The Federal Bureau of Investigation's Terrorist Threat and Suspicious Incident Tracking System

Audit Report 09-02
November 2008
Office of the Inspector General

Appendix I
Objectives, Scope, and Methodology


The objectives of this audit were to evaluate the policies and procedures the FBI uses to identify, assess, and track terrorist threats and suspicious incidents, and to determine the extent the FBI field offices follow guidance from FBI headquarters.

Scope and Methodology

The audit was performed in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards, and included tests and procedures necessary to accomplish the audit objective. We conducted work at FBI headquarters components in Washington, D.C., and the surrounding metropolitan area. We also conducted work at six FBI field offices:  New York, New York; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Washington, D.C.; Detroit, Michigan; Kansas City, Missouri; and Los Angeles, California.

To perform our audit, we interviewed officials from the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division components, including the Federal Terrorist Tracking Task Force, Counterterrorism Watch, Threat Monitoring Unit, Public Access Control Unit, Threat Review Unit, and the International and Domestic Terrorism Operations Sections. We also interviewed officials from the Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate and Office of the Chief Information Officer. We reviewed documents detailing terrorist threat resolution, organizational structures, directives, policies, and procedures.

To verify and test the implementation of the directives, policies and procedures established by FBI headquarters, we performed site visits at the aforementioned six FBI field offices chosen to represent a cross-section in terms of size, geography and activity. At each office, we interviewed senior managers, line supervisors, Special Agents, and Intelligence Analysts responsible for terrorist threat resolution. We reviewed representative samples of threat incidents from the FBI’s Guardian threat tracking system and terrorism-related cases from the FBI’s Automated Case Support system to test the field organization’s usage of these systems and compliance with FBI headquarters directives.


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