The OIG provided a draft of this report to the FBI. The FBI’s response is incorporated in this report as Appendix XI. The FBI concurred with each of our 13 recommendations. This appendix contains our analysis of the FBI’s responses to our recommendations and the actions necessary to close each recommendation.
Status of Recommendations
- Resolved. The FBI concurred with our recommendation and stated that it has remedied any lack of interagency coordination between the FBI, Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force in Los Angeles County, California. The FBI stated that it has established strong working relationships with the ICAC Task Force and ICE, exemplified in part by a joint investigation that targeted mass distributors of child pornography. The FBI also noted that the personnel from the FBI, ICE, and the ICAC Task Force have been assigned to work full‑time on the other agencies’ crimes against children squads. Lastly, the FBI commented in its response that it routinely provides training and operational support to the ICAC Task Force.
- Resolved. The FBI concurred with our recommendation and stated that it is working “within and without” the Deputy Attorney General’s Computer Forensic Working Group (CFWG) to execute a four part strategy for reducing the backlog of digital evidence requiring forensic analysis.
- Resolved. The FBI concurred with our recommendation to strengthen its internal controls for ensuring that Innocent Images National Initiative (IINI) undercover employees receive timely mental health assessments from the FBI Undercover Safeguard Unit (USU). In its response, the FBI noted its current policy for requiring psychological assessments of undercover personnel both before and during undercover assignments. Additionally, the FBI stated that in October 2008 a new procedure was implemented requiring an IINI investigator to pass a psychological assessment prior to attending the mandatory IINI Basic Online Undercover Course. Furthermore, the FBI stated that proof of an individual’s successful passing of the mental health assessment is now required before the Innocent Images Unit will enroll the candidate in any IINI undercover training.
- Resolved. The FBI concurred with our recommendation and stated that no later than February 1, 2009, the Digital Evidence Section (DES), in concurrence with the Cyber Division, will establish policy requiring that psychological assessments be provided to all examiners assigned to facilities exclusively processing child exploitation evidence or who are otherwise exclusively assigned to child exploitation matters in other facilities. In addition, the FBI stated in its response that assessments will be provided to any FBI Computer Analysis Response Team (CART) certified digital evidence examiner requesting an assessment, and the availability of such assessments will be noted on the FBI Intranet. Further, the FBI stated that psychological assessments will be provided whenever a CART Coordinator, Supervisor, Regional Computer Forensic Laboratory (RCFL) Laboratory Director, or RCFL Operations Manager requests an assessment for a digital evidence examiner.
- Resolved. The FBI concurred with our recommendation and stated that the IINI Unit will be assuming the Miami Field Office’s Safe Online Surfing community outreach program and transitioning it to a nationwide initiative. This recommendation can be closed after the FBI provides us written documentation supporting that it has implemented nationally a Safe Online Surfing community outreach program similar to the Miami initiative.
- Resolved. The FBI concurred with our recommendation and stated that it already maintains a list of each case in which it deploys the Child Abduction Rapid Deployment (CARD) teams. The FBI stated that it will begin maintaining a list of the FBI’s response to Amber Alerts pertaining to the mysterious disappearance of a child where no abductor has been identified. However, the FBI did not specifically include in its proposed corrective actions how it will track its responses on all other types of missing children cases that do not include Amber Alerts or when an abductor is identified. This recommendation can be closed after the FBI provides us evidence that it has developed a mechanism to track investigative events in all child abduction cases, especially the date and time when the FBI received notification of a possible abduction and when and how the FBI responded.
- Resolved. The FBI concurred with our recommendation and stated that it will issue guidance to the field divisions requiring the Crimes Against Children Coordinators (CAC Coordinator) to develop and submit a CAC Coordinator Resource List containing points of contact within law enforcement, social services, and non‑governmental agencies involved in combating child exploitation. In addition, the FBI stated that its CAC Coordinators will be required to update these lists on an annual basis, as well as provide results of these liaison contacts. While the FBI explained the information it will collect concerning CAC Coordinator liaison efforts, it did not detail how FBI management will utilize this information to evaluate the CAC Coordinator’s liaison efforts. This recommendation can be closed after we receive evidence of the FBI policy and guidance to its field divisions pertaining to procedures and requirements for evaluating CAC Coordinator liaison efforts on at least an annual basis.
- Resolved. The FBI concurred with our recommendation and stated that it will develop an online post‑deployment survey accessible to field divisions utilizing the CARD team resource as well as issue guidance requiring the field division to solicit feedback from state and local law enforcement regarding CARD team assistance. This recommendation can be closed after we receive from the FBI: (1) evidence in the form of screen prints for the online post‑deployment survey; and (2) evidence of issued guidance requiring each field division to solicit feedback from local and state law enforcement agencies that receive assistance from the FBI’s CARD teams.
- Resolved. The FBI concurred with our recommendation and stated that it will continue to work with the Office of Justice Programs’ Child Abduction Response Team (OJP CART) to develop a written protocol to enhance coordination between OJP CART and FBI CARD teams. This recommendation can be closed after we receive a copy of a written protocol concerning coordination between FBI CARD and OJP CART teams on child abduction investigations.
- Resolved. The FBI concurred with our recommendation and stated that it will continue to work with NCMEC to develop a written protocol for coordination between NCMEC and FBI CARD teams. This recommendation can be closed after we receive a copy of a written protocol concerning coordination between the FBI’s CARD teams and NCMEC’s Team Adam consultants on child abduction investigations.
- Resolved. The FBI concurred with our recommendation and stated that the Crimes Against Children Unit (CACU) will coordinate with the Office of International Operations and Training Division to develop an online training module accessible to FBI Legal Attachés regarding international parental kidnapping investigations. The recommendation can be closed after the FBI provides us evidence that it has deployed to its Legal Attachés an online training module for international parental kidnapping investigations.
- Resolved. The FBI concurred with our recommendation and stated that the CACU will coordinate with the FBI Office of General Counsel regarding legal issues associated with the submission of FBI data into NCMEC’s existing database, or the feasibility of developing a separate database to share information with the Department of State. This recommendation can be closed after the FBI provides us evidence that it has either begun submitting FBI data on international parental kidnapping matters into the existing NCMEC database or has, in conjunction with NCMEC and the Department of State, developed a separate database to share information on international parental kidnapping.
- Resolved. The FBI concurred with our recommendation and stated that it will issue appropriate guidance to the field regarding child sex tourism matters and pursue the use of a separate investigative classification for tracking such investigations. However, the FBI did not specifically discuss in its response the development of a programmatic strategy or goals as part of its overall guidance for addressing child sex tourism matters. This recommendation can be closed after the FBI provides evidence that, for its child sex tourism efforts, it has (1) developed and issued guidance to the field, including an overall programmatic strategy and goals; and (2) created a separate investigative classification for tracking investigations.
This recommendation can be closed when we receive: (1) evidence of the FBI’s participation on the ICE Child Exploitation Task Force; (2) evidence of the placement of a full‑time ICAC Task Force Officer on the FBI’s SAFE Team in Orange County, California; and (3) documentation supporting the training and operational support provided by the FBI Los Angeles Field Office to the ICAC Task Force, such as training agendas, sign‑in sheets, and written communications regarding training and operational efforts.
This recommendation can be closed after the FBI provides us with written documentation supporting that it has successfully implemented its proposed strategy to reduce the backlog of digital evidence requiring forensic analysis by: (1) increasing internal efficiencies in its forensic examination process and in the management of forensic examiners and the digital evidence backlogs in field offices; (2) providing necessary training and equipment for Special Agents to utilize forensically tested tools at search scenes to make informed decisions on what media to seize and not seize; (3) developing, in conjunction with the Department of Justice, a permissible plea negotiation policy that seeks to obtain felony convictions of low-risk offenders by using fewer forensic resources while reserving greater forensic bandwidth for more egregious investigations; and (4) implementing a long-term strategy for reducing its current digital evidence backlog and for keeping pace with the influx of digital evidence requiring forensic examination.
This recommendation can be closed when we receive: (1) evidence of the FBI’s reinforcement of its existing policy on the timeliness of psychological assessments for IINI undercover employees, given the deficiencies identified during our audit; and (2) documentation of the FBI’s new policy requiring IINI investigators to pass a USU psychological assessment prior to enrollment in any IINI undercover training.
For non-undercover IINI employees exposed to child exploitation material, the FBI noted that any employee who wants to be evaluated by the USU would be provided that opportunity. However, the FBI also stated in its response that due to resource limitations only non‑undercover IINI employees “with prolonged or intense exposure to child exploitation material” should be required to undergo mental health assessments. We understand the financial and operational challenges that would be created should all 672 non‑undercover IINI employees handling child exploitation material be required to undergo psychological assessments. We therefore agree that the FBI should prioritize those requiring psychological assessments according to the level of exposure to child sexual exploitation material. However, the FBI did not define “prolonged or intense exposure” or how it planned to make this determination. We believe that the FBI needs to define this threshold to effectively implement corrective action.
This recommendation can be closed after the FBI issues and provides a copy of its policy that includes: (1) a requirement that all forensic examiners who are exclusively assigned to work child exploitation matters shall be provided psychological assessments by the USU; (2) a provision that psychological assessments will be available to any CART‑certified digital evidence examiner or non-undercover IINI employee who requests an assessment; (3) a provision that psychological assessments will be provided whenever a CART Coordinator, Supervisor, Regional Computer Forensic Laboratory (RCFL) Director, or RCFL Operations Manage requests the assessment of a digital evidence examiner; (4) a requirement that psychological assessments be performed on non-undercover IINI employees exposed in the course of their duties to sexually explicit material and who request an assessment, and (5) a definition for what the FBI considers to be “prolonged or intense exposure.”