This semiannual report summarizes the work of the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) from October 1, 2007, through March 31, 2008. OIG staff have continued to conduct valuable audits, inspections, special reviews, and investigations of Department of Justice (Department) programs and operations.
For example, the OIG completed reports evaluating the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) use of national security letters and Section 215 orders for business records, an audit of the Department’s process for nominating known or suspected terrorists to the consolidated terrorist watchlist, an audit of the FBI’s management of undercover case funds, an evaluation of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) controls over its weapons and laptop computers, an audit of the Department’s victim notification system, and other important reviews.
In this message, however, I want to highlight the outstanding work of the OIG’s Investigations Division, which sometimes does not receive the recognition it deserves. Our experienced investigators continue to handle many significant allegations of criminal and administrative misconduct relating to Department programs, contractors, grants, and employees.
During this 6-month semiannual period, for example, OIG investigators completed 161 investigations, resulting in 56 arrests, 69 convictions, 108 administrative actions, and $4.7 million in civil and administrative recoveries. One of the benefits of an OIG investigation is that it can pursue allegations wherever they lead, whether they result in a criminal action, civil recovery, administrative action, or exoneration.
The OIG handles a wide variety of investigations. Examples include allegations of Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) correctional officers smuggling contraband into prison facilities, Department employees’ theft of money or property, conflicts of interest, civil rights violations, obstruction of justice, bribery, grant fraud, and violations of other criminal laws and administrative procedures governing Department employees, contractors, and grantees. The cases we discuss in this semiannual report are just a few of the hundreds of matters that our Investigations Division handles at any one time.
One case highlighted in this report concerns an investigation into allegations that correctional officers at the BOP’s Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Brooklyn, New York, physically abused inmates and lied about their actions. OIG investigators determined that MDC correctional officers participated in a planned beating of an inmate and then attempted to disguise the attack by planting a noose in the inmate’s cell and falsely claiming in written reports that he had become combative when they attempted to prevent him from committing suicide. In a second incident, OIG investigators determined that MDC correctional officers assaulted an inmate in an elevator and then wrote false reports about the attack.
As a result of our investigations, the U.S. Attorneys’ Office (USAO) in the Eastern District of New York prosecuted these officers on a variety of charges. Five correctional officers pled guilty, and a BOP captain, BOP lieutenant, and three additional correctional officers were convicted at two trials of charges such as conspiracy to violate the civil rights of an inmate, obstruction of justice, and making false statements. This investigation provides a clear example of the outstanding work of OIG investigators who work hand-in-hand with Department prosecutors to detect and deter misconduct by the relatively small number of Department employees who abuse their authority.
Finally, I want to thank the Department, the new Attorney General, and Congress for their continued support of the work of the OIG. Most important, I want to again thank the dedicated OIG staff who tirelessly perform their mission in an exemplary fashion.
Glenn A. Fine
April 30, 2008