Press Release

For Immediate Release
May 27, 2004

Washington D.C.
FBI National Press Office
(202) 324-3691


The FBI DNA Laboratory Report : A Review of Protocol and Practice Vulnerabilities

Today, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) released a report entitled: The FBI DNA Laboratory: A Review of Protocol and Practice Vulnerabilities. This report is a comprehensive assessment of the misconduct of former DNA technician Jacqueline M. Blake as well as a review of the FBI DNA Laboratory's protocols and practices. The significance of the OIG's report cannot be overstated in that it identified potential vulnerabilities which will create opportunities for improvement.

In April of 2002 the FBI Laboratory detected discrepancies, within Blake's analysis, regarding the proper use of negative controls for DNA testing. After an expeditious and thorough review of all active casework within the Unit, it was confirmed that the discrepancies were limited exclusively to Blake's work product. The FBI Laboratory immediately developed and implemented corrective measures to address Blake's actions and subsequently self reported Blake's misconduct to the OIG through the FBI's Office of Professional Responsibility.

The FBI Laboratory has been accredited by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors Laboratory Accreditation Board (ASCLD/LAB) since 1998. A purpose of laboratory accreditation is to attain a higher level of quality operations that is reflected within the laboratory services provided to the criminal justice community. The report released today has taken yet another step in that direction by enabling the FBI Laboratory to incorporate additional improvements to the operation of the DNA Laboratory. A few of the more significant improvements include:

· Incorporation of the corrective measures instituted to address Blake's misconduct within DNA I operational procedures and manuals.

· Incorporation of suggestions offered by the OIG to improve the clarity and augment the detail in selected manuals and operational protocols.

· Enhance the current DNA training program to further capture the institutional knowledge of senior examiners and reflect advancements in emerging DNA technologies.

· Acquisition of a Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) within the FBI Laboratory. Implementation of LIMS will provide managers, evidence control personnel, examiners, and technicians the tools necessary to electronically track evidence, provide chain of custody logs, and produce final reports.

· Establishment of a Process Map of all DNA Unit 1 operations. Through external facilitation and extensive internal staff participation, a more uniform operational plan for evidence processing was developed. This included work-flow diagrams and decision trees, in an effort to assist examination teams with analytical processing decisions and potentially increase both the efficiency and effectiveness of operations.

The FBI Laboratory also implemented significant operational improvements and is benefited by its relocation to a state-of-the-art forensic science laboratory. The facility encompasses nearly 500,000 square feet, houses 25 specialized units, and contains the most contemporary instrumentation available to support the FBI Laboratory's critical mission.

The FBI Laboratory recognizes the benefits of obtaining outside scrutiny and review as represented by this OIG report. This report is yet another example of the laboratory's commitment to support and participate in various external endeavors. This includes the National Academy of Sciences report on Bullet Lead Analysis which was commissioned by the FBI Laboratory, the administration of Scientific Working Groups, partnerships with state and local agencies for technology advancements, participation in annual external DNA audits, externally provided proficiency tests as well as continued accreditation through ASCLD/LAB. Additionally, the FBI Laboratory has worked closely with ASCLD/LAB toward raising the existing national accreditation program to an international level.

The FBI Laboratory is committed to the continual process of self-improvement through input obtained both internally and externally. It is only through this process that the FBI Laboratory can remain a leader in forensic science services. The FBI Laboratory appreciates the considerable efforts extended by the OIG and its external scientists which have significantly contributed to this process.

See http://www.usdoj.gov/oig/igwhnew1.htm for a copy of the report.

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