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

Results of the Review

    The intelligence research specialist functions have not been consistently implemented at all USAOs to ensure that information is collected and analyzed, and that the intelligence developed is disseminated to support the Department’s anti-terrorism efforts. EOUSA and the USAOs could further support the development of USAOs’ intelligence capabilities by establishing uniform information collection requirements, working with the FBI to provide all intelligence research specialists with access to the FBI’s investigative databases, and identifying and providing essential tools. Also, EOUSA could increase the utility of intelligence research specialists’ work products by defining them and establishing quality standards for analytical products. Currently, these work products differ markedly in format and content, which may affect the end users’ ability to readily identify and act upon the intelligence. At the time of the OIG’s review, the policy guidance that was available on the EOUSA intranet site was outdated and disorganized. Further, no intelligence research specialist work products had been shared with OIPR, as directed by EOUSA. Finally, approximately one-fifth of all intelligence research specialist positions lacked coverage because the positions were unfilled or the incumbents were on military leave. EOUSA could better support USAOs by identifying critical vacancies and coordinating coverage in all districts.

During this review, intelligence research specialists provided us with several examples of cases in which they contributed to the investigation and prosecution of suspected terrorists. In these cases, the intelligence research specialists obtained information about potential terrorists through their reviews of case files and other data provided by law enforcement agencies, assessed the information, generated investigative leads for the FBI, and assisted individual USAO efforts to prosecute suspected terrorists. For example:

  • In a case involving two suspects arrested on charges of lying to federal agents about connections to terrorist training camps in Pakistan, the intelligence research specialist told us that he assisted FBI employees and the JTTF before and after the arrests. The intelligence research specialist helped draft Intelligence Information Reports for the FBI, reviewed interview notes prepared by special agents, conducted additional research, performed link analysis and name checks in databases, and assisted in drafting material witness affidavits. The intelligence research specialist provided regular briefings to the U.S. Attorney and the ATAC Coordinator regarding the case and helped the USAO with additional prosecutorial preparations.
  • In a case involving two suspects arrested for laundering money, providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization, and importing firearms without a license, the intelligence research specialist provided open source research for certain elements of the case, reviewed classified material, conducted telephone number analysis, and identified links between the suspects and other individuals.

Individually, many intelligence research specialists have carried out their functions and made valuable contributions to their USAOs’ anti-terrorism efforts exemplified by the cases cited above. However, EOUSA, in coordination with the USAOs, should ensure that the intelligence research specialists in all districts use a consistent approach to carrying out their intelligence functions and that the work of the intelligence research specialists is integrated fully into the Department’s anti-terrorism and intelligence efforts. EOUSA has yet to provide standards and guidance to better ensure consistent information collection efforts, work with the FBI to provide all intelligence research specialists with access to the FBI’s investigative databases, define and standardize work products, promulgate standards for quality analytical products, ensure the dissemination of analytical products to the Office of Intelligence Policy and Review (OIPR), and coordinate coverage for short- and long-term vacancies. The following sections detail our findings regarding each of these areas.

Information Collection

We found that the information collected by the intelligence research specialists differed markedly among USAO districts. Implementing an effective intelligence capability requires a clear understanding of the sources and types of information to collect. EOUSA, in coordination with the USAOs, has not identified the information that intelligence research specialists should collect, particularly during case file reviews.

Information vs. Intelligence

Information is defined as pieces of raw, unanalyzed data that identifies persons, evidence, events, or illustrates processes. Intelligence is the knowledge derived from the logical integration and assessment of that information. Intelligence analysts consider the information's reliability, validity, and relevance. They integrate data into a coherent whole, put the evaluated information in context, and produce finished intelligence that includes assessments of events and judgments about the implications of the information. Intelligence, therefore, is the knowledge derived from the logical integration and assessment of information.

Sources: “The Intelligence Cycle,” Central Intelligence Agency. Online: facttell/intelligence_cycle.html, accessed July 15, 2005, and Dr. David Carter, Law Enforcement Intelligence, A Guide for State, Local, and Tribal Law Enforcement Agencies, Michigan State University, March 2004.

One of the best ways for intelligence research specialists to collect information is to review case files for connections to terrorism, either from non-terrorism prosecutions and investigations obtained by the USAO, or terrorism case files at the FBI. However, not all intelligence research specialists have been reviewing case files at the USAOs and the FBI. Only 39 of 79 intelligence research specialists we interviewed told us that they collected information by reviewing case files. Moreover, even among the intelligence research specialists who were reviewing case files, there was no uniformity in the type of cases reviewed or the information collected from the cases. For example, in one district, the intelligence research specialist stated that he routinely reviewed FBI cases to look for trends and connections that might be beneficial at the national level. He added that some attorneys within the USAO would meet with him to talk about leads from their cases. However, in another district, the intelligence research specialist stated that he could not review FBI case files unless he was accompanied by an attorney. Therefore, he would, on occasion, go with an attorney to review case files. In addition, the intelligence research specialist would also attend case presentations by FBI special agents to the U.S. Attorney. Some specialists said that they reviewed only open cases, while others said they also reviewed cases their USAOs had declined to prosecute.

The types of information collected also differed, and not all intelligence research specialists collected and analyzed the information to provide actionable intelligence. Some specialists said that they reviewed cases to identify possible terrorist-related incidents or discover potential terrorist connections. Others said that they also checked subjects identified during the case reviews against databases to identify possible terrorism connections. Some performed link analysis. For instance, one intelligence research specialist told us that he used information collected from cases he reviewed to create a link analysis document that identified a human trafficking operation along the northern U.S. border involving aliens from Pakistan. It was later determined that some information contained in this link analysis document was connected to other active JTTF cases.

Also, 40 intelligence research specialists reported to us that they did not have access to FBI databases.17 Because the FBI investigates terrorism cases, access to the FBI’s databases is essential to intelligence research specialists and the performance of their work.18 However, the FBI limits access to its investigative databases to individuals, including intelligence research specialists, who are embedded members of a Field Intelligence Group or JTTF.19 The FBI reported that 11 of 56 (20 percent) FBI Field Office Field Intelligence Groups had an embedded USAO intelligence research specialist. The FBI did not have statistics regarding the number of USAO intelligence research specialists embedded on the JTTFs. EOUSA reported that 25 out of 93 districts (27 percent) had intelligence research specialists embedded on the JTTFs. Without the access to FBI databases that membership on a Field Intelligence Group or a JTTF provides, many intelligence research specialists will be unable to fully support anti-terrorism efforts.

We asked EOUSA officials about their efforts in working with the FBI to provide all intelligence research specialists with access to the FBI’s investigative databases. They said it was up to each district to decide whether its intelligence research specialist worked with the FBI and to what extent. However, they said that in May 2003, EOUSA sent a memorandum to all U.S. Attorneys which reiterated the importance that the Department leadership places on having intelligence research specialists actively involved with the FBI. In addition, EOUSA had invited the former FBI Executive Assistant Director for the Directorate of Intelligence to the annual intelligence research specialist conference and sent several EOUSA representatives to the FBI’s annual Field Intelligence Group conference.20

We found that EOUSA has not provided guidance to intelligence research specialists regarding what type of information they should collect when they perform case reviews. Further, EOUSA has not explored whether it would be possible to develop a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the FBI regarding the interaction of the intelligence research specialists and the FBI’s JTTFs. EOUSA officials told us that any MOU would have to be developed at the USAO level. We asked USAO officials at three sites whether they had established MOUs with their local JTTF, and none had. Without guidance from EOUSA to ensure national consistency, intelligence research specialists are unlikely to systematically collect information identified as a priority by the Department. In fact, they may not collect information at all, as we found in two districts in which the intelligence research specialists reported to us that they only served as liaisons and did not collect information as part of their duties.

Information collection was also hampered by the lack of standard tools to collect and analyze data. To determine whether the intelligence research specialists were provided with technology-based tools to perform their jobs, we asked EOUSA officials for a list of the minimum tools provided to all intelligence research specialists. On February 25, 2005, EOUSA officials provided to the OIG a FY 2002 Allocation Fact Sheet, which listed the equipment and software that should be provided to intelligence research specialists. The FY 2002 Allocation Fact Sheet stated that the intelligence research specialists would receive laptop computers; access to existing commercially available databases; and access to the Regional Information Sharing System (RISS), a secure intranet platform linking law enforcement agencies throughout the United States.

Deployment of Secret Protocol Router Network (SIPRNET)

One tool used by intelligence research specialists is SIPRNET. SIPRNET provides secure classified Secret communications; access to Secret counter-terrorism reports, data, and analysis; and the capability to communicate electronic national security data among the USAO districts, other components, and other law enforcement and national security agencies. According to one intelligence research specialist, SIPRNET is vital for information sharing and validation, case analysis and development, situation awareness and risk assessment, and collaboration with other intelligence officers.

Prior to the installation of SIPRNET at the USAOs, intelligence research specialists could not send classified electronic information from their office to members of the intelligence community or quickly access Secret counterterrorism reports, data, and analysis available to the rest of the intelligence community. Several intelligence research specialists reported that they had to access SIPRNET at other agencies (such as the FBI or military installations) to communicate and exchange classified information.

Beyond those basic requirements, EOUSA did not initially request other specialized tools that the intelligence research specialists needed. For example, although access to classified information is essential for intelligence analysis, EOUSA did not provide the intelligence research specialists with access to a classified network (see text box). After it was determined that the cost to access the classified network would be $1.4 million, EOUSA agreed to fund it in July 2003. Deployment of SIPRNET began in June 2004 and most districts had the network by July 2005. While 13 months is not an excessive amount of time to deploy SIPRNET to all 93 USAOs, the capability to access this classified network could have been implemented up to 18 months sooner had EOUSA more fully identified the tools needed in February 2002. As of March 2005, EOUSA had not developed a consolidated list of the tools available to and actually being used by all intelligence research specialists.

We asked 79 intelligence research specialists to identify the tools that they were using to accomplish their intelligence analyst duties. They identified 62 different tools at their disposal. Some of them were specific to the law enforcement agencies and intelligence communities, such as SIPRNET, RISS, i2 Analyst Notebook® (a software program that allows the intelligence research specialist to perform timeline and link analysis), research tools (such as LexisNexis® and ChoicePoint), and Law Enforcement Online (a national, interactive law enforcement information system developed by the FBI). Other tools that they identified were everyday office equipment, such as facsimile machines, computers, and cellular phones.

Although not all intelligence research specialists had uniform access to the same analytical tools, 63 of the 79 intelligence research specialists (80 percent) stated that they had adequate tools. Of the 16 (20 percent) who stated that tools were inadequate, the most requested tool was access to other agencies’ databases and systems such as Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications Systems (JWICS) and Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).21 We asked current and former EOUSA officials whether they considered providing these tools to the intelligence research specialists. They stated that JWICS was too expensive because it requires the construction of Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities and that the Department of the Treasury requires each USAO to independently negotiate an MOU for access to FinCEN. Although EOUSA may not be able to provide access to JWICS and FinCEN to all intelligence research specialists, there are specific instances in which access to these tools would help the intelligence research specialists perform their duties. For example, access to FinCEN would be helpful for money laundering cases and access to JWICS would be helpful for cases involving Top Secret information.

We contacted the FBI to identify the tools it provides to its intelligence analysts. The FBI provided a list of essential tools that each of its intelligence analysts received. Although the list contained some of the same tools identified by the USAO intelligence research specialists, the FBI list also identified other useful analytical tools. Because the FBI’s list is classified, we do not discuss the additional tools the list contains. However, on September 22, 2005, we informed EOUSA officials of the existence of the FBI list and suggested that they obtain the list to review the applicability of the additional tools.

In summary, to implement an effective intelligence capability, EOUSA and the USAOs must identify the types of information that the intelligence research specialists should collect, ensure that the specialists have access to the sources of the information, and provide the tools that the specialists need to carry out their collection and analysis efforts. However, we found that these essential steps have not been completed to enable intelligence research specialists to systematically collect and analyze information.

Work Products of the Intelligence Research Specialists

The format and content of the work products developed by the intelligence research specialists is not consistent. According to the Law Enforcement Intelligence, A Guide for State, Local, and Tribal Law Enforcement Agencies, work products that contain intelligence or critical information should maximize their utility to the end user. This is accomplished by producing work products that have a consistent format, and clearly defined content. The lack of consistent format and content in the products we reviewed limited the USAOs’ ability to track or manage the output. The variations occurred because EOUSA and the USAOs have not defined the work products expected from intelligence research specialists or established quality standards.

Work product formats and content vary widely. To identify the standard types of work products produced, the OIG requested that the 79 intelligence research specialists we interviewed provide examples of their work products.The OIG received 226 work product examples from 68 intelligence research specialists.22 The examples included presentation slides, training materials, and link charts. We reviewed the contents of each work product and judgmentally assigned it to one of the intelligence research specialists’ core work functions of information sharing, intelligence analysis, and JTTF and ATAC activities.23

Our review of the 226 work examples found 29 different types of work products with myriad names and formats. Examples of the types of work products prepared by the intelligence research specialists included:

  • Information sharing – ATAC training materials; field training exercises related to airport security, domestic preparedness, and bioterrorism scenarios; presentations on intelligence advisory groups, terrorist financing, intelligence fusion centers, terrorist techniques, and international terrorist incidents; informational bulletins; JTTF notes with information on international terrorist incidents; law enforcement incidents reported locally, regionally, or at the national level; a quick reference directory of contacts related to anti-terrorism activities; surveys; a guide to “warning signs” of terrorist activity; and working group notes.
  • Intelligence analysis – Analyses of groups of interest; district threat analyses; specific event analyses; industry-related assessments; tactical analyses; case-related analyses; and link charts.
  • JTTF and ATAC activities – Advisory bulletins; ATAC agenda, meeting notes, charters, e-mails, and newsletters; intelligence advisory group information; and threat memorandums to the JTTF.

OIG Review of Selected Intelligence Reports.

Of the 226 examples provided, we identified and reviewed 14 intelligence reports.24 Although each agency determines what its intelligence reports should contain, intelligence reports generally include the following characteristics:

  • Have a terrorism nexus. The purpose of the intelligence research specialist is to support the Department’s anti-terrorism efforts. Therefore, the information presented in the products should be terrorism-related.
  • State the purpose. Identifying the report’s purpose helps recipients decide how to use the information in the report. Without a clear statement of purpose, a user may be unable to easily determine whether a document is background information, or conveys actionable intelligence.
  • Contain a conclusion. Summarizing key judgments and findings in a conclusion and, when appropriate, recommending a course of action, allowing users to interpret intelligence analysis in a consistent manner.
  • Identify the sources of information. A clearly identified source allows the reader to assess the reliability of the information or analysis.
  • Display proper classification markings. Clearly identifying the sensitivity or classification of the information (e.g., Law Enforcement Sensitive) helps prevent sensitive information from being compromised.

Only 3 of the 14 intelligence reports we reviewed addressed all 5 areas (21 percent). Another six addressed four areas, and three intelligence reports addressed only one area. The following table summarizes the results of the review.

Table 1: Review of Intelligence Report Examples
Purpose Conclusion Source Classification
 Source: Intelligence research specialists.

EOUSA should provide better guidance on the types of information sharing and intelligence analysis products to be produced. We examined the causes for the variability in the format and content of the intelligence research specialists’ work products and, as with information collection, found that EOUSA has not provided guidance on the types of information sharing and intelligence analysis products that should be produced. Specifically, EOUSA has not identified the products that would be useful to the end users of the intelligence research specialists’ work nor established standard formats to ensure reasonable uniformity and consistency in these products. In addition, EOUSA has not taken steps to determine what work products are being produced by the intelligence research specialists.

Because of the variability in format and content, the intelligence research specialists’ work products are not easily recognized as USAO intelligence analysis products by potential end users, such as law enforcement officials, first responders, and the private sector. That makes it more difficult for potential end users of the intelligence to identify, interpret, and act on the information in the documents. According to a law enforcement intelligence guide developed by Michigan State University for state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies, and funded by the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS): Without fixed, identifiable intelligence products, efforts will be wasted and information will be shared ineffectively.”25

In contrast, we found that other agencies have defined the types of work products that their intelligence research specialists produce. For example, the former FBI’s Executive Assistant Director for the Directorate of Intelligence stated that when the Directorate was first established, the FBI found that its field offices were producing intelligence products using myriad formats and categories, which created three problems for the FBI. First, the work products were not easily identified as FBI products. Second, the FBI did not have control over the distribution of its work products. Third, the FBI was unable to determine the amount and type of work being produced. The FBI resolved these problems by reducing the number of intelligence analyst products from several hundred to three. The three FBI products are intelligence information reports (IIR), intelligence assessments, and intelligence bulletins. Each has a defined format and quality standards to guide the FBI’s intelligence research specialists in what data and information to include.

The lack of standardized work products by intelligence research specialists has caused problems for the USAOs similar to those reported by the FBI. Reducing work product variability would provide three benefits for the USAOs’ intelligence capability. First, making the intelligence products more recognizable enables the end users to better assess the reliability of the products. Second, standardizing and reducing the number of work products enables the USAOs to monitor where the products are going, which the former FBI Executive Assistant Director pointed out is especially important for intelligence material. Third, standardizing the work products would permit EOUSA and the USAOs to measure the types and amount of work that the intelligence research specialists produce and make better informed management decisions about how to use the information contained in the work products.

No quality standards exist for USAO intelligence research specialist work products. EOUSA and the USAOs have not established uniform standards to ensure consistent, high quality intelligence research specialist work products. Fifty-two of the 79 (66 percent) intelligence research specialists stated that their district had not established quality standards.Of the remaining 27 intelligence research specialists, 6 said that they had adopted standards developed by other agencies, such as the FBI or the state intelligence fusion center. The other 21 did not cite specific quality standards, but stated that they checked the products for spelling, grammar, identification of sources, and organization.

FBI Quality Standards

The former FBI Executive Assistant Director for the Directorate of Intelligence described how FBI supervisors evaluate the work products of FBI intelligence analysts. She said the FBI adopted many of the standards developed by the U.S. military. In addition, the Directorate monitors whether the work products meet its quality standards through feedback obtained from a customer satisfaction survey. The survey instrument seeks feedback on whether the products were delivered within established deadlines; were timely and relevant to the mission, programs, priorities, or initiatives; presented information in a clear and logical manner that supported the judgments and conclusions; and were reliable. The survey instrument also asks whether the work products addressed an intelligence gap, resulted in more informed decisions, provided new insights, or changed working premises.

EOUSA provides limited review of intelligence research specialist analytical work products. According to the EOUSA Deputy Counsel, EOUSA does not review intelligence research specialist analytical work products. Further, she said that it would be impractical for EOUSA to review every work product produced by the USAOs’ intelligence research specialists. She stated that the review of work products occurs at the USAO by the appropriate supervisor. The OIG agrees that it is unnecessary and impractical for EOUSA officials to review every work product. For instance, the most common intelligence research specialist product, the ATAC newsletter, does not require higher-level review because it is typically a compilation of news articles and state, local, and federal contact information. Nonetheless, in our opinion, intelligence research specialist products that analyze terrorist threats, potentially represent the position of the Department, and are widely disseminated, may benefit from a higher level of review to ensure that they are consistent and accurate. A review process could not only improve work product quality, but also identify emerging trends across regions, reduce duplication of effort, identify other potential users of the products, and make connections among disparate events that could reveal potential security threats.

EOUSA could better assess ways to make intelligence research specialist products more useful. EOUSA and the USAOs have not evaluated the usefulness of their intelligence research specialists’ work products to internal and external end users. The primary external users of the work products are local, state, and federal agencies. Other users of intelligence include first responders, private industries, utility companies, university security officers, and foreign agencies.

According to EOUSA officials, they have not surveyed end users of the intelligence research specialists’ work products. We did not survey all end users of intelligence research specialist work products as a part of this review, but during our field visits we met with over 25 end users to determine whether they found the products useful and how the products could be improved. Overall, most end users were positive about their working relationship and the work products provided by the intelligence research specialists, but they provided several suggestions for improvement. For example, personnel from state intelligence agencies and intelligence fusion centers said that, to better assist them with their work, the intelligence research specialists should provide more intelligence analyses. These end users did not find forwarded bulletins and articles useful. On the other hand, state and local law enforcement officials stated that the bulletins and articles forwarded by the intelligence research specialists were useful. We informed EOUSA of the comments we received from end users. In response, EOUSA officials agreed that it would be a good idea to survey the end users to better determine their needs.

Since June 2004, EOUSA’s internal inspection unit, the Evaluation and Review Staff (EARS), has evaluated the intelligence research specialist function as a part of its triennial reviews of each USAO. To review the intelligence research specialist function, EARS developed an interview guide that contains 34 questions regarding general responsibilities; receipt, analysis, and dissemination of anti-terrorism information; JTTF and ATAC activities; case reviews and access to cooperating defendants and witnesses; access to information and analysis tools; and resource levels. Examples of questions include:

  • During the last 3 years, have you conducted or participated in any initiatives, program, or data mining and analysis operations specific to your District to identify potential terrorist prosecution targets, to include material support cases? If so, what were they and what were the results?
  • Do you routinely review case files that are being declined to ensure the individual has been checked against the proper databases for possible terrorism connection or other current wants or warrants? What system, if any, is in place to ensure that you have access to all declined case files?

EOUSA extracted and provided to us the sections containing remarks on the operations of the intelligence research specialists from the last EARS review of each of the 93 USAOs. EARS conducted those 93 inspections between October 2001 and June 2005, but only 25 of the 93 occurred after June 2004, when EARS began using the new questionnaire. We found that the reports on the 25 EARS inspections conducted since the questionnaire was implemented did not contain sufficient information to enable us to evaluate the operations of the intelligence research specialists.

We reviewed the relevant report sections of the 25 inspections conducted after June 2004 and found that only 11 included evaluative statements (44 percent). The evaluative statements about the intelligence research specialist positions differed in each report. For example, one report stated that the intelligence research specialist “[e]stablished effective information sharing between local, state, and federal agencies” and that “[h]e is fully integrated with the JTTF.” A second report stated that the intelligence research specialist “works to ensure that state and local authorities are kept informed,” while a third stated that the intelligence research specialist “is active within the district and has established effective information sharing between local, state, and federal agencies.” Of the other 14 reports, 5 made no mention of the intelligence research specialist function, and the remaining 9 included comments such as the hiring status, the general duties performed, or the professional background of the specialist.

According to the EARS Assistant Director, the final evaluation report may or may not include detailed information on the review of the intelligence research specialists operations for several reasons. In some cases, there was no information because the USAO had not hired an intelligence research specialist. However, we found that even where the positions were filled, the final EARS reports did not provide sufficient information to enable EOUSA to monitor the USAOs’ use of intelligence research specialists.

Policy Guidance for Intelligence Research Specialists

Although EOUSA is responsible for issuing policy and providing guidance for USAOs, it has not created a consolidated index of all policy guidance applicable to the intelligence research specialists or posted all the guidance on its “EOUSA ATAC /Intelligence Research Specialist” intranet page. Consequently, it is difficult for intelligence research specialists and others to find complete, applicable guidance.

During our interviews, one-third of the 79 intelligence research specialists stated that the guidance provided to them was inadequate. Several intelligence research specialists stated that they had not seen all of the relevant guidance. Importantly, the documents that had not been reviewed included guidance such as the Intelligence Research Specialist “Best Practices” memorandum that contained suggestions on how the USAOs could utilize intelligence research specialists. In addition, in responding to our survey, 23 percent of the 83 respondents (including U.S. Attorneys and other USAO personnel) rated EOUSA policy guidance concerning intelligence research specialists as below average or poor. When informed of the interview and survey results, EOUSA officials told us that the policy guidance is available on the ATAC /intelligence research specialist intranet page and that it is the responsibility of the intelligence research specialists to review the guidance.

Guidance available on the intranet. We examined the guidance included on the EOUSA’s ATAC /intelligence research specialist intranet page and found that it was out of date and poorly organized. Intelligence research specialist guidance is available on the intranet under two different links titled “EOUSA Memos” and “AG/DAG Memos.” We checked both links to determine whether they contained all of the guidance related to the intelligence research specialist positions.

When we accessed the intranet site in July 2005, it listed the “date last updated” as January 2004. The date of the last intelligence research specialist related guidance posted on the intranet site was December 18, 2003, although guidance has been issued since that date. For example, in May 2004, EOUSA issued a memorandum regarding the installation of SIPRNET, but that memorandum was not on the intranet site.

The information the site did provide was duplicative, lacked descriptive titles to identify the contents, and could not be sorted by title, subject matter, or recipient. A total of 213 documents were available under the “EOUSA Memos” and “AG/DAG Memos” links. A review of the 213 documents found 79 documents (37 percent) that appeared under both links. Therefore, there were actually 134 individual documents on the site. Of the 134 documents, approximately 15 had some information related to intelligence research specialists. However, these documents were not indexed or clearly labeled. For example, one document titled “Designation of AUSAs” actually contained information on intelligence sharing procedures. Because pertinent documents could not be easily identified and searched, an intelligence research specialist would have to review all 213 documents on the intranet site to avoid missing important information.

Dissemination of Intelligence

The intelligence research specialists disseminate their work products to a broad range of users, but they have not provided their work products to the Department ’s Office of Intelligence Policy and Review (OIPR) to ensure that intelligence from USAO districts is identified, shared, and acted upon appropriately.26 Although intelligence research specialists produce and disseminate work products to meet the needs of their districts, EOUSA recognized that their intelligence products should also be available to the rest of the Department. On May 7, 2003, the Director of EOUSA sent all U.S. Attorneys a memorandum titled Integration of USAO Intelligence Research Specialists that stated:

In an effort to incorporate the work of the intelligence research specialists into the Department’s overall intelligence program, all reports and analyses produced by the intelligence research specialists should also be submitted directly to the Office of Intelligence Policy and Review (OIPR). OIPR’s simultaneous receipt of this information from each district will further the common objective of ensuring that related intelligence from other districts and agencies is identified, shared, and acted upon appropriately. Information, such as the analytical reports generated by the intelligence research specialists on the 199 file reviews and other enforcement and intelligence initiatives, will greatly enhance our efforts to detect and prevent any further terrorist activity.

Although the memorandum is included on the EOUSA intranet page, we spoke with EOUSA officials and found that they were unaware that this memorandum had been issued. Further, on June 29, 2005, OIPR’s Chief of Staff told us that OIPR had never received the May 7 memorandum and had never received any analytical reports from intelligence research specialists. The official confirmed that OIPR would be interested in receiving the analytical reports. After the OIG informed EOUSA officials of OIPR’s statement, these officials indicated that they would need to review the matter.

In addition to disseminating their analytical work products within their districts, intelligence research specialists share information by providing training to ATAC members (such as state and local law enforcement groups and first responders). These training activities were funded initially using the $100,000 that each of the district ATACs received in FY 2002 to purchase communication equipment and organize anti-terrorism training for state and local law enforcement agencies. In a June 2005 report, the OIG noted that since FY 2002, there had been no additional appropriations to provide anti-terrorism training and that EOUSA had not adequately assessed ATAC budget needs.27 ATAC Coordinators interviewed during that review stated that funding was needed to continue offering training to ATAC members, and some USAOs supplemented their ATAC funding using their general budgets or the Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee allocations.

During this review, 23 of 79 intelligence research specialists (29 percent) told us that the lack of dedicated funding severely limited their ability to provide training as a part of their ATAC responsibilities. In its response to the OIG’s June 2005 report, EOUSA agreed to “strategically analyze the ATAC budget to assess the need for future funding....” EOUSA stated that the FY 2005 appropriation included an enhancement for terrorism prevention and that EOUSA was exploring options to use the funding, as well as funding it may receive in FY 2006 and FY 2007, to support the ATAC program. In September 2005, EOUSA officials indicated that funding issues related to the intelligence research specialists would be considered as a part of the ATAC funding process.

Vacancy Rates

EOUSA could better support U.S. Attorneys in their efforts to reduce short- and long-term intelligence research specialist vacancies by serving as a coordinator to ensure that districts with vacancies are given needed assistance. As of June 15, 2005, 20 percent of the positions were vacant because the incumbent was on military leave, on a special detail, or the position had not been filled. In September 2005, the National Coordinator told us that the retention of intelligence research specialists was a problem that needed to be addressed by EOUSA and the USAOs. The map on the following page illustrates the intelligence research specialist positions that were unoccupied.

Chart 3: Vacant Intelligence Research Specialist Positions
as of June 15, 2005

Map of United States highlights areas with Intelligence Research Specialist Positions vacant as of June 15, 2005: Oregon, Arizona, Utah, Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Maine, Guam, and portions of California, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, and PR.
Sources: Intelligence research specialists and ATAC Coordinators.

EOUSA stated that it was the responsibility of each USAO to arrange for coverage in the absence of its intelligence research specialist. However, we believe that EOUSA is better positioned to address this matter than the individual USAO for three reasons. First, EOUSA officials helped develop intelligence research specialist position functions. Second, unlike most positions filled by USAOs with designated hiring authority, EOUSA approves all intelligence research specialist selections made by the USAOs. Third, EOUSA regularly helps coordinate USAO efforts in other areas and EOUSA is best positioned to address issues that require the shifting or sharing of resources among districts.

We believe that EOUSA can help ensure the continuity of the intelligence research specialist functions in each district by monitoring vacancies and improving efforts to provide intelligence assistance to districts without an intelligence research specialist.

Currently, in some districts with vacancies, other USAO personnel have assumed some of the intelligence research specialists’ duties and responsibilities, and in some cases other agencies have agreed to provide assistance. In our review, we identified at least 16 districts in which the intelligence research specialists had made informal agreements to provide limited coverage in case of absences by forwarding copies of ATAC bulletins to districts without an incumbent intelligence research specialist. However, these individuals have their own district responsibilities to perform and can devote only a portion of their time to provide coverage for another district. In addition, some districts have developed a regional approach in coordinating and providing coverage with end users they share. For example, in Texas, which encompasses four USAO districts, the intelligence research specialist for the district that included the Texas National Guard headquarters agreed to serve as the primary point-of-contact and representative with the National Guard on behalf of the other three USAO districts. According to Law Enforcement Intelligence, A Guide for State, Local, and Tribal Law Enforcement Agencies, a regional approach is more cost efficient because resources are shared, and “it is more effective because there is a broader array of information input covering a wider geographical area.”28

By adopting a similar regional approach, EOUSA could more effectively coordinate the use of intelligence research specialists and leverage existing resources within geographic regions. The benefits of this approach that we identified through our discussions with the intelligence research specialists include:

  • State and local law enforcement officials would have a single point-of-contact to forward and receive information. As a result, the entire region could receive notification of pertinent issues at the same time.
  • Regional issues and concerns could be identified quickly and information could be shared on a timely basis with the appropriate parties.

Addressing the gaps in coverage caused by vacancies and responding effectively to the emerging emphasis on intelligence in the Department will require a well-planned and coordinated approach. We believe the current ad hoc approach cannot ensure that the intelligence research specialists’ duties and responsibilities are performed consistently in all districts. Maintaining the continuity of the intelligence research specialist function is especially important for those districts that have critical infrastructure (such as seaports or nuclear power plants), where adjoining districts have vacant positions, and for high-risk districts. Gaps in coverage resulting from vacancies affect USAOs’ ability to receive, analyze, and share information.

While many intelligence research specialists independently established cooperative agreements to provide coverage in the event of a vacancy, EOUSA needs to provide coordination to promote the continuity of the intelligence research specialist function in all USAOs. For example, EOUSA could work with ATAC coordinators in neighboring districts to ensure districts with intelligence research specialist vacancies receive information and intelligence, bulletins, reports, copies of ATAC meeting minutes, and other support as needed.


  1. An important example of an FBI database is the FBI’s Investigative Data Warehouse (IDW). Since it became operational in January 2004, IDW has enabled users to search multiple FBI and other federal agency databases, intelligence community cable messages, and watch lists. The IDW includes more than 43 million unstructured documents and billions of structured entities, including more than 537 million names, 109 million social security numbers, 402 million addresses, and 257 million phone numbers. According to the FBI, IDW has helped users identify relationships between data spread across multiple FBI information sources and resulted in thousands of new leads.
  2. The Attorney General’s Guidelines on General Crimes, Racketeering Enterprise and Terrorism Enterprise Investigations, Department of Justice, May 2002.
  3. A Field Intelligence Group is the centralized intelligence component in a FBI Field Office that is responsible for the management, execution, and coordination of intelligence functions. Concept of Operations, FBI, August 2003, p.7. There is one Field Intelligence Group at each FBI Field Office. The FBI defines “embedded” as an active member of the Field Intelligence Group. An active member works in FBI office space, has the necessary clearances, and can access the FBI’s databases.
  4. The former Executive Assistant Director was unable to attend, but did send a representative.
  5. JWICS is the sensitive, compartmented information portion of the Defense Information Systems Network. The Department of the Treasury’s FinCEN unit, which analyzes information it collects under the Bank Secrecy Act, supports federal, state, local, and international law enforcement efforts to combat money laundering.
  6. Of the 79 intelligence research specialists interviewed by the OIG, 7did not send material because they worked only on cases involving classified information. Another four said they did not produce any work products or were unable to provide examples because the specialist was on extended leave.
  7. We received nine work products that were not clearly related to information sharing, intelligence analysis, or JTTF and ATAC activities, including one USAO Critical Incident Response Plan, one statement of the intelligence research specialist’s goals, two “work completed” summaries, and five miscellaneous documents.
  8. Intelligence reports are also sometimes referred to as finished intelligence or analytic reports.
  9. Law Enforcement Intelligence, A Guide for State, Local, and Tribal Law Enforcement Agencies, Michigan State University, March 2004, p. 80.
  10. OIPR also assists senior Department officials in fulfilling national security-related activities; provides legal advice and guidance to U.S. government elements engaged in these activities; and oversees the implementation of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and other statutory, Executive Order, or Attorney General based operation authorities.
  11. The Department of Justice's Terrorism Task Forces, OIG Evaluation and Inspection Division Report, I-2005-007, p. 106.
  12. Michigan State University, March 2004, p. 63.

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