Review of United States Attorneys' Offices' Use of Intelligence Research Specialists

Evaluation and Inspections Report I-2006-003
December 2005
Office of the Inspector General

Appendix IV: EOUSA’S Response to the Draft Report

  U. S. Department of Justice
Executive Office for United States Attorneys

Office of the Director
Room 2261, RFK Main Justice Building
950 Pennsylvania Avenue. NW
Washington, DC 20530
(202) 514-2121

DEC 13 2005


TO: Paul A. Price
Assistant Inspector General
   for Evaluation and Inspections
FROM: Michael A. Battle
Executive Office for United States Attorneys
SUBJECT: Responses to Recommendations Regarding the Inspector General's Review of the U.S. Attorneys' Offices' Use of Intelligence Research Specialists

The Executive Office for United States Attorneys (EOUSA) has reviewed the Department of Justice, Office of the Inspector General's (OIG) draft audit report entitled, Review of the United States Attorneys' Offices' Use of Intelligence Research Specialists, A-2005-002. EOUSA provides the following comments, as requested in your memorandum dated November 9, 2005.

EOUSA concurs with the recommendations resulting from this review and will work with U.S. Attorneys' Offices (USAOs) and, where appropriate, other Department components to resolve and implement solutions to the OIG findings. To set the context for our response, and to fully understand the evolution and uniqueness of the USAO Intelligence Research Specialist (IRS) program, the following paragraphs highlight the environment and purpose behind the creation of the IRS position, as well as the distinct roles which EOUSA and the U.S. Attorneys play in supporting and managing the program.

Background of the IRS Position
Shortly after the events of September 11, 2001 , the Attorney General asked all Department components to assess their intelligence analysis capacity and to institute procedures to improve that capability. The Intelligence Research Specialist position, which was conceived, developed, funded, and integrated into the USAOs during that tumultuous time, was new and remarkably different from other USAO positions. Unlike any other position within a USAO, the IRS works to gather and disseminate intelligence outside the ambit of a criminal prosecution. The IRS works with a variety of investigative and intelligence agencies-sometimes nationwide – to support the USAO in its mandate to prevent, disrupt, and defeat terrorist operations.

The U.S. Attorney Directs the Duties of the IRS
Because the IRS position brought with it several unique and evolving requirements for EOUSA and the USAOs, the 93 U.S. Attorneys were given the flexibility within the Attorney General’s guidelines to determine how to best utilize the IRS to address the needs of their respective district. The U.S. Attorneys have the ultimate responsibility, oversight, and supervision of the IRS position, with EOUSA providing administrative support and guidance. As we take the important steps to address the findings in this report, we will do so in cooperation with the IRS’s and U.S. Attorneys who have primary responsibility for and management of the IRS program.

The Evolution and Accomplishments of the IRS Program
Within a year of the first hiring wave of USAO IRS positions, EOUSA's Office of Legal Education sponsored a national IRS conference in November 2002 at the National Advocacy Center in Columbia , SC. Although only about 50 IRSs had been hired prior to this conference, this early orientation process provided the framework for the IRS program to develop. This and subsequent conferences (November 2003 and March 2005) have continued to provide a forum for the IRSs to network, exchange best practices, organize working groups, articulate program needs, listen to presentations from the intelligence community, and interact with EOUSA and DOJ management. The next conference, scheduled for August 2006, will provide another important opportunity for the IRS program to develop in light of the recommendations found in this report.

While we concur that more can and should be done to support this program, each successive year since this program's inception has produced positive results and significant individual accomplishments-most of which cannot be published in an unclassified report. It is important, however, to highlight one of this program's most valuable assets: the strong personal and professional network between the IRSs. This one-of-a-kind network yields almost instantaneous results on specific requests for threat-related information; it provides a medium whereby the IRSs can share appropriate case-related information with ties to other districts; and it allows the IRSs to quickly disseminate specific information obtained in one part of the country to other affected districts.

An Introduction to EOUSA’s Plan of Action
In September 2005, EOUSA took another positive step toward supporting the IRS program by detailing an IRS from the field to EOUSA to provide administrative support and program management. The IRS Program Manager will take the lead, in concert with a group of U.S. Attorneys and several IRS Working Groups, to address the OIG’s recommendations. Just as the national intelligence community continually adapts to government reforms and an ever-changing enemy, EOUSA recognizes that the IRS program must have a strong foundation whereupon it can successfully evolve and posture itself for the future. The following paragraphs outline our proposed actions and planned completion dates in response to the OIG’s recommendations.

Documentation detailing EOUSA’s efforts to implement the action plan will be provided to OIG until all corrective actions are employed. If you have any questions regarding this information, please contact Dave Smith, EOUSA Legislative Counsel, at (202) 353-3035.


Recommendation 1:   Improve the consistency of the implementation of the intelligence research specialist function by:

  1. Identifying the types of information, by source, to be collected by intelligence research specialists.
    • Actions Planned:

      In order to efficiently identify types of information, by source, to be collected by the IRS, it is necessary to focus and direct the collection effort from a defined set of priority intelligence requirements (PIRs). These PIRs may come from the U.S. Attorney, the local FBI led Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), or from national authorities such as the Attorney General or President of the United States. Other factors that influence a region's intelligence requirements may include, but are not limited to, one-time special events, intelligence gaps, and/or critical infrastructure vulnerabilities. Given that intelligence requirements and types of information and sources change, from time to time, each district must have its own latitude to customize its intelligence collection efforts. There are, however, types of information unique to all USAOs that IRSs can and should use in their collection activities. Using national and any existing Department PIRs as guidelines, the IRS Analysis Working Group will identify types of information, by source, that all IRSs should implement as part of their overall collection plan. This standard list will be approved by the U.S. Attorney led IRS Working Group and the EOUSA Director before being published.

      Projected Completion Date: March 2006

      Note: The definition of collection as described above does not include investigative activities such as developing a human source, or going covert to answer an intelligence requirement. The JTTF has the investigative mandate to operationally collect intelligence. The USAO IRS collection activity is primarily carried out through liaison activity with other intelligence specialists or law enforcement professionals, and information gathering from national and local databases.

  2. Working with the FBI to provide all intelligence research specialists with access to the FBI's investigative databases.
    • Actions Planned:

      EOUSA will organize and invite the FBI to participate in a working group to address this recommendation. This working group will define the available FBI databases and explore the IRSs' needs for universal access. In addition, EOUSA will explore with the FBI the possibility of a national agreement to standardize USAO access requirements to FBI systems. A report of this working group's findings and/or actions will be forwarded to the OIG by the end of May 2006.

      Projected Completion Date: May 2006

  3. Identifying standard tools for all intelligence research specialists; and
  4. Surveying intelligence research specialists to determine which of the standard tools they lack and supplying missing tools to those who need them.
    • Actions Planned:

      The IRS Information Technology Working Group, in cooperation with EOUSA's IRS Program Manager, will identify the standard tools to include hardware, software, and database access, that all IRSs must have to fulfill their responsibilities. Once this standard list is approved by EOUSA, in consultation with the U.S. Attorney's IRS Working Group, a survey of the IRS position holdings and shortfalls against the list will be conducted. Survey results will be compiled at EOUSA and monitored so that deficient items can be provided to the IRSs as soon as possible. Fulfillment of this recommendation will also depend upon availability of resources and costs associated with each item. EOUSA will forward by the end of May 2006, the standard tool list, survey results, and its efforts to overcome deficiencies.

      Projected Completion Date: May 2006

  5. Defining work products that intelligence research specialists produce; and
  6. Establishing standards to ensure the consistency and quality of intelligence research specialist work products.
    • Actions Planned:

      The IRS Analysis Working group, in cooperation with the U.S. Attorney led IRS Working Group and the IRS Program Manager, will define and describe the general set of work products common to all USAO IRSs. While these work products should and will vary among districts, a general description of the most common product types, along with instructions, examples and/or guidelines to set quality standards will be submitted to the OIG and disseminated to the IRSs. These same working groups will look at which products can and should be standardized with a set format or template to ensure consistency. Results and examples of the above recommendations will be forwarded to the OIG by the end of May 2006.

      Projected Completion Date: May 2006

Recommendation 2:   Provide intelligence research specialists with current and complete guidance by:

  1. Developing and posting on the EOUSA's intranet site an intelligence research specialist manual that includes all pertinent guidance issued by the Attorney General, EOUSA, and USAOs on the roles and duties of the intelligence research specialist, including templates, examples of work products, and quality standards; and
    • Actions Planned:

      The IRS Administrative Working Group in cooperation with the U.S. Attorney led IRS Working Group and EOUSA, will develop an intelligence research specialist manual with sections that include all pertinent guidance from the Department's leadership, and the roles and duties of the IRS. This manual will incorporate the work resulting from the fulfillment of these OIG recommendations and will also provide newly hired IRSs a solid reference to orient and guide them in their new positions. The manual will include templates, instructions, and work products as determined by the working groups' findings in recommendations 1 e. and 1 f. Since this manual will rely upon the finished results of other recommendations, we anticipate this manual to be complete by the end of August 2006. EOUSA will, however, begin to update and organize the intranet site to include posting all pertinent guidance on the IRS position (see also 2.b).

      Projected Completion Date: August 2006

  2. Updating the EOUSA intranet page to provide complete, current, and organized guidance.
    • Actions Planned:

      The IRS Program Manager at EOUSA has begun to make updates to the IRS intranet page and has coordinated with the EOUSA web services team to start the process of developing a more robust IRS page to house the IRS manual as well as other useful links and tools for the IRS. The IRS Administrative Working Group will assist the IRS Program Manager and the web services team in developing, organizing, implementing and maintaining the IRS intranet page. Since this will be a continual process, and will not be fully complete until the IRS manual is finished and posted to the site in August 2006, EOUSA will update the existing intranet page to provide current and organized guidance by the end of March 2006 and will notify the OIG upon completion.

      Projected Completion Date: March 2006

Recommendation 3:   Identify ways to ensure that intelligence research specialists' original analytical work products are reviewed in order to meet quality standards.

    Actions Planned:

    The IRS Analysis Working group, in cooperation with the U.S. Attorney led IRS Working Group and EOUSA, will explore and identify ways to implement a quality review process for original analytical products. These working groups are the same individuals working on the related recommendations of 1 e. an 1 f. Once the products are defined (1 e.), these individuals will identify conditions whereby these analytical products would merit a review. Additionally, these working groups must carefully weigh the pros and cons of how, where, and to what extent analytical products will be reviewed so that it does not diminish the value of the intelligence through untimely dissemination. Results of this combined effort, to include an implementation date for a quality review process, will be forwarded to the OIG by the end of May 2006.

    Project Completion Date: May 2006

Recommendation 4:   Ensure that the work of the intelligence research specialist is disseminated to the Department as appropriate; and

Recommendation 8:   Reassess the role of the intelligence research specialist in light of the Department re-organization of its intelligence entities.

    Actions Planned:

    The fulfillment of these related recommendations (#4 and #8) will require a collaborative effort between two distinct but related working groups: An EOUSA / U.S. Attorney led IRS working group and the Office of the Deputy Attorney General (ODAG) Counterterrorism Working Group on Intelligence. The latter is led by an Associate Deputy Attorney General and its members represent every DOJ component with a counterterrorism intelligence function. Hence, EOUSA and the USAOs have been and will continue to be represented in this multi-component working group.

    EOUSA along with the DOJ's Counterterrorism Section (CTS) is taking the lead on one of the ODAG's proposals to examine the various functions and roles of groups such as the IRSs and the Field Intelligence Groups (FIGs) who are charged with intelligence collection, analysis, and dissemination. Furthermore, this proposal will look at the work of these groups to ensure that it is not duplicative and to determine what role these groups will play in the Department's new National Security Division. The separate but related EOUSA / U.S. Attorney led working group-representing the interests of the USAO IRS community-will collaborate on and support the completion of this ODAG proposal.

    EOUSA anticipates that the final results of this combined effort will answer the fourth recommendation by providing a framework for the IRSs to disseminate appropriate products to the Department. The eighth recommendation will be satisfied when EOUSA, the Attorney General's Advisory Committee (comprised of U.S. Attorneys), and the ODAG working group on intelligence recommend to the Department leadership a course of action on the proposal described above. Since the implementation timeline for the National Security Division is unknown, and depends upon legislation, EOUSA will provide periodic updates to the OIG on the progress of recommendations 4 and 8.

    Project Completion Date: To Be Determined

Recommendation 5:   Survey consumers of intelligence research specialist products regarding work product applicability, quality, and areas for improvement.

    Actions Planned:

    The IRS Program Manager and IRS Analysis Working Group will develop survey questions to answer work product applicability, quality, and areas for improvement. These survey questions will be disseminated in conjunction with a planned Anti-terrorism Advisory Council (ATAC) survey to be sent in January 2006. Results will be compiled and forwarded to the OIG and all interested parties by the end of March 2006.

    Project Completion Date: March 2006

Recommendation 6:   Ensure that the Evaluation and Review Staff (EARS) reports include an evaluation of the intelligence research specialist position.

    Actions Planned:

    EOUSA's EARS team will provide the necessary guidance to EARS evaluators to include, in their written report, an evaluation of the IRS position. As new guidance and standards develop, such as the IRS manual, EOUSA will provide this information to EARS along with updated questions, as needed, to properly evaluate the IRS position. EOUSA will forward results by the end of March 2006.

    Project Completion Date: March 2006

Recommendation 7:   Provide appropriate coordination to ensure the continuity of intelligence research specialist functions in all USAOs with short- and long-term vacancies.

    Actions Planned:

    The IRS Crisis Response Working group, in cooperation with the U.S. Attorney led IRS Working Group and the IRS Program Manager, will identify ways to implement a system whereby IRSs, perhaps by region, will provide intelligence support to districts with short­ and long-term vacancies. The end product of this effort will be a written and published standard operating procedure which may be incorporated into the IRS manual and posted on the IRS intranet site. EOUSA will forward this coordination plan to the OIG by the end of May 2006.

    Project Completion Date: May 2006

Recommendation 8:   Reassess the role of the intelligence research specialist in light of the Department re-organization of its intelligence entities.

    Actions planned for this recommendation are included in the response to recommendation No.4 above.

Previous Page Back to Table of Contents Next Page