MESSAGE FROM THE INSPECTOR GENERAL
This semiannual report summarizes the accomplishments of the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) during the 6-month period ending March 31, 2001. During this period, the OIG completed many important audits, inspections, and investigations of Department of Justice (Department) programs and personnel. As the recently confirmed Inspector General, I am proud of the work performed by our dedicated and talented staff and the value that the OIG adds to the Department.
As we look to the future, we recognize that the nature and scope of our work has changed in significant ways since the OIG opened its doors in 1989. We have expanded OIG audits and inspections to monitor the increasing amount of grant money distributed by the Department, to provide more performance reviews of Department programs, and to address emerging areas of concern such as information technology security. In the months ahead, we plan to perform follow-up work on issues that are particularly important to the Department. We will continue to expend significant resources on investigations of possible criminal wrongdoing or administrative misconduct by Department employees. When the need arises, the OIG is able to examine sensitive issues that confront the Department. A recent example is the review we have just initiated, at the request of the Attorney General and Congress, regarding the Department’s performance in preventing and detecting the alleged espionage activities of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent Robert Philip Hanssen.
Although the nature of the OIG’s work may change to reflect the priorities of the Department and Congress, we continue to face several enduring challenges. The first is to approach our mission in a spirit of constructive criticism. Although it is unlikely that the OIG’s decision to conduct an audit, inspection, or program review always will be met with enthusiasm, we strive to ensure that our reviews are perceived as fair, objective, and reasonable.
Second, one of the OIG’s primary goals in the coming months will be to improve the timeliness of our products. Our Investigations Division has already made significant progress in expediting its examination of misconduct allegations against Department employees. We are reorienting our Inspections Division to increase its focus on expedited evaluations and reviews of Department operations. Our Audit Division is continuing its high-quality financial and programmatic oversight work but is placing renewed eýphasis on completing its projects more expeditiously so that our findings will be more useful to Department managers. However, while timeliness is important, the soundness and professionalism of our work remains our paramount objective, and we are committed to continuing to produce high-quality reports like those described in this Semiannual Report to Congress (Report).
Third, our investigations should narrow the opportunities for misconduct and corruption within the Department. During the coming months, we will continue to seek ways to learn from our criminal and administrative investigations and to recommend procedural or systemic reforms that will make similar misconduct less likely in the future. Such progress is not as easily measured as arrests, convictions, and the imposition of administrative discipline but is central to the mission of any OIG.
Fourth, in large measure the OIG’s ability to help make significant and positive change in the Department is tied to the availability of resources. Unfortunately, the OIG has not kept pace with the significant growth of the Department during the last seven years. While the Department has grown dramatically in terms of positions and budgets, the OIG has not kept pace. We believe that rectifying this imbalance is an important priority that will aid the OIG and the Department in confronting the many challenges to be faced in the years ahead.
The OIG is committed to using its audit, inspections, and investigations resources to help promote integrity and efficiency in Department operations. We look forward to working closely with the Attorney General and Congress in this endeavor.