FBI RESPONSE TO RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE OFFICE OF THE
INSPECTOR GENERAL'S AUDIT OF THE EXTERNAL EFFECTS OF THE
FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION'S REPRIORITIZATION EFFORTS
Recommendation 1. We recommend the FBI ensure that it has accurately evaluated its investigative needs and necessary resource levels within each area of the FBI's operations - including both terrorism and non-terrorism related programs - and translate this information into realistic field agent allocations.
FBI Response: The FBI concurs with this recommendation and will continue its efforts to accurately evaluate its investigative needs and necessary resource levels within each area of the FBI's operations - including both terrorism and non-terrorism related programs - and translate this information into realistic field agent allocations.
In order to improve its ability to evaluate accurately its investigative needs and necessary resource levels within each area of the FBI's operations - including both terrorism and non-terrorism related programs - and translate this information into realistic field agent allocations, the FBI established the Strategic Planning and Execution Council in September 2004. This Council developed a strategic plan for the FBI for FYs 2007 - 2011, using the work of subject matter experts and the Directorate of Intelligence to forecast the growing threats the FBI will face in future years. This was the FBI's first attempt to articulate full funding requirements for its "total mission" - intelligence, counterterrorism, counterintelligence, criminal investigative, cyber, and associated law enforcement services, and administrative support segments. The strategic plan specifically addresses the operational requirements of the FBI's mission and proposes a larger, more technically specialized operational workforce managed and deployed to cover forecasted threats to the U.S.
The strategic plan also recognized that the FBI cannot continue to meet additional resource requirements by drawing on the resources of other programs. The FBI's counterterrorism, counterintelligence, intelligence, and criminal investigative responsibilities are additive and these missions can no longer be supported at the expense of the others. The strategic plan forecasts a need to expand the FBI's total workforce by 48% and the Special Agent workforce by 38% by FY 2011 in order to meet the increasingly complex threats facing the FBI. The FBI forecasted the need to increase its Special Agent workforce in all of its operational/investigative missions - intelligence, counterterrorism, counterintelligence, criminal investigative and cyber.
While the FBI's workforce and budget increased significantly between FY 2000 and 2005, the resource demands of the FBI's national security missions, the creation of a new Cyber Division, and the need to address special events and other immediate needs, such as the aggressive hiring of intelligence analysts, increased at an even greater rate. As a result the FBI was forced to continue to cover these additional resource requirements largely by drawing on resources from other FBI programs, most notably the Criminal Investigative Program. From FY 2000 to FY 2004, the Special Agents dedicated to the Criminal Investigative Program decreased by approximately 33%, from 6,664 in FY 2000 to 4,474 in FY 2004.
In response, the FBI acted decisively and aggressively to address and to minimize, where possible, the negative impact on the FBI and local, state, and federal law enforcement, as well as the general public, caused by the reallocation of 2,190 Special Agents from the Criminal Investigative Program. At the SACs Conference in November 2004 and three Criminal Investigative Program Management Regional Coordination Conferences in FY 2005, the Criminal Investigative Division clearly communicated the priorities of the Criminal Investigative Program and provided detailed guidance on the prioritization and use of those resources to the SACs, ASACs and SSAs responsible for managing those resources. FBI Headquarters and field office Criminal Investigative Program coordinators and managers were provided with a matrix of criminal priorities that provided guidance on how limited Criminal Investigative Program resources should be used to address Public Corruption, Civil Rights, Violent Gangs/Organized Crime/Criminal Enterprises, Financial Crimes and Violent Crimes. Other specific program guidance was also disseminated to the field offices.
One of the first steps undertaken by the FBI to address the dramatic impact of shifting large numbers of skilled personnel to counterterrorism and other higher priorities was the restaffing and rebuilding of our highest priority programs within the Criminal Investigative Program. One of our priorities was to ensure the Public Corruption Program was as robust and aggressive as its importance to our nation demands. Although the OIG noted the FBI dedicated fewer resources to the Public Corruption Program and had fewer case openings in FY 2004 than in FY 2000, that statistic does not fairly depict the FBI's efforts and accomplishments in the Public Corruption Program in FY 2004. By FY 2004, the FBI had substantially rebuilt the Public Corruption program and had only utilized 36 fewer Agents than in FY 2000 (8% less) and opened 15 fewer cases (1.7 % less) than in FY 2000. Despite these slight reductions in personnel resources and case openings, the Public Corruption program had significantly higher statistical accomplishments in FY 2004 than FY 2000, including 102 more convictions.
The re-establishment of the Public Corruption Program as the cornerstone of the FBI's Criminal Investigative Program continued in FY 2005. In FY 2005, the Agents dedicated to the program increased and a Public Corruption Enhancement Initiative was developed and used to conduct an internal assessment to identify those FBI field offices whose Public Corruption Programs would best benefit from an on-site assessment and training. To fully implement this initiative, an experienced team of FBI Headquarters and field personnel were used to begin conducting these assessments. SACs were also advised they would be held personally accountable for ensuring they had an aggressive, robust Public Corruption Program. The data on the Public Corruption Enhancement Initiative was provided to the OIG during their audit and the data on the FY 2005 increases in resources for the Public Corruption program were provided to the OIG immediately following the exit conference on September 13, 2005.
Health Care Fraud is another priority of the FBI that suffered from the redeployment of resources to higher priority areas. However, the underutilization of these resources was corrected in FY 2005. The year-to-date data on the utilization of Health Care Fraud resources in FY 2005 (Funded Staffing Level - 407, Annualized Resource Utilization to date - 403) established that these resources were utilized at the level conveyed to Congress for FY 2005. This data was provided to the OIG immediately following the exit conference on September 13, 2005.
In addition to its internal efforts to maximize the use of its own personnel, the FBI also increased its efforts to more fully leverage its personnel resources by increasing the use of task forces consisting of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, particularly in its anti-gang efforts. To this end the FBI increased the number of Safe Streets Gang Task Forces from 104 in FY 2004 to 125 during FY 2005, established a MS-13 National Gang Task Force, and initiated the start up of a National Gang Intelligence Center.
The FBI has undertaken similar, interagency task force efforts in the White Collar Crime field. Over the last nine years the FBI has used 89 Financial Crimes Task Forces, including 25 Health Care Fraud Task Forces and 32 Financial Institution Fraud Task Forces to address the criminal threat in these areas. During this time period, these task forces produced over 1,700 convictions or pretrial diversions and $42 million in fines, $27.7 million in recoveries and $1.5 billion in restitutions.
In the areas of Financial Institution Fraud, Fraud By Wire and Governmental Fraud, the FBI instituted dollar loss case initiation thresholds to prioritize the investigation of these and other financial crimes and manage the best use of limited personnel. These dollar loss thresholds do not preclude field offices from working cases below those thresholds, however, they must obtain FBI Headquarters authorization to do so. This controlled flexibility allows field offices, particularly smaller field offices, to address financial crimes below these thresholds, based on factors such as the impact on the local, regional or national community.
In evaluating its investigative needs and required resource levels the FBI must consider the obvious interrelation and interdependence of its intelligence, counterterrorism, counterintelligence, criminal and cyber programs. Due to the fact that terrorists make use of criminal enterprises and criminal activities to further their interests, the FBI must make use of its criminal investigative program and criminal investigations to enhance the FBI's ability to prevent another terrorist attack. Criminal investigations develop invaluable intelligence and investigations on terrorists, which further identify the United States ' vulnerability to attack and directly support the FBI's and the Intelligence Community's counterterrorism, counterintelligence, and cyber efforts. Criminal investigations of drug trafficking, money laundering, fraud, and trafficking in everything from people, cigarettes and counterfeit goods to infant formula have led to the development of invaluable intelligence and investigations on terrorists and their supporters.
Recommendation 2. We recommend the FBI ensure that it accurately conveys to Congress the number of agents it will dedicate to health care fraud using reimbursable funds.
FBI Response: The FBI concurs with this recommendation and accurately conveyed to Congress the number of agents it dedicated to health care fraud using reimbursable funds for FY 2005. The FBI ensured the underutilization of Health Care Fraud resources in FY 2004, as noted by the OIG and the GAO, was corrected in FY 2005. The most recent year-to-date data for FY 2005, on the number of agents dedicated to health care fraud was provided to the DOJ-OIG following the exit conference on September 13, 2005. The Funded Staffing Level reported to Congress for FY 2005, was 407 Agents, and the current annualized resource utilization for Health Care Fraud is 403 (99%). The FBI will continue to convey to Congress the number of agents it will dedicate to Health Care Fraud using reimbursable funds in each forthcoming FY.
Recommendation 3. We recommend the FBI ensure that field offices are coordinating their anti-gang investigative efforts and executing the DOJ anti-gang initiative.
FBI Response: The FBI concurs with this recommendation and will continue its efforts to ensure field offices are coordinating their anti-gang efforts and executing the DOJ anti-gang initiative. The FBI disseminated a policy directive to each FBI field office, dated July 5, 2005, which set forth the FBI's role and responsibility in executing DOJ's anti-gang initiative directive, dated June 17, 2005. A copy of this policy directive was provided to the DOJ-OIG immediately following the exit conference on September 13, 2005. The Assistant Director of the Criminal Investigative Division also summarized the AG's anti-gang strategy and the FBI's role in that strategy for the field office SACs and ASACs during three rounds of regional coordination meetings conducted by the FBI in 2005.
The FBI will continue its other ongoing, nationwide interagency anti-gang coordination efforts, including the National Gang Intelligence Center, the MS-13 National Gang Task Force, and 124 Safe Streets Gang Task Forces. The FBI has welcomed and encouraged the broadest possible participation of local, state and federal law enforcement and intelligence counterparts in these efforts, as well as the use of these efforts to facilitate and enhance communication, information/intelligence sharing, and coordination among its anti-gang counterparts. All of these efforts are critical to the continued implementation of the FBI's National Gang Strategy and the full use of the Enterprise Theory of Investigation to identify, investigate, and dismantle gangs, in the same way the FBI has worked with local, state and federal law enforcement to successfully dismantle other organized crime groups and criminal enterprises.
Recommendation 4. We recommend the FBI seek to better coordinate fugitive apprehension efforts with the USMS.
FBI Response: The FBI concurs with this recommendation and will continue its efforts to work with the USMS at the national and field office level to better coordinate fugitive apprehension efforts. The Criminal Investigative Division Deputy Assistant Director and Section Chief responsible for the FBI's fugitive program initiated discussions with and then met with the Assistant Director, Deputy Assistant Director and Section Chiefs responsible for the USMS's fugitive program within the last six months in an effort to better coordinate fugitive apprehension efforts with the USMS. FBI field office SACs have also been instructed to seek better coordination of fugitive apprehension efforts with the USMS at Criminal Investigation Program Management Regional Conferences.
Recommendation 5. We recommend the FBI pursue the formation of a multi-agency working group to develop and implement a national strategy to combat identity theft. This group should include, at a minimum, representatives from within the DOJ, including the FBI, as well as the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the U.S. Secret Service, ICE and local law enforcement.
FBI Response: The FBI concurs with this recommendation and will pursue the formation of a multi-agency working group to develop and implement a national strategy to combat identity theft in conjunction with the DOJ. The FBI has identified approximately 900 cases in FY 2004, in which identity theft was involved. Repeated FBI proposals to establish a National Identity Theft Center were unsuccessful due to a lack of funding.
Recommendation 6. We recommend the FBI continue to work with ICE to develop agreements for coordinating FBI and ICE investigations of human trafficking and alien smuggling, as well as child pornography.
FBI Response: The FBI concurs with this recommendation and will continue its ongoing negotiations with ICE to develop a mutually agreeable Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to address human trafficking and alien smuggling, as well as child pornography. The most recent drafts of a proposed MOU, dated December 9, 2004, and May 23, 2005, were provided to the DOJ-OIG following the exit conference on September 13, 2005. The FBI is also a full participant in the Human Smuggling and Trafficking Center which is the principle mechanism for coordinating these investigations.
Recommendation 7. We recommend the FBI pursue regular meetings among law enforcement officials, similar to the meetings held in Phoenix and Chicago, in more jurisdictions.
FBI Response: The FBI concurs with this recommendation and has presented the regular meetings it attends with law enforcement officials in Phoenix and Chicago as a "best practice" to SACs and ASACs and encouraged them to pursue the initiation of similar interagency meetings with their respective United States Attorneys Offices and other local, state and federal investigative and prosecutive counterparts. This will be reinforced at the SACs Conference on September 24, 2005, and in an upcoming communication by the Assistant Director of the Criminal Investigative Division to all SACs.