The Inspector General conducts investigations, evaluations, and audits for the Department of Justice. The results of these internal investigations offer an insight into the workings of the DOJ and allow the public to better understand how the Department functions and the measures being taken to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the office.
Ultimately, these Inspector General investigations help ensure the DOJ is being managed in an ethical and responsible manner, as well as, allow the public to be more confident in the operations of a taxpayer-funded entity.
IG reports are critical for the public to understand the measures taken to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the DOJ, and as a mechanism to hold the agency accountable. For example, in 2010, the OIG issued a report on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (“FBI”) use of “exigent letters” and other means to obtain telephone records from three unnamed phone companies.4 The 300-page report concluded that many of the FBI’s practices “violated FBI guidelines, Department policy,” and the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. The OIG report established that “the FBI’s initial attempts at corrective action were seriously deficient, ill-conceived, and poorly executed,” and proposed recommendations for improvement. The OIG report led to increased public scrutiny of the FBI’s practices, including a hearing before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary. These OIG investigations help to ensure that the DOJ is managed ethically and responsibly, and promotes public confidence in the operations of the federal agency.
However, not all Inspector General reports are made public. As a consequence, the public is deprived of the opportunity to be fully informed of the activities of a major federal agency.
EPIC’s Open Government project seeks to ensure that the public is fully informed about the activities of government. Many government activities that EPIC has investigated over the years have involved the DOJ and its component agencies. EPIC, therefore, has a significant interest in obtaining non-public reports from the OIG, whose mission is “to detect and deter waste, fraud, abuse, and misconduct in DOJ programs and personnel, and to promote economy and efficiency in those programs.”
EPIC previously obtained oversight reports on the CIA surveillance of muslims in New York, and CIA spying on Senate staff.
U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (No. 16-1402)