afternoon Mr. Chairman and members of the committee.
I am Michael D. Kirkpatrick and I am the Assistant Director
in Charge of the Criminal Justice
Information Services Division of the FBI. I thank you for the opportunity
to appear before this committee in order to discuss the FBI's fingerprint
1924, the FBI has been the national repository
for fingerprints and related criminal history data. At
that time, 810,188 fingerprint records from
Bureau of Criminal Identification and Leavenworth
penitentiary were consolidated to form the
nucleus of the FBI's files. Over the years, the size
fingerprint files has grown and the demand
for the program's services has steadily increased. Our
holdings are divided into two categories -
criminal and civil. Today, the FBI's master criminal
file contains the records of approximately
47 million individuals, while our civil file represents
30.7 million individuals. The civil file predominantly
contains fingerprints of individuals who have
served or are serving in the U.S. military or have been
or are employed by the federal government.
criminal card is exactly as the name implies.
It is the fingerprints of an individual who has been
arrested and charged with a crime. A civil
card is submitted regarding an individual who is seeking
employment in certain positions, such as federal
employment, the military, or the banking/securities
industry; or is adopting a child; seeking U.S.
or serving as a volunteer (e.g., at a child
or senior day care center) and requires a national fingerprint
background check as part of the screening process.
Civil fingerprint checks are submitted to the
based upon a specific federal law authorizing
a national fingerprint background check, or based upon
statute or a municipal ordinance, if authorized
by a state statute, authorizing a national background
check in compliance with Public Law 92-544.
its first 75 years of existence, the processing
of incoming fingerprint cards by the FBI was predominantly
a manual, time consuming, labor intensive process.
Fingerprint cards were mailed to the FBI for
and a paper-based response was mailed back.
It would take anywhere from weeks to months to process
that all changed on july 28, 1999, with the
implementation of the Integrated Automated Fingerprint
System, or IAFIS. The IAFIS was the dawn of
a new era for the FBI's fingerprint identification program
as it permits the processing of all incoming
submissions in a totally electronic environment.
day, the FBI receives
nearly 50,000 fingerprint submissions, which are
sent to us in either an electronic
or paper-based. The paper-based
submissions are converted to an electronic format
prior to processing
IAFIS. During fiscal
year 2003, the FBI received a total of 17,736,541
Of this total, 48 percent, or approximately
8.6 million, were civil fingerprint submissions.
8.6 million civil submissions,
73 percent, or slightly more than 6.2 million, were
sent to us electronically.
addition to the electronic or paper-based methods
of submitting fingerprints to the FBI, there are two
paths a civil fingerprint may travel. The most
common method starts with the fingerprinting
of an individual at a booking station. The prints are
forwarded to the authorized state agency for a check
against state records. The state agency then
forwards the prints to the FBI for a national background
check. This method complies with Public Law 92-544
and provides a more complete background check.
second path involves
the use of a channeling agency, such as the American
Bankers Association, ABA, or
the Office of Personnel
Management, OPM. The ABA and the OPM, for example,
serve as a single point
for forwarding civil
fingerprint checks directly to the FBI. Under this
method, only a national background
check is conducted.
goal for civil fingerprint
cards electronically submitted to the FBI is to process
and provide a response within
24 hours. Today, we are
meeting this goal 99 percent of the time, and our average
response time is approximately
two hours. Once paper-based
submissions are received by the FBI they are converted
to an electronic format,
injected into the IAFIS
for processing, a paper-based response is generated,
and that response is then
mailed to the contributor.
It takes between five and ten business days from the
time a paper-based
civil card is mailed
to the FBI and a response is received by the contributor.
what is the benefit of
conducting civil fingerprint background checks? Our
statistics show an annual
hit rate of 12 percent.
This equates to approximately 900,000 checks per year
being identified to individuals
with existing criminal
history records. In addition to the fingerprint check,
all civil submissions undergo
a name-based search of
the subject against the wanted person file and the
terrorist watch list located
within the national crime information center.
FBI charges a fee for
processing civil fingerprint submissions. Our fee for
this service ranges from
$16 to $22 depending
on the type of service requested. The FBI uses this
money to offset the overhead and
operational costs of
providing this service, and for maintenance and technological
our national computerized databases.
considers expanding the occupations and professions
which require fingerprint-based
believe it must also consider the vital need to develop
such checks, including the means of collecting the
and processing the checks.
many law enforcement agencies, such as police departments
jail facilities, which
are the starting point for the capture of fingerprints,
do not have
the resources to capture
for a significantly higher volume of new civil checks,
for most of these non-criminal justice checks, a
agency is not the most
venue for collecting the prints. State identification
which also play a key role
in this process,
are likewise often under-equipped and under-staffed.
limits the ability to conduct
and timely civil checks and could eventually result
in the need
to institute some type of prioritization
of such checks
as the existing infrastructure becomes overloaded.
the answers to the questions I have just
raised are currently undetermined, the
of Justice, and our partners are in
of finalizing the feasibility study required
108(d) of the “Protect Cct,” Public
Law no. 108-21, legislation enacted
last year to provide new investigative
and prosecutorial remedies and other tools
to combat the exploitation of
children. This study is required
to address fourteen specific areas, such
as “the cost of development
and operation of . . . the infrastructure
necessary to establish a nationwide
fingerprint-based and other criminal
background check system.” The
study will begin to answer many of
the questions concerning how best
a national infrastructure
accommodate the increasing demand
for fingerprint-based background
I would like to invite the members of the committee
to visit the FBI West Virginia complex
see our dyanamic fingerprint program and state-of-the-art
facilities. I again thank you
for the privilege
to appear before this committee. I am available for
any questions you may have.