USDOJ/OIG - Semiannual Report to Congress, October 1, 1996 - March 31, 1997

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Office of the Inspector General


OIG Profile

By Act of Congress, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) was established in the Department of Justice (Department) on April 14, 1989. The OIG investigates alleged violations of criminal and civil laws, regulations, and ethical standards arising from the conduct of the Department's employees in its numerous and diverse activities. The OIG provides leadership and assists management in promoting integrity, economy, efficiency, and effectiveness within the Department and in its financial, contractual, and grant relationships with others. Also by statute, the OIG reports to the Attorney General, Congress, and the public on a semiannual basis regarding the significant work of the office.

The OIG carries out its mission with a workforce of approximately 380 auditors, inspectors, special agents, and support staff.

The special agents are assigned to offices in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Colorado Springs, Dallas, El Paso, Houston, Los Angeles, McAllen, Miami, New York, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, and Tucson. The OIG expects to open an office in El Centro, California, later this year.

The auditors are located in offices in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Philadelphia, and San Francisco.

Other components of the OIGthe Inspections Division, the Special Investigations and Review Unit, the Management and Planning Division, the Office of General Counsel, and the Inspector General's immediate officeare located in Washington, D.C.

The OIG's Fiscal Year (FY) 1997 direct appropriation is $31,960,000. The OIG also expects reimbursement from the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) for $5.0 million worth of audit, inspections, and investigative oversight work related to INS fee accounts; the U.S. Trustees for $1.3 million for trustee audits; and the Working Capital Fund for $6.7 million to produce a consolidated Department financial statement audit in FY 1997 in compliance with statutory requirements of the Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990 and the Government Management Reform Act of 1994.


USDOJ/OIG - Semiannual Report to Congress, October 1, 1996 - March 31, 1997

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Special Inquiries

Several OIG investigations are of significant interest to the American public and Congress and of vital importance to the Department. Task forces working on these cases comprise OIG special agents, auditors, and inspectors, and in some instances, Assistant U.S. Attorneys from across the country. The following pages highlight these complex OIG investigations.

FBI Laboratory

Just after the close of the reporting period, the OIG completed a 1-year investigation of allegations of wrongdoing and improper practices within the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Laboratory. Our investigation focused on explosives-related cases, including some of the most significant cases handled by the Department, such as the World Trade Center and Oklahoma City bombing cases. The allegations implicated fundamental aspects of federal law enforcement: the reliability of the procedures employed by the Laboratory to analyze evidence, the integrity of the persons engaging in that analysis, and the objectivity of the testimony given in cases by Laboratory examiners. The initial allegations were made by Dr. Frederic Whitehurst, a scientist employed in the Laboratory, but the OIG also investigated additional allegations that arose during the course of the investigation.

In the fall of 1995, the OIG assembled an investigative team composed of four special investigative counsel, several OIG special agents and inspectors, and five internationally renowned scientists with experience in the operation of forensic laboratories. The team conducted hundreds of witness interviews, reviewed more than 60,000 pages of documents, and, in April of this year, issued a 517-page report detailing the results of our investigation.

Our investigation did not substantiate the vast majority of allegations concerning Laboratory examiners, including allegations of perjury and fabricated evidence. However, we found deficient practices in several cases handled by the Laboratory, such as scientifically flawed testimony, testimony beyond examiners' expertise, improper preparation of Laboratory reports, insufficient documentation of test results, and an inadequate record management system in the Laboratory. Although our investigation exonerated most of the examiners whose actions we reviewed, we found serious deficiencies by several examiners. We recommended transferring specific examiners from the Laboratory and relieving others of supervisory duties.

To enhance quality in the Laboratory, our report recommended that the FBI pursue Laboratory accreditation (a process already under way), restructure certain units in the Laboratory, change procedures for reporting results of scientific analyses, improve case documentation practices, develop and implement a coordinated training program for examiners, and monitor more closely the court testimony of examiners. Following its review of the report, the FBI stated that it accepts and intends to implement all of our recommendations.

 

The New York Times
Wednesday, January 29, 1997



  The Washington Post
Wednesday, April 16, 1997

 

 


USDOJ/OIG - Semiannual Report to Congress, October 1, 1996 - March 31, 1997

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Special Inquiries

Aldrich H. Ames

During this reporting period, the OIG completed its review of the FBI's actions in uncovering the espionage activities of Aldrich H. Ames, who was identified as the cause of lost FBI and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Soviet intelligence sources. Our review, initiated at the request of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, analyzed the FBI's efforts to identify the cause of these losses and the FBI's and CIA's coordination of these efforts.

Our final report contains highly classified and sensitive information about the FBI's and CIA's foreign counterintelligence efforts and their actions in pursuing the Aldrich Ames matter. We provided the report to the congressional intelligence committees and selected high-ranking officials in the Department and CIA. In mid-April, we issued publicly a 15-page unclassified executive summary that found that FBI management devoted inadequate attention to determining the cause of the sudden and catastrophic losses suffered by both the FBI and CIA in their Soviet intelligence programs.

Allegations of Cocaine Trafficking by the CIA and the Nicaraguan Contras

The OIG is conducting an investigation into allegations of drug trafficking by persons associated with the CIA and the Nicaraguan Contras. In August 1996, a series of articles in the San Jose Mercury News alleged that the CIA, working with supporters of the Contras, was involved in the importation of crack cocaine into Los Angeles in the 1980s. These allegations received widespread public and congressional attention. Several members of Congress requested that the Department and CIA thoroughly investigate these allegations.

The OIG investigation is focusing on what the Department knew and did regarding the allegations involving drug trafficking by persons associated with the Contras and the CIA. We have reviewed over 20,000 relevant documents collected from the FBI, INS, Drug Enforcement Administration, Criminal Division, U.S. Attorneys' Offices, and other Department components and are currently conducting witness interviews throughout the United States and Central America. Our investigation is being coordinated with the CIA's OIG, which is engaged in a related inquiry that focuses on the CIA's conduct in these matters.

Operation Gatekeeper

Our investigation of Operation Gatekeeperthe primary interdiction effort by the INS Border Patrol intended to halt the flow of illegal immigration across the U.S./Mexico border between California and Baja Californiabegan in July 1996 shortly after allegations were made that Operation Gatekeeper achievements were being misrepresented to make it appear successful. These allegations included claims that data were being altered to make the operation appear to have successfully deterred illegal immigration into the San Diego Sector, that Border Patrol agents were being instructed not to apprehend aliens, and that INS supervisory agents submitted falsified reports showing inaccurately low apprehension totals.


USDOJ/OIG - Semiannual Report to Congress, October 1, 1996 - March 31, 1997

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Special Inquiries

The OIG investigative team of over 15 special agents, analysts, and support staff, led by an Assistant U.S. Attorney detailed to the OIG and a senior OIG special agent, has already conducted hundreds of interviews and reviewed over 50,000 pages of documents, 5,000 computer files, and 100 videotapes. The investigation continues.

Citizenship U.S.A.

In September 1995, INS initiated Citizenship U.S.A. (CUSA), a program whose stated goal was to substantially reduce the backlog of pending naturalization applications. Over one million individuals were naturalized during the year the program was in place. In 1996, allegations were made that large numbers of aliens were improperly naturalizedin particular, that aliens with serious criminal records had been granted citizenship. Numerous additional allegations have been made, including that CUSA was politically motivated to naturalize individuals in time to vote in the November 1996 election, that community-based organizations were improperly involved in the naturalization process, that INS background inquiries of the aliens were insufficient, and that INS employees who made complaints about CUSA were retaliated against by INS officials.

The OIG's Investigations, Audit, and Inspections Divisions are all involved in examining aspects of CUSA. The Department hired KPMG Peat Marwick LLP (KPMG) to validate a review being conducted by INS employees to identify aliens who were improperly granted citizenship despite having disqualifying criminal convictions. OIG auditors are closely reviewing KPMG's work in this area. After on-site reviews of the naturalization review project, OIG auditors identified and reported to the Department's Justice Management Division and KPMG weaknesses in KPMG's oversight of INS' work on the naturalization project. OIG inspectors are reviewing KPMG's scrutiny of new guidelines issued by INS in November 1996 to enhance the quality of the naturalization process.

The OIG also is investigating numerous pending criminal matters arising from CUSA, including allegations of fraudulent testing, bribery to obtain citizenship, and retaliation against employees. The OIG is initiating a special investigation that will focus on the naturalization process in five major cities and will probe the broader questions surrounding CUSA, including its formulation and implementation.

Other Activities

Legislation and Regulations

The Inspector General Act of 1978, as amended, directs the Inspector General (IG) to review proposed legislation and regulations relating to the programs and operations of the Department. Although the Department's Office of Legislative Affairs reviews all proposed or enacted legislation that could affect the Department's activities, the OIG independently reviews proposed legislation regarding the OIG itself or fraud, waste, and abuse in the Department's programs or operations. During this reporting period, the OIG reviewed six bills or other proposed legislation, including the Technical Amendments to the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act and the Victims' Rights Act of 1997.


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Other Activities

President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency

The IG is a member of the President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency (PCIE) and its Investigations Committee. OIG senior staff also participate in PCIE activitiessuch as the Inspections Round Table, an annual investigations conference, and meetings of the Chief Financial Officers Groupthat relate to their respective duties.

In addition to his formal assignments, the IG is active in the expansion of IGNet, a World Wide Website that publishes audit and inspection reports and makes other information relative to IG activities available to the public. The Audit Division responded to the PCIE semiannual data call for the Quality of Nonfederal Audits, provided comments on the PCIE External Peer Review Guide, and commented on the Office of Management and Budget Circular A-133 draft Compliance Supplement for Single Audit Act Audits.