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Federal Bureau of Investigation Legal Attaché Program*

Report No. 04-18
March 2004
Office of the Inspector General


Chapter 3: Legat Investigative Activities

A key function of the FBI’s Legal Attaché offices involves responding to requests for investigative assistance, known as investigative leads, from FBI headquarters and field offices.  These requests range from simple tasks such as tracing telephone numbers or obtaining copies of documents to more complex, time-consuming activities such as tracking financial transactions, locating suspected criminals and terrorists, or interviewing individuals in connection with a matter under investigation.  Because the Legats lack the jurisdiction to carry out investigations in foreign countries, they rely on their role as an intermediary to obtain cooperation and assistance from their foreign police liaisons, which in turn conduct the inquiries on behalf of the FBI.

In recent years, the number of leads handled by Legats has grown significantly primarily due to an increase in international crimes and terrorism but also because the number of Legat offices has grown. Overall, Legats appear to have been able to cope with the increasing workload.  Legat Ottawa, however, has a significant volume of pending leads—a longstanding problem that the FBI has not addressed adequately.  In addition, we found that controls over temporary duty travel by FBI personnel to Canada needs strengthening.  Specifically, the FBI could not provide us with documentation showing that required Ambassador approval, known as a country clearance, had been obtained for 135 of the 422 personnel who traveled to Canada during a 19-month period between October 2001 and April 2003.

Legats’ Process for Responding to Investigative Leads

When a federal crime occurs, the FBI office in the vicinity of the crime must decide whether to open an investigation.18  If it decides to do so, the office is known as the Office of Origin and the investigation is referred to as a case.  When the Office of Origin needs assistance on a case from another field office, FBI headquarters, or a Legal Attaché office, it prepares a request, which is known as a lead.  At the time we began our fieldwork, there were two categories of leads: administrative, which involve non-investigative tasks and investigative, which are case-related tasks; in this review we focused on investigative leads.19  Legats receive leads when an investigation by the Office of Origin identifies issues that need to be pursued in a country in the Legat’s assigned territory.  Leads are a significant component of the Legal Attaché office’s workload, and prompt resolution of the leads can be critical to the FBI’s investigations in the United States.

When an Office of Origin initiates an investigation, the case is entered into the Automated Case Support (ACS) system, the FBI’s centralized records and case management system.  The case is assigned an identification number and an investigative program.  An investigative program, such as Counterterrorism or Violent Crimes Major Offenders (VCMO) program, provides oversight for the investigation of particular groupings of classifications.  For example, when a “272C” case is opened (money laundering), it is assigned to the VCMO program.

When an Office of Origin determines that leads need to be pursued by other offices, such as Legats, it prepares an electronic communication (EC) within ACS.20  The request typically includes background information on the investigation, priority level,21 and instructions on what action is required from the receiving office.  For example, the request may ask the Legat to identify the subscriber of a telephone number, identify and track financial transactions, locate suspects, or conduct interviews.  The amount of work involved in responding to these requests can vary widely depending on the nature of the request.

An Office Assistant in each Legat office checks ACS to determine if any new leads have been assigned to their office.  The applicable ECs are printed and assigned to investigative personnel.  At the Legal Attaché offices we reviewed, the leads were usually assigned to individual agents by investigative program, such as Counterterrorism or Violent Crimes Major Offenders.  Legat staff at the four Legal Attachés we reviewed confirmed that their offices’ top priority was to address leads pertaining to counterterrorism matters and, thus, counterterrorism leads are typically worked before others.

Investigative personnel review the action requested and determine which foreign law enforcement or intelligence agencies can provide the needed assistance.  They then prepare a request to the law enforcement agency or agencies and either hand deliver, facsimile, or mail the request.  The Legat personnel cannot undertake these investigations on their own because they do not have law enforcement jurisdiction in foreign countries.  Thus, they rely on their law enforcement contacts in the foreign country to obtain an answer to the lead.  Legat personnel keep track of their assigned leads and follow up when necessary.  Once an answer is received in whole or in part, the Legat staff analyzes the information and sends a response to the Office of Origin.

Legats Have Coped With Sizeable Rise in Leads

As Exhibit 3-1 shows, investigative leads handled by Legal Attaché offices have increased significantly.  In the 5-year period between FYs 1998 and 2002, the number of leads rose from 20,267 to 53,105, an increase of about 162 percent.  The increase in investigative leads assigned to Legats is largely attributable to the surge in international crime and terrorism, especially leads related to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.  Another contributing factor is that the FBI opened 14 new Legal Attaché offices and 2 sub-offices during this period.  As these offices develop relationships with their foreign law enforcement counterparts, additional leads are generated.  As Exhibit 3-1 also shows, despite the sharp increase in leads, the number of pending leads has remained relatively stable, increasing from 6,489 in FY 1998 to 7,683 in FY 2002, or about 18 percent.  Compared another way, the data shows that pending leads as a percent of total leads have decreased from 32 to 14 percent during the 5-year period as Exhibit 3-2 illustrates.

Exhibit 3-1. Investigative Leads by Fiscal Year For All LEgal Attache Offices.  For a text table of the values in the barchart click the table.
Note:  The overall totals for FY 1998, 1999, and 2000 do not reconcile to the totals for completed leads and pending leads.  We obtained these numbers from the ACS Leads Summary report and FBI staff have not been able to explain the discrepancies.  For example, the data provided by the FBI showed that leads totaled 20,267 in FY 1998, but pending leads (6,489) and completed leads (14,247) totaled 20,736, or a difference of 469 leads.

Source: FBI, Legat – Leads Summary, Administrative Report Recap

1998 32
1999 26
2000 24
2001 20
2002 14
Source: OIG calculation based on data from FBI, Legat – Leads Summary,
Administrative Report Recap

Exhibit 3-3 shows investigative lead data for the four Legal Attaché offices we reviewed.  Similar to the data for the Legat offices as a whole, these four offices have also experienced significant increases in the number of leads received, completed, and pending from FYs 1998 to 2002.

1998 1999 2000 2001 2002
Leads Received 1,192 1,060 900 1,466 2,554
Completed 956 929 749 1,119 2,274
Pending 131 131 151 347 280
Leads Received 2,255 2,667 2,902 3,709 4,545
Completed 1,257 1,788 1,725 2,634 2,974
Pending 1,007 880 1,177 1,075 1,571
Leads Received 38 382 586 729 648
Completed 28 252 378 630 551
Pending 52 130 210 99 97
Leads Received 597 586 634 731 836
Completed 556 474 568 669 727
Pending 45 112 66 62 109
  Note:  Leads received minus leads completed do not always equal leads pending for FYs 1998, 1999, and 2000.  We obtained these numbers from the ACS Administrative Report Recap for each office for these years and FBI staff have not been able to explain the discrepancies.
Source: FBI, Legat – Leads by Office, Administrative Report Recap

Review of Pending Leads at Four Offices

We judgmentally selected and reviewed a sample of open investigative leads at Legat Ottawa, the first location we reviewed, because the volume of pending leads was significant in that office and because we were told that the files for closed leads were not readily available due to space limitations within the Embassy.  To be consistent, we also reviewed judgmentally selected samples of pending leads at the other three Legats.  Consequently, because our samples of pending leads were judgmentally selected and because we did not review closed leads, our results are not necessarily representative of how the offices responded to their leads overall.

As Exhibit 3-4 shows, we reviewed 114 leads that were pending at the time of our review of these offices.  We identified minor discrepancies at all four of the offices involving 28 leads, which remained open in ACS, yet all the work had been completed.  The Legal Attachés acknowledged that these leads should have been closed.  In addition, we found that two offices, Ottawa and Pretoria, were sometimes slow to either initiate work on a lead, conduct follow up, or respond to the Office of Origin.  The Legal Attachés in these two offices acknowledged the delays but explained that they occurred because the offices concentrated on higher priority matters.

Berlin 32 2 0
Ottawa 33 9 22
Pretoria 25 2 9
Tokyo 24 15 0
TOTALS 114 28 31

The following are examples of some of the delays we identified during our review of Pretoria and Ottawa’s open investigative lead files.

  • The New York field office asked Legat Pretoria on August 9, 2001, to investigate certain individuals and interview them if necessary regarding allegations that had been made about weapons and explosives bound for the United States.  The lead was designated routine by the Office of Origin meaning that action was required within “the normal course of business.”  However, no action had been taken on this lead more than 16 months later when we reviewed it in January 2003.  According to the ALAT, the lead was overlooked and added that he would follow up.
  • On September 25, 2001, the Buffalo field office asked Legat Ottawa to conduct a background check on an individual who had sent photographs of the World Trade Center destruction to a former co-worker and to conduct a follow-up investigation if necessary. This lead was designated routine.  The lead was assigned to an agent on May 14, 2002, almost 8 months later, at which time action was taken to initiate requests to Canadian law enforcement authorities.  Subsequent follow up action was not taken until another 10 months later, when second letters were sent to the Canadian law enforcement agencies.  According to the Legat, the office was understaffed and was busy addressing higher priority PENTTBOM leads.
  • On January 11, 2001, the New York field office requested that Legat Ottawa contact Canadian authorities in an effort to obtain current information relative to possible terrorist and or criminal activities of two subjects in Canada.  This request was designated as a priority lead meaning that action needed to be initiated within 24 hours.  However, the Legat did not send requests to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), until March 8, and April 6, 2001, respectively.  CSIS responded on June 6, 2001, and Legat Ottawa forwarded their information to the New York field office and kept the lead open pending a response from the RCMP.  However, action was not taken to follow up with the RCMP until September 24, 2002, over 17 months later.

Backlog of Pending Leads in Ottawa

According to FBI officials, Legat Ottawa has a heavy workload and receives a large volume of leads relative to most other offices because its proximity to the United States results in its playing a substantial role in supporting many FBI investigative matters.  This heavy workload has resulted in a backlog of pending leads.  As Exhibit 3-5 shows, as of June 30, 2003, Legat Ottawa had 1,134 leads pending, the highest number of pending leads of any Legal Attaché office.22  In comparison, the other Legat offices averaged 104 pending investigative leads on the same date.  According to the Ottawa Legat, about one-half of the backlog consisted primarily of white-collar criminal matters such as telemarketing fraud, child pornography, organized crime, and Internet scams.

AS OF JUNE 30, 2003
Almaty, Kazakhstan 35
Amman, Jordan 39
Ankara, Turkey 68
Athens, Greece 65
Bangkok, Thailand 89
Beijing, China 20
Bern, Switzerland 179
Berlin, Germany 167
Bogotá, Colombia 48
Brasilia, Brazil 56
Bridgetown, Barbados 45
Brussels, Belgium 97
Bucharest, Romania 39
Buenos Aires, Argentina 33
Cairo, Egypt 63
Canberra, Australia 71
Caracas, Venezuela 29
Copenhagen, Denmark 59
Hong Kong, SAR, China 45
Islamabad, Pakistan 48
Kiev, Ukraine 64
Lagos, Nigeria 69
London, England 450
Madrid, Spain 83
Manila, Philippines 116
Mexico City, Mexico 339
Miami, United States
(Liaison Office)
Moscow, Russia 169
Nairobi, Kenya 22
New Delhi, India 69
Ottawa, Canada 1,134
Panama City, Panama 22
Paris, France 465
Prague, Czech Republic 42
Pretoria, South Africa 89
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia 399
Rome, Italy 165
Santiago, Chile 21
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic 71
Seoul, South Korea 96
Singapore, Singapore 173
Tallinn, Estonia 32
Tel Aviv, Israel 92
Tokyo, Japan 83
Vienna, Austria 108
Warsaw, Poland 24
TOTAL 5,692
Source: ACS Administrative Recap Report for the 9 months ending June 30, 2003.

The Legat also told us that several factors account for the backlog.  Many pending investigative matters could not be fully addressed between 1999 and 2001 because a majority of the personnel assigned to the Ottawa Legal Attaché office were working full-time on the BORDERBOM case.  Soon thereafter the September 11 terrorist attacks occurred, which resulted in a huge upsurge in investigative leads—more than 7,000—that had to be pursued before any others.  Because of the heavy workload associated with the BORDERBOM and PENTTBOM investigations, the office had a difficult time keeping up with other lower priority, but still important leads.

In addition, the Legal Attaché told us that Canadian authorities were sometimes slow to respond to the FBI’s requests partly because of the significant volume of requests that were submitted to them.  Officials from a component of the CSIS, one of Legat Ottawa’s primary liaisons, for example, told us that the number of requests they received from the Legat office after September 11 increased by 300 percent, and each request had to be researched.  They added that the increased volume of these requests presented a major challenge for their agency.

We believe another contributing factor to the office’s backlog could be the process it used for requesting and obtaining information from Canadian law enforcement and intelligence authorities.  The process was paper intensive and time consuming, especially given the volume of leads.  Ottawa staff advised that they spent considerable time typing requests for assistance and often a lead required requests to both of the Legat’s primary liaisons.

CSIS officials told us that the hard-copy correspondence they received from the Legat slowed down their ability to respond because CSIS was highly automated and operated in a virtually paperless environment.  Consequently, preparing hard-copy responses to the Legat’s requests was time consuming.  [CLASSIFIED INFORMATION REDACTED].

The Legat acknowledged the inefficiency of the office’s process for requesting information from the foreign liaisons and told us in October 2002 that plans were underway to establish an electronic link with CSIS and the RCMP.  During a follow up visit to Ottawa in April 2003, the Legat told us an electronic link had been set up with CSIS that now allows the office to transmit its requests and receive responses electronically and we were provided with a demonstration of the process.  The Legat added that he hoped to establish a similar electronic link with the RCMP in the near future.  As of October 2003, this had not yet occurred.

Ottawa Backlog Previously Reported by FBI Inspection Division

The last two reviews conducted of the Ottawa Legal Attaché Office by the FBI’s Inspection Division reported that the office was having difficulty addressing its heavy workload.  For example, the July 1998 inspection noted that the number of leads assigned to Legat Ottawa had increased by 122 percent since a previous inspection in 1993, yet the staffing level had remained the same.  The report added that because of the excessive workload in the office, investigative personnel were unable to properly follow up on the large number of outstanding leads.  The report recommended that Ottawa’s staffing levels be reviewed.  In response, FBI headquarters officials said they would dispatch TDY personnel to Ottawa until the workload was brought to a manageable level and would monitor the office’s workload and provide continued TDY assistance until a permanent solution was found.

A subsequent inspection of the Ottawa Legat in July 2001 indicated that the backlog of pending leads persisted and concluded that the office’s staffing level was inadequate to address the workload.  The report noted that during the inspection period 31 special agents and 15 support employees were detailed to the Legat to help with the workload.  The report went on to say, however, that this short-term strategy of assigning TDY personnel on a continuing basis to address the huge backlog of leads was not cost effective and did not lend itself to the assignment of long-term complex matters to TDY personnel.  The inspection report recommended that the FBI consider assigning permanent rather than temporary staff to reduce the backlog.

Actions Taken by FBI Have Yet to Fully Address the Backlog

In response to the Inspection reports, the FBI has continued to send staff to Legat Ottawa on a temporary basis.  For example, since the last Inspection in July 2001 through the end of fiscal year 2002, a total of 47 additional special agents and support personnel were assigned to help reduce the office’s workload.  Temporary staff continued to be sent in FY 2003, including two agents from the Criminal Division specifically tasked to work on the unaddressed white-collar crime leads.

The FBI’s heavy reliance on short-term temporary duty staff has had limited success, however, in reducing the backlog of pending leads in Ottawa and, in our opinion, the use of TDY staff does not appear to be an efficient or effective solution.  According to the Legat, most of the temporary personnel are assigned for 30 to 60 days, which is disruptive to the operation because it is not enough time to master the process for requesting assistance from Canadian law enforcement authorities or work on complex matters.  For example, the Legat said that TDY agents often initiate requests with Canadian law enforcement authorities but return stateside before a response is received, thus necessitating someone else, usually another TDY agent, to become familiar with the matter and to prepare the response to the Office of Origin.  The use of TDY staff is also disruptive, the Legat said, because each new temporary employee needs training and closer supervision than permanently assigned staff.

In 2001, the FBI opened a sub-office in Vancouver staffed by one ALAT and one Office Assistant.  A second sub-office to be located in Toronto, and staffed by two ALATs and one Office Assistant, was approved in 2003.  OIO officials told us in November 2003, however, that the sub-office was unlikely to be opened due to difficulty locating suitable space in a controlled access area.  The establishment of the sub-office in Vancouver and the one in Toronto, if opened, could alleviate some of the workload in Ottawa but these sub-offices will likely create additional work as new liaisons are established.

At the end of FY 2001, the Ottawa Legat had four agents and four office assistants.  During FY 2002, an additional ALAT position was reallocated to Ottawa from the Mexico City Legal Attaché Office and the FBI plans to fill an additional ALAT position during FY 2004 for a total of two additional agents.  Therefore, in FY 2004, Legat Ottawa will be staffed with 10 permanent positions.

Controls Over Temporary Duty Travel Need Improvement

Department of State rules require that all U.S. government employees obtain approval from the U.S. Ambassador before traveling to a foreign country to conduct official business.  This approval is known as a country clearance.23  By Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by the Department of Justice and the Department of State, the FBI has agreed to keep the U.S. Ambassadors informed beforehand of all FBI employees and their activities in the Ambassadors’ territories.  At the same time, it is also critical for the Legal Attachés to be aware of all FBI personnel who are traveling on official business in their assigned countries or regions.

Requests for overseas travel must be approved by the Special Agent in Charge of the appropriate field office, the Assistant Director in Charge of the Field Division, the Assistant Director of the corresponding headquarters division, and the Legal Attaché who obtains the country clearance from the U.S. Ambassador of the destination country.  Requests vary depending on the circumstances and the country to be visited, but at a minimum are expected to include such things as the name of the traveler(s), purpose and nature of the trip, name of country to be visited, identity of persons or entities to be contacted, proposed itinerary, and estimated travel costs.  Requests and approvals of country clearances are normally processed electronically within the ACS system.  We were told, however, that sometimes clearances are processed outside the ACS system and that no mechanism is in place to ensure that the required clearances are obtained.

On at least two occasions since 2000 the FBI has issued memoranda to its employees emphasizing the importance of obtaining country clearances.  In a July 2000 memorandum, OIO reported instances where FBI personnel had traveled to foreign countries without obtaining the required country clearances.  Without identifying the countries involved, the July 2000 memorandum stated that some FBI personnel traveled repeatedly without obtaining country clearances, and as a result a U.S. Ambassador denied the FBI permission to travel to or through the foreign country until discussions were held at the highest levels of the FBI and the Department of State.  In other instances, the memorandum noted that an Ambassador denied country clearances when the requests for country clearances were presented late.  The memorandum emphasized that the failure to obtain country clearances was more than a breach of etiquette; it violated the Departments of Justice and State Memorandum of Understanding requiring the FBI to keep U.S. Ambassadors informed of all activities and operations of FBI employees within the Ambassadors’ territories.

In March 2002, the FBI Director issued a memorandum to all Special Agents in Charge noting that Legats were continuing to encounter inappropriate actions on the part of domestic agents who apparently were unaware of international rules.  The Director pointed out that FBI employees must contact the appropriate Legat and request and obtain country clearance before traveling to any country as a representative of the Executive Branch of the U.S. government.

The Ottawa Legal Attaché told us that he believed that some FBI personnel were traveling into Canada on official business without his knowledge and, therefore, without the required country clearances.  Because this appeared to be a continuing problem and because we noted that country clearances were not an area covered during FBI inspections of Legat offices, we requested that the Travel Advance and Payment Unit in the FBI’s Finance Division identify all personnel who had traveled on official business to Canada between October 1, 2001, and April 17, 2003.  After adjusting the list for travel that either had not occurred, was listed in error, or involved duplicate entries, we determined that 422 people on the list had traveled to Canada during this period.24

We compared the Travel Unit’s list to the Legat’s list of personnel who had received country clearances.  According to the Legat’s records, only 173 of these FBI employees had been granted country clearance.  However, the Legat acknowledged that his list was not necessarily complete and said that some country clearances could have been overlooked and not added to the list, especially soon after September 11.  At FBI headquarters, we asked OIO staff to research the remaining 249 names for evidence of country clearance.  Through research of the ACS system, OIO found approved country clearances for 75 personnel who were not on the Legat’s list and claimed that 39 others had attended a conference in Toronto and had received a blanket country clearance.  For the remaining 135 personnel, OIO was unable to locate a record of either a country clearance request or approval in ACS.  Subsequent to our exit conference, OIO officials directly contacted some of these travelers and were told by some that they had copies of their country clearances.  While the number of travelers without country clearances may decrease somewhat as a result, the fact that OIO had to contact individuals, rather than obtaining this information from a centralized source, in our opinion, demonstrates an absence of internal control over these records.

We recognize that our review period started on October 1, 2001, shortly after the September 11 terrorist attacks.  Given the national emergency and the need for an immediate response by the FBI, we can understand why many FBI personnel might have traveled to Canada without obtaining country clearances beforehand.  Indeed, according to the information provided by the Travel Unit, 18 of the 135 FBI employees lacking country clearance traveled to Canada between October and December 2001 and 94 traveled during 2002.  Nevertheless, our analysis also indicates that some FBI personnel have continued to travel to Canada long after the September 11 attacks without a country clearance.  Of the 135 people lacking country clearance, 23 traveled between January 2003 and April 2003.  In our opinion, the continued lack of compliance with FBI procedures and Department of Justice and State agreements is not defensible.

We also found discrepancies between the Travel Advance and Payment Unit’s list of 183 FBI employees who had traveled to Germany between October 2001 and June 2003 and Legat Berlin’s records of country clearances; 58 of the travelers had not obtained a country clearance according to the Legat’s records.  We asked OIO staff to research the ACS system for evidence of country clearances, and based on the documentation or the explanation subsequently provided we concluded that for 9 travelers the FBI had no record of a country clearance.


Legal Attaché offices generally appear to have been able to cope with the sharp increase in investigative leads in the last five years.  But backlogs of investigative leads have been a longstanding problem at the Ottawa Legat and efforts to reduce the backlog with temporary personnel have not been effective.  The FBI’s efforts to enhance the permanent staffing of the Ottawa Legat appears to be a step in the right direction although we are not sure that the addition of two agents will be sufficient to significantly reduce the office’s backlog.  Nevertheless, this approach could help alleviate the problems associated with the use of TDY personnel.  The establishment of the sub-offices in Vancouver and Toronto (if opened) could also alleviate some of the workload in Ottawa but these sub-offices will likely create additional work as new liaisons are established.

It is important for U.S. Ambassadors to be aware of all federal employees who are traveling in a foreign country on official business.  The Ambassadors rely on FBI Legal Attachés to keep them informed through the country clearance process of all FBI employees, both permanent and temporary, who are assigned to the Legat’s territory.  Legal Attachés can do this only if FBI personnel follow procedures for requesting country clearances before traveling abroad and if accurate and complete records of country clearances are maintained.

Based on the results of our testing in Canada and to a lesser extent in Germany, it appears that some FBI personnel traveling on official business have not obtained appropriate country clearances.  Previous OIO memoranda apparently have not been sufficient to eliminate this problem.  In addition, both Legat Ottawa and Berlin’s records of country clearances were incomplete and further research by OIO personnel did not provide documentation for all of the remaining discrepancies.  Consequently, we believe the FBI needs to take stronger measures to ensure that country clearances are obtained as required, and develop a system that ensures that complete records of country clearances are maintained.  In addition, the FBI’s Inspection Division should include compliance with country clearance requirements as part of its reviews of FBI offices.


We recommend that the FBI:

  1. Analyze the staffing level in Ottawa and initiate action to adjust the permanent staff levels commensurate with the workload.
  1. Implement a process that ensures that FBI personnel obtain country clearances before they travel to foreign countries on official business, and develop a system that ensures complete records of these clearances are maintained.
  1. Direct the Inspection Division to review compliance with country clearance requirements during its inspections.

  1. These decisions are based on a variety of factors including priorities set by headquarters, knowledge of the local criminal environment, interest of other federal agencies in the jurisdiction, and the prosecution threshold of the local U.S. Attorney's Office.
  2. Effective March 1, 2003, the investigative and administrative lead categories were replaced by three new lead categories: "Action Required," "Discretionary Action," and "Information Only."
  3. An electronic communication is a standardized communication component of the ACS system, which is used to create letters, memoranda, and other internal FBI documents.
  4. Leads are assigned one of four priority levels (immediate, priority, routine, and deadline) according to the speed of service required. For example, an immediate priority lead requires prompt action while a routine priority lead requires information or action within the normal course of business.
  5. As of December 31, 2003, Legat Ottawa had 1,335 pending leads.
  6. FBI personnel traveling abroad on official business are also required to travel on official, rather than personal, passports issued by the Department of State Passport Office. The travelers may also be required to obtain a visa-a permit, affixed on the passport, which allows the bearer to transit through or enter into a foreign country for a specified period of time.
  7. Because the information we were seeking was not readily available, the Travel Unit ran a special program to query the database of travel vouchers to identify travelers to Canada during this period using data from the FBI's Financial Management System. The query included all the major cities in Canada and the term "Canada" and therefore should have captured most FBI personnel who traveled to Canada during the period. According to the Travel Unit Chief, however, this list may not be complete for various reasons such as incomplete travel destination information on the travel vouchers or because of data input errors. We also obtained similar data for Germany.