The following table summarizes Office of the Inspector General (OIG) activities discussed in this report. As these statistics and the following highlights illustrate, the OIG continues to conduct wide-ranging oversight of Department of Justice (Department) programs and operations.
October 1, 2009 – March 31, 2010
| Allegations Received by the
|Audit Reports Issued||42|
| Recommendations for
|Single Audit Act Reports Issued||59|
| Recommendations for
Examples of OIG audits, evaluations, and special reports completed during this semiannual reporting period include:
- Coordination of Explosives Investigations between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). The OIG examined the coordination of explosives investigations between the FBI and ATF and found that jurisdictional disputes regarding which agency is the lead agency for federal explosives investigations continue to occur. We found that Department leadership did not clearly define the jurisdiction between the agencies in explosives incidents and did not implement a formal procedure for the Department to resolve jurisdictional disputes. In addition, we found overlap between the two agencies in their explosives training programs and laboratory resources. As a result of our review, the Department has convened working groups to resolve these issues and to respond to our recommendations.
- Protection of the Federal Judiciary and Federal Prosecutors. Our review of the protection of the federal judiciary and employees of U.S. Attorneys’ Offices (USAO) identified deficiencies in the U.S. Marshals Service’s (USMS) and the Executive Office for United States Attorneys’ (EOUSA) response to threats that affect their ability to protect these officials. We found that judges, U.S. Attorneys, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys (AUSA) do not consistently and promptly report threats, and that, when threats are reported, the USMS does not consistently perform or document risk assessments or effectively coordinate with other law enforcement agencies in threat response. In addition, our review determined that EOUSA and the USAOs have not implemented adequate measures to protect USAO personnel against threats. We made 14 recommendations to improve the protection of the judiciary and federal prosecutors, and the USMS and EOUSA agreed to implement those recommendations.
- The Department’s Efforts to Combat Identity Theft. The OIG assessed the Department’s coordination of its efforts to combat identity theft and the specific efforts of several Department components to address the fast growing crime of identity theft. Our audit found that the Department had not adequately coordinated its efforts to combat identity theft and that identity theft initiatives had faded as priorities. We determined that the Department did not have its own internal strategy to combat identity theft and had not appointed any individual or office to have responsibility for coordinating the Department’s identity theft efforts. We also identified problems with the Department’s data collection efforts, as well as confusion among Department investigators, prosecutors, and victim specialists about their responsibilities under federal law to identify and notify victims of identity theft. Our audit concluded that additional leadership is needed to ensure that the Department’s efforts to combat identity theft are coordinated and prioritized.
- The Department’s Anti-Gang Intelligence and Coordination Centers. Our review concluded that these two gang intelligence and coordination centers have not significantly improved the coordination and execution of the Department’s anti-gang initiatives. Administered by the FBI, the National Gang Intelligence Center (NGIC) is a multi-agency center that develops and shares gang-related information. However, NGIC has not established a centralized gang information database as directed by statute due to technological limitations and operational problems, and has not shared gang intelligence and information effectively with other law enforcement organizations. The National Gang Targeting, Enforcement, and Coordination Center (GangTECC), administered by the Criminal Division, is a coordination center for multi-jurisdictional gang investigations. However, we found that the lack of an operating budget prevents it from providing essential coordination and outreach. We recommended that the Department consider merging the two centers or ensure that their activities are better integrated.
- The FBI’s Use of Exigent Letters and Other Informal Requests for Telephone Records. The OIG examined the extent of the FBI’s use of exigent letters and other informal requests to obtain telephone records without legal process. We found widespread use of exigent letters and other informal requests for telephone records. Contrary to the statements in the letters, many of the investigations for which the letters were used did not involve exigent circumstances and subpoenas had not been sought for the records. In addition, we found widespread use of other, even more informal requests for telephone records in lieu of appropriate legal process or a qualifying emergency. Our review also found that the FBI’s initial attempts at corrective action were seriously deficient, ill-conceived, and poorly executed. Our report also described other troubling practices regarding requests, including improper requests for reporters’ telephone records, inaccurate statements made by the FBI to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court, improper use of administrative subpoenas, and serious lapses in training, supervision, and oversight. Our report assesses the accountability of FBI employees for these improper practices. The FBI agreed to implement the 13 recommendations made in our report.
- Status of the FBI’s Implementation of the Sentinel Project. The OIG completed two additional status reports examining the FBI’s ongoing development of its Sentinel information technology upgrade program. Our audit report released in November 2009 found that the FBI’s development of Sentinel has continued to progress, but that the delivered portions of Phase 2 of the Sentinel project did not provide the significant functionality as originally planned. Moreover, the budget for the upgrade had increased, and the timeline for completion had slipped. Our report released in March 2010 found that due to serious issues concerning usability, performance, and quality of the deliverables, the FBI issued a partial stop work order for Phases 3 and 4 of the program on March 3, 2010. The OIG report concluded that the FBI must ensure that its revisions of Sentinel’s budget, schedule, and requirements are realistic, achievable, and satisfactory to its users and that the FBI should integrate users’ concerns and perspectives into the remaining developmental phases of Sentinel.
- The FBI’s Foreign Language Translation Program. The OIG examined the FBI’s Foreign Language Translation Program, focusing on the FBI’s progress in improving its ability to translate and review material it collects. Similar to previous audits in 2004 and 2005, this audit found significant amounts of material collected for counterterrorism, counterintelligence, and criminal investigations have not been reviewed. While the FBI had made some improvements, such as in its quality control of translations, the FBI continued to not meet its goals for hiring linguists proficient in critical languages.
- The Department’s Financial Statement Audits. The OIG issued the audit report for the Department Annual Financial Statement for FY 2009. The Department and its nine reporting components received unqualified opinions on their financial statements. The audit found that the Department has continued to make progress in its financial management systems and has continued to address major weaknesses identified in our previous annual financial statement audits. For example, at the component level the number of significant deficiencies decreased from 14 in FY 2008 to 8 in FY 2009. However, our audit noted that the Department still does not have a unified financial management system to readily support ongoing accounting operations and preparation of financial statements.
As shown in the statistics in the table at the beginning of this section, the OIG investigates many allegations of misconduct involving Department employees or contractors or grantees who receive Department money. Examples of the OIG’s investigations discussed in this semiannual report include:
- A joint investigation by the OIG’s Washington Field Office and the FBI Internal Investigations Section resulted in the arrest of an FBI supervisory special agent in the District of Columbia on charges of making false statements. The investigation revealed that the agent submitted travel vouchers over a 15-month period claiming more than $41,000 for lodging expenses while on temporary duty in Virginia. The claimed expenses, supported by fictitious rental agreements and receipts, were fraudulent because the agent actually permanently resided at two locations in Maryland that were within the same metropolitan area as his temporary duty assignment in Virginia. The agent pled guilty and was sentenced to 180 days of home monitoring and 5 years of probation. He was also ordered to perform 400 hours of community service and pay $41,658.57 in restitution. He resigned his position with the FBI as a result of our investigation.
- An OIG investigation led to the arrest of a Federal Bureau of Prison’s (BOP) correctional counselor on charges of conspiracy, providing contraband in prison, tampering with witnesses, and soliciting to commit a crime of violence. The investigation found that the correctional counselor maintained a cadre of inmate enforcers who assaulted other inmates at his request. The correctional counselor also sought to have two of his enforcers maimed or killed because they had information about his own misconduct.
- A joint investigation by the OIG’s New York Field Office and the FBI resulted in the arrest of a USMS analyst on charges of bankruptcy fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, and illegally obtaining information from a government computer. The investigation determined that the analyst misused a USMS computer to access information from the FBI’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database to assist her husband’s gang-related criminal activities.
- A joint investigation by the OIG’s Fraud Detection Office and the FBI led to the arrest of the chief of police for the Law Enforcement Department of the Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians and his office manager on grant fraud conspiracy charges. As a result of the investigation, the chief of police was charged with conspiring with his office manager to steal $242,230 in grant funds for his personal use. The office manager pled guilty to grant fraud conspiracy charges and judicial proceedings against the police chief continue.
This report also describes ongoing OIG reviews throughout the Department, including:
- The Department’s preparations for responding to a weapons of mass destruction attack
- The FBI’s efforts to combat national security cyber threats
- The FBI’s efforts to reduce its backlog of forensic DNA samples
- ATF’s implementation of Project Gunrunner, an initiative to reduce firearms trafficking to Mexico and associated violence along the Southwest border
- The operations of the Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) El Paso Intelligence Center
- The Department’s use of material witness warrants