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1-13.000
Urgent Reports


1-13.100 Urgent Reports—Generally
1-13.110 "Significant Investigations and Litigation"
1-13.120 "Major Development"
1-13.130 Reports of Other Matters
1-13.140 Urgent Report Handling and Format

1-13.100

Urgent Reports—Generally

United States Attorneys' offices and Department litigating divisions must submit Urgent Reports to inform Department leadership, including the Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General, of (1) major developments in significant investigations and litigation, (2) law enforcement emergencies, and (3) events affecting the Department that are likely to generate national media or Congressional attention. Urgent Reports should be brief but contain at least the following information:

  • A brief description of the general nature of the matter, emergency, or event, including possible crimes committed or claims involved;

  • A brief description of the major development being reported;

  • Potential targets, subjects, and parties in the matter;

  • The investigative and/or client agencies involved; and

  • The date of any prior, related Urgent Report, if any.

USAOs and Department litigating divisions should submit Urgent Reports at least three days in advance of anticipated developments or events to provide Department leadership with appropriate notice. In the event of unanticipated events and emergencies, USAOs and Department litigating divisions should submit Urgent Reports within 24 hours, absent exigent circumstances.

Submission of an Urgent Report is required even where a USAO has given oral notice to EOUSA or oral or written notice to other Department components or leadership. In matters where the USAO and a Department litigating division are jointly litigating the matter, the offices should coordinate to ensure preparation and proper dissemination of a single Urgent Report to Department leadership.

In all cases, access to Urgent Reports is strictly controlled on a limited official use basis. Only those officials having a need to know will receive access to Urgent Reports. Nevertheless, Urgent Reports should be brief and avoid unnecessary detail. Please keep in mind whether the information in the Urgent Report is discoverable or producible in any context.

This reporting requirement is a notice requirement only and should not interrupt, alter, or delay the normal conduct and pursuit of any matter or case. Moreover, these procedures do not satisfy other applicable notice, consultation, or approval requirements that may apply.

[adapted in September 2011 from material that formerly appeared in USAM Chapter 3-18.000]

1-13.110

"Significant Investigations and Litigation"

USAOs and Department litigating divisions should consider the existence of the following criteria as illustrative of the types of significant investigations and litigation that must be reported:

  • National or statewide public official, public entity, or prominent public figure as a party, subject, target, or significant witness;

  • High likelihood of coverage in national news media;

  • High likelihood of Congressional interest;

  • Extraordinarily large monetary liability, loss amount, or recovery at issue;

  • Significant implications on foreign relations; and

  • Novel theory of law likely to implicate significant Department interests.

[adapted in September 2011 from material that formerly appeared in USAM Chapter 3-18.000]

1-13.120

"Major Development"

Major developments in significant investigations and litigation may include the following events:

  • Initiation of investigation;

  • Filing of criminal charges (complaint, information, or indictment);

  • Arrest of defendants;

  • Filing of a civil complaint by or against the United States;

  • Plea, trial, verdict, or settlement; and

  • Sentencing.

Please note that the list above is not exhaustive and that major developments can include other steps between the initiation and conclusion of a matter or case. For example, a USAO or Department litigating division should report the following events when the events are likely to receive national media coverage or Congressional attention:

  • Execution of a search warrant;

  • Interview of a significant witness;

  • Appearance of a significant witness before a grand jury or at a deposition;

  • Significant motions and adverse rulings; and

  • Significant post-conviction or post judgment litigation, including appeals.

[adapted in September 2011 from material that formerly appeared in USAM Chapter 3-18.000]

1-13.130

Reports of Other Matters

USAOs and Department litigating divisions must submit Urgent Reports regarding any information or event falling within the circumstances set forth below:

  • Law enforcement emergencies—e.g., riots, taking of hostages, hijacking, kidnapping, prison escapes with attendant violence, threats or actual serious bodily injury or harm inflicted on or caused by Department personnel;

  • Security incidents, as provided in USAM 3-15.160;

  • Non-frivolous allegations of serious misconduct by the Department or a specific Department employee, including criticism by a member of Congress, a court, or other senior government officials of the Department's handling of a particular matter;

  • Major conflicts with other government agencies or departments;

  • Issues or events that may be of major interest to the news media, Congress, or the President; and

  • Other information so important as to warrant the personal attention of the Attorney General or the Deputy Attorney General within 24 hours.

See also USAM Chapter 1-14.000.

[adapted in September 2011 from material that formerly appeared in USAM Chapter 3-18.000]
[updated August 2012]

1-13.140

Urgent Report Handling and Format

USAOs and Department litigating divisions should submit Urgent Reports in memo format to the Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General and include the following:

  • Name and contact information of the United States Attorney or Assistant Attorney General submitting the Urgent Report;

  • Date of the Urgent Report;

  • Classification level: Urgent Reports that contain classified material must be sent through appropriate secure communications;

  • Contact Person: Name and contact information of person with complete knowledge of the facts reported;

  • Synopsis: A one paragraph or shorter summary of the facts; and

  • Discussion: A concise recitation of the development giving rise to the need for the Urgent Report, including whether media is aware of the subject matter of the report.

Department litigating divisions should submit Urgent Reports by email to "Urgent Reports Litigating Divisions." USAOs must submit Urgent Reports to EOUSA through the USA-Report system.

[adapted in September 2011 from material that formerly appeared in USAM Chapter 3-18.000]