Federal Bureau of Investigation Casework and Human Resource Allocation
Report No. 03-37
Office of the Inspector General
The Violent Crimes and Major Offenders (VCMO) program accounted for the most cases worked in the FBI from October 1, 1995, through June 14, 2002.54 In fact, one quarter of all the cases the FBI worked during that period were in VCMO. The FBI’s National Foreign Intelligence Program (NFIP) accounted for 17 percent of the cases worked during the same time period, while the Domestic Terrorism (DT) program made up only one percent. Additionally, the Miscellaneous Matters (MISC) program accounted for 16 percent of the cases in the sample timeframe.55 The distribution of cases worked by the FBI between October 1, 1995, and June 14, 2002, is shown in Exhibit 8-1.
In reviewing our analysis of the FBI’s casework found in this chapter, it is important to note that individual cases vary significantly in terms of importance and manpower commitment. For example, large-scale criminal enterprise investigations require the FBI to devote years of effort, while others, such as an immediate response to a bank robbery, can be short-term in nature.
For our examination of cases worked, we obtained data from the Automated Case Support (ACS) system consisting of all FBI cases recorded from October 1, 1995, through June 14, 2002, a set of 1,799,198 individual records. This data generally included the case number, opening and closing dates, program, and investigative classification for each case.56
We observed cases in the data set that were either assigned to FBI programs no longer in existence or contained no program designation. These cases accounted for less than one percent of the entire data set, so we excluded them and focused our analyses on cases from current FBI programs
Another factor to note when viewing our analyses is that in April 1999, as part of its preparation for the Year 2000 (Y2K) conversion effort, the FBI closed a large number of cases that originated at FBI Headquarters, and had been unaddressed for long periods. The FBI did this to reduce the amount of data that would go through the Y2K conversion process. Although there was no way for us to determine exactly how many cases were closed for this reason because some investigations were undoubtedly closed at the same time for routine reasons, we approximated the number by identifying the number of Headquarters cases that were opened prior to FY 1996 and were closed in April 1999. This totaled 675,056 cases and reflected approximately 38 percent of the original data set.
In addition, we found 59,037 cases in the data set that were designated as having been destroyed. These destroyed cases, representing about three percent of the original data set, generally contained only the case number, the program designation, and a “D” designation for “destroyed.” Because they contained no opening or closing dates, we counted the destroyed cases as part of the total case count (and included them in Exhibit 8-1), but we eliminated them from all subsequent analyses.
To determine if there were any evident trends in the FBI’s case workload during our review period, we calculated the number of cases worked57 per month, in all programs combined, for each fiscal year. We then computed the average number of cases worked per month and used this data in our analyses because we were only able to obtain data in FY 2002 through June 14, 2002. If we had presented the total number of cases worked per year, our results for 2002 would have been skewed because we did not have data for the full fiscal year.
Exhibit 8-2 presents the average number of cases worked per month, in all programs combined, for each fiscal year of the review period. The largest number of cases worked per month peaked in FY 1999 at over 94,000, before dropping significantly to just under 40,000 in FY 2000. This significant drop-off, though, can be attributed to the aforementioned large number of cases closed in the Y2K cleanup in April 1999. Additionally, the average number of cases worked per month decreased slightly between FY 2000 and FY 2001, before increasing by about 18,000 per month in FY 2002.
Exhibit 8-3 breaks down the overall information and highlights the average number of cases worked per month, by program, for each fiscal year. For all but FY 1996, the FBI worked more cases per month in the Applicant Matters (APP) program than in any other program, with the number ranging from about 17,500 to almost 29,000 cases worked per month. In FY 1996, Miscellaneous Matters (MISC) cases and Violent Crimes and Major Offenders (VCMO) cases accounted for the largest number of cases worked per month, with almost 19,000 cases. Further, between FY 1996 and FY 1999, the average number of National Foreign Intelligence Program (NFIP) cases worked per month remained somewhat steady, varying between approximately 13,700 and 14,600 worked per month. For the same period, White Collar Crime (WCC) cases also held relatively constant, averaging between approximately 8,500 and 9,000 cases worked per month.
As displayed in Exhibit 8-3, following the Y2K cleanup in April 1999, the APP program continued to lead all other programs in the average number of cases worked per month. At the same time, the number of VCMO, WCC, and NFIP cases surpassed the number of MISC cases. By FY 2002, the number of NFIP cases worked per month had increased enough to place it second in the average number of cases worked per month. This increase in NFIP work can most likely be attributed to the FBI’s response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which occurred at the end of FY 2001.
Additionally, the Y2K cleanup seems to have affected various programs differently. The average number of cases worked per month in the MISC, VCMO, NFIP, WCC, and Civil Rights (CR) programs dropped significantly from FY 1999 to 2000. However, the number in other programs (Applicant Matters, Organized Crime/Drugs, Domestic Terrorism, and National Infrastructure Protection/Computer Intrusion) decreased at a much smaller rate. Also, between FY 2001 and FY 2002, the number of cases worked per month in the APP, MISC, VCMO, NFIP, WCC, OC/D, and DT programs increased. The average number of APP cases increased by 64 percent, the largest amount of any program.
According to the FBI, Applicant Matters accounts for a large portion of the active cases because of the types of cases worked in this program. Background investigation cases are opened for all FBI applicants, some of which remain open throughout an employee’s entire career. In addition, this program is responsible for performing background checks on presidential appointees, as well as White House staff and visitors.
We calculated and analyzed the average number of FBI cases opened per month for each fiscal year between October 1, 1995, and June 14, 2002, and identified a general downward trend. The FBI opened fewer cases per month in each successive fiscal year between 1997 and 2001, reflecting a one-third reduction in case openings, from just over an average of 12,000 cases opened per month in FY 1997 to just over 8,000 in FY 2001.58 The FBI reversed this trend in the portion of FY 2002 examined in our analysis by opening almost 2,000 cases per month more than in FY 2001.
We also looked at case openings in each FBI program as an annual monthly average. We found that prior to FY 2002, the FBI opened significantly more cases per month in its Violent Crimes and Major Offenders program than in any other program, followed by Applicant Matters, White Collar Crime, National Foreign Intelligence, and Miscellaneous Matters. In contrast, in the portion of FY 2002 in our review, the number of APP, NFIP, and Domestic Terrorism cases opened per month increased, while the number opened per month in all other programs decreased.
We also calculated and analyzed the average number of cases closed per month for each fiscal year of the data set. Of all the graphs found in this chapter, the following one in particular is distorted by the inordinate number of cases closed in FY 1999 as part of the Y2K cleanup. Exhibit 8-6 shows that excluding FY 1999, the FBI consistently has closed fewer cases per month in each successive fiscal year since 1998.
To provide a more easily observable view of this downward trend in case closings, we developed Exhibit 8-7, which contains the same information as Exhibit 8-6 but removes all data from FY 1999.
Exhibit 8-7 clearly shows that the average number of cases closed per month is declining, from a high of approximately 9,000 in FY 1998, to a low of just under 7,000 in FY 2002, a reduction of more than 2,000 cases per month.
We also analyzed case closings at the program level. As with Exhibit 8-7, we removed FY 1999 data that distorts the case closing figures. The FBI closed the most cases per month in Violent Crimes and Major Offenders, followed by White Collar Crime, National Foreign Intelligence and Applicant Matters programs. These trends remained consistent in FY 2002, after 9/11.
We also calculated the length (in days) that each FBI case in our data set was open. In doing so, we observed that the FBI had investigated a significant number of cases that both opened and closed in the same fiscal year. For the purposes of further analysis, we designated these cases as “short-term,” and analyzed them at the program level to determine which programs tended to conduct the largest number of short-term investigations.
As with the other analyses in this chapter, to obtain the most accurate information possible, we computed the data as a monthly average for each fiscal year period.
Even with FY 1999 data included, we identified the same downward trend in this analysis that we observed for both case openings and case closings. In all programs combined, the FBI opened and closed individual cases in the same fiscal year with much less frequency from FY 1998 onward. For example, in FY 1997, the FBI was working on an average of almost 5,000 short-term cases per month. By FY 2002, though, this average had dropped by more than 50 percent, to just over 2,200 per month.
Our program-level analysis of short-term cases is noted in the Exhibit 8-10. In general, the FBI worked most of its short-term cases in the VCMO program, followed by WCC, APP, and NFIP.
Source: FBI ACS System
REDACTED AND UNCLASSIFIED