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OIG: Most Civil Rights Infringement Claims Against DoJ Do Not Need Further Investigation

An OIG report has found that most civil rights complaints against the Justice Department that were reviewed under Section 1001 do not require further investigation.

Section 1001 requires the OIG to “review information and receive complaints alleging abuses of civil rights and civil liberties by employees and officials of the Department of Justice.”

Between July 1, 2017, and Dec. 31, 2017, the period covered by this report, the OIG processed 539 new civil rights or civil liberties complaints and found 500 did not fall within the OIG’s jurisdiction or did not warrant further review.

The OIG determined that 38 of the remaining complaints raised management issues generally unrelated to the OIG’s Section 1001 duties and, consequently, referred these complaints to DOJ components for appropriate handling. Examples of complaints in this category included allegations by federal prisoners about the general prison conditions.

The OIG identified one complaint warranting further investigation to determine whether Section 1001-related abuses occurred. This complaint was referred to the Bureau of Prisons for further investigation, which determined that the allegations of racial discrimination perpetrated by an employee were not substantiated and the case was closed.

The OIG also referred 10 complaints to the BOP for investigation, mainly about racial discrimination, in a previous reporting period and these investigations remain open.

The OIG also reported that it is conducting several other investigations related to its duties under Section 1001. These include a review of  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 review will examine how FBI field offices respond to leads, and the scope and type of information field offices collect as a result of any investigative activity that is initiated, along with the role the leads have had in the FBI’s counterterrorism efforts.

The OIG is also examining the DEA’s use of administrative subpoenas to obtain broad collections of data or information, and its legal authority for the acquisition or use of these data collections.

During this reporting period, the OIG spent about $148,643 in personnel costs and $100 in miscellaneous costs, for a total of $148,743 to implement its responsibilities under Section 1001.

The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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