||PAUL A. PRICE
ASSISTANT INSPECTOR GENERAL FOR
EVALUATION AND INSPECTIONS
||James B. Comey
Deputy Attorney General
||Draft Evaluation Report on the Department of Justice's
Terrorism Task Forces, A-2003-009
Thank you for the opportunity to review and provide comments on the draft report on the Department's Terrorism Task Forces.
Your report addressed three recommendations to the Office of the Deputy Attorney General and the following are our comments thereon:
Recommendation 1. "The Department should assess the counterterrorism functions outlined in the Attorney General's memorandum establishing the NSCC and determine if they are still appropriate for the NSCC. If they are, the Department should ensure that written guidance describes the responsibilities of the NSCC and that the NSCC carries out its assigned functions. If the functions are not appropriate for the NSCC, they should be assigned to another Department entity."
Comment. We agree that we should assess the counterterrorism functions outlined in the Attorney General's memorandum establishing the NSCC and determine if they are still appropriate for the NSCC. In fact, as part of a larger review of the Department's national security responsibilities, we have begun to examine more closely the best approach to the coordination of counterterrorism functions within the greater national security umbrella.
Recommendation 2. "The Department should clearly delineate the roles of CTS, EOUSA, and the USAO in the ATAC program, clarifying who has primary responsibility and authority for:
- Monitoring ATAC operations,
- Evaluating success of the ATAC program, and Enforcing compliance."
Comment. We agree that issuing additional guidance and adoption of best practices for addressing operation, training, and membership issues in the ATACs is a helpful suggestion. A working group has been formed to develop the materials and we hope to issue such guidance by the end of the year.
Recommendation 27. "The Deputy Attorney General should work jointly with DHS officials to ensure:
- Sufficient DHS participation on the Department's task forces,
- Sufficiently trained ICE members on the task force and their supervisory chain of command,
- Non-task force-related assignments to DHS members are minimized, and Updated MOUs defining roles and information sharing responsibilities between FBI and DHS."
Comment. We agree and, as DHS and we jointly undertake to implement and execute the National Response Plan and other related Homeland Security policies and programs, we will work with our colleagues at DHS to ensure effective participation of DHS components on the JTTFs.
I thank you again for the rigorous examination you undertook of our most vital national security mission. The recommendations you provided will help strengthen our processes and procedures and greatly enhance the ability of our dedicated professionals throughout the Department to attack this most pressing national challenge.