Semiannual Report to Congress

April 1, 2004–September 30, 2004
Office of the Inspector General

Multicomponent Audits, Reviews, and Investigations

While many of the OIG's audits, reviews, and investigations are specific to a particular component of the Department, other work spans more than one component and, in some instances, extends outside the Department to contractors and grant recipients.

Reports Issued

Review of Shooting Incidents

This review evaluated how the ATF, DEA, FBI, and USMS reported, investigated, and reviewed shooting incidents involving their special agents or deputy marshals. The OIG assessed whether the components adhered to the Department's Policy Statement on Reporting and Review of Shooting Incidents (1995), which was established to ensure objective, thorough, and timely reviews of shooting incidents involving federal LEOs. We also assessed the components' compliance with internal shooting incident policies and requirements to report specific types of shooting incidents to the OIG and the Civil Rights Division (CRD).

The OIG found that all of the components require a written report containing specific information within one day of a shooting incident so that senior management can make investigative decisions. However, on average, only the ATF and the FBI consistently met the requirement. Further, the FBI and the DEA are required to report shooting incidents involving injury or death to the CRD, and all the components are required to report shooting incidents to the OIG, but neither the CRD nor the OIG were informed of all reportable incidents. The review also found that three of the components - the ATF, DEA, and USMS - rely on local law enforcement to conduct the criminal investigations of shooting incidents, but the FBI conducts its own criminal investigations.

In addition, the OIG's review found that each component's Review Board prepares a memorandum for every shooting incident reviewed, but only those prepared by the FBI and USMS boards consistently included analysis and recommendations specific to the incident being reviewed. Further, each component has different Review Board membership requirements, ranging from only senior-level managers to LEOs from other components to nonsupervisory personnel.

Another distinction between components was their shooting incident review processes. We found that the components' Review Boards applied the standard for the reasonable use of deadly force differently. The ATF, DEA, and FBI focused on the moment that LEOs discharged their firearms. In contrast, the USMS took into account the circumstances leading up to the shooting incident. These different applications of the standard for the reasonable use of deadly force can lead to different conclusions about similar shooting incidents. Finally, the components did not systematically share the lessons learned from shooting incident reports, and the Department did not aggregate shooting incident data to identify improvements to law enforcement operations.

To address the OIG's findings, we recommended the Department establish a working group to consider uniform Department standards for shooting incident reviews. We also made recommendations specific to each components' review process. The Department and each component concurred with the recommendations in our report and have agreed to take the necessary corrective action.

Department's Use of Polygraph Examinations

The OIG surveyed Department components to identify those that use polygraph examinations. The survey was designed to identify all components that use or administer polygraph examinations and determine how polygraph examinations are used throughout the Department. This information was obtained through responses to a questionnaire that was sent to 43 Department components asking them whether they administered polygraph examinations or used examinations administered by other components, the purposes for polygraph examinations, whether they had written policies and procedures for governing the use of polygraphs, and to provide an estimate of the cost of each polygraph.

Of the 43 components responding to the questionnaire, 12 reported that they used polygraph examinations. Five of the 12 said they conducted examinations not only for their own use, but for the use of the other 7 components as well. The survey also revealed that Department components conducted a total of 27,426 polygraph examinations from FYs 2001 through 2003. During that period, the FBI conducted the most polygraph examinations - 79 percent (21,616 of 27,426) of all the examinations conducted in the Department. FBI officials stated that they expect the number of polygraph examinations to grow by about 25 percent annually, from 8,079 in FY 2003 to about 10,000 in FY 2004.

Department components reported that they used polygraph examinations as an aid in criminal investigations, employment screening, administrative investigations, witness security, foreign special investigative and vetted units overseas, counterintelligence, personnel security, sex offender assessments, and personnel integrity (internal). The survey revealed several issues that we believe warrant additional review. As a result, we are initiating an extensive evaluation.

Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Complaints

Section 1001 of the USA Patriot Act directs the OIG to receive and review complaints of civil rights and civil liberties abuses by Department employees, to publicize how people can contact the OIG to file a complaint, and to submit a semiannual report to Congress discussing our implementation of these responsibilities. In September 2004, the OIG issued its fifth report summarizing our Section 1001 activities.

The report, covering the period from December 16, 2003, through June 21, 2004, described the status of the OIG's and Department's investigations of alleged civil rights and civil liberties abuses by Department employees. In addition, the report highlighted several OIG reviews undertaken in furtherance of our Section 1001 responsibilities. During the 6-month period covered by the report, the OIG received more than 1,600 complaints alleging civil rights and civil liberties abuses. Only 208 of these complaints were against Department employees. Many of the 208 complaints did not raise issues covered by the OIG's duties under Section 1001. After analyzing the 208 complaints, the OIG identified 13 matters that we believed warranted an investigation or a closer review. These matters included allegations of racial profiling by FBI agents, denial of access to counsel, verbal abuse of inmates, and placement of an inmate in solitary confinement without cause. The OIG is investigating several of those complaints and has referred the remainder to the internal affairs offices of the affected component.

Superfund Audit for FYs 2002 and 2003

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (known as Superfund) provides for liability, compensation, cleanup, and emergency response for hazardous substances released into the environment and for uncontrolled and abandoned hazardous waste sites. The Department conducts and controls all litigation arising under Superfund and is reimbursed through interagency agreements with the Environmental Protection Agency.

Our audit, conducted at the request of the Department, compared reported costs on the contractor-developed accounting schedules and summaries for FYs 2002 and 2003 to those recorded on the Department's accounting records. Based on the results of the audit, in our judgment the Environment and Natural Resources Division provided an equitable distribution of total labor costs, other direct costs, and indirect costs to Superfund cases during FYs 2002 and 2003.

The Department's Financial Statement Audits

The Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990 and the Government Management Reform Act of 1994 require annual financial statement audits of the Department. The OIG oversees audits by independent public accountants and issues the reports based on the work performed by the accountants. During this reporting period, we issued 11 FY 2003 Department component financial statement audit reports for the following:

Each of these audits was in support of the FY 2003 consolidated Department audit, which was issued in the prior semiannual reporting period. For the third consecutive year, the Department received an unqualified opinion on its consolidated financial statements. Additionally, the number of material weaknesses reported at the consolidated level declined from two to one.

The Department's unqualified opinion also included unqualified opinions on all 11 of the reporting components' financial statements that comprise the consolidated report. Importantly, some components were able to reduce their material weaknesses and reportable conditions. Others had new issues identified and, thus, overall the number of material weaknesses and reportable conditions at the components remained constant at nine material weaknesses and ten reportable conditions.

While improvements in internal controls have been made, a long-standing material weakness remains in financial controls at the consolidated level that was considered even more serious this year than in prior years. Eight out of the 11 components had reportable conditions or material weaknesses in financial accounting and reporting that contributed to this consolidated level material weakness. These issues were only overcome in FY 2003, as in past years, by significant year-end manual efforts. As we have pointed out in previous reports, the Department lacks sufficient automated systems to readily support ongoing accounting operations. Manual efforts compromise the ability of the Department to prepare timely financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, require considerable monetary and human resources, and represent an inefficient use of these resources. These manual processes represent a significant risk to the Department and certain components for successful audits in FY 2004, when the OMB will require an accelerated reporting date of November 15 - 2 months earlier than required in FY 2003.

The Department also had one consolidated level reportable condition on the financial systems' general and application controls and the general controls at the Department's data centers. Because this long-standing issue had previously been a material weakness for the Department, improvements were made in FY 2003.

In the Report on Compliance with Laws and Regulations, the auditors identified six Department components that were not compliant with the Federal Financial Management Improvement Act of 1996, which specifically addresses the adequacy of federal financial management systems. Additionally, the audits identified five components that were not compliant with OMB Circular No. A-11, Preparation, Submission, and Execution of the Budget.

The following table compares FYs 2003 and 2002 audit results for the Department consolidated audit as well as for the 11 individual component audits.

Comparison of FYs 2003 and 2002 Audit Results
Reporting Entity Auditors' Opinion
on Financial Statements
Number of
Material Weaknesses
Number of
Reportable Conditions
2003 2002 2003 2002 2003 2002
Consolidated Department of Justice Unqualified Unqualified 1 2 1 0
Assets Forfeiture Fund and Seized Asset Deposit Fund Unqualified Unqualified 1 0 0 1
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives1 Unqualified N/A 0 N/A 1 N/A
Drug Enforcement Administration Unqualified Unqualified 0 0 2 2
Federal Bureau of Investigation Unqualified Unqualified 2 3 0 0
Federal Bureau of Prisons Unqualified Unqualified 0 0 2 2
Federal Prison Industries, Inc. Unqualified Unqualified 0 1 1 1
Immigration and Naturalization Service1 Unqualified Unqualified 3 3 1 0
Offices, Boards and Divisions Unqualified Unqualified 1 1 1 1
Office of Justice Programs Unqualified Unqualified 0 0 1 1
U.S. Marshals Service Unqualified Unqualified 1 0 1 2
Working Capital Fund Unqualified Unqualified 1 1 0 0
Component Totals 9 9 10 10
For definitions of terms used in this table, please see the glossary at the end of this report.

1 Pursuant to the Homeland Security Act of 2002, Public Law 107-296, the INS transferred to the Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003. Additionally, the ATF transferred from the Department of the Treasury to the Department on January 24, 2003.

Ongoing Work

The Department's Counterterrorism Task Forces

The OIG is evaluating the Department's Joint Terrorism Task Forces, National Joint Terrorism Task Force, Anti-Terrorism Advisory Councils, Foreign Terrorist Tracking Task Force, and the National Security Coordination Council to: 1) determine if they are achieving their purposes; 2) evaluate gaps, duplication, and overlap in terrorism coverage; and 3) identify how the performance of each task force and council is measured.

Arson and Explosives Intelligence

The two principal federal agencies responsible for compiling data related to arson and explosives incidents in the United States are the ATF and the FBI. To collect such data, the ATF created the Arson and Explosives National Repository (Repository), and the FBI created the Bomb Data Center. Both the Repository and the Bomb Data Center maintain databases that collect and disseminate information for statistical analysis and research, investigative leads, and intelligence. Our audit objective is to examine overlap between the systems and evaluate whether the Department has efficiently and effectively collected and made available to the federal, state, and local law enforcement community information involving arson and the criminal misuse of explosives.

Audit of the Department's Information Security Program Pursuant to FISMA

The Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA), which replaced the Government Information Security Reform Act, directed OIGs to perform an annual independent evaluation of their departments' information security programs and practices and required the results to be submitted to the OMB.

For FY 2004, we selected for review the Department's information security program and practices performance measurement tools. According to the Department, the performance measurement tools were revised to correlate directly with the Department's information security orders and standards to determine the effectiveness of the Department's information security policies, procedures, and practices. We also are reviewing the Department's reorganization of its information security staff that is assigned to perform oversight of the Department components' adherence to FISMA requirements.

To examine the Department's information security program, we are reviewing the security programs of three major Department components - the USMS, FBI, and DEA. From each of these components, we also selected a mission-critical system to review. We will issue one overall consolidated Department report, three reports for each component reviewed, and three individual reports for each of the systems reviewed.

Office of Federal Detention Trustee Review

Historically, the confinement of persons in federal custody awaiting trial or immigration proceedings was the responsibility of the USMS and the former INS. In September 2001, Congress established the Office of the Federal Detention Trustee (OFDT) in the Department to oversee and coordinate the Department's detention activities. The objectives of this OIG audit are to: 1) review the funding and the accomplishments of the OFDT since its inception, 2) determine how the OFDT coordinates and oversees detention within the Department, and 3) examine the OFDT's plans and goals for managing detention needs.

The Joint Automated Booking System

The Department's Joint Automated Booking System (JABS) is designed to automate information on persons booked for criminal offenses by federal authorities so information can be shared electronically by law enforcement agencies to improve criminal identification. The system goals of JABS are to streamline the booking process through automation and eliminate duplication, allow updates to prisoner data, standardize data, and improve the process to identify repeat offenders and persons with outstanding charges. This OIG audit is examining whether the use of JABS is meeting system goals and objectives and the extent to which JABS has been implemented throughout the Department.