|The DEA enforces federal laws and regulations related to the growth, production, or distribution of controlled substances. In addition, the DEA seeks to reduce the supply of and demand for illicit drugs, both domestically and internationally. The DEA has approximately 10,800 employees staffing its 21 division offices in the United States and the Caribbean and 87 offices in 63 other countries.|
The OIG’s Audit Division evaluated the DEA’s hiring, training, and retention of its intelligence analysts and the timeliness and quality of intelligence products produced by its intelligence analysts. The OIG previously conducted similar audits relating to FBI intelligence analysts.
We found that the attrition rate for DEA intelligence analysts ranged from 3.5 percent to 2.6 percent between FYs 2004 and 2007, which was lower than the attrition rate for FBI intelligence analysts during the same period. Our survey of DEA intelligence analysts found that their job satisfaction was generally good and that most planned to stay at the DEA. We also found that other federal agencies found DEA intelligence products to be useful, logical, and of good quality.
However, our audit determined that the DEA has experienced delays in transmitting intelligence products and has not adequately monitored the status of the security clearances for its intelligence analysts. Our testing of 16 strategic intelligence reports found that the reports were published, on average, about 21 months after the source information was first obtained by the DEA. In addition, the DEA transmitted cables with information that had a foreign nexus to other federal agencies, on average, 34 days after the original information was received by the DEA. Three of the 81 cables we tested contained information related to terrorism and met the DEA’s criteria for expedited processing within 24 to 48 hours. However, these cables were not transmitted until 39, 44, and 76 days after initial receipt of the information.
Our audit also found that, as of September 2007, 82 of the DEA’s 699 intelligence analysts did not have a required Top Secret clearance or had not been reinvestigated to maintain their security clearance within the last 5 years.
We made nine recommendations regarding DEA intelligence analysts, including improving the timeliness for distributing intelligence products to other federal agencies and establishing an adequate system to monitor the status of the security clearances for its intelligence analysts. The DEA agreed with the recommendations.
During this reporting period, the OIG received 240 complaints involving the DEA. The most common allegations made against DEA employees were job performance failure, waste, misuse of government property, and release of information. The OIG opened seven investigations and referred other allegations to the DEA’s Office of Professional Responsibility for review.
At the close of the reporting period, the OIG had 17 open cases of alleged misconduct against DEA employees. The most common allegations were release of information, false statements, and use of unnecessary force. The following is an example of a case involving the DEA that the OIG’s Investigations Division investigated:
- In our March 2006 Semiannual Report To Congress, we reported on a joint investigation conducted by the OIG’s Miami Field Office, DEA’s Office of Professional Responsibility, and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that led to the arrest of a DEA special agent on charges of converting property of another, embezzlement of public funds, and money laundering. An indictment returned in the Northern District of Georgia alleged that the special agent, who served as a team leader and evidence custodian at the DEA’s Atlanta Airport Task Force from early 2003 through January 2005, stole cash seized from money couriers for drug organizations by instructing local police officers to turn over seized money to him without counting it. The special agent allegedly stole more than $200,000 and used a portion of the stolen money to build a custom home in Orlando, Florida. During this reporting period, the DEA special agent was sentenced pursuant to a plea agreement for filing a false tax return and failing to report more than $200,000 of cash income. He was sentenced to 21 months’ incarceration followed by 12 months’ supervised release and was ordered to perform 100 hours community service and pay $92,614 in restitution to the IRS and the Georgia Department of Revenue. As part of the plea agreement, the DEA special agent is banned from ever seeking employment in federal, state, or local law enforcement.