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A Review of the FBI's Response to John Roberts' Statements on 60 Minutes

February 2003
Office of the Inspector General


  U.S. Department of Justice
Federal Bureau of Investigation

  Washington. D. C. 20535
November l, 2002

Mr. Don Hewitt
Executive Director
"60 Minutes"
525 W. 57th St.
New York. NY 10019-2901

Dear Mr. Hewitt

I am concerned that Sunday's report on the FBI's foreign language translation program may have left viewers with wrong impressions in several important areas.

First, preventing terrorism is the top priority of the FBI. There is no greater focus or urgency. Over the past two years, the FBI has doubled its linguist workforce and has dramatically reduced or eliminated existing backlogs. Since 9/11, we've continued to aggressively recruit and hire translators to keep pace with a workload increase of more than 50%. Moreover, the same January, 2002, General Accounting Office report referenced in the story actually commended the FBI's foreign language program's management and strategic planning as a model worthy of imitation throughout the government.

Second, the FBI's security program for all employees and for employees and contractors in the language services program, in particular, is robust, and we are confident that safeguards are in place in the program to protect national security.

Finally, contrary to allegations in your story, reports of employee misconduct are given high priority and exhaustively investigated, and punishment is imposed in an equal manner. While allegations of disparate treatment were raised in the early and mid-1990's, the FBI has implemented policies to protect against actual or perceived unfairness in the disciplinary process. Importantly, under Director Robert S. Mueller, any serious allegation of wrongdoing made "against an FBI employee is reviewed by the Department of Justice, Office of Inspector General - making it impossible for misconduct to be ignored, much less rewarded, as alleged in Sunday's report.

I appreciate this opportunity to clarify some possible misconceptions and hope that this can be brought to the attention of your viewers as soon as possible.



Michael P. Kortan
Chief, Public Affairs Section