Press Release

For Immediate Release
February 20, 2007

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

STATEMENT OF JUSTICE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN DEAN BOYD REGARDING
THE OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL'S REPORT ON TERRORISM STATISTICS

“The Justice Department agrees fully with the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) that the Department must collect, verify, and maintain accurate statistics on the important national security work being conducted at Main Justice, the FBI, and in United States Attorney’s Offices around the country. Today, almost all the internal controls recommended by the OIG already exist to ensure the tightest possible process for gathering, verifying, and reporting terrorism-related statistics.

It is noteworthy that the OIG found that the statistics compiled by the Department’s Criminal Division (Counterterrorism Section) either accurately stated or understated the Department’s terrorism-related performance in nearly all categories. The Department has routinely used these statistics (and not the others examined by the OIG) in its public statements about the Department’s accomplishments in combating terrorism.

Immediately after the 9/11 attacks, the Justice Department and FBI launched substantial reorganizations and placed unprecedented focus on preventing future terrorist attacks, which strained internal systems designed to capture performance data. Those strains were reflected in Fiscal Years 2002 through 2004, which were the focus of the OIG’s review. Since that time, the Justice Department and the FBI have substantially improved the systems and internal controls related to terrorism case reporting.

With regard to statistics from the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys (EOUSA) -- which are primarily used in determining resource allocation -- the OIG’s findings stem largely from its own interpretation of what the “anti-terrorism” program category code should encompass. Many cases coded by EOUSA as “anti-terrorism” are part of proactive initiatives designed to prevent terrorism by reducing vulnerabilities in critical facilities and systems nationwide. While such cases often result in convictions for other crimes, their underlying purpose is to prevent and deter terrorist infiltration of these facilities. Although the OIG argued that these cases should not be placed under the “anti-terrorism” code, the Department must be able to assess the scope of this critical work, which notably is coded separately from international and domestic terrorism cases. To avoid future concern, the EOUSA will rename its anti-terrorism category code and further clarify its definition.

For its part, the FBI has made dramatic improvements to its statistical reporting systems in recent years, specifically its case management and supporting information technology programs. Many of the weaknesses identified in the OIG report occurred during, and were an outgrowth of, the agency’s wholesale reorganization after 9/11. Today, the FBI’s internal controls over terrorism statistics are far superior to the controls that existed in the period on which the OIG focused.

In summary, the Department agrees that rigorous internal controls enhance its ability to substantiate terrorism-related performance data, and, with few exceptions, the Department has already implemented the controls recommended by the OIG.”

 


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