Report to Congress on Implementation
of Section 1001 of the USA PATRIOT Act
(as required by Section 1001(3) of Public Law 107-56)
March 11, 2005
Office of the Inspector General
Section 1001 of the USA PATRIOT Act (Patriot Act), Public Law 107-56, directs the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) in the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ or Department) to undertake a series of actions related to claims of civil rights or civil liberties violations allegedly committed by DOJ employees. It also requires the OIG to provide semiannual reports to Congress on the implementation of the OIG’s responsibilities under Section 1001. This report – the sixth since enactment of the legislation in October 2001 – summarizes the OIG’s Section 1001-related activities from June 22, 2004, through December 31, 2004.
According to the Inspector General Act, the OIG is an independent entity within the DOJ 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 has jurisdiction to review programs and personnel in all DOJ components, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, and other DOJ components.
The OIG consists of the Immediate Office of the Inspector General and the following divisions and offices:
The OIG has a staff of approximately 420 employees, about half of whom are based in Washington, D.C., while the rest work from 16 Investigations Division field and area offices and 7 Audit Division regional offices located throughout the country.
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.
The OIG’s Special Operations Branch in its Investigations Division manages the OIG’s investigative responsibilities outlined in Section 1001.1 The Special Agent in Charge who directs this unit is assisted by two Assistant Special Agents in Charge (ASAC), one of whom assists on Section 1001 and DEA matters and a second who assists on FBI matters. In addition, four Investigative Specialists support the unit and divide their time between Section 1001 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 an ASAC. 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 DOJ employees or DOJ contractors normally are assigned to an OIG Investigations Division field office, where OIG special agents conduct investigations of criminal violations and administrative misconduct.2 Some complaints are assigned to the OIG’s Office of Oversight and Review for investigation.
Given the number of complaints received compared to its limited resources, the OIG does not investigate all allegations of misconduct against DOJ employees. The OIG refers many complaints involving DOJ employees to internal affairs offices in DOJ components such as the FBI Inspection Division, the DEA Office of Professional Responsibility, and the BOP Office of Internal Affairs for appropriate handling. In certain referrals, the OIG requires the components to report the results of their investigations to the OIG. In most cases, the OIG notifies the complainant of the referral.
Many complaints received by the OIG involve matters outside our jurisdiction. The ones that identify a specific issue for investigation are forwarded to the appropriate investigative entity. For example, complaints of mistreatment by airport security staff are sent to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) OIG. We also have forwarded complaints to the OIGs at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of State, United States Postal Service, Department of Defense, Central Intelligence Agency, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In addition, we have referred complainants to a variety of police department internal affairs offices that have jurisdiction over the subject of the complaints.
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 22, 2004, through December 31, 2004, the period covered by this report, the OIG processed 1,943 complaints that were sent primarily to the OIG’s Section 1001 e-mail or postal address.3
Of these complaints, 1,748 did not warrant further investigation or did not fall within the OIG’s jurisdiction. Approximately three-quarters of the 1,748 complaints made allegations that did not warrant an investigation. For example, some of the complaints alleged that government agents were broadcasting signals that interfere with a person’s thoughts or dreams or that prison officials had laced the prison food with hallucinogenic drugs. The remaining one-quarter of the 1,748 complaints in this category involved allegations against agencies or entities outside of the DOJ, including other federal agencies, local governments, or private businesses. We referred those complaints to the appropriate entity or advised complainants of the entity with jurisdiction over their allegations.
Consequently, 195 complaints involved DOJ employees or components and made allegations that required further review. Of those complaints, 170 raised management issues rather than alleged "civil rights" or "civil liberties" abuses and were referred to DOJ components for handling. For example, inmates complained about the general conditions at federal prisons, such as the poor quality of the food or the lack of hygiene products. Twelve of the 195 complaints did not provide sufficient detail to make a determination whether an abuse was alleged. We requested further information but did not receive responses from any of these 12 complainants. Finally, we requested that the BOP investigate one of the complaints and report to us on the investigation’s findings. That complaint involved an inmate who complained that he was sexually harassed by a correctional officer. BOP’s investigation of the matter is ongoing.
Therefore, after analyzing these 195 complaints, the OIG identified 12 matters that we believed warranted opening a Section 1001 investigation or conducting a closer review to determine if Section 1001-related abuse occurred. Of the 12 new matters, the OIG retained 1 for investigation because the complainant made allegations of a potentially criminal nature. The OIG closed one because the allegations already had been addressed in a previous OIG investigation. The OIG referred the remaining ten matters, which appeared to raise largely administrative issues, to Department components for further investigation or review. For six of the ten matters, we requested that the components report their findings to us.
It is important to note that none of the complaints we processed during this reporting period alleged misconduct by DOJ employees relating to use of a provision in the Patriot Act.
The following is a synopsis of the new complaints processed during this reporting period:
During this reporting period, the OIG opened one new Section 1001-related investigation, continued four ongoing Section 1001-related cases, and closed four Section 1001 investigations. The following is a description of the new matter opened by the OIG:
During this reporting period, the OIG referred ten of the new complaints to internal affairs offices within DOJ components for investigation or closer review. Three of the complaints were referred to the FBI. In one of those complaints, the Council on American-Islamic Relations alleged that an FBI agent violated the civil rights of a Muslim individual when the agent questioned the individual regarding his immigration status and knowledge of terrorist activities. The FBI’s Inspection Division currently is investigating this matter.
In the second complaint, an off-duty BOP Correctional Officer of Arab descent alleged that he and another individual were victims of racial profiling when they were detained at an airport and questioned for several hours about their suspicious behavior during a flight. After we referred the complaint to the FBI Inspection Division, that office reviewed the matter and determined that the FBI agents did not violate FBI policy. The third complaint referred to the FBI involved a national security matter that was investigated by the FBI’s Inspection Division and is pending resolution.
The OIG referred seven of the ten complaints to the BOP’s Office of Internal Affairs (OIA). The complaints included allegations that BOP staff verbally abused Muslim inmates, placed Muslim inmates in segregation, confiscated Muslim inmates’ religious articles, and denied Muslim inmates’ telephone privileges and library access. Four of the complaints sent to the BOP were designated by the OIG as "Monitored Referrals," which means the BOP is required at the end of its investigation to send a report of the investigation to the OIG for its review. Of these four complaints, the BOP closed two matters as unsubstantiated, while the other two matters remain open. The BOP has an open investigation on each of the three other matters.
During this reporting period, the FBI addressed a matter that the OIG had referred to the FBI for review during the previous reporting period. The matter involved an electronic communication (EC) from one FBI field office to other FBI field offices around the country identifying the names and addresses of the proprietors and customers of a Muslim-based website. The EC listed the proprietors’ and customers’ names by FBI field office for the respective office to take whatever action it deemed appropriate. The OIG received a copy of the EC from an FBI employee concerned about the lack of predication or apparent basis on the face of the EC for the leads to be sent for investigation to the FBI field offices. We asked the FBI Inspection Division to review the incident and report back to us. In this reporting period, the FBI Inspection Division notified us that the FBI recognized that the EC raised First Amendment concerns. The FBI retracted the EC and directed the field offices to conduct no further investigative action based on the EC and to destroy all copies of the EC. The Inspection Division also informed us that the FBI had concluded that the EC should have been reviewed by the legal advisor for the originating field office prior to being disseminated and that in the future such an EC will be subject to legal review.
The OIG has conducted other reviews that go beyond the explicit requirements of Section 1001 in order to implement more fully its civil rights and civil liberties oversight responsibilities. Given the multi-disciplinary nature of its work force, the OIG can extend its oversight beyond traditional investigations to include evaluations, audits, and special reviews of DOJ programs and personnel. Using this approach, the OIG has initiated or continued several special reviews that address, in part, issues relating to the OIG’s duties under Section 1001.
During the reporting period, the FBI began a special inquiry into FBI agents’ observations of interrogation techniques used on detainees held at the U.S. military’s Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib prison facilities. The OIG requested materials from the FBI relating to the special inquiry and, after reviewing them, opened a review of this matter.
The OIG is examining whether any FBI staff observed or participated in non-law enforcement interrogation techniques of detainees at U.S. military detention facilities. In addition, the OIG is reviewing whether FBI employees reported their observations of these interrogation techniques and how those reports were handled.
An OIG special review issued in December 2003 (and described in detail in our January 2004 Section 1001 report) examined allegations that some correctional officers physically and verbally abused some detainees held in connection with the Department’s terrorism investigation at the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Brooklyn, New York.4 We concluded that certain MDC staff members abused some of the detainees, and we found systemic problems in the way detainees were treated at the MDC. In December 2003, we provided the results of our investigation to the BOP for its review and appropriate disciplinary action.
In response to our report and recommendations, the BOP OIA initiated an investigation based on the OIG’s findings to determine whether discipline is warranted. More than a year later, the OIA review still is ongoing, and the BOP still is considering appropriate disciplinary action. The OIG continues to monitor this review and the BOP’s ultimate actions with regard to disciplinary action.
In addition, during this reporting period, the BOP informed the OIG that it discovered additional videotapes from the MDC relevant to the OIG’s supplemental review regarding abuse related to the September 11 detainees which had not been provided previously to the OIG – or the BOP OIA – as required. Some of the videotapes included additional instances of video- and audio-taped meetings between detainees and their attorneys at the MDC. Others concerned detainee movements. The OIG and the BOP OIA are reviewing the newly discovered videotapes. The OIG and the BOP OIA also have opened a joint investigation to determine why the MDC had not previously provided these videotapes.
With respect to the systemic problems we found at the MDC, our December 2003 Supplemental Report made seven recommendations to the BOP ranging from developing guidance for training correctional officers in appropriate restraint techniques to educating BOP staff concerning the impropriety of audio recording meetings between inmates and their attorneys. The BOP’s response to the recommendations and the OIG analysis of that response can be found on the OIG’s website under “Special Reports.” In February 2005, the BOP provided materials to close the remaining two recommendations.
In its June 2003 Detainee Report, the OIG made 21 recommendations related to issues under the jurisdiction of the FBI, the BOP, leadership offices at the DOJ, as well as immigration issues now under the jurisdiction of the DHS. As of this reporting period, 20 of the recommendations have been resolved. The one open recommendation calls for the Department and the DHS to enter into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to formalize policies, responsibilities, and procedures for managing a national emergency that involves alien detainees. This MOU has not yet been established. Negotiations between the Department and the DHS over the language of the MOU are ongoing.
In May 2002, the Attorney General issued revised domestic Guidelines that govern general crimes and criminal intelligence investigations. The OIG is conducting a review of the FBI’s implementation of four sets of Attorney General Guidelines: Attorney General’s Guidelines Regarding the Use of Confidential Informants; Attorney General’s Guidelines on FBI Undercover Operations; Attorney General’s Guidelines on General Crimes, Racketeering Enterprise and Terrorism Enterprise Investigations; and Revised Department of Justice Procedures for Lawful, Warrantless Monitoring of Verbal Communications.
The objectives of the OIG review are to determine what steps the FBI has taken to implement the Guidelines, examine how effective those steps have been, and assess the FBI’s compliance with key provisions of the Guidelines. Because the FBI’s adherence to these Guidelines could implicate civil rights or civil liberties issues under Section 1001, we are including a description of the review in this report.
Make public through the Internet, radio, television, and newspaper advertisements information on the responsibilities and functions of, and how to contact, the official.
The OIG continues to meet its Section 1001 advertising requirements in a variety of ways.
The OIG’s Internet website contains information about how individuals can report violations of their civil rights or civil liberties. On our website, 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 received most of the 1,943 complaints processed this reporting period via e-mail.
The OIG previously developed a poster, translated in Arabic, that explains how to file a civil rights or civil liberties complaint with the OIG. An electronic version of this poster is available on our 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’ interests and provides community services, added the OIG’s Section 1001 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 Section 1001 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 Section 1001 responsibilities on its website, which at one time averaged more than 1 million hits per month. The ADC also has published the OIG’s Section 1001 responsibilities in its magazine, the ADC Times, which is circulated to more than 20,000 people. Furthermore, the OIG’s Arabic poster and Section 1001 responsibilities have been disseminated electronically by the Council on American Islamic Relations LISTERV and the National Association of Muslim Lawyers LISTSERV.
In the prior reporting period, the OIG arranged to have the following television advertisement aired in areas with a higher concentration of Arab speakers with the text spoken in Arabic and scrolled in English:
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. That number again is 800-869-4499.
The OIG also purchased blocks of time on ANA Television Network, Inc., an Arab cable television station with outlets around the country. According to the promotional materials at the time, ANA Television Network was the largest Arab-American television network in the country. The segment aired 48 times during prime time in June and July 2003.
Also in the prior reporting period, the OIG submitted public service announcements (PSA) to 45 radio stations in cities across the country, including New York, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Dallas, and Washington, D.C. The text of the PSA read:
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.
In an earlier period, we also purchased airtime for 44 radio advertisements on Arab/Muslim American radio stations in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Detroit, and Dallas. These advertisements, both in English and Arabic, were 60 seconds long and included the PSA listed above.
Previously, the OIG disseminated approximately 2,500 Section 1001 posters to more than 150 organizations in 50 cities. The posters, in English and Arabic, explain how to contact the OIG to report civil rights and civil liberties abuses.
As we discussed in a previous reporting period, we also provided the posters to the BOP, which placed at least two in each of its facilities. We have received hundreds of complaints each reporting period from inmates alleging civil rights and civil liberties abuses, many of which we believe were sent to us in response to the posters.
During the last reporting period, the OIG purchased additional newspaper advertisements highlighting its role in investigating allegations of civil rights and civil liberties abuses. The display advertisement was placed in an Arab community newspaper and appeared both in English and Arabic.
The OIG had flyers translated into several commonly spoken languages in the Muslim world, including Arabic, Urdu, Punjabi, and Vietnamese. We are awaiting translations into Indonesian and Malaysian.
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…including a description of the use of funds appropriations used to carry out this subsection.
During this reporting period, the OIG spent approximately $428,856 in personnel costs, $13,592 in travel costs (for investigators to conduct interviews), and $600 in advertising and publication costs, for a total of $443,048 to implement its responsibilities under Section 1001. The personnel and travel costs reflect the time and funds spent by OIG Special Agents, inspectors, and attorneys who have worked directly on investigating Section 1001-related complaints and on conducting special reviews.