Report to Congress on Implementation
of Section 1001 of the USA PATRIOT Act
(as required by Section 1001(3) of Public Law 107-56)
January 22, 2003
Office of the Inspector General
The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) in the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is an independent entity that reports to both the Attorney General and Congress. The OIG's mission is to investigate allegations of waste, fraud, and abuse in DOJ programs and personnel and to promote economy and efficiency in DOJ operations.
The OIG now has jurisdiction to review programs and personnel in all DOJ components, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), the U.S. Attorneys' Offices, and other DOJ organizations.1
The OIG consists of the Immediate Office of the Inspector General and the following divisions and offices:
Audit Division is responsible for independent audits of Department programs, computer systems, and financial statements.
Evaluation and Inspections Division provides an alternative mechanism to traditional audits and investigations to review Department programs and activities.
Investigations Division is responsible for investigating allegations of bribery, fraud, abuse, civil rights violations, and violations of other criminal laws and administrative procedures that govern Department employees, contractors, and grantees.
Office of Oversight and Review blends the skills of attorneys, investigators, and program analysts to investigate or review high profile or sensitive matters involving Department programs or employees.
Office of General Counsel provides legal advice to OIG management and staff. In addition, the office drafts memoranda on issues of law; prepares administrative subpoenas; represents the OIG in personnel, contractual, and legal matters; and responds to Freedom of Information Act requests.
Management and Planning Division assists the OIG by providing services in the areas of planning, budget, finance, personnel, training, procurement, automated data processing, computer network communications, and general support.
Office of the Inspector General
The OIG has a staff of approximately 400 employees, about half of whom are based in Washington, D.C., while the rest work from 19 Investigations Division field offices and 7 Audit Division regional offices located throughout the country.
Department of Justice
OIG Field Office Locations
The USA PATRIOT Act (Patriot Act), Public Law 107-56, enacted by Congress and signed by the President on October 26, 2001, provides new and enhanced law enforcement authorities, including the sharing of foreign intelligence information, increased penalties for money laundering and other financial crimes, and stricter controls on immigration. In addition, Section 1001 of the Patriot Act directs the OIG to undertake a series of actions related to claims of civil rights or civil liberties violations committed by DOJ employees.
II. SECTION 1001
Section 1001 of the Patriot Act provides the following:
The Inspector General of the Department of Justice shall designate one official who shall -
- review information and receive complaints alleging abuses of civil rights and civil liberties by employees and officials of the Department of Justice;
- make public through the Internet, radio, television, and newspaper advertisements information on the responsibilities and functions of, and how to contact, the official; and
- submit to the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives and the Committee on the Judiciary of the Senate on a semi-annual basis a report on the implementation of this subsection and detailing any abuses described in paragraph (1), including a description of the use of funds appropriations used to carry out this subsection.
In compliance with Section 1001, Inspector General Glenn Fine designated his Counselor, Paul Martin, as the official who is responsible for overseeing the OIG's Section 1001 activities and coordinating the OIG's response to the Section 1001 directives.
This report, submitted pursuant to Section 1001(3) of the Patriot Act, covers the period from June 16, 2002, through December 15, 2002, and describes, in turn, the OIG's activities in implementing its responsibilities outlined in Section 1001. This is the second report submitted by the OIG pursuant to this section of the Patriot Act; the OIG submitted its first report on July 15, 2002.
III. CIVIL RIGHTS AND CIVIL LIBERTIES COMPLAINTS
The OIG established the Special Operations Branch in its Investigations Division to help manage the OIG's investigative responsibilities outlined in the Patriot Act.2 The Special Agent in Charge (SAC) who directs this unit is assisted by two Assistant Special Agents in Charge (ASAC), one of whom assists on Patriot Act and DEA matters and a second who assists on FBI matters. In addition, two Investigative Specialists support the unit and divide their time between Patriot Act and FBI/DEA responsibilities.
The Special Operations Branch receives civil rights and civil liberties complaints via mail, e-mail, telephone, and facsimile. The complaints are reviewed by the Investigative Specialist and ASAC responsible for Patriot Act. After review, the complaint is entered into an OIG database and a decision is made concerning its disposition. The more serious civil rights and civil liberties allegations that relate to actions of a DOJ employee or contractor are assigned to an OIG Investigations Division field office where OIG special agents conduct investigations of criminal violations and administrative misconduct.3
Because of its limited resources, the OIG does not handle all allegations of misconduct against DOJ employees. The OIG refers, for appropriate handling, many complaints involving DOJ employees to internal affairs offices in DOJ components, such as the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility, the DEA Office of Professional Responsibility, the BOP Office of Internal Affairs, or the INS Office of Internal Audit. Certain referrals require the component to report the results of their investigation to the OIG. In most cases, the OIG notifies the complainant of the referral.
Complaints outside the OIG's jurisdiction that identify a specific issue for investigation are forwarded to the appropriate investigative entity. For example, complaints of mistreatment by airport security staff are forwarded to the Department of Transportation's OIG. We have forwarded complaints to the OIGs at the Department of Veterans Affairs, U.S. Postal Service, U.S. Army, and to the Civil Rights Office in the Department of Education. In addition, we have referred complainants to a variety of police department internal affairs offices.
Since passage of the Patriot Act, the OIG also has been in close communication with the DOJ Civil Rights Division's National Origin Working Group (NOWG) to Combat the Post-9/11 Discriminatory Backlash. The NOWG regularly forwards complaints alleging civil rights and civil liberties abuses to the OIG for review. Many of the complaints forwarded by the NOWG are the result of media database searches.
When an allegation received from any source involves a potential violation of federal civil rights statutes by a DOJ employee, the complaint is discussed with the DOJ Civil Rights Division for possible prosecution. In some cases, the Civil Rights Division accepts the case and requests additional investigation by either the OIG or the FBI. In other cases, the Civil Rights Division declines prosecution.
From June 16, 2002, through December 15, 2002, the period covered by this report, the OIG received the following number and types of complaints:
The 167 complaints received by the OIG during this reporting period that fell within the OIG's jurisdiction (i.e., that state a claim involving a DOJ component or employee) covered a wide variety of subjects. They included allegations of excessive force by INS and BOP staff, verbal abuse by correctional officers, rude treatment by INS inspectors, and forced consumption of food prohibited by religious custom in INS and BOP facilities. However, many of the 167 complaints in this category, while within the OIG's jurisdiction and couched as a "Patriot Act" or "civil rights" complaint, do not raise issues implicated by Section 1001. For example, the OIG received numerous e-mails from individuals asking about the status of immigration paperwork they had submitted to the INS. Consequently, after closely analyzing the complaints in this category, the OIG identified 33 that raised credible Patriot Act violations on their face. These allegations ranged in seriousness from alleged beatings of detainees to INS Inspections staff allegedly cursing at airline passengers.
During this reporting period, the OIG opened 6 new Patriot Act-related investigations, continued 11 ongoing Patriot Act-related investigations, and closed 4 investigations, 3 of which we discussed in our previous semi-annual report to Congress.
Among the new cases of alleged civil rights and civil liberties abuses by DOJ employees opened by the OIG during this reporting period are:
The following are examples of civil rights and civil liberties allegations opened during the previous reporting period that the OIG continues to investigate during this reporting period:
The following are summaries of the four OIG investigations closed during this reporting period:
During this reporting period, the OIG referred 27 of the 33 complaints that stated a credible Patriot Act violation to internal affairs offices within DOJ components for their review or information. The OIG forwarded five complaints to the FBI, including allegations that an FBI agent inappropriately referred to an individual as a "terrorist" when interviewing the man's brother and another complaint in which the owner of a corporate jet training school claimed the FBI arrested him because of his ethnicity and the FBI's desire to put him out of business. As of December 15, 2002 (the close of this reporting period), the FBI was conducting preliminary reviews of the five complaints.
The OIG referred 12 of these complaints to the INS, including allegations that INS inspectors subjected a woman to rude questioning and a humiliating search of her luggage because of her Muslim heritage. Another complaint raised numerous allegations concerning detention conditions for INS detainees at the Middlesex County Jail in New Jersey. These allegations referred to cold temperatures in the jail, lack of courtyard and visitation privileges, poor sleeping conditions, limited access to medical services, and verbal abuse by corrections officers. By December 15, 2002, the INS had closed three cases as unsubstantiated, referred eight to local INS management for its review, and opened one as a pending management inquiry.
The OIG referred ten of these complaints to the BOP this reporting period, including allegations that an inmate was placed in a high-security cell without justification and verbally abused by correctional officers. Another inmate claimed he was subject to excessive searches because of his Muslim religious beliefs. In another complaint, inmates alleged that correctional officers intentionally shined flashlights into their cells, called them a "terrorist" and "Taliban," and suggested that they were responsible for the September 11 terrorist attacks.
The BOP closed three cases as unsubstantiated by the end of this reporting period, while seven remained open under investigation.
Also during this reporting period, the BOP substantiated a non-criminal Patriot Act allegation. The complaint involved an allegation that several correctional officers at a California facility placed copies of an American flag and pictures depicting a flag burning inside the food slots of three inmate's cells. On the papers were typed: "American flag: $25, Gasoline: $2, Cigarette Lighter: $2.50, catching yourself on fire because you are a terrorist asshole: PRICELESS." In addition, the complaint alleged that correctional staff placed miniature replicas of the American flag over the windows of the inmate's cell doors. The BOP sustained allegations of unprofessional conduct against the officers, and disciplinary action against the officers is pending.
During the previous reporting period, the FBI's Civil Rights Unit had opened seven investigations of allegations of physical or verbal abuse by BOP employees against detainees held in connection with the September 11 terrorist attacks.7 During this reporting period, the FBI closed two of these investigations as unsubstantiated and continued to investigate the remaining five complaints.
The OIG is going beyond the explicit requirements of Section 1001 to more fully implement its civil rights and civil liberties responsibilities. Given the multi-disciplinary nature of its workforce, the OIG can extend its oversight beyond traditional investigations to include evaluations, audits, and special reviews of DOJ programs and personnel. The OIG is conducting the following evaluations and reviews regarding alleged civil rights and civil liberties abuses.
The OIG initiated this review to examine the treatment of detainees arrested in connection with the Department's September 11 terrorism investigation. Specifically, the OIG is examining: 1) issues affecting the length of the detainees' confinement, including the process undertaken by the FBI and others to clear individual detainees of a connection to the September 11 attacks or terrorism in general; 2) the DOJ's efforts to oppose bond for all September 11 detainees and delay their deportations pending completion of the FBI's clearance investigation; and 3) conditions of confinement experienced by detainees, including allegations of physical and verbal abuse made by detainees against prison staff; detainees' access to counsel; medical care; and lighting conditions in the detainees' high-security cellblock. We focused our review primarily on INS detainees housed at two facilities - the BOP's Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Brooklyn, New York, and the Passaic County Jail (Passaic) in Paterson, New Jersey. We chose these facilities because they held the majority of September 11 detainees and because they were the focus of complaints by detainees and advocacy groups.
As part of this evaluation, the OIG has interviewed 32 September 11 detainees who were confined at the MDC and Passaic facilities and more than 110 officials and staff members at those facilities, the INS, the FBI, the BOP, the U.S. Attorney's Office, the Office of the Attorney General, the Office of the Deputy Attorney General, and the DOJ Criminal Division. The OIG also reviewed more than 200 official files pertaining to September 11 detainees and examined a variety of DOJ policies and procedures.
The OIG is close to completing the draft of its report describing the results of this review. The OIG intends to issue a public report describing its findings soon.
The OIG began a review of the BOP's policies on searching religious headwear worn by visitors to BOP facilities. This review arose out of a complaint to the OIG that a Sikh attorney was denied access to his client being held at the MDC in Brooklyn because he refused to remove his turban for inspection. The Sikh's religious practice requires him to wear his turban in public at all times.
The OIG has met with the Sikh Mediawatch and Resource Task Force to solicit its input, identify its concerns about religious discrimination against Sikhs, and explore potential solutions for searching religious headwear. The OIG will interview the Sikh attorney who raised the complaint as well as BOP officials. The objective of our review is to examine policies adopted by the BOP and other law enforcement and government agencies to ensure security while not unreasonably infringing upon the civil rights and civil liberties of individuals who wear religious headwear.
IV. ADVERTISING RESPONSIBILITIES
The OIG has initiated a variety of actions in response to Section 1001's advertising requirements and is planning to take additional steps in the months ahead.
The OIG's website contains information about how individuals can report violations of their civil rights or civil liberties. The OIG also continues to promote an e-mail address - firstname.lastname@example.org - where individuals can send complaints of civil rights and civil liberties violations.
The OIG also has developed a poster, translated in Arabic, that explains how to file a civil rights or civil liberties complaint with the OIG. During this reporting period, the OIG added an electronic version of this poster to its website.
The DOJ's main Internet homepage contains a link that provides a variety of options for reporting civil rights and civil liberties violations to the OIG. The Civil Rights Division's website also describes the OIG's role in investigating allegations of misconduct by DOJ employees and provides information on how to file a complaint with the OIG.
In addition, several minority and ethnic organizations have added information to their websites about how to contact the OIG with civil rights and civil liberties complaints. For example, the Arab American Institute (www.aaiusa.org), an organization that represents Arab Americans' political interests and provides community services, added the OIG's Patriot Act poster to its website of information and resources for the Arab American community. The Institute also has informed its members and affiliates of the OIG's Patriot Act responsibilities through its weekly e-mail newsletter. Similarly, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), one of the largest Arab American organizations in the nation, has posted the OIG's contact information and Patriot Act responsibilities on its website, which averages more than 1 million hits per month. The ADC also has published the OIG's Patriot Act responsibilities in its magazine, the ADC Times, which is circulated to more than 20,000 people. Furthermore, the OIG's Arabic poster and Patriot Act responsibilities have been disseminated electronically by the Council on American Islamic Relations LISTERV and the National Association of Muslim Lawyers LISTSERV. Altogether, information about how to report civil rights and civil liberties abuses to the OIG has reached well over 30,000 Arab and Muslim individuals via e-mail and the Internet.
The OIG intends to post additional Patriot Act-related information on its website, including a document describing frequently asked questions about the OIG and its Section 1001 responsibilities. The OIG has posted on its website our first semi-annual report required by Section 1001 covering our civil rights and civil liberty activities from April 1, 2002, to September 30, 2002. It will also post this report on our website.
The OIG has purchased advertisements in several newspapers about its role in investigating allegations of civil rights and civil liberties abuses. To date, these display advertisements have run in large circulation newspapers such as The Washington Post and The Washington Times and in smaller, ethnic and community-based newspapers such as The Beirut Times in Los Angeles, California, and The Arab American News in Dearborn, Michigan. Advertisements in the latter two newspapers appeared in both English and Arabic. The following is an example of the display advertisement.
During this reporting period, the OIG produced a 60-second radio advertisement that contains the following text, read first in English and then in Arabic:
The Office of the Inspector General investigates allegations of civil rights and civil liberties abuses by U.S. Department of Justice employees. If you believe a Department of Justice employee has violated your civil rights or civil liberties, contact the Inspector General at 800-869-4499.
The OIG purchased advertising time to run this announcement on nine radio programs in five major metropolitan areas: New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, and Houston. The OIG selected these cities because they have large populations of Arab Muslims and have had the most Anti-Muslim incidents reported since the September 11 terrorist attacks.
The OIG also placed this radio advertisement on small, ethnic radio stations that appeal specifically to Arab and Muslim listeners. The radio programs included: New York City's 1430 AM; New York City's 1680 AM South Asian; New York City's 930 AM Ramadan program; New York City's 930 AM Jaman program; Los Angeles's 1190 AM Muslim Radio; Los Angeles's 900 AM Pakistan Radio; Chicago's 1420 AM Arab Community Radio; Detroit's 690 AM Arab Radio; and Houston's 1180 AM.
These radio stations ran the OIG's advertisement a total of 40 times. The OIG scheduled airing of its advertisement near the end of 2002 so that it would overlap with Ramadan, the Muslim holy month. During this time, we found that many of these radio stations offered special Ramadan programming that attracted large Muslim audiences.
In addition to purchasing advertisements, we distributed our advertisement text as a public service announcement to an additional 55 of the most popular radio stations in 13 major cities across the United States: New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Sacramento, San Jose, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, and Washington, D.C. We chose these locations for the public service announcement because they have large populations of Arab Muslims and have reported several Anti-Muslim incidents since September 11.
Because radio stations generally do not monitor public service announcements, we cannot determine how many times the OIG's message was aired on these stations. However, we learned that one station, New York City's WSOU 89.5 FM, aired our announcement 17 times during a one-month period. We expect that other stations also have or will air our announcement frequently because of its brevity and importance. In the months ahead, we plan to continue placing public service announcements with radio stations across the nation.
The OIG is beginning to develop television advertisements as required by Section 1001. We are developing an advertising plan to reach the largest segment of our targeted audience in the most cost-effective manner. As with the radio advertisements, we are focusing on ethnic television stations in cities with large Arab and Muslim populations. Specifically, we are considering purchasing advertisements on Arab television stations in New York City, Los Angeles, Detroit, and Washington, D.C.
V. EXPENSE OF IMPLEMENTING SECTION 1001
During this reporting period, the OIG spent approximately $367,000 in personnel costs, $10,000 in travel costs, and $9,000 in non-personnel costs, for a total of nearly $386,000, to implement its responsibilities under Section 1001.
The personnel and travel costs reflect the time spent by OIG Special Agents, inspectors, and lawyers who have worked directly on Patriot Act-related matters. The non-personnel costs reflect approximately $955 for interpreter services, $1,700 for printing the OIG's civil rights/civil liberties posters, $800 for distributing the posters, $800 for the development of the OIG's radio advertisement, and $5,000 for airing the radio advertisements.
VI. ADDITIONAL OUTREACH EFFORTS
In addition to promoting the OIG's role in reviewing claims of civil rights and civil liberties violations on the Internet and in radio and newspaper advertisements, the OIG is reaching out in other ways to educate the public about its Patriot Act responsibilities. The following are examples of OIG outreach efforts during the current reporting period:
The OIG's Investigations Division field offices also are distributing the posters to Arab businesses and organizations in their respective locations, including: New York City, New York; Los Angeles, California; San Francisco, California; San Diego, California; Chicago, Illinois; Detroit, Michigan; Atlanta, Georgia; Washington, D.C.; Miami, Florida; Tucson, Arizona; McAllen, Texas; El Paso, Texas; and Dallas, Texas.
In total, the OIG has distributed more than 1,900 posters this reporting period.
In response to numerous requests for posters in languages other than English and Arabic, the OIG is considering translating the poster into Spanish, Punjabi, Urdu, and possibly other languages.