Inspector General's Report: Still Lots Of Problems At DOJ Agencies, Who I Now Have To Ask For Permission To See Documents

from the the-overseen-now-run-the-oversight dept

The DOJ's Inspector General Michael Horowitz has a thankless job. His office must look into improper actions by a variety of government agencies that have no interest in being independently overseen, much less inspected generally. The DEA and FBI have both played an instrumental part in undermining his investigations -- so much so that Horowitz has taken his complaints to Congress and suggested legislators punch the unhelpful agencies right in the pocketbook.

The OIG has just released its semi-annual report for 2015, which sums up the highlights and lowlights of six months of investigations. There's more bad news than good, but that's to be expected considering a) the Inspector General is supposed to look into the DOJ's problems, not its heroics and b) the DEA, FBI et al haven't improved their attitude toward being inspected/implementing OIG recommendations.

Case in point on the last one:

The FBI has always received data "tipped" by the NSA from the Section 215 collection. During the same period (2007-2009) the NSA was getting chewed out by FISC Judge Reggie Walton for its abuse of the program, the FBI was having its own issues. IG Horowitz wasn't able to look into this as quickly as he wanted to because the FBI stonewalled him, refusing to grant access to pertinent documents. Horowitz hoped to get to the bottom of this before the Patriot Act reauthorization came up in May, but was unable to.

However, he was able to put the following together. The FBI had put inadequate minimization procedures in place back in 2006, shortly after another Patriot Act reauthorization. The OIG told the FBI to update its procedures in 2008, in order to comply with the reauthorization. The FBI got right on it.

Nevertheless, the OIG found that by mid- 2009, DOJ had not replaced the interim procedures, and FISA Court judges began to issue Supplemental Orders in Section 215 matters requiring DOJ to report to the FISA Court on the implementation of the interim procedures. The Attorney General ultimately adopted final minimization procedures in March 2013.
Which lead the IG to this obvious conclusion:
Given the significance of minimization procedures in the Reauthorization Act, the OIG does not believe that DOJ should have taken until 2013 to meet this statutory obligation.
That's basically seven years of the FBI using minimization procedures that did not meet statutory requirements. (The Patriot Reauthorization Act of 2005 went into effect in March of 2006.)

The OIG is still looking into other aspects of the FBI's participation in the Section 215 program, but any conclusions it draws will be of historical interest only now that the program is officially dead. These are listed in the "Ongoing Work" section.
The FBI’s use of Section 215 authority under the FISA from 2012 through 2014, including the effectiveness of Section 215 as an investigative tool and the FBI’s compliance with the minimization procedures DOJ approved and implemented in 2013.

The FBI’s use of information derived from the National Security Agency’s (NSA) collection of telephony metadata obtained from certain telecommunications service providers under Section 215 of the Patriot Act.
The FBI isn't the only DOJ agency partaking in broad surveillance efforts. The DEA is also collecting tons of data and information without a warrant.
The DEA’s use of administrative subpoenas to obtain broad collections of data or information, including the existence and effectiveness of any policies and procedural safeguards established with respect to the collection, use, and retention of the data.
Other works-in-progress include an examination of the ATF's confidential informant program, the DEA's handling of drug seizures, nepotism and favoritism at the US Marshals Service, issues with the Bureau of Prisons' private contractors and an investigation of the ATF's controversial "Storefront" program, which has taken heat recently because of agents' decisions to turn intellectually-disabled people into shills for fake drug/weapon sales operations before arresting them for their "complicity."

But all of this won't lead to much unless Congress acts to roll back a DOJ policy backed by an Office of Legal Counsel decision.
In particular, in July, DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) issued its opinion, 14 months after it was requested by the then Deputy Attorney General (DAG), which found that Section 6(a) of the IG Act does not entitle the OIG to obtain independent access to grand jury, wiretap, and credit information in DOJ’s possession that is necessary for the OIG to perform oversight of DOJ. Indeed, the OLC opinion concludes that such records can only be obtained by the OIG in certain—but not all—circumstances through disclosure exceptions in specific laws related to those records.

[...]

The OLC opinion also provides that, in all instances, DOJ employees will decide whether access by the OIG is warranted— placing agency staff in the position of deciding whether to grant, or deny, the Inspector General access to information necessary to conduct its oversight. Requiring an Inspector General to obtain permission from agency staff in order to access agency information turns the principle of independent oversight that is contained within the IG Act on its head.
This won't just make it more difficult for the OIG to do its job. It will also discourage DOJ employees from coming forward with information about abuse and misconduct.
Such a shift in mindset could deter whistleblowers from directly providing information to Inspectors General about waste, fraud, abuse, or mismanagement because of concern that the agency may later claim that the disclosure was improper and use that decision to retaliate against the whistleblower.
I'm sure the DOJ feels there's no problem on its end as it pertains to this new policy. But independent oversight is one of the few things standing between DOJ components and incredible amounts of misconduct and abuse. There's far too much power vested in these agencies and the OLC has made it even easier for them to abuse this power and get away with it.

Filed Under: dea, doj, fbi, inspector general, oversight


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  • identicon
    Mark Wing, 4 Dec 2015 @ 8:38pm

    Shut down the DEA and give their entire budget to the inspector general's office. Problem solved.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    orbitalinsertion (profile), 5 Dec 2015 @ 2:11am

    I think it is about time that these TLAs have their offices raided, all of them, and with suitable raiding gear, like tanks with battering rams and lots of guys arresting people and collecting documents and seizing computers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Dec 2015 @ 7:51am

      Re:

      why stop there make it so anyone brandishing what might be considered a weapon (wallets, phones, pens, actual guns) be shot on sight like they would do if they were the ones raiding someone else.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        GEMont (profile), 6 Dec 2015 @ 10:06am

        Re: Re:

        "...be shot on sight..."

        I think you have already got your wish on that count.
        Suicide by cop is alive and well in America today.

        All that remains to be done now, is to get the rest of those legal weapons out of the hands of the US public so that all the "shootings on sight" will be done by duly authorized LEOS against unarmed civilians, wielding only wallets and cell phones.

        A few more mass shootings on American Soil, by "suspected" members of the 5Is mercenary ISIS army should be all that's needed to get that part done.

        Then, once all Americans are unarmed, the wealthy can remove the kid gloves and really get down to some good old fashion fascist decadence.

        ---

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          ROGS, 15 Jun 2018 @ 10:48am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Suicide by cop is nearly a myth, and mass shootings happen because of high policing and intensive psychological operations targeted at individuals.

          In most cases, any dilligent researcher or journalist can discoverthatwhat most call suicide by cop is a direct byproduct ofcontinuous,intense online andoffline bullying and due process violating, constitutionally cringe worthy conduct BY police, and their affiliated NGOs,community policing initiatives,etc.

          Ramsey Orta is one recent example (though he was only railroaded), and the recent Scottsdale shooter is another.

          In the Scottsdale case, we see an excopliterallyframinga man, and banging his wife, eventually marrying her, and her paycheck.

          John Lang,Fresno activist,documented how it works inpractice before he allegedly killed himself.

          All of these cases share thefact that high polucing, aka organized gang stalking took place first, foregregious amounts of time.

          So, what these ACTUALLY are, is modern day lynchings, that fly.under the radar as homicides. But that ALSO target the same suspects: uppity men who challenge hidden police power.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      GEMont (profile), 6 Dec 2015 @ 9:04am

      Re:

      Offices raided, by who?

      ---

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Dec 2015 @ 6:24am

    Thick as thieves they are. If they can tell the IG to piss off they can do anything, and I do mean anything, they want. The truth is there is nothing we the people or our "representatives" can do about it

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      GEMont (profile), 6 Dec 2015 @ 9:09am

      Re:

      "The truth is there is nothing we the people or our "representatives" can do about it"

      Absolutely correct.

      Our "representatives" no longer take orders from "we the people".

      Thus, there is no-one in a position of power, who is willing or able to "shut down" or "raid the offices of" the people dismantling the Constitution and rewriting the laws of the land.

      The Fascists are in control and they no longer give a shit who knows it.

      ---

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Greg, 5 Dec 2015 @ 12:54pm

    Welcome to Police State America, with the corrupt and incompetent lapdogs of the DNC and RNC masquerading as the US Government.
    Illegal undeclared wars, illegally funded wars, $5 trillion stolen from the Social Security Trust, Illegal Mass surveillance of everyone but the criminal elite, torture, rendition, JSOC assassination teams, war criminals in our midst, mass media monotony, The DOAJ (Dept of Anything but Justice), the DEA Gestapo and their unconstitutional war against the consciousness of US citizens.....and on and on an on.
    How did we let this happen?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      GEMont (profile), 6 Dec 2015 @ 9:55am

      Re:

      "How did we let this happen?"

      Its not really something that "we the people" allowed to happen, as it is something that is absolutely inevitable in any capitalist - money equals power, prestige and position - society.

      As with all capitalist states, the most ruthless and opportunistic people are the ones who will get wealthier, and eventually they get together and combine forces to create a world where their cash-based power can flourish and profit even better, by simply buying the favors of those who are in position to make their dreams come true, and; when necessary, paying folks to eliminate financially or physically all of those who stand in their way.

      While a flourishing capitalist society will have over time enacted numerous rules and laws to specifically prevent this sort of thing, once the wealthy become powerful enough, these rules and laws are simply eliminated, or "re-interpreted" to favor the wealthy.

      There is absolutely nothing that "we the people" could have done to prevent this process from taking its natural course.

      All legal controls that are used to keep the wealthy from utilizing their combined wealth to control society for their own benefit are simply and quietly brushed aside once the wealthy gain enough power to bribe and coerce those holding the reigns of state, and change the rules from within through standard trickery such as false flag operations, terrorism and prohibitions that allow the rewriting of the laws of the land to take place.

      It is - fascism - the cancer that heralds the final death throes of a civilization, and like cancer, is invisible until long after its too late to stop - long after it has spread throughout the "system" into all the vital organs.

      After all, fascism is always the chosen weapon of conquest by the very people that the general population look up to and admire - the wealthy members of the Ownership Society.

      Fascism survives and thrives upon a premise that has proven absolutely true throughout history -

      You cannot stop them as long as you just want to be them.

      ---

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Rapnel (profile), 5 Dec 2015 @ 2:52pm

    Tyranny starts with tyrants, be they governments, corporations, organizations, departments or your mom.

    Don't look now but the characteristics of tyranny are appearing from all around and damn near global at that.

    Tyrants most definitely do not like terrorists... cunt fucking rebels the lot.

    I think it's about time to redefine security. Citizens do not need oversight, government does and at all levels.

    And guns. Have so few taken notice of what coppers are doing to guys with knives, cigarettes, toy guns and dark complexions? Seen any drone demos lately? wtf. Checks, yes. Controls, not so much. Don't get me wrong, I'm game for firearm sanity but I'm definitely not up for a rigged game. Fistfulls of data on every Tom and Sally and little to no effective oversight for the Tom and Sally behind a badge or a fat ass security clearance.

    And the next fucking time I see stats about, oh what's the word.. "mass shootings" in the context of gun control - you better give me some other fucking everyday death stats on butts, drunk drivers, terrorism, veteran suicides. Fuck. Journalism matters.

    So why does everyone constantly try to fight the effects like they're the causes? Can I get some cause control up in this mother fucker, please?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Dec 2015 @ 5:04pm

    And think, all of you commentators are mad and have valid points... but will be completely dismissed by the media, the government, and many people as loons.
    Fun, isn't it.
    #StayWoke

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      GEMont (profile), 6 Dec 2015 @ 9:24am

      Re:

      ...and its only just begun to be fun.

      Soon we will have weekly terror attacks, bombings, mass shootings and 'see and tell' marathons and all the other fine trappings that were used to put the nazis into power before WW2.

      And as Rapnel above noted, all "official" efforts will be to "fight" the symptoms and effects, and the root causes will remain intact and flourish - because those root causes are the very thing that lets the asshats in power continue to screw the public legally and profit from the chaos.

      Its all just hollywood now, so let the show begin.

      ---

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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