U. S. Department of Justice

Office of the Inspector General

October 31, 1997

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

Dear Madam Attorney General:

During this 6-month period, ending September 30, 1997, we continued to invest significant resources into special investigations focusing on matters of substantial importance and interest to the Department and the public. In mid-April, we released the report of our investigation into allegations of misconduct in certain sections of the FBI Laboratory. Less than a week later, we issued an unclassified executive summary of our detailed review of the FBI's conduct in the Aldrich Ames affair. These two reports reflected years of hard and careful work by a talented staff of investigators, lawyers, and other OIG personnel dealing with issues of great complexity and significance. I believe them to be landmarks in the oversight of central aspects of the FBI's operations, which highlight the importance of ensuring that our nation's most powerful and important law enforcement agencies are adequately monitored and overseen.

This reporting period also saw the continuation of work on two significant investigations: (1) our investigation into allegations that Department of Justice personnel had acted improperly in connection with claims that the CIA and the Contras had been involved in distributing crack cocaine in South-Central Los Angeles, and (2) our investigation of Operation Gatekeeper, the principal border enforcement initiative along the California/Mexico border. We also launched an investigation into allegations of misconduct surrounding Citizenship U.S.A., using additional funding provided by Congress. We appreciate the vote of confidence in our work that the special congressional funding reflects.

Our activities also explored important aspects of waste, fraud, and abuse within the Department. A significant and growing part of our investigative caseload focused on the activities of inmates and correctional officers in BOP. We successfully completed Operation BADFELLAS, an 18-month undercover investigation that led to the arrest on bribery and related charges of 11 correctional officers and numerous inmates for bringing contraband into the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn and establishing a market in special favors. We investigated and successfully prosecuted a number of correctional officers in various BOP facilities for sexual assault on inmates and the extortion of sexual favors from inmates. Also we conducted criminal investigations in cases involving conspiracies to illicitly reduce the sentences of inmates based on false claims that they were responsible for making criminal cases for investigators and prosecutors. All three areas—correctional officer corruption, sexual assaults on inmates, and schemes to gain early release—require continuing vigilance in the future to ensure that federal inmates properly serve their full sentences without the receipt of improper benefits while, at the same time, remaining free from the depredations of correctional officers and other inmates.

We also continued to review the challenges posed to the Department by advances in computer technology. During this reporting period, we undertook a review of prior audits to provide an overview of computer security within various components of the Department. Unfortunately, the story is not an encouraging one. We will continue to make the strengthening of computer security within the Department a high priority, and we have already initiated new, sophisticated testing of computer systems security. We will also continue to review the vast expenditures on various high-technology initiatives throughout the Department to ensure that these initiatives are cost-effective and will perform as intended. In this connection, we are continuing to review various aspects of the constellation of high-technology initiatives being pursued by INS.

We undertook other important work during the reporting period, including the preparation and audit of a Departmentwide financial statement, a massive effort that will help the Department conduct its business with greater efficiency and accountability; the first substantial audits of grant recipients under the COPS program; and the first reviews of other grantees under other programs funded by the Violent Crime Reduction Trust Fund. We continued to undertake important audits and inspections in other areas; for example, we completed a comprehensive and critical review of the monitoring of nonimmigrant overstays by INS.

In sum, we engaged in a wide range of activities during this period that I believe serve the best interests of the Department, the Congress, and the American people. This kind of work is, I believe, what the drafters of the Inspector General Act of 1978 had in mind when they drafted the Act. As you know, conducting aggressive oversight is not a ticket to popularity; however, I think we have earned a reputation for being tough but fair in the work that we do and for increasingly playing a vital and important role in the life of this Department. I think the Department's senior managers recognize that this Department runs better and more efficiently because of the important work that we do. That is our purpose and our goal.

We appreciate the continuing commitment and support you have shown for our work.


Very truly yours,


Michael R. Bromwich
Inspector General