronic communication (EC) with updated watchlisting policies, including a requirement that a Supervisory Special Agent (SSA) sign off on all FD-930s before the forms are submitted from a field office to TREX. The FBI estimates that this EC will be finalized in March 2008. Therefore, this recommendation can be closed when we receive evidence that the aforementioned EC has been finalized and disseminated to all appropriate field office personnel.
Resolved. The FBI concurred with this recommendation and stated that TREX is currently working with NCTC and TSC to streamline the process and reduce the number of times watchlist information must be manually entered. It proposes to have nomination data entered into TIDE by the NCTC Terrorist Identities Group. NCTC will then export the information to the TSC where it will be included in the consolidated terrorist watchlist and disseminated to all other appropriate support systems. The FBI expects that an EC describing the new process and outlining the responsibilities of TREX and TSC will be drafted by April 2008. Therefore, this recommendation can be closed when we receive the finalized version of this EC and evidence that the new process has been implemented.
Resolved. The FBI concurred with this recommendation and stated that TREX will work with other appropriate entities to ensure that all non-investigative subjects nominated to the watchlist are nominated, modified, and removed from the watchlist in a consistent manner. The FBI expects that an EC highlighting the new policy will be drafted and disseminated to all field and Legal Attaché offices in March 2008. Therefore, this recommendation can be closed when we receive the finalized EC.
Resolved. The FBI concurred with this recommendation and stated that TREX has provided watchlisting training at the annual National Joint Terrorism Task Force (NJTTF) Conference, is currently scheduled to provide training to 18 New Agents Trainee classes in FY 2008, and will coordinate with the NJTTF unit to develop training curriculum at various regional JTTF conferences. Although the FBI’s response addresses training for JTTF personnel, it is unclear whether veteran agents not assigned to the JTTFs will receive any watchlisting training. This recommendation can be closed when we receive additional comments addressing watchlisting training that will be provided to veteran FBI agents. In addition, please provide the training curriculum that was developed for the regional JTTF conferences.
Resolved. The FBI, DEA, and the U.S. National Central Bureau (USNCB) concurred with this recommendation and each component offered additional comments that are addressed below.
- Resolved. The FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) concurred with this recommendation and both components offered additional comments that are addressed below.
Therefore, this recommendation can be closed when we receive confirmation of the issuance of Department-wide policy addressing nominations and terrorist information sharing related to the consolidated terrorist watchlist.
The FBI stated that TREX will work with NJTTF, DEA, and USNCB points of contact to develop a Memorandum of Understanding that will clearly outline each agency’s responsibilities for keeping accurate records. The FBI believes that significant progress will be made by April 2008.
The DEA stated that it has been in close communication with the NCTC concerning this issue and that appropriate staff at NCTC are working to remove references to DEA nominations and clarifying to NCTC staff that DEA intelligence documents are for information sharing purposes only. In addition, the DEA’s Office of National Security Intelligence (NN) is in the final stages of negotiating a Memorandum of Understanding with NCTC to place an NN staff coordinator in NCTC whose responsibilities will include monitoring these information sharing efforts to ensure that they are not mistaken for watchlist nominations.
The USNCB stated that it will coordinate with NCTC to develop a process for ensuring that information provided to NCTC is accurate and updated as frequently as practicable. However, the USNCB does not specifically state that it will address the correct sourcing of watchlist records resulting from USNCB information.
This recommendation can be closed when the FBI provides us with the Memorandum of Understanding signed by DEA, USNCB and the FBI. The FBI should also provide us with comments as to what action it is taking to ensure the correct sourcing of watchlist records that were incorrectly sourced to the FBI. The DEA needs to provide us with evidence that references to DEA nominations have been removed and that DEA and NCTC have agreed that DEA intelligence documents will no longer be considered DEA watchlist nominations. The USNCB needs to provide us with confirmation that officials at USNCB and NCTC have agreed upon a process for ensuring that information provided to NCTC is accurate, updated as frequently as practicable, and correctly sourced.
The FBI concurred with this recommendation and stated that TREX will work with the NJTTF and ATF points of contact to develop a Memorandum of Understanding that will clearly outline how terrorism information for use in the consolidated terrorist watchlist should be used.
The ATF stated that it will take necessary steps to implement the recommendation and ensure that ATF personnel are trained in identifying matters that might relate to the terrorist watchlist. Specifically, ATF stated that it will meet with the FBI with the intention of reaching a clear and practical method of determining when criminal activity has an identifiable nexus to domestic terrorism. In addition, the ATF plans to continue to exchange with the FBI information related to suspected acts of domestic terrorism. This information exchange will be accomplished through ATF Special Agents currently assigned full time to the National Joint Terrorism Task Force and the FBI’s Domestic Terrorism Operations Unit.
This recommendation can be closed when we receive evidence that the ATF and FBI have reached an agreement on the sharing of all terrorism information for use in the consolidated watchlist, including what activities would result in terrorism information sharing, and evidence that ATF personnel are trained in how to identify such activities (including both domestic and international terrorism matters).