FBI Internal Audit:

Opportunities for Improvement

GGD-89-9: Published: Nov 23, 1988. Publicly Released: Dec 28, 1988.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) internal audit activities to determine the: (1) extent of the audits' focus on major FBI investigative programs; (2) steps FBI took to increase the qualifications, independence, and permanence of its inspection and audit staffs; and (3) potential weaknesses in audit quality and effectiveness.

GAO found that, since 1979, FBI has: (1) improved its inspection and program evaluation activities by focusing on its 11 major investigative programs during division and field office inspection; (2) evaluated all major investigative programs at least once, except for the recently established FBI Drug Program; and (3) raised the educational and experience requirements for its program evaluation staff. GAO also found that, by filling audit management positions temporarily with special agents, FBI could impair the independence of the internal audits.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: OPEA annually reassesses and reprioritizes the programs to be evaluated over the next couple of years. This annual rethinking of issues allows the FBI to focus their resources on the programs it considers the most important. One of the key areas considered during this process is the programs' vulnerability. Changes to the planning process fulfills the intent of this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Director, FBI, should modify the internal audit procedures of the Office of Program Evaluations and Audits (OPEA) to improve its long-range planning of program evaluations through periodically assessing the vulnerabilities of FBI operations and considering these vulnerabilities in its long-range evaluation plans, and consider assessing the vulnerabilities of the individual categories of crimes that make up the major criminal investigative programs.

    Agency Affected: Department of Justice: Federal Bureau of Investigation

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: FBI/OPEA modified its Standard Operating Procedures manual to require that each audit program include statistical audit procedures, where appropriate.

    Recommendation: The Director, FBI, should modify the internal audit procedures of OPEA to require that individual audit programs include specific statistical audit procedures where appropriate that will support conclusions made as a result of program results audits.

    Agency Affected: Department of Justice: Federal Bureau of Investigation

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: FBI/OPEA now requires a definite go/no/go decision on audits about 90 days after initiating work.

    Recommendation: The Director, FBI, should modify the internal audit procedures of OPEA to establish a specific point in the evaluation process where a decision is made on whether or not continuation of the evaluation justifies the additional expenditures of resources.

    Agency Affected: Department of Justice: Federal Bureau of Investigation

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: FBI/OPEA has issued workpaper standards as part of its Standard Operating Procedures. These standards are more uniform and detailed than prior standards.

    Recommendation: The Director, FBI, should modify the internal audit procedures of OPEA to develop and implement standards for preparing work papers.

    Agency Affected: Department of Justice: Federal Bureau of Investigation

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The FBI has taken some steps to improve the permanency of internal auditors, primarily by hiring one permanent, nonagent evaluator and beginning processes to hire one or more additional permanent evaluators. However, the majority of evaluators and those responsible for directing the Inspection Division and internal audit activities remain agents subject to rotation.

    Recommendation: The Attorney General should require the Director, FBI, to improve the independence of FBI inspection activities by increasing the permanency of the persons responsible for directing or managing the Inspection Division and internal audit activities.

    Agency Affected: Department of Justice

 

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