Semiannual Report to Congress
October 1, 2004–March 31, 2005
Office of the Inspector General
The Criminal Division and its approximately 800 employees develop, enforce, and supervise the application of all federal criminal laws except those specifically assigned to other divisions. Criminal Division attorneys also formulate and implement criminal enforcement policy and provide advice and assistance.
The OIG conducted a review of the Department’s screening procedures for subcontractors sent to Iraq as civilian correctional advisors. We undertook the review in response to a request by Senator Charles Schumer to investigate the International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program’s (ICITAP) employment of certain individuals as corrections advisors in Iraq. ICITAP, an office within the Criminal Division, provides training for foreign law enforcement agencies in new and emerging democracies.
The OIG found that ICITAP conducted limited background checks on the subcontractors prior to their deployment to Iraq, but these checks were not designed to and did not reveal information about the civil lawsuits cited by Senator Schumer. Consequently, ICITAP did not consider the allegations made in the lawsuits when making the decision to hire these individuals. We found, however, that ICITAP conducted more extensive background investigations on these individuals after the controversy about their services arose and concluded that nothing in their backgrounds, including the matters cited by Senator Schumer, would have disqualified them from serving as subcontractors. The OIG also reviewed the information produced as a result of these more extensive background checks and concluded that ICITAP’s position that the men were qualified to serve in Iraq was reasonable.
However, our review found broad weaknesses in the way ICITAP conducted background checks on its subcontractors that resulted in its hiring and deployment of at least 22 subcontractors to Iraq who did not have required clearances. We determined that ICITAP failed to adequately train its employees regarding the subcontractor clearance process, lacked written standard operating procedures for the clearance process, and failed to maintain adequate records regarding subcontractor clearances. Our review offered 11 recommendations to improve the ICITAP clearance process, including to develop and implement a training program on the process for all newly hired analysts and managers and to create and maintain a database of subcontractors who have received security clearances.
The Department’s Asset Forfeiture Program seeks to deprive criminals of the profits and proceeds from illegal activities and enhance cooperation among federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies by sharing federal forfeiture proceeds through the Department’s Equitable Sharing Program. State and local law enforcement agencies may receive equitable sharing revenues by participating directly with Department agencies in joint investigations leading to the seizure or forfeiture of property. Our audits involved equitable sharing revenues received by state and local law enforcement agencies through the Equitable Sharing Program.
The following is an example of a case involving the Criminal Division that the OIG investigated during this reporting period:
U.S. Attorneys serve as the federal government’s principal criminal and civil litigators and conduct most of the trial work in which the United States is a party. Under the direction of the Attorney General, 93 U.S. attorneys are stationed throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands. More than 11,600 employees work in those offices and in the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys (EOUSA).
The following is an example of a case involving the USAO that the OIG investigated during this reporting period:
The OIG is assessing whether the USAO effectively employs its intelligence research specialists to analyze and share terrorism-related information. The review will examine the purpose and implementation of intelligence research specialists and the results of their work.
The Office of the Federal Detention Trustee (OFDT) has responsibility for oversight of detention management in the Department. OFDT is responsible for the financial management of federal detention operations, implementing business process improvements, and identifying areas where operational efficiencies and cost savings can be realized.
In FY 2001, Congress established OFDT as a separate component within the Department to centralize responsibility for detention to better manage and plan for needed detention resources without duplication of effort or competition among other components. Previously, the USMS and former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) shared responsibility for the detention of persons in federal custody awaiting trial or immigration proceedings.
The OIG reviewed the funding and accomplishments of OFDT, determined how OFDT coordinates and oversees detention activities within the Department, and examined OFDT’s plans and goals for managing detention needs. We found that, although OFDT was established nearly four years ago, it has not achieved its purpose of centralizing and overseeing detention activities. As a result of internal and external events, including the transfer of the former INS to the DHS, leadership vacancies, and other obstacles, OFDT did not have a clearly defined mission or strategic plan. In addition, funding shortages have caused the Department to transfer funds to OFDT from other initiatives. We provided 11 recommendations to assist the Department and OFDT in improving the management of detention activities. Those recommendations included the following:
OFDT generally agreed with our findings and has begun to take steps to address them.