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The Administration of Contracts and Agreements for Linguistic Services by the Drug Enforcement Administration

Report No. 02-33
August 2002
Office of the Inspector General




The mission of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is to enforce controlled substances laws and regulations and to bring to the criminal and civil justice system those individuals and organizations involved in the growing, manufacture, or distribution of controlled substances either in or destined for the United States. Among the ways that the DEA seeks to meet its mission is through telephonic monitoring of court ordered nonconsensual intercepts, subsequent transcription of recorded material, and the translation of written documents. At the time of our audit fieldwork, the DEA had awarded the following contracts for its Division offices to obtain linguistic services to perform monitoring, transcription, and translation services.

DEA Contracts for Linguistic Services
DEA Division Office\
From To
[DELETED] $3,164,463 10/01/95 09/30/006
[DELETED] $2,609,538 07/01/99 06/30/04
[DELETED] $13,618,439 04/06/00 09/30/04
[DELETED] $15,174,909 06/30/97 06/30/02
New York\
[DELETED] $84,411,097 12/01/00 11/30/05
San Diego\
[DELETED] $13,125,020 07/14/99 07/13/04
Total   $132,103,466    
Source: The DEA Contracting Officer

We conducted individual audits of the contracts for Dallas, Houston, Miami, and San Diego. The New York contract was not audited because it had recently begun and the contractor had submitted few invoices as of July 30, 2001. The Chicago contract was not audited because it was ending and a new contract was about to be awarded. The total amount of funds awarded for the four contracts reviewed was about $44.5 million. At the time of our audit work, the total amount of funds reimbursed to the contractors for the four contracts reviewed was about $9.5 million.

The DEA had also established a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the [DELETED] to obtain linguistic services to perform translations and transcriptions of written documents, audio and videotapes, and other materials. The [DELETED] became involved with the DEA through the National Guard Counterdrug Activities Program established by Congress under the Controlled Substances Act. Under this program, the [DELETED] makes linguists available to the DEA through reimbursable agreements at a cost lower that the DEA can obtain through other methods7 . The following table shows the scope of the reimbursable agreements entered into through the MOU for each fiscal year.

Amount of Reimbursable Agreements
Between the DEA and the [DELETED]

1997 $50,000 $20,583
1998 $275,000 $261,437
1999 $1,500,000 $831,625
2000 $1,500,000 $1,611,842
2001 $2,000,000 $1,409,357
Total: $5,325,000 $4,134,844

Source: The DEA Program Analyst for the Reimbursable Agreements


  1. This contract was extended to March 31, 2001, or until a new contract was awarded.
  2. The [DELETED] is an important source of linguists because the State of [DELETED] is highly populated with bilingual persons, which makes it easier for the [DELETED] to recruit bilingual civilians.