Background Investigations Conducted by the United States Marshals Service

E&I Report No. I-2005-002
February 2005
Office of the Inspector General

Appendix 4

The USMS's Response


U.S. Department of Justice
United States Marshals Service
Office of the Director
Washington, DC 20530-1000

February 3, 2005

Assistant Inspector General for
Evaluation and Inspections

/original signed'
FROM:Benigno G. Reyna
SUBJECT:Response to Draft Evaluation Report - United States Marshals
Service's Background Investigations
Assignment Number A-2004-007

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the draft evaluation report entitled: United States Marshals Service’s Background Investigations. We have reviewed the recommendations contained in the report, and our comments are attached.

Regarding any concerns relative to proprietary, confidential, or personal information that should not be released to the general public, our Office of General Counsel’s sensitivity review of the draft report has revealed that the report does not contain any information within the definition of Limited Official Use (LOU) set out in DOJ Order No. 2620-7, September 1, 1982, or any information within the definitions of classified information set out in Executive Orders No. 12958 (April 17, 1995) and No. 13292 (March 25, 2003), and in the DOJ Security Programs Operating Manual, revised November 4, 2004.

Should you have any questions or concerns regarding this report, please contact Isabel Howell, Audit Liaison at 202-307-9744.


cc: Suzanne Smith
     Assistant Director
     Human Resources Division

     Richard P. Theis
     Acting Director
     DOJ Audit Liaison Office

United States Marshals Service Response to OIG Draft Report:
The United States Marshals Service's Background Investigations

Recommendation 1:

Revise and formally adopt written policies and procedures that address all aspects of the background investigation process to reflect current federal regulations and Department policy..

USMS Response: (Agree) The USMS is currently revising the Personnel Security policy Ii is expected that the revised policy will be implemented no later than April 30. 2005.

Recommendation 2:

Develop an adequate database structure for the Human Resources Division to ensure that essential data are not overwritten and to enable both the Human Resources Division and Judicial Security Division to monitor compliance with regulations and Department policy.

USMS Response: (Agree) The Human Resources Division (HRD) has revised its database to consolidate all contractor and employee records (with the exception of Court Security Officer (CSO) records) into one database. By March 15, 2005, the database structure will be modified to include the additional data field recommended by the OIG in order to comply with applicable policy and regulations.

Recommendation 3:

Implement procedures to routinely review the accuracy of the databases that the Human Resources Division and Judicial Security Division use to manage the background investigation program.

USMS Response: (Agree) The Judicial Security Division will develop and implement a monthly database report which will identify all CSO’s with a background investigation or record check that is older than five years. The results of these reports will be forwarded to the districts with a request for a record check. We anticipate that the districts will complete the first set of identified record checks by April 1, 2005. and that the CSO database will be updated accordingly by May 1.2005.

The Human Resources Division has requested that USMS Information Technology Services (ITS) develop a program which will match against other databases, including the National Finance Center payroll system, to ensure that the most current data is available. Our goal is to implement this program by September 30. 2005.

Recommendation 4:

Require periodic written reviews on the efficiency and effectiveness of the background Investigations program to determine if process Improvements are needed.

USMS Response: (Agree) The USMS is currently requiring that all programs conduct a periodic self inspection to ensure that procedures arc adequate and that any deficiencies are corrected. The self-inspection criteria will be provided to OIG by March 15, 2005.

Recommendation 5:

Develop guidelines for adjudicators that include instructions on how to proceed when an OPM investigation is incomplete and criteria for recommending security approvals and disapprovals that are consistent with OPI and Department policy.

USMS Response: (Agree) By March IS, 2005. the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) will be updated from the existing 2001 SOP to provide adjudicators additional guidance for completing personnel security determinations.

Recommendation 6:

Require that the Chief of Human Resources Services fully documents comments from field managers on an adjudicator’s recommendation regarding a security approval for an applicant or employee.

USMS Response: (Agree.) The Chief of Human Resources Services has documented in the past and will continue to document any and all substantive information received from USMS managers regarding suitability issues of which the manager has first hand knowledge. or can provide lead information to facilitate the background investigation. Endorsements from field managers not having the benefit of direct knowledge of the issues involved in an investigation will continue to be viewed as having no beneficial impact upon the outcome of the suitability or security determination rendered by the Human Resources Division. and will not be incorporated into the file.

Recommendation 7:

Require reinvestigations every five years for contractors who are assigned law enforcement duties.

USMS Response: (Agree) It should be noted that the DOJ SEPS office guidance for contract employees does not require reinvestigation and leaves determinations for additional checks to the discretion of the program managers. In addition, the Courts do not currently require background investigations of their employees, other than those serving in probation and pre-trial services.

However, because CSOs perform armed facility security functions (such as screening attorneys, jurors, and visitors to court facilities). JSD will request district offices to conduct a criminal records check on each CSO hired before January 2000. The results will be forwarded to Headquarters and entered into a newly created data field. Positive results will be referred to the contractor for investigation and consideration of contract performance violations. JSD expects to complete these checks by April 2005.