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Federal Bureau of Investigation Casework and Human Resource Allocation

Report No. 03-37
September 2003
Office of the Inspector General


Chapter 1: Introduction

The Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) mission is to protect the U.S. from foreign intelligence and terrorist activities, investigate violations of federal criminal law, and provide leadership and assistance to other law enforcement agencies. It is the principal investigative arm of the Department of Justice (Department) and has the broadest jurisdiction of any federal criminal justice agency. It is authorized to investigate more than 200 categories of federal crimes. The FBI's criminal investigative functions fall into the categories of counterterrorism, including cyber crime; foreign counterintelligence; organized crime/drugs; violent crimes and major offenders; white collar crime; and civil rights.16

As of June 1, 2002, the FBI employed 26,735 people, of which 11,267 were special agents. The remaining employees are professional and administrative personnel such as translators, intelligence specialists, mechanics, and administrative assistants.

Our audit objectives were to: 1) review the FBI's allocation and utilization of human resources in its investigative programs from FY 1996 through June 2002, and 2) determine the types and number of cases investigated over the same time period. Additional information on our audit objectives, scope, and methodology is contained in Appendix I.

Jurisdiction and Span of Control

The FBI does not have one specific statutory charter. The agency derives its authority primarily from Title 28 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) and Titles 18 and 28 of the U.S. Code. Title 28 of the CFR grants the FBI Director the authority to investigate violations of laws, including criminal drug laws, except in cases in which such responsibility is by statute or otherwise specifically assigned to another investigative agency. It also makes the FBI Director's authority regarding criminal drug laws concurrent to that of the Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Title 28 of the CFR also mandates that the FBI exercise lead agency responsibility when investigating crimes in its jurisdiction that involve terrorist activities or acts in preparation of terrorist activities within U.S. jurisdiction. This includes the collection, coordination, analysis, management, and dissemination of intelligence and criminal information.

Many of the FBI's other functions, including much of its national security and counterintelligence activities, are authorized by Executive Order or Congressional mandate. Congressional directives sometimes result in the FBI having the authority to investigate crimes for which other federal agencies also have jurisdiction. For example, the FBI and Internal Revenue Service both have the authority to conduct investigations of federal gambling violations. In addition, the FBI, the United States Marshals Service (USMS), and the Federal Bureau of Prisons each have jurisdiction over violations of federal escape and rescue statutes. The FBI has entered into agreements with other federal agencies to reduce duplication of effort by sharing information, defining jurisdictional issues, and delineating agency responsibilities.

Because federal and state laws address similar criminal activity, FBI investigative activities overlap with those of state and local law enforcement agencies. For example, there are similar state and federal laws related to carjacking, fraud, child support matters, automobile theft, and drug crimes.

FBI Reorganization

On November 8, 2001, the Attorney General responded to the September 11, 2001 attacks (hereafter referred to as 9/11) by announcing reforms and restructuring within the Department of Justice. Specifically, he stated that the Department's first and overriding priority was now defending the nation against terrorist attacks. He further directed that the FBI be reformed to put prevention of terrorism at the center of its law enforcement and national security efforts.

In December 2001, the FBI announced a restructuring of its organization. Recognizing new areas of importance, it created a Chief Information Officer position, Cyber Division, Security Division, Office of Intelligence, Office of Law Enforcement Coordination, and Records Management Division. In May 2002, the FBI created a new Investigative Technologies Division and transferred to it some technical investigative functions from the Laboratory Division. In addition, to reduce the bottleneck of information and work flowing into the Deputy Director's office, the Director created Executive Assistant Director positions that oversee 13 divisions and 4 offices, most of which are located at FBI Headquarters.

Counterterrorism and Counterintelligence Branch - Consisting of the Counterterrorism and Counterintelligence Divisions, this branch is responsible for national security initiatives. The Counterintelligence Division investigates violations of espionage statutes. The Counterterrorism Division's activities include threat assessments, investigations, and responses to threats and attacks against critical infrastructure, as well as the coordination of federal efforts to assist state and local first responders.

Law Enforcement Services Branch - This branch includes FBI activities that support its investigative functions, such as the forensic laboratory, criminal justice information services (e.g., National Crime Information Center, Fingerprint Identification Program, and Uniform Crime Reporting), and the training academy. In addition, this branch is responsible for facilitating coordination and information sharing with other law enforcement agencies, both foreign and domestic.

Administration Branch - FBI functions related to budgetary and fiscal matters, information resources and management, personnel, and internal security are housed in this branch.

Cyber and Criminal Investigative Divisions - The Cyber Division addresses criminal investigations where information technology is the principal instrument of criminal activity. The Criminal Investigative Division includes the programs related to the FBI's traditional law enforcement activities, namely: financial/white collar crime (e.g., public corruption; economic crimes; and health care, internet, and government fraud); organized crime (e.g., drug matters, racketeering, and money laundering); violent crimes and major offenders (e.g., fugitive apprehension, gangs, kidnappings, bank robberies, and serial murders); and civil rights violations.

In addition to the reorganization of FBI activities described above, in FY 2003 the FBI Director announced that he had proposed the creation of a new Executive Assistant Director for Intelligence position. This proposal places the Office of Intelligence under the supervision of this new Executive Assistant Director and includes a plan to elevate intelligence work within the FBI to a status comparable to that currently given to national security and criminal investigative matters. The Attorney General approved this proposal on May 21, 2003.

These branches and their respective divisions and offices provide guidance for 56 field offices, approximately 400 satellite offices (called resident agencies), and four specialized field installations located throughout the U.S., as well as more than 40 foreign liaison posts known as Legal Attachés. Within these branches are the investigative programs under which all of the FBI's cases are classified. As of June 2002, the FBI categorized each of its investigations under one of the following ten programs:

  • National Foreign Intelligence
  • Domestic Terrorism
  • National Infrastructure/Computer Intrusion
  • Organized Crime/Drugs
  • Violent Crimes & Major Offenders
  • White Collar Crime
  • Civil Rights
  • Applicant Matters
  • Training
  • Miscellaneous

The FBI's international terrorism efforts are combined in the National Foreign Intelligence Program (NFIP). The FBI's reorganization resulted in this program no longer being consolidated into one area of responsibility on the organizational chart. Instead, portions of NFIP are housed in the Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence, and Cyber Divisions. The FBI's recent reorganization is depicted in the organizational chart (Exhibit 1-1) on the following page. Additional information on the FBI's investigative programs is found in Chapter 2.

graphic of the FBI organization chart.  Click the chart for a list of offices.

FBI Reprioritization

The FBI Director announced in December 2001 that he was taking steps to reprioritize the work performed by the agency. On May 21, 2002, he issued a memorandum to all FBI employees emphasizing the following list of organizational priorities:

  1. Protect the United States from terrorist attack.
  2. Protect the United States against foreign intelligence operations and espionage.
  3. Protect the United States against cyber-based attacks and high technology crimes.
  4. Combat public corruption at all levels.
  5. Protect civil rights.
  6. Combat transnational and national criminal organizations and enterprises.
  7. Combat major white collar crime.
  8. Combat significant violent crime.
  9. Support federal, state, county, municipal, and international partners.
  10. Upgrade technology to successfully perform the FBI's mission.

In the memorandum, the Director also emphasized that the FBI would focus on a new goal of prevention rather than prosecution. He added that the FBI would shift its focus from traditional reactive law enforcement operations and increase its emphasis and resources in the intelligence and analysis areas, although it would continue to foster partnerships with other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. The Director noted that counterterrorism is the top priority of every field office, as well as FBI Headquarters, and that this will require a constant reassessment and shifting of resources to address counterterrorism.

The Director also stated in his announcement that within the FBI's traditional areas of responsibility (i.e., white collar crime, organized crime, and violent crime investigations), the agency would focus its resources on major crimes where it could make unique law enforcement contributions. In late May 2002, the Director formally moved, or reprogrammed, agents assigned to several other law enforcement areas into terrorism-related programs. As shown in the following table, the Drugs component suffered the largest loss of dedicated agent personnel.

MAY 29, 2002
Foreign Counterintelligence18 CLASSIFIED
  International Terrorism18
  Domestic Terrorism
  National Infrastructure Protection/Computer Intrusion

  SUBTOTAL 2,212 2,897 685

Civil Rights 153 153 0
  Organized Crime19 700 698 -2
  Drugs19 890 490 -400
  OCDETF20 488 488 0
  Violent Crimes and Major Offenders 1,821 1,762 -59
  White Collar Crime 2,405 2,360 -45
  Applicant Matters 121 80 -41
  Training 91 91 0

  SUBTOTAL 6,669 6,122 -547

  OVERALL TOTALS21 8,881 9,019 138
Source: FBI Resource Management and Allocation office

Prior to the shift, the Drugs component accounted for 890 agent positions; however, the Director's mandate moved 400 of these agents out of Drugs, reducing the program by 45 percent. In addition, the Organized Crime, Violent Crimes and Major Offenders, White Collar Crime, and Applicant Matters programs saw decreases in their dedicated agent resources. The reprogramming, in concert with the creation of additional agent positions in the FBI budget, resulted in 685 additional agents dedicated to terrorism-related matters.

Audit Approach

This audit sought to review the FBI's pattern of utilizing resources to investigate the various crimes under its jurisdiction, both before and immediately following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. To accomplish this, we interviewed more than 50 FBI officials and employees to gain an understanding of its automated systems and its resource allocation process. We then obtained data from the FBI's Time Utilization and Recordkeeping (TURK) system for the period of October 1, 1995, through June 1, 2002. Using this data, we performed an analysis of trends in overall resource utilization between FYs 1996 and 2001 (Chapter 3), an analysis of the impact of 9/11 on FBI resource utilization (Chapter 4), a comparative trend analysis of resource planning and utilization on a program-by-program basis (Chapter 5), a review of predominant investigative programs in each of the 56 field offices (Chapter 6), and a review of resource utilization on the top 15 major cases (Chapter 7).

Additionally, we examined the types and number of cases the FBI investigated both before and after 9/11. To that end, we obtained data from the FBI's Automated Case Support (ACS) system for each case that was active between October 1, 1995, and June 14, 2002. We summarized this data by investigative program and analyzed trends in the FBI's casework related to the average number of active cases per month, average number of cases opened per month, and the average number of cases closed per month. In addition, we identified trends in the average number of "short-term" cases - cases that opened and closed in the same fiscal year. We performed these analyses on both an overall and program-by-program basis. The results of these analyses can be found in Chapter 8.

Prior Reviews

We did not identify any prior Office of the Inspector General (OIG) or General Accounting Office reviews of trends in FBI resource allocation, utilization, or case activity. According to the FBI, it has not performed any comprehensive reviews or trend analyses on an agency-wide basis; however, individual FBI program managers do receive resource utilization reports and perform ad-hoc reviews of activities for which they are responsible.23


  1. These categories, and other non-criminal investigative activities, are described in more detail in the section entitled Investigative Programs, Sub-Programs, and Classifications on page 15.
  2. Reflects the Director's proposal to reorganize the FBI, as well as other changes, as of May 29, 2002. A discussion of the process of allocating special agent resources can be found in Chapter 2.
  3. This is a component of the National Foreign Intelligence Program.
  4. This is a component of the Organized Crime/Drugs (OC/D) Program.
  5. The Organized Crime/Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program is a coordinated effort of the following nine federal agencies: DEA; FBI; the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (now a part of the Department of Homeland Security); USMS; U.S. Attorneys; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; U.S. Customs; Internal Revenue Service; and U.S. Coast Guard. The FBI's budget specifically earmarks positions for this purpose and identifies them as reimbursable resources. Although both the OC/D and Violent Crimes and Major Offenders programs contribute to the overall FBI OCDETF effort, this component is considered part of the OC/D program.
  6. The totals do not reflect the FBI's full contingent of special agents; they represent only non-supervisory special agents assigned to field offices.
  7. Major cases are investigative matters, which, at their outset, are of national importance and/or indicate the potential for a massive commitment of manpower throughout the field. For examples of major cases, see Appendix II.
  8. For more information on these reviews, see the sections entitled FBI Programmatic Use of TURK Data and FBI Programmatic Use of ACS Data on pages 14 and 17, respectively.