Press Release

For Immediate Release
March 1, 2004

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


Updated FBI Response to the Department of Justice, Office of Inspector General’s findings in the matter of the Tiffany globe and other items taken from World Trade Center recovery sites

Washington, D.C. -- With the FBI's full cooperation, the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General (IG) investigated an allegation related to the removal by an FBI Agent of a Tiffany globe from a World Trade Center recovery site. The IG also looked at other instances where items were removed from the site by FBI Agents.
The FBI commends the IG for an extensive and thorough review of the issues present in this matter, and welcomes the IG's recommendation to establish a formal policy to guide employees in the future. While the removal of evidence or personal effects from an official site is never permissible, the FBI did not have an established policy that applied to items determined not to be evidentiary in nature, of forensics value, or identified as a personal item belonging to a particular person. Following the IG’s recommendations, the FBI established a policy for evidence recovery personnel that is being broadened to cover all employees and will be fully implemented in the very near future. The policy calls for much greater management oversight and provides FBI employees with clear instructions on the removal of non-evidentiary items from a recovery site for any purpose. It effectively prohibits the removal of any items by personnel at a site.

Concerning World Trade Center recovery sites, where more than 400 FBI Agents joined thousands of local, state and federal officers in an effort to process nearly two million tons of debris, the IG reported on a number of Agents who had removed debris and other items, apparently as a lasting remembrance of this fearful, historic crime scene. The IG cited misconduct on the part of two employees and recommended discipline. Those cases and others are under review by the FBI's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR).

In a further effort to improve accountability, the FBI is undertaking a significant overhaul of its disciplinary system. In May 2003, Director Robert S. Mueller, III asked former Attorney General Griffin Bell and Dr. Lee Colwell to conduct an independent study of the OPR and its processes. The study was completed on February 27, 2004, and a report a submitted with a series of recommendations for improving the FBI’s disciplinary system. The Director welcomed the recommendations and announced that he will assign an Inspector in Charge to oversee the implementation of each major recommendation to ensure that swift progress is made towards implementing the improvements suggested by the study.

Among the recommendations that the FBI will soon implement, are the development of more clearly defined offenses and penalties, a new management structure, and new technology, to improve the transparency, speed, and fairness of the disciplinary process. The full report and the FBI’s response are available at www.fbi.gov.

We would like to express our sympathy for the families of World Trade Center victims whose grief may be compounded by the report of this misconduct. The nearly 28,000 dedicated men and women of the FBI are committed to the highest standards of professional conduct. Even the perception of anything less is not acceptable and is a disservice to the American public.

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