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Analysis of the Second Response by the Department of Justice to Recommendations in the Office of the Inspector General's June 2003 Report on the Treatment of September 11 Detainees

January 2004
Office of the Inspector General


In the following analysis, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) evaluates the Department of Justice's (DOJ) second response to the recommendations contained in the OIG's report entitled "The September 11 Detainees: A Review of the Treatment of Aliens Held on Immigration Charges in Connection with the Investigation of the September 11 Attacks" (Detainee Report). The OIG report, issued on June 2, 2003, examined various issues related to the treatment of the 762 aliens detained on immigration charges and held in connection with the investigation of the September 11 attacks. In our report, we made 21 recommendations related to issues under the jurisdiction of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), leadership offices at the DOJ, as well as immigration issues now under the jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

On July 21, 2003, the DOJ submitted its first response to the recommendations related to the DOJ and its components, and on August 4, 2003, the DHS submitted its first response to the recommendations related to the DHS.

On September 5, 2003, the DOJ OIG issued a report analyzing the responses of both the DOJ and the DHS. The OIG's analysis concluded that both agencies appeared to be taking the recommendations seriously and were taking steps to address many of the concerns raised by the report. The OIG's analysis also concluded, however, that a number of the recommendations were not addressed with sufficient specificity and significant work remained before the recommendations were fully implemented. For several of the recommendations, we also asked for more information regarding the DOJ's proposed action to address the recommendations.

On November 20, 2003, the DOJ submitted to the OIG a second response to the recommendations that related to issues still under the DOJ's jurisdiction ("the second response"). See Appendix A. The DOJ's second response provided additional information and an update on the steps that the DOJ and its components were taking to implement the OIG's recommendations. The second response also included three attachments from the BOP describing policies that the BOP adopted to address the OIG's recommendations.

The OIG has carefully analyzed the DOJ's second response and, as discussed below, we have concluded that the DOJ has taken significant and responsible steps to implement the OIG's recommendations.

As we noted in our September 5 analysis of the DOJ and DHS first responses, because immigration enforcement responsibilities have been transferred from the DOJ to the DHS, the DHS OIG is now responsible for monitoring the DHS's implementation of the recommendations contained in the report relating to immigration issues (recommendations 3, 4, 7, 8, 18, 19, and 21). Therefore, we discuss in this report only those recommendations related to current DOJ responsibilities. We received a copy of the DHS's second response to our recommendations, dated November 21, 2003, and for informational purposes we attach that response as Appendix B.

In the following sections, the OIG analyzes the DOJ's second response to each of the recommendations related to the DOJ. For each recommendation, we reproduce below:

  1. the OIG's original recommendation;
  2. the DOJ's first response;
  3. the OIG's analysis of the first response;
  4. the DOJ's second response; and
  5. the OIG's analysis of the second response.

Consistent with our normal practice, when specific action has been taken on a recommendation to fully address the issues raised by the recommendation, we consider the recommendation closed.

We recognize that the effectiveness of the DOJ's response to these recommendations depends on how the new policies and practices are actually implemented, particularly if another terrorist attack occurs. But as we discuss below, we believe that the DOJ's second response addresses the concerns underlying the OIG's recommendations in the Detainee Report in a responsible and responsive manner.