The following table summarizes OIG activities discussed in this report. As these statistics and the following highlights illustrate, the OIG has conducted wide-ranging oversight of Department programs and operations.
October 1, 2005 – March 31, 2006
|Allegations Received by the Investigations Division
|Audit Reports Issued
|Funds Put to Better Use
|Recommendations for Management Improvements
Examples of OIG audits, evaluations, and special reports completed during this semiannual reporting period include:
- The FBI’s Sentinel Case Management System. The OIG issued an audit of the FBI’s plans to develop the Sentinel case management system to replace the failed Virtual Case File effort. Sentinel is intended to enable the FBI to move from a paper-based reporting system to an electronic records system and maximize the FBI’s ability to use and share information. Our audit found that the FBI has developed IT planning procedures that, if implemented as designed, can help the FBI successfully complete Sentinel. However, we also identified several project concerns that require action and continued monitoring, including incomplete staffing of the Program Management Office, the FBI’s ability to reprogram funds to complete the second phase of the project without jeopardizing its mission-critical operations, Sentinel’s capability to share information with external intelligence and law enforcement agencies, and how the FBI tracks and controls Sentinel’s costs. The OIG provided seven recommendations regarding these concerns.
- The FBI’s Handling of the Brandon Mayfield Matter. The OIG reviewed the FBI’s conduct in connection with the identification of a fingerprint found on evidence from the March 2004 terrorism attack on commuter trains in Madrid, Spain. FBI fingerprint examiners erroneously concluded that the fingerprint belonged to Brandon Mayfield, an attorney in Portland, Oregon. Mayfield was arrested as a material witness but released 2 weeks later when the Spanish National Police identified an Algerian national as the source of the fingerprint. We found several factors that caused the FBI’s fingerprint misidentification, including the unusual similarity between Mayfield’s fingerprint and the fingerprint found on the evidence, errors committed by FBI examiners that could have been prevented through a more rigorous application of latent fingerprint identification, and the FBI’s decision to disregard information from the Spanish National Police that Mayfield’s fingerprints reached a “negative” matching conclusion. We made a series of recommendations to help the FBI address the laboratory issues raised by the Mayfield case.
- The FBI’s Efforts to Protect the Nation's Seaports. The OIG audited the FBI’s efforts to help secure the nation’s seaports. We found that during the past 3 years the FBI has taken steps to enhance its capability to identify, prevent, and respond to terrorism attacks in the maritime domain. However, the OIG also identified several actions the FBI should take to enhance seaport security, including increasing coordination with other agencies who share responsibility for maritime security, assessing the threat and risk of maritime terrorism compared to other terrorism threats, and improving the database that the FBI uses to collect and manage data concerning the number of suspicious incidents or terrorism threats involving seaports. We provided 18 recommendations to enhance the FBI’s efforts to secure U.S. seaports.
- COPS’ Methamphetamine Initiative. The OIG examined COPS’ administration of the Department’s grant program to stem the production, distribution, and use of methamphetamine. Over the past 8 years, Congress has appropriated more than $200 million for grants to state and local law enforcement agencies to combat methamphetamine. The OIG review found significant deficiencies in COPS’ administration of the methamphetamine grant program, in its monitoring of grantee activities, and in the way individual grantees administered their grants.
- The U.S. Attorneys’ Offices’ Intelligence Research Specialists. The OIG evaluated the role and functions of USAO intelligence research specialists and found that individually the specialists made valuable contributions to the USAOs’ antiterrorism efforts. However, their overall effectiveness could be increased through improved coordination and guidance at the regional and Departmental levels. We made eight recommendations to the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys (EOUSA) to improve the USAOs’ use of intelligence research specialists.
- The Bureau of Prisons’ Pharmacy Services. The OIG evaluated the Bureau of Prisons’ (BOP) attempts to reduce increasing costs of prescription medications and assessed whether the BOP ensures adequate controls and safeguards over prescription medications. We concluded that the BOP could reduce prescription medication costs associated with waste from unused prescriptions, which totaled an estimated $2.81 million in fiscal year (FY) 2004. Our report contained 13 recommendations for the BOP to improve the administration of its Pharmacy Services, including fully implementing several cost-savings initiatives.
- Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Reviews. As directed by Section 1001 of the Patriot Act, the OIG receives and reviews complaints alleging civil rights and civil liberties abuses by Department employees. During this reporting period, the OIG issued its eighth report summarizing its duties under Section 1001. Included in the report was our review of the FBI’s reporting on possible violations to the President’s Intelligence Oversight Board (IOB). We determined that in FYs 2004 and 2005 the FBI reported to the IOB possible intelligence violations in 108 matters. These possible violations fell into one of the following three categories: 1) improper utilization of authorities under FISA, 2) failure to adhere to Attorney General Guidelines, or 3) improper utilization of authorities involving National Security Letters.
Investigations of Misconduct
As shown in the statistics in the table at the beginning of this section, the OIG investigates many allegations of misconduct involving Department employees or contractors hired with Department money. Examples of the OIG’s investigations discussed in this report include:
- An OIG investigation led to the indictment of a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) special agent for allegedly stealing more than $200,000 from money seized from drug organization couriers.
- Several individuals were indicted on charges of conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud, theft of government property, false statements, and obstruction of justice after OIG investigators found that they spent more than $330,000 of a Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) grant – awarded for the creation of a prison re-entry program – for personal use, then created false documents to cover up their activities.
- A BOP senior correctional officer pled guilty to charges of bribery after an OIG investigation determined that the officer procured cell phones, drugs, and other contraband for prisoners in exchange for bribe payments in excess of $12,000.
- An OIG investigation led to the guilty plea to wire fraud by a civilian assigned to a Xerox contract with the Los Angeles USAO. The individual ordered excess toner and other printing supplies under the guise of the Department’s fixed price contract, then stole over $700,000 in those supplies and sold the merchandise for his own profit.
- A DEA contractor and contractor employee were convicted of bid rigging after an OIG investigation revealed that they submitted three bids – all at different amounts – to perform electrical work for the DEA. The contractor and employee were debarred from all government contracts.
This report also describes many ongoing OIG reviews of important issues throughout the Department, including:
- Coordination of the Department’s Crime Task Force Investigations
- Review of the Department’s IT Initiatives
- Progress Toward Biometric Fingerprint Interoperability
- The Department’s Internal Controls Over Terrorism Reporting
- Review of the Ojeda Rios Shooting in Puerto Rico
- FBI Reports of Alleged Abuse of Military Detainees
- The FBI’s Handling of Chinese Intelligence Asset Katrina Leung
- Follow-up Review of the FBI’s Control Over Weapons and Laptop Computers
- Review of the FBI’s Response to Recommendations to Improve its Internal Security in Light of the Robert Hanssen Case
- Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) Violent Crime Impact Teams
- BOP Controls Over Inmate Mail
- The U.S. Marshal’s Service’s (USMS) Justice Prisoner and Alien Transportation System
- The DEA’s Drug Diversion Control Program
- DEA Controls Over Cash Seizures