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Semiannual Report to Congress

October 1, 2001–March 31, 2002
Office of the Inspector General


Following are highlights of OIG activities during this reporting period.

Statistical Highlights October 1, 2001 - March 31, 2002
Allegations Received by the Investigations Division3,821
Investigations Opened319
Investigations Closed298
Administrative Actions65
Audit Reports Issued200
Questioned Costs$25 million
Funds Put To Better Use$12 million
Recommendations for Management Improvements268


The OIG investigated the circumstances surrounding the FBI's belated production of documents related to the government's prosecution of Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols for the 1995 bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The OIG found that widespread failures by the FBI during the investigation (known as OKBOMB) led to the belated disclosures. The OIG traced the failures to a variety of causes, including individual mistakes by FBI employees, the FBI's cumbersome and complex document-handling procedures, and FBI employees' failure to follow FBI policies and directives. We found that the FBI field offices and the OKBOMB Task Force shared responsibility for the failure to timely disclose the materials. The OIG concluded, however, that the evidence did not support the claim that government personnel intentionally concealed from the defense documents they knew to be discoverable.

The OIG report criticizes several senior FBI managers for how they responded to the belated documents problem. The issue was discovered in January 2001, but senior managers to whom it was reported failed to notify FBI Headquarters or the prosecutors in the case until the beginning of May, one week before McVeigh's scheduled execution. The OIG recommended that the FBI consider discipline for these managers' failure to resolve and disclose the problem in a timely way. The OIG also made a series of systemic recommendations to help improve the FBI's document handling procedures and computer systems.


Six months after the September 11 terrorist attacks, an aviation school in Florida received notices that the INS had approved student visa applications for two of the terrorists, Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi. Public disclosure of this incident led to widespread criticism of the INS, and the President called for an investigation. The Attorney General requested that the OIG conduct a review. The OIG has assembled a team of attorneys, special agents, and inspectors to examine the handling of Atta's and Alshehhi's student visa applications and to review and assess the INS's foreign student program.


In the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the OIG provided assistance to the New York Port Authority Police, the FBI, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Specifically, the OIG's Investigations Division provided 29 employees to assist in the rescue, evidence recovery, investigative, and air marshal efforts that followed the attacks. Special agents from the New York Field Office responded immediately to the World Trade Center site and assisted with evidence collection and rescue operations. The OIG detailed special agents from field offices nationwide to New York City to participate in the FBI's Manhattan Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF). Those agents interviewed suspicious passengers arriving at and departing from John F. Kennedy International Airport and assisted with airport security. Other agents across the country worked with the local FBI JTTFs. Five additional OIG agents volunteered for temporary duty with the FAA's Federal Air Marshal program.


In light of the events of September 11, the OIG's Evaluation and Inspections Division initiated five follow-up reviews of prior OIG reports in the INS, whose work is critical to deterring terrorists and criminals from entering or remaining in the United States. The OIG examined the INS's progress in improving the Visa Waiver Program, securing the northern border, linking INS and FBI automated fingerprint identification systems, addressing security concerns regarding the Transit Without Visa Program, and addressing the visa overstay issue. Findings from these follow-up reviews showed that many of the security concerns we identified in our original reports continue to exist.


In July 2001 the Attorney General expanded the OIG's jurisdiction to allow it to conduct investigations of criminal or administrative misconduct by FBI and DEA employees. During this reporting period, the OIG opened approximately 30 criminal and administrative investigations into alleged misconduct in the FBI and DEA. The criminal investigations cover a wide range of offenses, including inappropriate relationships with informants, voucher fraud, theft, and conflict of interest. The administrative investigations include serious allegations of misconduct, including allegations against high-ranking employees.


The Department administers grants to state and local agencies to enhance their ability to respond to terrorist acts through specialized training and equipment for metropolitan fire and emergency service departments. The Department's Office of Justice Programs (OJP) administers the grants to these "first responders." The OIG's Audit Division reviewed the domestic preparedness grants and found that grant funds were not awarded quickly and grantees were slow to spend available monies. As of January 15, 2002, more than half of the total funds appropriated for equipment under the grant program from fiscal year (FY) 1998 through FY 2001 - $141 million out of $243 million - still had not been awarded. In addition, about $65 million in awarded grant funds were still unspent. We also found that nearly $1 million in equipment purchased with grants was not available for use because grantees did not properly distribute the equipment, could not locate it, or had not been adequately trained how to operate it.


In accordance with the Government Information Security Reform Act (GISRA), the OIG's Audit Division performed an independent evaluation of the Department's information security program and practices by reviewing four classified and five sensitive but unclassified (SBU) Department computer systems. During this reporting period, we issued audits of one classified and four SBU systems. The audits of both the classified and SBU systems revealed vulnerabilities with management, operational, and technical controls that protect each system and the data stored on it from unauthorized use, loss, or modification. Overall, the GISRA audits found common vulnerabilities with security policies and procedures, password management, and logon management. The OIG will issue two summary reports, one on audits of the Department's classified systems and another on its SBU systems.


During this reporting period, the OIG transmitted to Congress its annual list of "Top Management Challenges" in the Department. In addition to updating management challenges that appeared on the OIG's list in previous years, the December 2001 report added three new challenges ("Sharing of Intelligence and Law Enforcement Information," "Performance Based Management," and "Department of Justice Organizational Structure"). The OIG combined two challenges from its 2000 submission ("INS Border Strategy" and "Removal of Illegal Aliens" have become "The INS's Enforcement of Immigration Laws") and removed two challenges ("Prison Overcrowding" and "Human Capital").


Inspector General (IG) Fine testified six times before congressional committees during this reporting period on issues ranging from oversight of the Department's $5 billion annual grant programs, to the OIG's report on the belated production of documents in the Oklahoma City bombing case, to information technology and management issues in the INS.