The Department of Justice's Terrorism Task Forces

Evaluation and Inspections Report I-2005-007
June 2005
Office of the Inspector General


Appendix XV

OIG Analysis of the Federal Bureau of
Investigation's Response


The OIG sent copies of the draft report to the FBI with a request for written comments on Recommendations 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 16 through 24. The FBI responded to the OIG in a memorandum dated May 17, 2005. The FBI concurred with all the recommendations and agreed to develop a national task force training plan and orientation program; finalize MOUs defining task force members' roles and responsibilities; develop performance measures for the task forces and members; ensure adequate staffing, stable leadership, and other required resources for the task forces; assist the FTTTF in acquiring databases from other agencies; and develop a coordinated strategy with the USAOs to reach remote areas.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Recommendation 2: Resolved - Open. The FBI should develop a national training plan for each task force that includes:

  • Responsibility for developing and managing the training plan and program,
  • Initial needs assessment,
  • Frequency of future needs assessments,
  • Development of minimum mandatory training standards and time frames for completion of training, including completion of the introductory training session within 90 days of joining the task force,
  • Required minimum annual training hours,
  • Target audience - training equities for FBI and non-FBI task force members, and
  • Responsibility for training notification to the field.

Summary of the FBI's Response. The FBI concurred with the recommendation that a national training plan should be developed for each task force. The FBI acknowledged that it does not currently have a training curriculum to ensure a standardized, minimum training program.

The FBI stated that its Counterterrorism Division (CTD) and Training and Development Division offer various types of counterterrorism training and basic core function training, and that they have sponsored numerous JTTF national and regional working conferences. The FBI reported that in the past 2 years, approximately 3,000 JTTF personnel received FBI-sponsored training. The FBI also reported that it recently formed a unit within the CTD to identify and assess the training and professional development needs of the CTD as well as to provide training on the skills and techniques needed to investigate terrorism successfully.103 The unit will be responsible for developing, executing, and monitoring a national training plan for the JTTFs and the NJTTF. The FBI anticipates that it will complete a draft national training plan for the JTTFs and NJTTF by September 2005.

The OIG's Analysis. The actions planned by the FBI to develop a national training plan with minimum training standards are responsive to the recommendation. Please provide us a copy of the final draft of the national training plan for the JTTFs, NJTTF, and FTTTF by October 31, 2005.

Recommendation 5: Resolved - Open. The FBI should develop a formal, standardized orientation program for all new task force members and provide it within 30 days of the new member's start date. Orientation should include:

  • FBI policies and procedures;
  • Access and use of the ACS system, IDW, and any other case management system;
  • Intelligence gathering versus criminal investigations;
  • Definition of task force member roles and responsibilities;
  • Roles of other Department terrorism task forces and other FBI units;
  • Sources of information and contact information for other organizations frequently used by the terrorism task forces (e.g., DHS, Internal Revenue Service, Social Security Administration, U.S. Postal Service); and
  • Information sharing protocols.

Summary of the FBI's Response. The FBI concurred with the recommendation to develop a formal, standardized orientation program for all new task force members and to provide it within 30 days of a new member's start date. The FBI reported that it has developed a short-term/immediate and mid-range plan for addressing orientation and training for newly appointed JTTF members. The FBI stated that on April 20, 2005, pending implementation of a formal national standardized orientation and training program, the CTD directed all JTTFs to immediately provide orientation and training to newly appointed task force members within their first year of service. Implementation of the structured orientation program is planned for early FY 2006.

The OIG's Analysis. The action planned by the FBI to develop a national standardized orientation program is responsive to the recommendation. Please provide us a copy of the program syllabus by October 31, 2005.

Recommendation 6: Resolved - Open. The FBI should finalize MOUs with all agencies participating on the Department's terrorism task forces.

Summary of the FBI's Response. The FBI concurred with the recommendation to finalize MOUs with all agencies participating on the Department's terrorism task forces. The FBI stated that since 1980, it has maintained MOUs with all state and local agencies that participate on the JTTFs and that currently it maintains 311 MOUs with these agencies. The FBI stated that it also established 13 MOUs with other federal agencies prior to September 2001. The CTD is currently updating all NJTTF and JTTF MOUs, which will incorporate post-September 11, 2001, issues such as polygraph requirements, information sharing policies, and length of commitment agreements.

The OIG's Analysis. The action planned by the FBI to update or finalize all MOUs is responsive to the recommendation. Please provide us a copy of the updated MOUs with all federal agencies participating on the JTTFs, NJTTF, and the FTTTF by October 31, 2005. Please provide written verification (in lieu of actual copies) of updated MOUs with all other state, local, and participating agencies on the task forces, by October 31, 2005.

Recommendation 7: Resolved - Open. The FBI, CTS, EOUSA, and the USAOs should work jointly to develop a coordinated strategy to consistently reach remote areas.

Summary of the FBI's Response.The FBI concurred with the recommendation that the FBI, EOUSA, and the USAOs should work jointly to develop the coordinated strategy to consistently reach remote areas. The FBI stated that information sharing is one of its highest priorities. The FBI reported that it has already implemented several mechanisms as part of an overall strategy to ensure effective information sharing with all state and local law enforcement agencies and has additional initiatives in final development.

The FBI also stated that the CTD is coordinating with the Directorate of Intelligence to produce a weekly FBI National Report that will be the "primary terrorism threat outreach bulletin" for law enforcement at the "for official use only/Law Enforcement Sensitive" classification level. The FBI also proposed using various law enforcement online services to deliver training and suggested the continued use of LECC allocations to the USAOs and federal and state DHS money to fund coordinated outreach to remote law enforcement entities.

The OIG's Analysis. The information sharing with law enforcement in remote and rural areas already undertaken or planned by the FBI is partially responsive to the recommendation. We agree that information and intelligence sharing through online services, as well as liaison among the FBI field offices and resident agency offices and other government and law enforcement agencies within their jurisdictions, can be effective outreach efforts. However, as described in our report, outreach and information sharing efforts are not as effective or consistent in all jurisdictions, leaving some remote and rural areas without terrorism related information and training. The FBI's response did not include methods on how to share information with smaller, rural local law enforcement agencies that have limited or no Internet access.

We request that when CTS, EOUSA, the FBI, and the USAOs develop a coordinated strategy to reach remote areas, they designate one agency to provide us a copy of the coordinated strategy by October 31, 2005. We believe this strategy should define the roles and responsibilities of each entity in implementing the strategy.

Recommendation 8: Resolved - Open. The FBI should ensure its performance measures provide an effective means for determining the qualitative and quantitative accomplishments of the task forces and their members in fulfilling the Department's counterterrorism strategy.

Summary of the FBI's Response. The FBI concurred with the recommendation. The FBI stated that the NJTTF already has presented a list of JTTF best practices to the JTTFs and that some of these practices are documented in FBI policy communications, thus making them mandatory. The FBI stated that it also is developing a web-based strategic management tool called the Comprehensive Operational Management Plan Advancing Specific Strategies (COMPASS). This application will provide information on specific goals, objectives, and performance outcomes for each FBI division at headquarters and in the field, and will track and collect progress on all objectives. Senior management will be able to access this information online at any time.

The OIG's Analysis. The actions taken or planned by the FBI - developing a JTTF best practices list and a strategic management tool (COMPASS) that monitors progress on all objectives - is partially responsive to the recommendation. We believe that the FBI needs to take additional steps to translate JTTF best practices into outcome-oriented performance measures that would determine the qualitative and quantitative accomplishments of the task forces and their members in fulfilling the Department's counterterrorism strategy. Once developed, the performance measures and the web-based application called COMPASS should enable the FBI to measure and track its progress in fulfilling the Department's counterterrorism strategy. Please provide us a copy of the performance measures for the JTTFs, NJTTF, and FTTTF by October 31, 2005.

Recommendation 16: Resolved - Open. The FTTTF should develop a plan to acquire and regularly update the required databases from other agencies.

Summary of the FBI's Response. The FBI concurred with the recommendation, stating that while it presently has a plan to identify and acquire datasets from other agencies, the need to establish MOUs and each agency's limited resources affect the timing for receipt of the datasets and updates. The FBI also stated that it will continue to work toward obtaining full access to other agencies' databases.

The OIG's Analysis. The action planned by the FBI toward obtaining full access to other agencies' databases is partially responsive to the recommendation. The OIG found that the FTTTF has not acquired some needed datasets from outside agencies since 2002 and these acquisitions may require intervention by CTD executive staff. We also found that the FTTTF had difficulty obtaining requested datasets from some units within the FBI. For example, since July 2004, the TSC stopped providing the FTTTF with the Terrorist Watch List. Efforts by the FTTTF to resume receiving this list have been unsuccessful, and therefore the FTTTF requires assistance from CTD executive staff. Please provide us a copy of the plan to identify and acquire the datasets and updates that the FTTTF requires from other agencies and other FBI units by August 30, 2005. This plan should include strategies for overcoming identified obstacles to acquisition of datasets and the responsibilities of CTD (not FTTTF) executive staff for facilitating the acquisitions and updates.

Recommendation 17: Resolved - Open. The FBI should identify and address the obstacles the FTTTF encounters in securing and regularly updating required databases from other agencies.

Summary of the FBI's Response. The FBI concurred with the recommendation, stating that where obstacles exist, they have been identified and are being addressed.

The OIG's Analysis. The FBI response that it has identified and addressed obstacles where they exist is partially responsive to the recommendation. By August 30, 2005, please identify and list the specific obstacles in acquiring each dataset and the actions taken by CTD executive staff (not FTTTF staff) to overcome these obstacles in obtaining datasets from other agencies and from other FBI units.

Recommendation 18: Resolved - Open. The FBI should identify and address the FTTTF's unmet resource requirements for staff (FBI and other government agencies), space, and equipment.

Summary of the FBI's Response. The FBI concurred with the recommendation. The FBI acknowledged the unmet staff resource requirements for the FTTTF; however, it stated that previously unmet space and equipment requirements have been met since the FTTTF completed its move to its permanent location in 2005. The FBI stated that the current facility provides access to other agency participants' home data networks, access to the FBINET for all cleared personnel with a need for access, and a modern data center to service the network and application requirements of the FTTTF.104 Additionally, the FBI has approved a proposal for a project that will provide secure access to the FTTTF data mart and analytical tools from any FBINET workstation.

The OIG's Analysis. The stated actions of meeting space and equipment requirements for the FTTTF are generally responsive to the recommendation. The FTTTF Director told the OIG that the FTTTF's space and equipment requirements have been met with the move to its present location. However, since its inception, the FTTTF has been understaffed in terms of full-time personnel from the FBI and other government agencies. Please provide us the plan for meeting the additional staffing requirements of the FTTTF by August 30, 2005.

Recommendation 19: Resolved - Open. The FBI should ensure long-term, stable leadership, organizational structure, and housing for the FTTTF.

Summary of the FBI's Response. The FBI concurred with the recommendation. The FBI acknowledged instability in these areas during the FTTTF's first 2 years of existence, but according to the FBI, it has addressed these problems. The FTTTF completed its move into its current facility in 2005 and has no plans to relocate.

The OIG's Analysis. The action taken by the FBI in ensuring long-term, stable leadership, organizational structure, and housing for the FTTTF is partially responsive to the recommendation. Although the current FTTTF Director has served for approximately 2 years, the longest serving of its four Directors, past instability in leadership directly affected the FTTTF's mission. Future leadership stability must be assured due to the unique mission and functions of the FTTTF and its technology complexities. Please provide us a succession plan for ensuring long-term stable leadership of the FTTTF by August 30, 2005.

Recommendation 20: Resolved - Open. The FTTTF should develop and implement a plan to improve awareness and understanding of its services.

Summary of the FBI's Response. The FBI concurred with the recommendation and reported that the FTTTF has taken steps to implement such a plan. The FTTTF currently provides briefings to visiting SACs and ASACs, and briefs new SACs, Legats, new assignees, NJTTF conference attendees, and outside law enforcement agencies. It is also scheduled to brief the Homeland Security and Information Sharing Conference in New Orleans in June 2005. The FTTTF has established a website on the FBI Intranet that will be replicated in part on SIPRNET.105 Also, the FBI has published an Executive Guide to provide a concise synopsis of FTTTF's capabilities and how to request FTTTF's support.

The OIG's Analysis. The actions of providing briefings, establishing a FTTTF website on the FBI Intranet, and publishing an Executive Guide are responsive to the recommendation. Please provide us a copy of the plan that the FTTTF is implementing (to include how often the briefings occur), the FTTTF's website pages on the FBI Intranet, and the Executive Guide (including to whom the Executive Guide is issued) by August 30, 2005.

Recommendation 21: Resolved - Open. The FBI should determine and allocate sufficient staff to effectively support the terrorism task forces.

Summary of the FBI's Response. The FBI did not state whether it concurred with the recommendation. The FBI stated that it has "engaged in the determination and allocation of sufficient staff to effectively support the terrorism task forces." The ADICs or SACs of the field offices are directly responsible for managing and allocating JTTF officers to effectively support the FBI's counterterrorism mission. The ADICs or SACs annually report their staffing and operational requirements to FBI headquarters. In FY 2005, additional Special Agent resources were allocated to field offices and FBI headquarters.

Regarding analytical support, the FBI reported that all FBI field offices operate a Field Intelligence Group, primarily staffed with FBI Intelligence Analysts whose mission is to provide direct operational and strategic analytical support to JTTF officers. The FBI stated that on March 25, 2004, FBI headquarters established mandatory coordination requirements among all Field Intelligence Groups and the JTTFs. The ADICs or SACs of the field offices are directly responsible for managing and allocating Field Intelligence Groups to effectively support the FBI's counterterrorism mission.

The OIG's Analysis. The intent of the recommendation is to promote sufficient analytical and administrative support staff to the JTTFs. The action taken by the FBI's allocation of analytical support through the Field Intelligence Groups is responsive to the portion of the recommendation addressing analytical support. However, the FBI's response does not address the lack of administrative support staff, which has resulted in task force officers being diverted from investigative duties to perform administrative tasks. Please provide us a response addressing how the FBI will ensure that JTTFs have adequate administrative support staff by October 31, 2005.

Recommendation 22: Resolved - Open. The FBI should seek more stability in JTTF leadership.

Summary of the FBI's Response. The FBI concurred with the recommendation that it should seek stability in JTTF leadership but stated that the OIG report focused on FBI management staff rather than specifically on JTTF management staff. Regarding the report's mention of the frequent rotation of some JTTF agents, the FBI stated that all FBI personnel, no matter what program, view the importance of following through on investigations as a priority.

The OIG's Analysis. The FBI is partially responsive to the recommendation in that it agreed to seek stability in JTTF leadership. However, the FBI did not state what actions it will take or how it plans to seek the stability. Additionally, the FBI erroneously concluded that the OIG report focused on various levels of FBI management but did not focus specifically on JTTF management such as JTTF SSAs and JTTF ASACs.

To the contrary, this section of the report focused solely on the JTTFs' management positions. All supervisory interviews conducted at the FBI field offices consisted of the entire JTTF chain of command: the JTTF SSAs, JTTF ASACs, and SACs.

Some JTTF members told us of problems stemming from the turnover in JTTF leadership, including hampered communication, lack of direction, and lack of coordination within the task force. Further, the St. Louis example cited in the report specifically identified JTTF leadership instability with six different JTTF SSAs, two JTTF ASACs, and three SACs in an 18-month period. The report described the negative effect that the frequent turnover in the St. Louis JTTF leadership had on JTTF investigations and operations. Please provide us a plan to ensure more stability in JTTF leadership by October 31, 2005.

Recommendation 23: Resolved - Open. The FBI should develop a plan and issue written guidance for the JTTFs on how to activate new JTTFs and move existing JTTFs to off-site locations.

Summary of the FBI's Response. The FBI stated that it issued written guidance on January 30, 2001, and May 27, 2003, to all FBI field offices for submitting proposals for the formation of JTTFs. The FBI stated that the May 27, 2003, guidance established an 11-point criterion for the activation of new JTTFs.

The OIG's Analysis. The FBI did not state whether it concurred with the recommendation. The intent of the recommendation was to address the FBI's need for guidance to plan for and activate off-site locations for new and existing JTTFs. The May 27, 2003, guidance provides FBI field offices with guidelines akin to application guidelines. However, after the FBI approves a JTTF and the JTTF is moved to an off-site location (not in the field office or resident agency office space), there are no instructions or guidelines for activation of the new office space such as security requirements, information technology requirements, or infrastructure requirements. Consequently, significant delays in activating an off-site JTTF location can result. For example, because of the lack of written guidance on the necessary security equipment and other procedural requirements, the Spokane, Washington/Coeur d' Alene, Idaho, JTTF paid 15 months rent for unoccupied office space. Please provide us a copy of the written guidance to plan and activate off-site locations for JTTFs by October 31, 2005.

Recommendation 24: Resolved - Open. The FBI should ensure sufficient information technology connectivity needed to effectively support the terrorism task forces.

Summary of the FBI's Response. The FBI concurred with the recommendation and stated that the CTD supports JTTF funding requests for technology requirements such as Internet access, analog phone/computer lines, DSL, computers, and other supplies. The FBI stated that in September 2004, all NJTTF members gained Internet access at their workstations. Additionally, the FBI stated that Internet connectivity is presently being addressed through the Office of Information Technology Program Management and is being redesigned to produce a more stable network that will serve the JTTFs' long-term operational needs.

The FBI also listed various technology training sessions that it provided to JTTF members and included plans for providing access to new databases and systems. The FBI further stated that the creation of IDW and investment in iMap and Guardian were large steps forward in providing the JTTFs with the tools needed to complete its mission.106

The OIG's Analysis. The actions taken by the FBI are partially responsive to the recommendation. While the FBI has made some technology advancements, including IDW, Guardian, and iMap, significant technology improvements are still needed. Moreover, the intent of this recommendation was to address the lack of information technology connectivity or upgraded information technology infrastructure available in JTTF work space. For example, JTTF members did not have Internet access at their desktops and had to perform investigative searches at the few workstations available with Internet access, thus disrupting their work and affecting productivity. Additionally, many task force members could not access their parent agencies' databases from the task forces' offices, requiring members to return to their parent agencies for database information, again disrupting work and affecting productivity. Please provide us a plan addressing how the FBI will improve information technology connectivity or information technology infrastructure available in JTTF work space by October 31, 2005.



Footnotes

  1. The FBI reported that it modified the mission of the CTD training unit, originally formed in March 2004, and renamed the unit the Continuing Education and Professional Development Unit in April 2005.

  2. FBI Network, known as FBINET, is the FBI's centralized network management system to access various administrative, financial, and investigative systems.

  3. SIPRNET is the DOD's Secret level classified information network.

  4. iMAP is a geospatial analytical tool used by JTTFs.



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