U. S. Department of Justice

Office of the Inspector General

April 29, 1997 

Honorable Janet Reno
Attorney General
Washington, D.C. 20530

Dear Madam Attorney General:

This Semiannual Report to Congress covers the period from October 1, 1996, through March 31, 1997. During this period, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) brought to near completion the investigations we conducted of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Laboratory and of the FBI's performance in the Aldrich Ames affair. Although both of these reports were actually completed two weeks after the close of the semiannual period covered by this report, these reviews were at the center of the OIG's activities during the reporting period and including them in this report is both timely and appropriate.

The Ames and FBI Laboratory reports were remarkable examples of teamwork and collegiality. For the FBI Laboratory investigation, the way the members of the team worked together over the life of the investigation was remarkable. To cite but one example, the entire group (together with members of the OIG's front office staff) met for four grueling days in late November to discuss the draft chapters. On display was a shared commitment to excellence and to fairly and accurately reporting the deficiencies that were identified in the Laboratory. Although strong personalities were involved in the investigation, all of the participants understood the importance of reaching consensus so that every participant could stand by every conclusion and recommendation in the report. I consider it a tribute to this Department—and to your leadership—that even though our review touched on some of the most significant investigations and prosecutions in the last decade, no one in the Department discouraged us from conducting our review.

In the Ames investigation, the team consisted of OIG investigators, special investigative counsel, and counterintelligence agents and other personnel from the FBI. Because of various matters beyond the team's control, the inquiry took longer than we had originally anticipated. Nevertheless, the team's commitment to making the final report a superb product was always evident and resulted in long hours and many personal sacrifices from team members. I believe the report to be one of the finest analyses of intelligence-related matters that I have ever seen, and it is unfortunate that its top secret classification prevents a wider distribution.

As you know, these special investigations are but a fragment of what the OIG does. Our Investigations, Audit, and Inspections Divisions continued during the reporting period to address programs and operations throughout the Department and to investigate allegations of misconduct. We have attempted to be responsive to the requests of the various components within the Department but are obviously limited by our resources. As you know, we are committed to playing a role in the Department's civil rights and border corruption task forces being organized along the Southwest Border. With your support, I hope that we are able to obtain the additional resources commensurate with the level of commitment to those task forces that I believe to be necessary. I am gratified that, working together with the Justice Management Division and the Congress, we have developed means for providing the OIG with additional resources to oversee the preparation of the first Departmentwide financial statement and to conduct a meaningful number of audits of the grants funded by the Violent Crime Reduction Trust Fund, particularly of the Community Oriented Policing Services program grants that constitute the centerpiece of the Department's crime reduction strategy.

We appreciate the continuing commitment you have shown through your words and deeds to the independence of this Office and we look forward to working with you and your staff in the months to come.

Very truly yours,


Michael R. Bromwich
Inspector General