During this semiannual reporting period, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has continued to focus our resources on the top challenges facing the Department of Justice (Department), including issues involving counterterrorism, improving information technology, effective grant management, and other important high-priority issues.
The Department also faces new challenges in managing an extra $4 billion in grant funding the Department received this year as a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act), which is in addition to the $3 billion in grant funds the Department disburses annually. During the past 6 months, the OIG has provided the Department with guidance and suggestions on improving its grant management process. In particular, we have focused on Recovery Act funding and have initiated several audits on the Department’s handling of these funds. Since passage of the Recovery Act in February, we have trained over 800 Department officials on ways to prevent misuse of grant funds. In addition, we have reached out to over 35 state administering and oversight agencies to encourage them to both monitor Department of Justice Recovery Act funds and to report to us any potential waste, fraud, or abuse in the use of these funds.
In other areas, we have continued to conduct a wide array of investigations, audits, inspections, and special reviews of Department operations. For example, we completed a 407-page classified report on the Department’s involvement with the President’s Surveillance Program. Working with four other OIGs in the intelligence community, we publicly released a joint report summarizing our unclassified findings about the program.
Other OIG reports examined aspects of the Department’s efforts to combat counterterrorism, including a follow-up audit of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) terrorist watchlist nomination process and an audit of the FBI’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Coordinator Program. We also completed reviews that examined the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ (BOP) efforts to prevent staff sexual abuse of inmates, the U.S. National Central Bureau of INTERPOL, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) efforts to reduce the unlawful diversion of tobacco products.
Our Special Agents continue to conduct important investigations into allegations of criminal and administrative misconduct related to Department personnel and programs. For example, the OIG investigated a case in which a former BOP officer was indicted for soliciting inmates in a scheme to murder witnesses and an OIG agent; a variety of cases involving theft of Department grant funds; cases involving BOP staff sexual abuse of inmates; a case in which a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent was indicted for falsifying information that resulted in the arrest of multiple individuals; and a case in which an employee of a U.S. Attorney’s Office (USAO) used personally identifiable information from individuals prosecuted by the USAO to obtain online “payday loans” in their names totaling more than $34,000.
Finally, Deputy Inspector General Paul Martin was nominated in September by the President to be the Inspector General for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Paul has made significant contributions to the OIG and the Department for the last 11 years and, if he is confirmed for this position, we will greatly miss him. I want to express my gratitude to Paul for his outstanding work, and also to all the dedicated and talented OIG employees who advance the important mission of the OIG.
Glenn A. Fine
October 31, 2009