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The Federal Bureau of Investigation's Efforts to Improve the Sharing of Intelligence and Other Information

Report Number 04-10
December 2003
Office of the Inspector General


Appendix 8
Office of the Inspector General Analysis and
Summary of Actions Necessary to Close Report

        We provided the draft audit report to the FBI for review and comment.  The response from the FBI is incorporated as Appendix 7 of this final report.  Our analysis of the FBI’s response to specific recommendations is provided below.  In addition to responding to the recommendations, the FBI provided additional comments and listed improvements it says it has made since the completion of the audit.

        At the FBI’s request we analyzed and incorporated into the audit report significant developments in the FBI’s intelligence sharing program that occurred subsequent to the completion of a draft of this report.  After our audit fieldwork was completed, we met with FBI intelligence officials at their request in September 2003 and provided them an opportunity to raise any additional changes that the FBI was making in its intelligence sharing capabilities.  We subsequently incorporated the changes they identified in the final report.

        The FBI’s response states that the audit process by its nature is slow and implies that this report’s findings and recommendations no longer reflect “realities”.  In addition, the FBI cited in its response 17 additional items which it said should be included in the report to make it more complete.  However, none of these were cited to us by the FBI in the comments made in September 2003 on an earlier draft of this report.  Moreover, while we agree that the FBI is making positive changes in the intelligence sharing process, we disagree with both the general comment about the audit process and the implication about the findings and recommendations of this report.  We recognized that the FBI has made and will continue to make changes in its information-sharing process; however, the fact that the FBI’s intelligence program is evolving is made clear in the audit report and does not detract from the accuracy and relevance of our findings.

        With regard to the 17 additional items cited by the FBI, many are already discussed in the report, others are still in the planning or development stages, and others are not recent initiatives.  For example, the FBI cites the establishment of Field Intelligence Groups in all 56 field offices.  However, the report discusses the FBI’s intelligence capabilities and staffing on a number of pages, including 18, 29-31, and 46.  Completing the establishment of intelligence groups may be a recent development.

        The FBI cites the establishment of a presence on “Intellink” and “SIPERNET”.  Assuming these references are meant to be to “Intelink” and “SIPRNET,” they do not appear to be recent developments.  On June 10, 1998, Michael A. Vatis, Deputy Assistant Director and Chief of the FBI’s National Infrastructure Protection Center, testified before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Technology, Terrorism, and Government Information that:

We are currently in the process of designing an information architecture that will serve our mission needs.  This will consist of analytical tools; computer resources; and connectivity to other federal government agencies, State and local governments, and private sector incident response teams and companies.  In the meantime, we are relying on existing communications capabilities including: INTELink for access to intelligence information; SIPRNet and ADNet for communication with the Department of Defense; the National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (NLETS) and Law Enforcement On-Line (LEO) to communicate with State and local law enforcement; the Awareness of National Security Issues and Response (ANSIR) program for communicating with industry; and FBInet for communication within the FBI.

        Further, we mention SIPRNET on pages 38 and 40 of the report and Intelink on page 54.

        The FBI cites completion of a web page on Law Enforcement Online (LEO) as an important step in sharing sensitive information.  However, the LEO system itself is not a recent initiative.  The FBI’s August 2000 Law Enforcement Bulletin stated that:

Every day across the country, law enforcement, criminal justice, and public safety professionals are “signing on” to Law Enforcement Online (LEO), a secure Intranet communication system built and maintained by the FBI, to share sensitive information.  They rely on LEO as their primary tool to communicate or obtain mission critical information, to provide or participate in online educational programs, and to participate in professional special interest or topically focused dialog.

        We mention LEO on pages 44 and 59 of the report.  The FBI also cites the connection of LEO to the Regional Information Sharing System Network (RISSNET).  RISSNET is mentioned on page 59 of the report.

        The FBI cites that training has been provided for analysts since September 11, 2001.  The report on pages v, 19, 31, 37, 49 and 50 discusses the FBI’s ongoing efforts to develop an analyst training program.

        The FBI cites the multi-agency Terrorist Screening Center, administered by the FBI, which is described as being operational.  Although the establishment of the Terrorist Screening Center was announced in September 2003 and began operations on December 1, 2003, the FBI has stated that the initial capabilities of the Center will be limited.  We have added a notation on the Terrorist Screening Center to the report.

        The FBI cites the Global Intelligence Working Group as its advisory board on intelligence sharing.  However, the internet homepage for the this group describes it as an initiative not of the FBI but of the Office of Justice Programs:

The IACP [International Association of Chiefs of Police] Criminal Intelligence Sharing Report contained a proposal to create a National Criminal Intelligence Sharing Plan (“Plan”).  The most central and enduring element of the Plan advocated by Summit participants was the recommendation for the creation of a Criminal Intelligence Coordinating Council comprised of local, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement executives.  The Council’s mandate would be to establish, promote, and ensure effective intelligence sharing and to address and solve, in an ongoing fashion, the problems that inhibit it.  In fall 2002, in response to this proposal, the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs (OJP), Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), authorized the formation of the Global Intelligence Working Group (GIWG), one of several issues-focused working groups of the Global Advisory Committee (GAC).  [Emphasis added.]

        In sum, many of the FBI’s stated improvement efforts are either discussed in the report or have been underway for years and have not yet come to fruition. As stated above, we anticipate that the FBI will continue to make progress in these areas.

Recommendation Number:

  1. Resolved.  This recommendation is resolved based on the FBI’s plan to establish written policy and procedures for information sharing using the Concepts of Operations as a framework.  This recommendation can be closed when we receive and review the policy and procedures for information sharing, including what types of information should be shared with what parties under what circumstances.
  1. Resolved.  This recommendation is resolved based on the FBI’s statement that it has developed an information-sharing process map to accompany the FBI’s enterprise-wide architecture, currently under development.  This recommendation can be closed when we receive and review a copy of the FBI-wide enterprise architecture and process map for information sharing that clearly defines the current and end states for the information-sharing process so that the numerous information-sharing initiatives can be coordinated and properly monitored and managed.
  1. Closed. This recommendation is closed based on the FBI’s statement that it has given the recommendation considerable thought but concludes that transferring some of the investigations currently handled as domestic terrorism would dilute the intelligence base directed to both domestic and international terrorism matters.  In its response, the FBI states that international and domestic terrorist groups often use similar methods and that the Counterterrorism Division is best suited to counter the criminal activities of domestic groups that fall under the definition of domestic terrorism.  The FBI response also details the operations of the Joint Terrorism Task Forces and states its concerns that the efficiencies offered by the task forces would be diminished if the Criminal Division were to assume responsibility for cases classified as domestic terrorism.  Although we are closing this recommendation, we continue to believe that the FBI should continue to assess whether there may be substantive advantages to transferring responsibility for the investigation of certain crimes committed by domestic groups or individuals to the Criminal Division thereby allowing the Counterterrorism Division and the Joint Terrorism Task Forces to concentrate on the greater threat to national security of international terrorism and the use of weapons of mass destruction.   We believe that the FBI’s priority mission to prevent high-consequence terrorist acts would be enhanced if the Counterterrorism Division did not have to spend time and resources on lower-threat activities by social protestors or on crimes committed by environmental, animal rights, and other domestic radical groups or individuals (unless explosives or weapons of mass destruction are involved).
  1. Resolved.  This recommendation is resolved based on the FBI’s development of implementation plans for each relevant Intelligence Concept of Operations Plan, including a time schedule and the designation of the responsible official, and the FBI’s plan to add a budget section to each Concept of Operations Plan.  However, the FBI’s response does not include a time schedule for completing the planned action, and such a schedule should be included in the FBI’s next corrective action response.  This recommendation can be closed when we receive and review documentation of the implementation plans that include budgets, time schedules, and designation of the responsible official.
  1. Resolved.  This recommendation is resolved based on the FBI’s action to complete an analysis of problems related to the Urgent Reports and to identify and recommend changes to improve the process.  The FBI’s response notes that the analysis and recommendations are currently under review, but does not include a time schedule for completing the action.  Such a schedule should be included in the FBI’s next corrective action response.  This recommendation can be closed when we receive and review documentation of the changes made in the Urgent Reports process to focus top management’s attention on the most important matters of national security and public safety.
  1. Closed. This recommendation is closed.  The FBI stated that it thoroughly reviewed the recommendation and concluded that if adopted the recommendation would impede the sharing of information with its state and local partners.  In its response, the FBI states that Intelligence Bulletins reach a broad spectrum of users and that actionable intelligence should be conveyed through Joint Terrorism Task Forces.  We agree that actionable intelligence can and should be shared with state and local law enforcement agencies through Joint Terrorism Task Forces, but the FBI has also provided actionable information and terrorism awareness topics through its Intelligence Bulletins, and we believe it should continue to do so.  Further, we believe that a more general or routine law enforcement advisory is the better means of disseminating general public safety and crime-related information so that those involved in preventing or responding to acts of terrorism can concentrate their attention and efforts on high-consequence matters.  However, in light of the FBI’s substantive disagreement with this recommendation, and because the FBI appears to have carefully considered our recommendation, we are closing this recommendation.  But we continue to recommend that the FBI consider focusing, to the extent possible, the content of Intelligence Bulletins and Quarterly Terrorist Threat Assessments on actionable international terrorism and any domestic terrorist activities aimed at creating mass casualties or destroying critical infrastructure.