Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz announced today the release of a report examining the operations of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Western New York Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory (WNYRCFL) located in Buffalo, New York. The FBI operates 17 regional computer forensic laboratories for the purpose of providing federal, state, and local law enforcement partners with forensic examinations and training and education relating to computer related crime.
The DOJ Office of the Inspector General (OIG) found that the WNYRCFL had appropriate controls to ensure that the law enforcement personnel using investigative tools had the appropriate training and legal authority. In addition, the OIG found the WNYRCFL had mixed success in meeting its stated performance goals during its fiscal years (FY) 2015 – 2017. Despite being established in 2006, the WNYRCFL did not meet its goals related to making progress towards ANSI National Accreditation Board accreditation, nor its FY 2018 goal of completion of such accreditation. As of September 2019, the WNYRCFL remained unaccredited. The report did note that the WNYRCFL did not have a backlog of unassigned examinations, however challenges were identified related to recruiting examiners and aging equipment had negatively impacted the efficiency of the WNYRCFL’s operations, potentially putting it at risk for future backlogs.
Today’s report makes one recommendation to the FBI to ensure that the WNYRCFL obtains its required accreditation. The FBI agreed with the recommendation.