Today the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) issued a report entitled The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Terrorist Watchlist Nomination Practices. In response, FBI Assistant Director John Miller made the following statement:
“We appreciate the Inspector General’s review of the FBI’s Terrorist watchlist nomination practices and policies. As discussed in the report, the FBI has implemented measures to address all sixteen recommendations identified by the OIG, which are all now resolved. These measures have included developing a metrics team to monitor compliance on an ongoing basis, increasing training on watchlisting practices, requiring quarterly supervisory review, improving the accuracy and completeness of nominations, reconfiguring resources to maximize timeliness, and requesting corrections for all nominations inaccurately attributed to the FBI.
“We are pleased that, in the analysis of the FBI’s response to this audit, the OIG has noted that it is ‘encouraged by the FBI’s commitment to improve its watchlist policies and practices.’ We are also pleased that the OIG has confirmed the FBI’s ‘ability to immediately address critical deficiencies’ to ensure an accurate terrorist watchlist. For example, with respect to the FBI’s establishment of watchlist coordinators in all field offices, the OIG concludes that this action will ‘improve field office efforts to provide complete, accurate, and timely watchlist nominations, modifications and removals.’
“As the OIG states in its analysis, the FBI’s recent audit, applying current watchlisting standards to determine timeliness, has shown an 80 percent timeliness rate for FBI Headquarters and a 60 percent timeliness rate for FBI field offices. We believe this dramatic improvement is due to many factors, including as the OIG recognizes, the fact that the FBI ‘often took action to attempt to correct watchlist omissions or delayed removals.’
“Since August 2008, we have trained all employees working on counterterrorism matters in proper watchlisting practices. An FBI audit of all field offices for January and February 2009 reflects significant improvements in the timeliness of the FBI’s watchlist submissions. The facts and figures reported in this audit do not reflect the current state of watchlisting within the FBI.
“We remain committed to improving our watchlist policy and practices to ensure the proper balance between national security protection and the need for accurate, efficient and streamlined watchlisting processes.”