October 1, 2003–March 31, 2004
Office of the Inspector General
Fifteen years ago this month, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) began operations when 270 employees from nine internal affairs, audit, and inspections units throughout the Department of Justice (Department) came together to form the OIG. The OIG's many accomplishments during the past 15 years reflect the hard work of many employees who recognized the importance of the OIG's mission and helped form an organization that embodied the high aspirations of the Inspector General Act.
During our 15-year existence, the OIG has provided independent oversight and hundreds of recommendations to the Department to improve a wide range of programs and practices. In the last several years, we have focused on issues such as the Department's counterterrorism responsibilities, information- and intelligence-sharing issues, the upgrade of its information technology (IT) systems, computer security issues, and the many other challenges facing the Department as it performs its critical missions. Through our work, we strive to help improve the Department's performance, promote economy and efficiency in its programs, and detect and deter waste, fraud, and abuse in its operations.
During this reporting period, we have continued to perform this critical oversight role. For example, we reviewed the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI's) efforts to improve the sharing of intelligence and other information and the operations of the FBI's Legal Attaché program in 46 locations around the world. We also reviewed the Department's progress in integrating the FBI's automated fingerprint identification system with an automated system operated by immigration authorities, and we recommended that this integration project be expedited.
At the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS), we evaluated the protection given to the federal judiciary and audited the medical care provided to the 40,000 prisoners the USMS has in custody at any given moment. At the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), we examined efforts to reduce recidivism by preparing inmates to return to society after their sentences are served. At the U.S. Attorneys' Offices (USAOs), we evaluated plans for responding to critical emergencies in their districts, including terrorist attacks and natural disasters. Throughout the Department, we continued our oversight of audits of the Department's financial statements and computer security measures.
We also investigated allegations of misconduct against the small percentage of Department employees who abuse their positions, including allegations of civil rights and civil liberties abuses. In December 2003, we issued a report that examined allegations of physical and verbal abuse raised by aliens who were held in a federal prison in Brooklyn, New York, on immigration charges in connection with the September 11 terrorist attacks. The report provided a comprehensive assessment of the detainees' allegations, BOP officers' conduct, and management issues that contributed to the abuse. We provided seven recommendations to the BOP to improve its operations as well as recommendations to discipline officers who we found committed abuse.
The OIG's record during the past 15 years of providing independent oversight and useful recommendations to the Department is a testament to the efforts of many dedicated OIG employees. Our efforts are made possible by the strong support we have received from several Attorneys General, Department leadership, and Congress. I am grateful for this support as the OIG continues to help the Department improve its operations.
Glenn A. Fine
April 30, 2004