Press Release

For Immediate Release
July 27, 2005

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

PRESS RESPONSE REGARDING OIG AUDIT ON LANGUAGE SERVICES

Washington , D.C.- The FBI responded today to the release of the Inspector General's (OIG) Report: The Federal Bureau of Investigation's Foreign Language Translation Program Follow-up Audit Report.

The FBI appreciates the Office of the Inspector General's continued interest in the development of our Foreign Language Program and the oversight the office provides. The OIG audit found that "the FBI has taken important steps to address the OIG's recommendations and has made progress in improving the operations of the Foreign Language Program." The OIG commented on the improvements to our program, to include the finding that "none of the counterterrorism audio backlog as of March 2005 was in the highest priority cases." Further, the OIG noted that as of the end of March, with six months left in the Fiscal Year, the FBI had "achieved 56 percent of current hiring goals." The report also found that the FBI has "begun to identify counterterrorism cases with significant backlog"; and, "has addressed digital collection system storage limitations." The FBI has made steady progress in implementing the OIG's recommendations and welcomes constructive feedback that can lead to further improvements in our ability to serve the nation.

The OIG's audit expressed concerns about a continuing amount of unreviewed material and instances where "high priority" material was not reviewed within 24 hours, as called for by our internal goals. As noted by the audit, however, there are no backlogs in our highest priority cases; moreover, those materials not reviewed within 24 hours are reviewed in a manner consistent with the national security threats they implicate.

The report places our backlog in the context of both increased workload and priorities. The FBI reviews, translates and processes material based on continually reevaluated and carefully managed priorities, in the face of increasing workloads. O ur prioritization system is working. ‘High priority' materials are evaluated against a tiered prioritization process, with concurrence of the Intelligence Community, which targets the highest national security priorities. The OIG's report illustrates that there are no backlogs in our highest priority cases, and that the backlogs we do have represent approximately 1.5 percent of all counterterrorism audio collected. These findings show that the FBI is efficiently managing against our priorities with limited resources.

We are committed to providing quality translation, interpretation, and language analysis services, both within the FBI and to the Intelligence Community. We recognize that a strong foreign language capacity is essential to our national security mission. Since 9/11, the FBI has made enormous strides in enhancing our language program capabilities, and we will continue to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our Foreign Language Program in its growth and evolution to meet our nation's security needs.

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