Follow-up Review of the FBI’s Progress Toward Biometric Interoperability Between IAFIS and IDENT

Evaluation and Inspections Report I-2006-007
July 2006
Office of the Inspector General


The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) conducted this follow-up review to examine the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) progress toward achieving biometric interoperability between its Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) and the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Automated Biometric Identification (IDENT). We also describe the DHS’s efforts to make its United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (US‑VISIT) system interoperable with IAFIS.

In this report, the term “biometric interoperability” (interoperability) refers to the FBI’s and the DHS’s ability to exchange fingerprint data through compatible technology in IAFIS, IDENT, and US-VISIT. Full biometric interoperability (full interoperability) is intended to give federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies and immigration officials direct, real-time, multi-directional access to data in IAFIS, IDENT, and US‑VISIT.

Once fully interoperable, the systems should provide:

  • Immediate identification and verification of aliens with criminal histories and other high-risk individuals, including those in custody;

  • Development and enhancement of investigative cases;

  • Support for eligibility determinations for admissibility, benefits, and employment of foreign nationals; and

  • Ability to use the data for trend and intelligence analyses.

This is our sixth report since 2000 related to the progress of the efforts to integrate IDENT and IAFIS. The previous reports were:

  • The Rafael Resendez-Ramirez Case: A Review of the INS’s Actions and the Operation of its IDENT Automated Fingerprint Identification System, March 2000;

  • Status of IDENT/IAFIS Integration (follow-up report), December 2001;

  • Status of IDENT/IAFIS Integration (follow-up report), June 2003;

  • IDENT/IAFIS: The Batres Case and the Status of the Integration Project, March 2004; and

  • Follow-up Review of the Status of IDENT/IAFIS Integration, December 2004.

For this report, we focused on the current status of the FBI’s efforts to achieve biometric interoperability among its IAFIS and the DHS’s IDENT and US-VISIT systems; the remaining actions needed to achieve full interoperability; and the interim measures taken by the FBI to lessen the risk that criminal aliens and terrorists could enter the United States undetected. In reviewing the FBI’s actions, we also examined the DHS’s and the DOS’s efforts related to the interoperability project.

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