Report to Congress on Implementation
of Section 1001 of the USA PATRIOT Act
(as required by Section 1001(3) of Public Law 107-56)
August 15, 2005
Office of the Inspector General
Section 1001 of the USA PATRIOT Act (Patriot Act), Public Law 107-56, directs the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) in the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ or Department) to undertake a series of actions related to claims of civil rights or civil liberties violations allegedly committed by DOJ employees. It also requires the OIG to provide semiannual reports to Congress on the implementation of the OIG’s responsibilities under Section 1001. This report – the seventh since enactment of the legislation in October 2001 – summarizes the OIG’s Section 1001-related activities from January 1, 2005, through June 30, 2005.
According to the Inspector General Act, the OIG is an independent entity within the DOJ that reports to both the Attorney General and Congress. The OIG’s mission is to investigate allegations of waste, fraud, and abuse in DOJ programs and personnel and to promote economy and efficiency in DOJ operations.
The OIG has jurisdiction to review programs and personnel in all DOJ components, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, and other DOJ components.
The OIG consists of the Immediate Office of the Inspector General and the following divisions and offices:
The OIG has a staff of approximately 410 employees, about half of whom are based in Washington, D.C., while the rest work from 16 Investigations Division field and area offices and 7 Audit Division regional offices located throughout the country.
Section 1001 of the Patriot Act provides the following:
The OIG’s Special Operations Branch in its Investigations Division manages the OIG’s investigative responsibilities outlined in Section 1001.1 The Special Agent in Charge who directs this unit is assisted by two Assistant Special Agents in Charge (ASAC), one of whom assists on Section 1001 and DEA matters and a second who assists on FBI matters. In addition, four Investigative Specialists support the unit and divide their time between Section 1001 and FBI/DEA responsibilities.
The Special Operations Branch receives civil rights and civil liberties complaints via mail, e-mail, telephone, and facsimile. The complaints are reviewed by the Investigative Specialist and an ASAC. After review, the complaint is entered into an OIG database and a decision is made concerning its disposition. The more serious civil rights and civil liberties allegations that relate to actions of DOJ employees or DOJ contractors normally are assigned to an OIG Investigations Division field office, where OIG special agents conduct investigations of criminal violations and administrative misconduct.2 Some complaints are assigned to the OIG’s Oversight and Review Division for investigation.
Given the number of complaints received compared to its limited resources, the OIG does not investigate all allegations of misconduct against DOJ employees. The OIG refers many complaints involving DOJ employees to internal affairs offices in DOJ components such as the FBI Inspection Division, the DEA Office of Professional Responsibility, and the BOP Office of Internal Affairs (OIA) for appropriate handling. In certain referrals, the OIG requires the components to report the results of their investigations to the OIG. In most cases, the OIG notifies the complainant of the referral.
Many complaints received by the OIG involve matters outside our jurisdiction. The ones that identify a specific issue for investigation are forwarded to the appropriate investigative entity. For example, complaints of mistreatment by airport security staff are sent to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) OIG. We also have forwarded complaints to the OIGs at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of State, United States Postal Service, Department of Defense, Central Intelligence Agency, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In addition, we have referred complainants to a variety of police department internal affairs offices that have jurisdiction over the subject of the complaints.
When an allegation received from any source involves a potential violation of federal civil rights statutes by a DOJ employee, the complaint is discussed with the DOJ Civil Rights Division for possible prosecution. In some cases, the Civil Rights Division accepts the case and requests additional investigation by either the OIG or the FBI. In other cases, the Civil Rights Division declines prosecution.
From January 1, 2005, through June 30, 2005, the period covered by this report, the OIG processed 834 complaints that were sent primarily to the OIG’s Section 1001 e-mail or postal address.3
Of these complaints, we concluded that 624 did not warrant further investigation or did not fall within the OIG’s jurisdiction. Approximately one-third (182 complaints) of the 624 complaints made allegations that did not warrant an investigation. For example, complaints in this category alleged that FBI agents sprayed chemicals around a complainant’s bed, contaminated a complainant’s food, injected individuals with “hypodermic behavioral instruments” as a deterrent for committing crimes, and converted a complainant’s television into a surveillance mechanism. The remaining two-thirds of the 624 complaints (442) in this category involved allegations against agencies or entities outside of the DOJ, including other federal agencies, local governments, or private businesses. We referred those complaints to the appropriate entity or advised complainants of the entity with jurisdiction over their allegations.
Consequently, 210 complaints involved DOJ employees or components and made allegations that required further review. Of those complaints, 186 raised management issues rather than alleged civil rights or civil liberties abuses, and we referred them to DOJ components for appropriate handling. Complaints in this category included inmates’ allegations about the general conditions at federal prisons, such as the lack of hygiene products or deficient medical care. Four of the 210 complaints did not provide sufficient detail to make a determination whether an abuse was alleged. We requested further information but did not receive responses from these four complainants.
We requested that other DOJ components investigate 7 of these 210 complaints and report to us on the investigations’ findings. Five of these complaints were referred to the BOP, one was referred to the DEA, and one was referred to the U.S. Marshals Service.
Of the remaining complaints, the OIG identified 13 matters that we believed warranted opening a Section 1001 investigation or conducting a closer review to determine if Section 1001-related abuse occurred. Of the 13 new matters, the OIG retained 7 for investigation because the allegations were of a potentially criminal or egregious nature.4 The OIG referred the remaining 6 matters, which appeared to raise largely administrative issues, to Department components for further investigation or review and requested that the components report their findings to us.
None of the complaints we processed during this reporting period alleged misconduct by DOJ employees relating to use of a provision in the Patriot Act.
The following is a synopsis of the new complaints processed during this reporting period:
During this reporting period, the OIG opened seven new Section 1001-related investigations, continued four ongoing Section 1001-related cases, and closed one Section 1001 investigation from a previous reporting period. The seven new matters opened by the OIG are:
During this reporting period, the OIG referred six complaints to internal affairs offices within DOJ components for investigation or closer review. One of the complaints was referred to the FBI as a “Monitored Referral,” which means the FBI is required at the end of its investigation to send a report of the investigation to the OIG for review. In this complaint, a Muslim citizen alleged that her family’s civil rights were violated when they were stopped from boarding an aircraft and questioned for 45 minutes by airport officials. After receiving permission to board the aircraft, the complainant and her family were asked by an FBI official to leave the plane because their names appeared in a database as possible matches for persons of interest.
The OIG referred five of the remaining six complaints to the BOP OIA. The complaints included allegations that BOP staff verbally abused and threatened Muslim inmates, retaliated against Muslim inmates for filing complaints, placed Muslim inmates in segregation, confiscated Muslim inmates’ religious articles, and denied Muslim inmates telephone privileges. All of the complaints sent to the BOP were designated by the OIG as “Monitored Referrals.” Of these five complaints, the BOP closed one matter as unsubstantiated and has open investigations in the four other matters.
The OIG conducts other reviews that go beyond the explicit requirements of Section 1001 in order to implement more fully its civil rights and civil liberties oversight responsibilities. Given the multi-disciplinary nature of its work force, the OIG can extend its oversight beyond traditional investigations to include evaluations, audits, and special reviews of DOJ programs and personnel. Using this approach, the OIG has initiated or continued several special reviews that relate, in part, to the OIG’s duties under Section 1001.
In December 2004, the OIG initiated a review of FBI employees’ observations and actions regarding alleged abuse of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib prison, and other venues controlled by the U.S. military. The OIG is examining whether FBI employees participated in any incident of detainee abuse, whether FBI employees witnessed incidents of abuse, whether FBI employees reported any abuse, and how those reports were handled by the FBI. In addition, our review will investigate whether the FBI took inappropriate action or inappropriately retaliated against any FBI employee who reported any incident of abuse.
An OIG special review issued in December 2003 (and described in detail in our January 2004 Section 1001 report) examined allegations that some correctional officers physically and verbally abused some detainees held in connection with the Department’s terrorism investigation at the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Brooklyn, New York.5 We concluded that certain MDC staff members abused some of the detainees, and we found systemic problems in the way detainees were treated at the MDC. In December 2003, we provided the results of our investigation to the BOP for its review and appropriate disciplinary action.
In response to our report and recommendations, the BOP OIA initiated an investigation based on the OIG’s findings to determine whether discipline was warranted. During this reporting period, the OIA completed its review and sustained many of the OIG’s findings. The BOP has initiated the disciplinary process. The OIG continues to monitor the BOP’s actions with regard to disciplinary action.
In addition, the OIG has continued its investigation into the MDC’s failure to provide the BOP and OIG hundreds of videotapes that were discovered by the BOP in February 2005. These tapes were relevant to the OIG’s supplemental review regarding abuse related to the September 11 detainees, but were not provided previously to the OIG – or to the BOP OIA – as required. Some of the videotapes included additional instances of video- and audio-taped meetings between detainees and their attorneys at the MDC. The OIG and the BOP OIA reviewed the newly discovered videotapes, and evidence from those tapes was incorporated into the BOP OIA’s review of staff treatment of detainees.
In the June 2003 Detainee Report, the OIG made 21 recommendations related to issues under the jurisdiction of the FBI, the BOP, leadership offices at the DOJ, as well as immigration issues now under the jurisdiction of the DHS. As of this reporting period, 20 of the recommendations have been resolved. The one open recommendation calls for the Department and the DHS to enter into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to formalize policies, responsibilities, and procedures for managing a national emergency that involves alien detainees. Discussions between the Department and the DHS over the language of this MOU are ongoing.
In May 2002, the Attorney General issued revised domestic Guidelines that govern general crimes and criminal intelligence investigations. The OIG is reviewing the FBI’s implementation of four sets of Attorney General Guidelines: Attorney General’s Guidelines Regarding the Use of Confidential Informants; Attorney General’s Guidelines on FBI Undercover Operations; Attorney General’s Guidelines on General Crimes, Racketeering Enterprise and Terrorism Enterprise Investigations; and Revised Department of Justice Procedures for Lawful, Warrantless Monitoring of Verbal Communications.
The OIG’s review examined what steps the FBI has taken to implement the Guidelines, analyzed how effective those steps have been, and assessed the FBI’s compliance with key provisions of the Guidelines. Because the FBI’s adherence to these Guidelines could implicate civil rights or civil liberties issues under Section 1001, we are including a description of the review in this report.
The OIG is in the final stages of completing its report regarding this review.
During this reporting period, the OIG spent approximately $1,050,794 in personnel costs, $18,183 in travel costs (for investigators to conduct interviews), and $3,362 in miscellaneous costs, for a total of $1,072,339 to implement its responsibilities under Section 1001. The personnel and travel costs reflect the time and funds spent by OIG special agents, inspectors, and attorneys who have worked directly on investigating Section 1001-related complaints, conducting special reviews, and implementing the OIG’s responsibilities under Section 1001.