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

Conclusion and Recommendations


The Department in FY 2002 received 93 intelligence research specialist positions to provide an intelligence capability to each USAO, improve the USAOs’ capability to prosecute cases with a terrorism nexus, and to coordinate the USAOs’ anti-terrorism activities with those of the Department. To enable the USAOs to fully support the anti-terrorism activities of the Department, the USAOs’ intelligence research specialists must employ a systematic approach in their collection, analysis, and dissemination of intelligence.

However, we found that intelligence collection efforts and intelligence work products are inconsistent, and critical information and intelligence produced by intelligence research specialists is not shared among districts or across the Department as appropriate. We recognize that each U.S. Attorney exercises considerable discretion in the use of his or her resources to further the district’s priorities and the needs of the local community. Nonetheless, given the continuing changes in the intelligence field at the national and state levels – and particularly within the Department – we believe that EOUSA and the USAOs need to focus greater attention on the integration and use of intelligence research specialists.

To ensure that the Department gains the maximum benefit from the 93 intelligence research specialist positions, we recommend that EOUSA and USAOs provide better guidance to improve the collection, analysis, and dissemination of intelligence produced by the USAO intelligence research specialists. EOUSA and the USAOs should define the types of information the intelligence research specialists collect and work with the FBI to provide all intelligence research specialists with access to the FBI’s investigative databases. Further, EOUSA and the USAOs should consider standardizing the work products, provide for an appropriate review, and improve their distribution. EOUSA and the USAOs should also address gaps in coverage resulting from vacancies so that all USAOs maintain the capability to perform intelligence analysis and share important information. By taking these actions, we believe that EOUSA and the USAOs can improve the use of intelligence research specialists and enhance the Department’s anti-terrorism efforts to identify terrorists and terrorist networks, and prevent terrorist attacks.


The OIG is making eight recommendations to help EOUSA and the USAOs improve the use of the intelligence research specialists in supporting the Department’s anti-terrorism efforts. We recommend that the EOUSA:

  1. Improve the consistency of the implementation of the intelligence research specialist function by:
    1. a. Identifying the types of information, by source, to be collected by intelligence research specialists;
    2. Working with the FBI to provide all intelligence research specialists with access to the FBI’s investigative databases
    3. Identifying standard tools for all intelligence research specialists;
    4. Surveying intelligence research specialists to determine which of the standard tools they lack and supplying missing tools to those who need them;
    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.

  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.
    2. Updating the EOUSA intranet page to provide complete, current, and organized guidance.

  3. Identify ways to ensure that intelligence research specialists’ original analytical work products are reviewed in order to meet quality standards.
  4. Ensure that the work of the intelligence research specialists is disseminated to the Department as appropriate.
  5. Survey consumers of intelligence research specialist products regarding work product applicability, quality, and areas for improvement.
  6. Ensure that the Evaluation and Review Staff (EARS) reports include an evaluation of the intelligence research specialist position.
  7. Provide appropriate coordination to ensure the continuity of intelligence research specialist functions in all USAOs with short- and long-term vacancies.
  8. Reassess the role and duties of the intelligence research specialists in light of the Department re-organization of its intelligence entities.

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