October 1, 2003–March 31, 2004
Office of the Inspector General
The following table summarizes OIG activities discussed in this report. As these statistics and the following highlights illustrate, the OIG has conducted wide-ranging oversight of Department programs and operations.
October 1, 2003 - March 31, 2004
|Allegations Received by the Investigations Division ||3,722|
|Investigations Opened ||219|
|Investigations Closed ||219|
|Administrative Actions ||66|
|Fines/Restitutions/Recoveries ||$1.43 million|
|Audit Reports Issued ||146|
|Questioned Costs ||$29.26 million|
|Funds Put to Better Use ||$1.41 million|
|Recommendations for Management Improvements ||454|
Examples of OIG audits, evaluations, and special reports completed during this semiannual reporting period include:
- Integration of Fingerprint Systems. The OIG completed a review of the efforts to integrate FBI and immigration fingerprint identification databases. We also examined the actions of immigration employees who twice released a man caught entering the country illegally. The man later succeeded in crossing the border and then raped two nuns, killing one of them. If the FBI and immigration fingerprint databases had been integrated, the immigration employees would have learned of his extensive criminal history and, under Border Patrol policies, should have detained him and sought his prosecution rather than returning him to Mexico. Our report made five recommendations to ensure the systems are integrated as rapidly as possible.
- Abuse of September 11 Detainees. We supplemented our June 2003 review of the treatment of aliens held on immigration charges in connection with the investigation of the September 11 terrorist attacks by investigating allegations that some BOP correctional officers at a Brooklyn, New York, prison physically and verbally abused detainees there. In a report issued in December 2003, we substantiated many of the allegations, recommended the BOP discipline certain staff members, and made seven recommendations to address systemic problems we found in how the detainees were handled at the facility.
- The FBI's Sharing of Intelligence. The OIG audited the FBI's efforts to enhance its sharing of intelligence and law enforcement information with federal, state, and local officials - a vital element in preventing terrorist activities. While we found fundamental reform is under way at the FBI, we concluded that the efforts are still evolving and require management's sustained attention to ensure full implementation. The OIG made six recommendations to help the FBI improve its ability to provide useful information internally and externally.
- Protection of the Federal Judiciary. The OIG evaluated the USMS's efforts to improve its protection of more than 2,000 federal judges and other members of the federal judiciary. We found problems with the USMS's intelligence sharing, assessments of threats, and standards for determining what protective measures are appropriate. We made six recommendations to improve the USMS's protection of the federal judiciary.
- The Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA's) Disciplinary System. The OIG assessed the effectiveness of the DEA's system for investigating employee misconduct and disciplining employees. We concluded that the DEA's system generally functioned well, but found problems in various cases that revealed a lack of management oversight and weaknesses in determining penalties. We made eight recommendations to help the DEA improve its system.
- The Removal of Items From the Fresh Kills Recovery Site. The OIG found that an FBI agent wrongfully removed a Tiffany & Co. crystal globe paperweight from the Fresh Kills landfill site that processed materials from the World Trade Center terrorist attacks. We also found the FBI had no written policy governing what could be taken from recovery sites or mass crime scenes.
- Prisoner Medical Care. The OIG audited the USMS's provision of medical care to the approximately 40,000 prisoners in its custody awaiting trial or judicial action. We found the USMS was not properly managing the care and that the USMS was paying out millions more than necessary for prisoner medical care each year because it failed to fully comply with statutory cost-saving measures. We made 12 recommendations for improvements.
- Preparation of Inmates Returning to Society. The OIG audited the BOP's programs to reduce recidivism by preparing inmates to return to society after their sentences are served. We concluded that BOP institutions have not maximized the number of inmates who successfully complete reentry programs during incarceration. We also concluded that the BOP does not ensure all eligible inmates are provided the opportunity to make the transition back into society through halfway houses. Our report contained 13 recommendations to help improve the BOP's management of its programs to prepare inmates for release into society.
- USAO Critical Incident Response Plans. The OIG reviewed the USAOs' implementation of a program to improve their responses to critical incidents such as natural disasters and terrorist attacks. We found the USAOs' critical incident response plans, test exercises, and training were inadequate and that the deficiencies had existed from the program's inception in 1996 without ever being fully addressed. We made ten recommendations to help increase the USAOs' overall preparedness to respond to critical incidents.
- Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Complaints. As directed by Section 1001 of the USA Patriot Act, the OIG received and reviewed complaints alleging civil rights and civil liberties abuses by Department employees. We identified 17 matters that we believed warranted an investigation or closer review. These matters included allegations of excessive force against inmates, verbal abuse of inmates, and placement in solitary confinement for no apparent reason. Several of the complaints are still under OIG investigation; others have been referred to the internal affairs offices of the affected component for investigation.
- Computer Security Audits. In this reporting period, we evaluated five mission-critical Department computer systems: two from the FBI and one each from the DEA; the USMS; and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). While we noted some progress in certain areas of computer security systems, continued improvements are needed in program oversight and vulnerability management.
- Department Financial Statement Audits. During this reporting period, the OIG issued the audit report for the Department's Annual Financial Statement for fiscal year (FY) 2003. The Department received an unqualified opinion on its consolidated financial statement. However, we identified weaknesses in the areas of financial controls and information systems.
- Grant Audits. We continued to audit grants awarded by the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) and increased our audits of grants awarded by the Office of Justice Programs (OJP).
Investigations of Misconduct
As shown in the statistics in the table at the beginning of this section, the OIG investigates hundreds of allegations of misconduct. Examples of OIG investigations discussed in this report include:
- Three civilians were arrested for fabricating information about a multistate drug-trafficking organization, making death threats against an undercover FBI agent, and claiming an FBI special agent in charge was leaking sensitive case information. The OIG exonerated the special agent in charge of wrongdoing. The investigation and judicial proceedings against the civilians are continuing.
- A DEA associate special agent in charge was arrested for embezzling $138,000 from the DEA and misusing DEA resources to perform work for a private investigations firm he owned and operated.
- A deputy U.S. marshal was arrested for transporting illegal aliens into the United States, subcontracting manual labor performed by the aliens, and profiting from this arrangement.
This report also describes many ongoing OIG reviews of important issues throughout the Department, including:
- The FBI's handling of intelligence information prior to the September 11 terrorist attacks.
- The purpose, priorities, membership, functions, lines of authority, and accomplishments of the Department's counterterrorism task forces.
- The FBI's language translation program's effectiveness and security.
- The reprioritization of the FBI's investigative resources after the September 11 terrorist attacks.
- The FBI DNA Analysis Unit's protocols and procedures.
- The management and progress of Trilogy, the FBI's largest and most critical IT project.
- The DEA's use of paid, confidential informants in criminal investigations and drug case prosecutions.
- The BOP's selection of Muslim religious services providers.
- The USMS's administration of the Witness Security Program.
- The ATF's enforcement of federal firearms laws through its licensee inspection program.
- The funding of state efforts to identify, collect, and analyze DNA evidence in cases in which no suspect has been developed.