Mr. Chairman, Senator Hatch, members of the Committee:
PREPARED TESTIMONY OF MICHAEL R. BROMWICH
BEFORE THE SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE
JUNE 20, 2001
I am currently a partner in the Washington D. C. and New York offices of the law firm of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson. Before joining the firm in September 1999, I spent 13 of the previous 17 years in public service, first as a federal prosecutor in New York and Washington, and for the last five years, from 1994 to 1999, as the Inspector General of the Department of Justice. During the time I served as Inspector General, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) conducted a number of significant reviews of the FBI, including in-depth investigations of the FBI Laboratory, the FBI’s role in the Aldrich Ames affair, and the FBI’s problems in handling classified information in the campaign finance investigation. I am pleased to be here to testify about the important and timely subject of oversight over the FBI.
I think it might be most useful for me to address some of the recent historical issues relating to FBI oversight. First, I will describe the state of oversight over the FBI and the institutional configuration relating to such oversight when I arrived at the Department at the end of 1993. Second, I will describe the experiences -- the challenges and frustrations -- I experienced during my five-year tenure as IG as they relate to FBI oversight. Third, I will describe what I view as the central oversight issues that need to be considered by this Committee, including the recent proposal to create a new and separate inspector general within the FBI. I should add that my review of the events described in this statement is based on my best recollection rather than on any comprehensive review of the relevant documents.
The Inspector General Act of 1978 established inspectors general in cabinet level agencies and many independent agencies, accelerating a movement to create independent audit, program evaluation, and investigative agencies in the executive branch and continuing a trend that had begun in the early 1970s. A number of agencies, including the Treasury and Justice Departments, were not included in the 1978 law. Although there were multiple reasons for the omission of the Justice Department from the scope of the original Inspector General Act, the principal arguments were that the Justice Department already had an internal affairs-type entity – the Office of Professional Responsibility, which had been established by Attorney General Levi in the mid-1970s – and that there were separation of powers-related concerns about putting an independent inspector general, with reporting responsibilities to the Congress, in the department headed by the Attorney General, the nation's chief law enforcement officer. For these reasons and others, the Justice Department OIG was not created until 1988 when Congress passed the Inspector General Act Amendments of 1988.
The Justice OIG was set up through the consolidation and amalgamation of elements of the Justice Department, including units and personnel drawn from the DEA, the Marshals Service, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), the Bureau of Prisons, and the Justice Management Division. The Justice Department OIG opened its doors in the spring of 1989 with an acting inspector general. The Senate confirmed the first Justice Department inspector general in the latter part of 1990.
The legislation that created the OIG provided it with audit and program review authority that was virtually unlimited, including over the FBI. In practice, as I learned when I arrived, the FBI made life both difficult and unpleasant for OIG personnel engaged in work involving the FBI. Because doing work in the FBI was so time-consuming and frustrating, because there was a general lack of cooperation from FBI personnel, and because OIG personnel were more knowledgeable about other components of the Department than about the FBI, the OIG did fewer audits and less program evaluation work in the FBI than I would have liked. OIG professionals turned their attention to parts of the Justice Department where they could do their jobs more effectively and have something to show for it.
As to investigations, the scope of the OIG's investigative authority over FBI personnel and DEA personnel was controversial and confusing almost from the outset. In addition to the OIG and OPR, there were the two other internal affairs arms in the FBI and DEA – FBI-OPR and DEA-OPR -- whose existence was left undisturbed by the statute and by the creation of the OIG. The statute suggested a particular division of responsibilities, although the combination of the statute and the legislative history made clear that the Attorney General retained substantial discretion in allocating matters within this institutional hodgepodge. Because the statute made the scope of the OIG's investigative jurisdiction uncertain, there was need for some form of clarification. In 1992, the Deputy Attorney General issued an order to clarify matters. The order, known as the Terwilliger Order, generally gave the jurisdiction over attorneys and law enforcement personnel to the Justice Department’s OPR, even though it lacked the manpower to do a credible job in that regard. This did nothing to solve the problem, but it served to diminish the stature of the OIG within the Justice Department.
One factor in this early history that helps explain the failure to provide any investigative oversight over the FBI was the general hostility of the Department, including the FBI, towards the creation OIG and the seeming desire to marginalize it. This was reflected in what I found when I arrived at the Department in late 1993 – that the OIG had not been fully accepted by the rest of the Department in the first four years of its existence. This was not attributable to any deficiencies on the part of the OIG but instead was the result of what appeared to be an attempt to marginalize it. Nor was the notion taken seriously that the OIG could conduct investigations into significant matters involving complex law enforcement and national security issues.
When the possibility of my becoming the Justice Department’s inspector general was initially raised with me, the then-Deputy Attorney General stressed his concern about the ability of the Department to conduct major, credible internal investigations into matters of substantial significance. The initial investigations into Ruby Ridge and Waco had been completed, and both he and the Attorney General appeared to be dissatisfied with the ad hoc methods and mechanisms used to conduct these inquiries. One of my mandates was to create a credible investigative vehicle within the OIG.
When the Deputy Attorney and Attorney General originally recruited me to become the inspector general, in mid-1993, it was on the understanding that the OIG and OPR were to be merged. However, before Attorney General Reno could make a decision on the merger that had been proposed by the Deputy, members of this Committee made clear that it would not move ahead with my confirmation if the merger went forward. In that context, Attorney General Reno declined to approve the merger. I was confirmed as IG in June 1994.
FBI Oversight from 1994-1999
One of the first issues that needed to be addressed once I became IG was to clarify the respective jurisdictions of the various internal affairs offices. The process, which took several months, culminated in the Attorney General’s jurisdictional order, signed by Attorney General Reno, in November 1994. The main issue to be resolved was determining which cases would be worked by the Justice Department’s OPR and which by the OIG. Providing the OIG with meaningful investigative oversight over the FBI and DEA did not figure as a matter of serious debate; it was clear that the FBI and DEA opposed it and that the Department’s leadership was not willing to impose it. Sorting out the jurisdictional boundaries between the OIG and the Justice Department’s OPR was a more pressing and practical issue.
Attorney General Reno’s jurisdictional order established that the Justice Department’s OPR was responsible for investigating allegations against lawyers – prosecutors and others -- acting in their capacity as lawyers. This established OPR’s core function as its sole function – investigating allegations against lawyers, such as grand jury abuse, abuse of the discovery process, other alleged unethical conduct in the course of litigation and in trials, and similar types of matters. The FBI and DEA internal OPRs were accorded primary responsibility for investigating allegations of misconduct against personnel in their respective agencies. The OIG was responsible for investigating everything else, which was a substantial expansion of its previous investigative jurisdiction. The jurisdictional order provided that the OIG could conduct an investigation of FBI or DEA personnel only with the consent of the Attorney General or the Deputy Attorney General.
In the absence of such consent, the OIG had no authority to conduct investigations – as opposed to audits or program reviews – in the FBI or DEA. This imposed a limitation on the jurisdiction of the OIG that, to the best of my knowledge, did not exist with respect to any other inspector general in the federal government. This privileged and protected status reflected the FBI’s clout within the Justice Department – DEA always appeared to be a free rider in these discussions, benefiting from the special protection the FBI sought for itself – and served to limit the scope of the OIG’s oversight over the FBI.1 It became clear to me that in order to expand the OIG’s oversight jurisdiction over the FBI, we would have to first demonstrate our ability to do investigations of complex law enforcement and intelligence matters.
In November 1994, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence filed a report of its inquiry into the Aldrich Ames affair. One of its recommendations was that the OIG conduct an inquiry into the FBI’s role in the affair analogous to the review previously conducted by the CIA OIG. As we sought to assemble a team to conduct the investigation, we learned that the FBI was trying to convince the chairman of HPSCI and the top staff members to permit the FBI to review its own conduct, foreclosing the OIG’s review. The FBI told staffers that I was uninterested in conducting the review and was unable to do so and was close to reaching an agreement with the Committee that would have permitted the FBI to review its own conduct. The staffers appeared shocked when they learned that the FBI had wholly misrepresented my attitude towards conducting the review. Our belated discovery of the FBI’s attempts to block the OIG’s review and discussions with the HPSCI staff served to get the project back on track.
Ultimately, we produced a detailed account of the FBI’s efforts over a seven-year period to determine the source of the enormous intelligence losses caused by Ames. Once the FBI reconciled itself to the fact that the OIG would be doing the review, we generally got good cooperation from the FBI in providing personnel to assist with the project, in producing documents and in making witnesses available. I have little doubt that we were able to bring a degree of independence and objectivity to the review that would have been beyond the capacity of any review conducted by the FBI itself. Although the head of the Bureau’s National Security Division publicly dismissed the report upon its release as containing nothing new and nothing that the FBI had not already figured out on its own, we were subsequently told by Congressional staffers that the report’s recommendations had been extremely useful in monitoring the Bureau’s progress in addressing some of the deficiencies that had been noted. And when the alleged activities of Robert Hanssen were reported earlier this year, the Bureau publicly stated that it had implemented the recommendations contained in that 1997 report.
B. FBI Lab
Probably the most well-known example of investigative oversight we conducted during my tenure as IG was our investigation of the FBI Laboratory. After conducting a preliminary inquiry into allegations of misconduct and shoddy and unscientific work in the FBI Laboratory, we expanded the review into a full-scale investigation in the fall of 1995. At the time, FBI-OPR was handling some of the allegations made by a scientist within the FBI Lab and the OIG was handling others. When some of the allegations became public, it became clear that the credibility of the investigative results turned on their being done by an entity outside the FBI. For this reason, I went to the Deputy Attorney General and sought, under the jurisdictional order, to assume responsibility for reviewing the allegations then being reviewed by FBI-OPR. The Deputy Attorney General asked that I meet with the FBI Director to see whether he objected to our assuming total responsibility. I did so in early August 1995, and Director Freeh raised no objection.
After an eighteen-month long investigation, we issued a lengthy report in April 1997 supporting many of the allegations of poor scientific practices and substandard work being performed in the three sections of the Lab we examined closely. We rejected some of the most far-reaching allegations that had been made, including allegations of perjury, obstruction of justice, and suppression of exculpatory evidence. We made 40 recommendations, all of which were accepted by the FBI. In addition, during the course of our review, we strongly recommended that a world-class scientist be named to head the Lab rather than an agent, as had been the case previously, and as the Bureau was intending to do again. Following the intervention of the Attorney General, the Bureau conducted an extensive search and appointed a well-known and highly-respected scientist to head the Lab.
C. Campaign Finance Investigation
In September 1997, it was disclosed that the FBI Director and the Attorney General had not been properly briefed on classified information collected by the FBI that suggested involvement of the Chinese government in the 1996 presidential election. The AG and the FBI Director turned to the FBI initially to examine the problem; the OIG was not consulted. At the end of November 1997, the AG learned of additional problems of the same kind. At that point, she advised the FBI that she was asking us to investigate the matter; she did so over the Director’s objections.
In July 1999, the OIG issued a highly classified report and an unclassified executive summary containing its findings and recommendations. The findings and recommendations included both matters relating specifically to the structure and function of the campaign finance investigation and relating to more general systemic problems. In the category of systemic problems, the investigation found major defects with the manner in which the FBI's computer systems were used. Most of these were management and operational problems rather than purely technical issues. For example, the investigation found that agents had too much discretion in entering investigative information, thus risking the failure to enter significant data into the system; that agents and other personnel using the computer systems were insufficiently trained in using the systems properly; and that as a result the ability to retrieve relevant information was significantly impaired. We have apparently seen some of the bitter fruits of these computer system management problems in the McVeigh documents matter, although we need to await the results of the current Inspector General’s investigation to determine how much of the explanation is attributable to computer problems and how much to other factors.
D. Other Matters
In addition to the matters summarized above, there were other FBI oversight matters that arose during my tenure that raised questions about the appropriate body to perform the oversight. In connection with allegations relating to the Ruby Ridge matter, the allegations against high-ranking executives at the FBI were sent to the Justice Department's OPR rather than to the OIG. OPR began its review without the OIG’s knowledge, even though the OIG was better equipped, in my judgment, to conduct the investigation because it has its own complement of law enforcement personnel and therefore does not need to rely entirely on assistance from the FBI, as has been the case with OPR. When the issue was raised with top Department management, they said it was too late to unscramble the egg. The same general sequence explained OPR's role in the Richard Jewell matter.
Arguably, both of these matters were within the jurisdiction of FBI-OPR because the allegations were focused on FBI personnel. And, arguably, FBI-OPR was prudent in calling for assistance. The institutional problem was that Justice's OPR had long been considered by people in the Department and the FBI as having something other than an arm's length relationship with the FBI. In part, this has been because on matters of major significance, including those matters involving investigations of FBI personnel, OPR has tended to rely heavily on FBI personnel to provide investigative support because it lacks its own staff of non-lawyer investigators. On matters of such great importance, in order to ensure public confidence in the oversight of the FBI, and the confidence of FBI personnel themselves in the independence and objectivity of the review, the oversight needs to be performed by an entity that is not closely identified with the FBI.
Two other matters that arose during my tenure are worth noting, in which the jurisdictional restrictions on the OIG resulted in important oversight over the FBI being conducted by other entities. In the summer of 1997, allegations arose about FBI misconduct in the context of a major organized crime case in Boston. These allegations included the alleged willingness of FBI agents to permit organized crime figures, because of their status as FBI informants, to commit murder and other crimes of violence against other persons involved in organized crime activities. I approached the then-acting Deputy Attorney General about allowing the OIG to assume responsibility for the review. The request was denied.
Second, in the spring of 1999, the Wen Ho Lee case had begun to collapse and there were calls from Congress and the media for a full internal investigation of the activities of both FBI personnel and Justice Department lawyers. At the time the OIG was struggling with major budget problems. Even so, I went to the Deputy Attorney General and requested that the OIG conduct the review. For reasons that were not fully explained, the Deputy said that the OIG had not been considered for conducting the review. Ultimately, we were advised that because of the budget problems the OIG was experiencing at the time, we were thought not to be capable of undertaking the review. That decision had been made without any consultation with us whatsoever. Although the Department asked a very capable and competent prosecutor to conduct the review, that is beside the point. As an institutional and oversight matter, it turned back the clock to the ad hoc world of 1992-93, where oversight solutions were developed on the fly with little regard for establishing continuity and stability in the oversight of the FBI.
E. Resource Issues
Oversight requires resources -- both the right people and sufficient funding. During my tenure, our attempts to change the mix of personnel to conduct more complex pieces of oversight over the FBI ran aground because of lack of funding.
My experience has been that the type of oversight reflected in the FBI Lab, Ames, and campaign finance oversight investigation requires a mix of lawyers, investigators, and other personnel. When I arrived at the OIG, it was ill equipped to conduct such oversight. Of the approximately 400 people on board at the time, there were only a handful of lawyers, none of whom had any prosecutorial or investigative experience. In fact, the current inspector general, Mr. Fine, was the first lawyer I hired specifically to do this kind of complex oversight work. My efforts over the years to build up this capability in any substantial way were only partly successful: even after the reports on the Ames and FBI Lab matters were completed in early 1997, I was unable to get the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General to approve enhanced funding for this purpose. Their approach was to try to get us to enlist personnel detailed from other parts of the Department, most notably the U. S. Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division, rather than augment the OIG’s funding. Sometimes this solution worked well; sometimes it did not. In any event, I did not view it then – and I do not view it now – as a sustainable solution over the long term. The OIG needs to have its own personnel available to conduct oversight of complex matters. To date, because of budgetary issues, caused during my tenure by the failure of the Justice Department, OMB, and the Congress to provide adequate funding, this has not been the case. We were able to build up this capability to some extent but not nearly to the extent that the workload required.
This general long-term structural and funding problem took a more ominous turn starting in the second half of 1998. At that time, staffers on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee suddenly and without any warning took strong exception to a funding mechanism that had been used continuously since 1992. They were able to do so without any evident concern for the impact their actions would have on the oversight capacities of the OIG, much less on the personnel within the organization. I was never able to determine the real motivation for the attacks on the OIG but the bitter and unfortunate result was a substantial degradation in the ability of the OIG to conduct oversight over the FBI and the rest of the Department. For the better part of my last year as IG, the energies of top management in the OIG were heavily devoted to staving off draconian budget cuts rather than focusing exclusively on the OIG’s oversight function. At one time, the OIG was threatened with budget cuts that would have resulted in close to a 50% cut in personnel. Although the worst cuts were avoided, the damage to the OIG was severe. The OIG is still dealing with the debilitating effects of that episode.
Restoring Confidence in the FBI through Stronger Oversight
These last several months have been extremely difficult for the FBI and for those who care about public confidence in the FBI. This should include all of us. When it was disclosed just over a month ago that thousands of pages of documents generated in the Oklahoma City bombing investigation had not previously been provided to prosecutors and defense counsel, it was simply the most recent in a string of major embarrassments for the FBI. The failure to produce the documents in the McVeigh case, just days before his scheduled execution, was only the most recent setback for the Bureau, adding to a list that since the beginning of this year alone includes the following: disclosures of the 15-20-year-long espionage activities of Robert Hanssen; the failure to disclose tape recordings in the Birmingham church bombing case to the Alabama state attorney general; and the Boston man wrongfully imprisoned for 30 years because FBI agents were apparently more interested in protecting an informant than freeing an innocent man.
In the past month, we have heard about an FBI that is allegedly out of control, fails to respect the rights of criminal suspects and defendants, and is characterized by a "cowboy culture" more concerned with newspaper headlines than justice. Recent polls have demonstrated that the FBI’s public reputation has been seriously damaged: for example, a Washington Post/ABC poll published shortly after the disclosure relating to the McVeigh documents showed that a bare majority of the American public -- 53% -- said it has a favorable impression of the FBI, down 30 points from six years ago. I think the “out of control” rhetoric and suggestions that the FBI is characterized by a “cowboy culture” are overstated and in any event may not be very helpful in understanding the dimensions of the problems or in arriving at solutions. But the problems cannot be ignored or dismissed.
If there is any unifying theme to these failures, it appears to be a failure of basic supervision, management, and oversight. For example, the McVeigh document debacle seems to have been a combined failure of computer systems and inadequate management attention, at the headquarters and field office level, to the fundamental task of collecting and retrieving investigative materials. The failure to detect and limit the alleged Hanssen spying spree appears to be a combination of inadequate internal controls on access to highly classified information and the failure adequately to screen and monitor FBI personnel. Definitive judgments on these matters, as well as the others, will have to await the investigations now in process, but in the meantime the FBI will have to push ahead and address its various management and organizational challenges.
A. Choice of a New Director
With Director Freeh having announced his intention to resign as Director, and expected to leave office shortly, President Bush has the important task of choosing his successor. President Bush need not – and in my view probably should not – adhere to the recent model of selecting the new director from the federal judiciary. Indeed, the kind of managerial experience and expertise most needed at the FBI is unlikely to be found there. It is of course vital that the next FBI Director, like Judge Webster, be a person whose personal and professional ethics are beyond reproach. But that is not enough to ensure that the FBI Director will be able to address adequately the substantial management and organizational challenges he will face and the critical task of rebuilding the Bureau’s morale, which is at a low ebb.
It is, however, critical that the principle embodied in the selection of federal judges be followed: the selection must avoid even the suggestion of partisanship. The next director should be selected – and the Senate should exercise its advise and consent function – based on whether the nominee has the right mix of law enforcement and managerial experience to handle the complex challenges of the FBI. The FBI does not need a super cop at its helm, nor can it easily absorb someone who has been selected for reasons other than his law enforcement and management credentials. And the nominee needs to understand and accept the legitimacy of external oversight -- both Congressional oversight and executive branch oversight.
Proposal for a Separate FBI IG
There is general agreement that the FBI needs stronger oversight and that the current system of oversight, which places primary responsibility on FBI-OPR, as well as on the Inspections Division of the FBI, has not been adequate. Addressing this problem, two distinguished members of this Committee – Senators Specter and Durbin – have proposed creating a separate IG for the FBI in order to create an institution specifically devoted to FBI oversight. The strength of such a proposal is that it recognizes the problem and suggests an institutional mechanism – presumably backed with the promise of sufficient funding. But I believe that it reaches the wrong institutional conclusion.
Among the problems we have seen in recent years, in my judgment, is an FBI that at times has been only nominally part of the Justice Department. While such a strategy may well have won larger budgets for the FBI, it is fundamentally inconsistent with the appropriate role of the FBI, and counter to its long-term interests. The creation of a separate IG for the FBI that underscores its separateness moves in the wrong direction. For most of our history, concerns about the FBI’s becoming a national police force have been countered by the assurance that it is under the control of the Justice Department and the Attorney General. A separate FBI IG who reports jointly to the FBI Director and the Congress rather than to the Attorney General would undermine the principle that the FBI is a part of the Justice Department.
Second, I doubt the creation of an FBI IG would address the crisis in public confidence that currently affects the FBI. As difficult as it sometimes has been to persuade people that the Justice Department IG is sufficiently independent to perform aggressive oversight over all aspects of the Department, including the FBI, it has earned legitimacy and credibility over the twelve years of its existence with specific pieces of oversight, including the investigations of the FBI described earlier in my testimony. That same legitimacy would be much harder for an FBI IG to claim because it would reside within the FBI and the IG would report to the FBI Director as well as Congress, rather than to the Attorney General. Nor would having the FBI IG report to the Attorney General solve this problem.
Third, the models for the proposal, I believe, are the CIA OIG and the OIG for Tax Administration, which I believe is the only other IG created within an agency where an IG already exists. Both cases are very different from the situation facing Congress in dealing with the FBI and therefore do not constitute a persuasive precedent for creating a separate IG for the FBI. The creation of a statutory IG at the CIA was designed to strengthen the oversight at that agency and give the IG recourse to Congress if CIA management failed to address significant issues. Before the creation of the IG, there was no other independent oversight mechanism, such as exists within the Justice Department’s OIG, to perform such oversight. The non-statutory CIA IG was considered to be without significant clout and was not taken seriously within the Agency.
In the case of the IG for Tax Administration, it was created in an environment in which the Treasury IG had exercised no meaningful oversight over the IRS and shown neither the interest nor the ability to do so. Indeed, to be blunt, the Treasury OIG at that time was a largely dysfunctional agency that had shown little or no ability to carry out its oversight functions over the law enforcement components of the Treasury – Customs, ATF, and the Secret Service – and whose IG was ultimately investigated by the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations and left office under a cloud.
In short, I do not believe that the experience of either the CIA IG or the Tax Administration IG supports the creation of a separate FBI IG. Moreover, the creation of yet another institutional entity responsible for FBI oversight risks heightening the institutional confusion that already exists over which agencies have what FBI oversight responsibilities. There also would be the practical and logistical difficulties of creating an institution from scratch. Where would the personnel come from? From within the FBI? If so, how can Congress and the public be assured of its independence? If from the outside, it will take months if not years for skilled and experienced personnel equal to the task to be hired. Although I agree with the impulse behind the proposal to create a separate IG for the FBI -- to enhance the level of oversight over the FBI -- I believe the fuller and more prompt realization of its objectives can be achieved through full funding of the Justice Department’s OIG and through the elimination of the current restrictions on its ability to perform oversight over the FBI.
Strengthening the Justice Department OIG
As I mentioned earlier, the Justice Department Inspector General may not at his own initiative conduct investigations of misconduct among personnel at the FBI without the permission of the Attorney General or the Deputy General. I am aware of no similar limitation that exists for any other Inspector General. This means that FBI – arguably the most powerful agency in the federal government – is currently subject to less oversight than any other agency. A bill in the House to change that system in 1997 – following the OIG’s FBI Laboratory and Ames reports – died, and Attorney General Reno would not change the situation herself. Although I have explained the genesis of the limitation on the OIG’s jurisdiction, it makes no sense any longer, assuming it ever did.
There are no reasonable grounds for concern that lifting the existing jurisdictional limitation will cause the Justice OIG to insert itself into sensitive intelligence and law enforcement matters, thus interfering with the ability of the FBI to carry out its critical law enforcement and counterintelligence responsibilities. The IG Act already gives the Attorney General the authority to block and IG investigation or audit if he determines that the activity will interfere with an important function or activity. To my knowledge that provision has been used only once – when Attorney General Reno and I had an honest disagreement about the relative importance of the OIG’s CIA-crack cocaine report and an ongoing narcotics investigation which she felt would be impaired if the report had been publicly released immediately upon completion. Accordingly, the mechanism exists to block the OIG from taking specific actions but there is accountability built into the system: the Attorney General’s action must be the subject of a notification to Congress.
The more important issue is ensuring that the Justice OIG has the resources necessary to do its job. Authority without the resources is a ticket to frustration and failure. The OIG never possessed the resources necessary to meet its responsibilities during my tenure and its current condition is far worse after the substantial cutbacks over the past three years, during which its staffing levels dropped more than 20% during a period in which the Department’s growth continued to be vigorous. Congress obviously has the power – and should seize the opportunity – to remedy this serious deficiency. It is time for the members to restore the strength of an agency weakened in an arbitrary and irrational way.
D. Opening the FBI to Outside Influences
In the process of doing the FBI Laboratory investigation, we learned that the FBI had long resisted opening itself to the entity responsible for accrediting crime laboratories throughout North America. In discussing this with the forensic scientists who were members of the investigative team, I learned that this was par for the course – that in the exchanges between personnel from the FBI Lab and from other labs, the FBI was there to impart knowledge and wisdom rather than to receive it.
That attitude – some describe it as institutional arrogance – has deprived the FBI of the benefits and lessons to be gained from mutual exchanges with other law enforcement agencies and other large and complex organizations. The backwardness of the FBI’s computer system and record keeping practices, now so painfully highlighted in the McVeigh case, is at least in part the product of resisting the advances in technology that swept through the rest of the organizational world some time ago. Although mutual exchanges with other institutions may not generally be regarded as a form of oversight, the FBI can benefit immeasurably from opening itself to outside influences of various kinds. This will help the FBI to overcome its debilitating insularity and embrace the outside world in a constructive manner.
That concludes my prepared testimony. I am happy to answer any questions you may have at this time.