The past 6 months have been busy and eventful for the Office of the Inspector General (OIG). I do not believe our office has ever had as many important and sensitive reviews ongoing at the same time. These reviews include an investigation examining the removal of U.S. attorneys and alleged politicization in the Department of Justice’s (Department) hiring process for career employees; a follow-up review of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) use of national security letters; a review of the Department’s involvement with the National Security Agency (NSA) terrorist surveillance program; and a review of the FBI’s involvement in and observations of detainee interrogations in Guantanamo Bay, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
Although the size of our staff has not grown in recent years, our responsibilities have increased significantly. I am proud of the work of OIG staff in professionally handling these assignments, as well as many other important audits, inspections, and investigations. Examples of work completed during this reporting period and that we describe in this semiannual report include a follow-up review of the Terrorist Screening Center, a review of the U.S. Marshals Service’s (USMS) efforts to protect the federal judiciary, the third in a series of audits of the FBI’s development of its Sentinel information and case management system, an evaluation of coordination efforts among Department violent crime task forces, and an assessment of the FBI’s progress in implementing improvements in its internal security practices in response to our 2003 report examining the activities of convicted spy Robert Hanssen. In addition, our Investigations Division continues to handle sensitive criminal and administrative investigations of allegations of misconduct related to the Department’s programs and operations.
This semiannual report also includes the OIG’s updated list of top management and performance challenges facing the Department. As in past years, the top challenge facing the Department is counterterrorism, and many completed and ongoing OIG reviews focus on that issue. However, this year we also have included on the list the challenge of restoring confidence in the Department and its operations. The Department has faced significant criticism of its actions and has endured a great deal of turmoil during the past several months. These issues, coupled with numerous vacancies in senior positions, create a challenge for the new Attorney General and Department leaders to reestablish public confidence in the Department. We look forward to working with the new Attorney General in this and other areas.
Finally, I again want to express my gratitude to the dedicated OIG employees who work day-in and day-out to fulfill the OIG’s important mission. They are talented public servants who deserve recognition for their dedication in their efforts to improve the Department and its operations.
Glenn A. Fine
October 31, 2007