USDOJ/OIG - Semiannual Report to Congress, April 1, 1996- September 30, 1996

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Office of the Inspector General

OIG Profile

By Act of Congress, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) was established in the Department of Justice (Department) on April 14, 1989. The OIG investigates alleged violations of criminal and civil laws, regulations, and ethical standards arising from the conduct of the Department's employees in its numerous and diverse activities. The OIG provides leadership and assists management in promoting integrity, economy, efficiency, and effectiveness within the Department and in its financial, contractual, and grant relationships with others. Also by statute, the OIG reports to the Attorney General, Congress, and the public on a semiannual basis regarding the significant work of the office.

The OIG carries out its mission with a workforce of approximately 380 criminal investigators, auditors, inspectors, and support staff.

The criminal investigators are assigned to offices in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Colorado Springs, Dallas, El Paso, Los Angeles, McAllen, Miami, New York, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, and Tucson. The OIG expects to open an office in El Centro, California, later this year.

The auditors are located in offices in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Philadelphia, and San Francisco.

Other components of the OIG—the Inspections Division,
Special Investigations and Review Unit, Management and Planning Division, Office of General Counsel, and the Inspector General's immediate office—are located in Washington, D.C.

The OIG's Fiscal Year (FY) 1997 direct appropriation is $31,960,000. The OIG also expects reimbursement from 1) the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) for $5.0 million worth of audit, inspections, and investigative oversight work related to INS fee accounts; 2) the U.S. Trustees for $1.3 million for trustee audits; and 3) the Working Capital Fund for $6.74 million for costs incurred to comply with the statutory requirements of the Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990 and the Government Management Reform Act of 1994 to produce a consolidated Department financial statement audit in FY 1997.

USDOJ/OIG - Semiannual Report to Congress, April 1, 1996- September 30, 1996

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Special Inquiries

Several OIG investigations are of significant interest to the American public and Congress and of vital importance to the Department. Task forces working on these cases comprise OIG special agents, auditors, and inspectors and, in some instances, Assistant U.S. Attorneys from across the country. The following pages highlight the complex investigations conducted by the OIG.

Deception of Congressional Task Force/Miami INS

In July 1995, Congress requested that the OIG investigate allegations that a delegation of the Congressional Task Force on Immigration Reform was deceived about conditions at the INS Krome Service Processing Center and the Miami International Airport during a June 10, 1995, fact-finding tour. After an extensive investigation that involved interviewing over 450 witnesses, examining thousands of pages of documents, and recovering and analyzing over 4,000 computer messages, the OIG concluded that senior INS managers had taken actions that concealed from the visiting delegation the true conditions at Krome and the Miami Airport.

The Herald
Friday, June 21, 1996

The Washington Post
Saturday, June 29, 1996

At Krome, the investigators found that 101 detainees out of a population of 407 aliens were moved shortly before the delegation's visit and that these movements were motivated by the impending visit. Senior INS managers ordered the removal of the aliens to create a false impression that Krome was not seriously overcrowded. In order to accomplish the rapid reduction, the managers released many aliens from Krome into the community without complete criminal and medical checks.

The investigators also concluded that additional airport inspectors were assigned to Miami International Airport's inspections area during the visit to make it appear that the area was well-staffed and that INS was able to process passengers without delay. Aliens held in a detention area were released to sit in a waiting area during the delegation's visit to create the false impression that very few aliens were incarcerated. In addition, INS employees were instructed by senior managers to give false information about detention area procedures in response to questions from the delegation.

The evidence showed that senior managers in the Miami District of INS and INS' Eastern Regional Office either ordered the deception or knowingly failed to stop it. Furthermore, senior managers intentionally failed to cooperate with the OIG investigation and, in some instances, obstructed it. The OIG recommended that 13 INS employees be disciplined for their participation in the deception or their conduct during the investigation. These recommendations are being acted upon by the Department; individual disciplinary actions are pending.

On September 12, 1996, the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims held a hearing into the allegations. In his testimony before the subcommittee, Inspector General Michael Bromwich summarized the investigative findings and answered questions from subcommittee members.

USDOJ/OIG - Semiannual Report to Congress, April 1, 1996- September 30, 1996

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Special Inquiries

INS Checkpoint Operations

On June 27, 1996, the Department reported to Congress concerning INS' operation of Border Patrol checkpoints at San Clemente and Temecula, California. The Department represented that the checkpoints were operated by INS in accordance with FY 1996 appropriations language that required the checkpoints to be "open and traffic. . .checked on a continuous 24-hour basis" and that further required INS to initiate a "commuter lane facilitation project" within 90 days of enactment. House Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Harold Rogers challenged the Department's representation, and, in response, the OIG was asked to determine the status of checkpoint operations. The OIG's review revealed that INS was not in compliance with the legislative requirements—there was no commuter lane or alternate program to facilitate commuters at San Clemente, and the checkpoint was fully operational only intermittently. The INS later agreed to establish a dedicated commuter lane at San Clemente no later than June 1997.

The OIG subsequently conducted a follow-up review that established that INS appears to have initiated inspections on a continuous 24-hour basis. To do so, INS brought in agents from other parts of the country, paid increased overtime, and curtailed other inspection and operational activities. We questioned whether INS and Congress have achieved complete agreement with respect to the circumstances under which checkpoints may be closed due to heavy traffic and traffic backups. The OIG also observed that INS' current practice of suspending inspections for traffic-related reasons while maintaining records that obscure or do not record the suspension invites misunderstanding and suspicion. We recommended INS provide a more complete explanation to Congress regarding precisely how its checkpoints operate.

Operation Gatekeeper

In October 1994, the Justice Department announced the initiation of "Operation Gatekeeper," a multifaceted interdiction effort intended to halt the flow of illegal immigration along the U.S./Mexico border that separates California and Baja California. The INS Border Patrol plays a key role in Gatekeeper, which depends upon Border Patrol agents for detecting, apprehending, and processing illegal immigrants.

In June 1996, members of the Border Patrol union publicly alleged that Border Patrol supervisors were improperly manipulating Gatekeeper-related procedures and data to create the false impression that the initiative had successfully deterred illegal immigration into the San Diego Sector. These agents further claimed that agents in the San Diego Sector were being instructed not to apprehend aliens so that the apprehension rate—and consequently the rate of illegal immigration—in the sector would appear to have decreased. In addition, the agents alleged that supervisory agents submitted falsified reports showing inaccurately low apprehension totals. In late August 1996, a union representative raised the additional allegation that a congressional delegation that visited Gatekeeper facilities in San Diego, California, in April 1995 was intentionally misled to believe that Gatekeeper efforts had succeeded in controlling illegal immigration problems in the Imperial Beach border region.

USDOJ/OIG - Semiannual Report to Congress, April 1, 1996- September 30, 1996

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Special Inquiries

In response to these allegations, the OIG initiated an investigation into the administration of Operation Gatekeeper. A team of investigators and auditors was assembled from several OIG offices across the country to conduct the investigation, in conjunction with selected INS personnel. An experienced prosecutor and senior OIG investigator were selected to lead the OIG probe. This investigation is currently underway.

Zona Rosa

At the request of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI), the Inspectors General of the Departments of Justice, State, and Defense and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) initiated a governmentwide review of the response of their respective agencies to the 1985 murders of four U.S. Marines in the Zona Rosa district of San Salvador, El Salvador. The off-duty Marines were killed when Salvadoran guerrillas opened fire on them at a sidewalk cafe. We examined the Department's role in the investigation and prosecution of the perpetrators—including the actions of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department prosecutors. We also investigated allegations that an alleged planner of the murders was later admitted to the United States. We completed our review, submitted our report to SSCI, and briefed Congress on our findings in September. The report remains classified.

FBI Laboratory

Our in-depth investigation into allegations of wrongdoing within the FBI crime laboratory has continued. A scientist within the FBI laboratory made allegations of misconduct in connection with a number of major FBI investigations and Department prosecutions. The allegations also concern whether general procedures adequately promote the quality assurance expected of the laboratory. A team of experienced prosecutors, internationally renowned scientists, special agents, and other OIG personnel is working on a detailed report of the OIG findings.

Aldrich Ames

Our extensive review of FBI's counterintelligence efforts that preceded its criminal investigation and apprehension of Aldrich Ames is nearing completion. The OIG undertook this examination at the request of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence to review FBI's actions after its Soviet intelligence assets and those of the CIA were compromised beginning in the mid-1980s.

Contras/Crack Cocaine

In September, the OIG began an investigation into the Department's involvement in events that gave rise to allegations that the CIA knew about or supported the importation of crack cocaine into the United States by supporters of the Nicaraguan Contras in the 1980s. The investigation will focus on Department components and employees whose activities are the subject of the allegations.

USDOJ/OIG - Semiannual Report to Congress, April 1, 1996- September 30, 1996

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Other Activities

Legislation and Regulations

The Inspector General Act of 1978, as amended, directs the Inspector General (IG) to review proposed legislation and regulations relating to the programs and operations of the Department. Although the Department's Office of Legislative Affairs reviews all proposed or enacted legislation that could affect the Depart-ment's activities, the OIG independently reviews proposed legislation regarding the OIG itself or fraud, waste, and abuse in the Department's programs or operations. The OIG reviewed five pieces of proposed legislation over the past six months ranging in subject matter from the General Accounting Office's Management Reform Act to the Ethics in Government Act of 1995.

President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency

The IG is a member of the President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency (PCIE). OIG senior staff participate in PCIE activities—such as the Inspections Round Table, an annual investigations conference, and meetings of the Chief Financial Officers Group—that relate to their respective duties. The IG also is a member of the Investigative Standards and Training Subcommittee.

In addition to his formal assignments, the IG also is active in the expansion of IGNet, a World Wide Website that publishes audit and inspection reports and makes other information relative to IG activities available to the public. The Inspections Division is working with the Small Business Administration's OIG to identify ways to expand IGNet, including improved methods for exchanging electronic information. The Inspections Division also participated in a PCIE Inspections and Evaluation Round Table initiative to provide support for explaining and promoting the inspections concept to newly appointed IGs and to IGs who are considering establishing evaluation units in their organizations.


Under the guidance and direction of Inspector General Bromwich, the OIG has created a new World Wide Website called EnforceNet. EnforceNet will serve as a centralized Internet site that makes available a broad range of information about Federal law enforcement agencies including summaries of criminal procedure cases pending before the Supreme Court, OIG special reports on matters of substantial public interest, and indictments and other publicly available documents of substantial interest and significance. In addition, it will be used to post information relevant to emerging issues in law enforcement, such as encryption and antiterrorism, that would include public testimony of Justice and Treasury Department officials and information about related legislation. None of the information will be sensitive or classified. Our objective is to educate and inform the public about the people and institutions responsible for enforcing Federal criminal law. The prototype EnforceNet Website is available at: <>.