This is the accessible text file for GAO report number GAO-03-459 
entitled 'Homeland Security: Justice Department's Project to Interview 
Aliens after September 11, 2001' which was released on May 09, 2003.

This text file was formatted by the U.S. General Accounting Office 
(GAO) to be accessible to users with visual impairments, as part of a 
longer term project to improve GAO products' accessibility. Every 
attempt has been made to maintain the structural and data integrity of 
the original printed product. Accessibility features, such as text 
descriptions of tables, consecutively numbered footnotes placed at the 
end of the file, and the text of agency comment letters, are provided 
but may not exactly duplicate the presentation or format of the printed 
version. The portable document format (PDF) file is an exact electronic 
replica of the printed version. We welcome your feedback. Please E-mail 
your comments regarding the contents or accessibility features of this 
document to Webmaster@gao.gov.

This is a work of the U.S. government and is not subject to copyright 
protection in the United States. It may be reproduced and distributed 
in its entirety without further permission from GAO. Because this work 
may contain copyrighted images or other material, permission from the 
copyright holder may be necessary if you wish to reproduce this 
material separately.

Report to Congressional Committees:

United States General Accounting Office:

GAO:

April 2003:

Homeland Security:

Justice Department's Project to Interview Aliens after September 11, 
2001:

GAO-03-459:

GAO Highlights:

Highlights of GAO-03-459, a report to Congressional Requesters 


Why GAO Did This Study:

As one response to the September 11 terrorist attacks, the Department 
of Justice (DOJ) initiated a project to interview aliens whose 
characteristics were similar to those responsible for the attacks. The 
purpose was to determine what knowledge the aliens might have of 
terrorists and terrorist activities. GAO was asked to determine

* the criteria DOJ used in compiling the list of aliens to be 
questioned,
* whether law enforcement complied with DOJ guidance for the project,
* the interview projectís status, and what information resulted from 
it.

What GAO Found:

Between September 11 and November 9, 2001, the Immigration and 
Naturalization Service (INS) compiled a list of aliens whose 
characteristics were similar to those of the hijackers. DOJ searched 
its databases for aliens that fit certain characteristics relating to 
type of visa, gender, age, date of entry into the United States, and 
country that issued the passport, and identified 7,602 names for 
interview.

According to law enforcement officials, attorneys for interviewees, 
and immigration advocates in six U.S. Attorney districts, law 
enforcement officers who conducted the interviews adhered to DOJ 
guidelines for the project. The guidelines stressed that the projectís 
objective was information gathering, not criminal investigation, and 
that participation was to be voluntary.  Attorneys for interviewees 
and immigration advocates agreed that the law enforcement officers 
adhered to project guidelines, but expressed the view that interviewed 
aliens did not perceive the interviews to be truly voluntary. They 
noted that although aliens were not coerced to participate in the 
interviews, they worried about repercussions, such as future INS 
denials for visa extensions or permanent residency, if they refused to 
be interviewed.

Firm and complete information on the projectís status is unavailable. 
As of March 2003, law enforcement officers had interviewed 3,216 
aliensóabout 42 percent of the names on the list (see figure). 
However, the list contained problems such as duplicate names and data 
entry errors, making it difficult to determine how many interviews 
remained to be completed. 

DOJ asserted that the project netted intelligence information and had 
a disruptive effect on terrorists. But the results are difficult to 
measure, and DOJ has not fully analyzed all the data obtained from the 
interviews or how effectively the project was implemented.

What GAO Recommends:

Because there are indications that the governmentís antiterrorism 
efforts will continue to rely, in part, on conducting interview 
projects with aliens who reside in this country, GAO recommends that 
the Attorney General initiate a formal review of the project and 
report on lessons learned. In commenting on a draft of this report, 
DOJ was silent on GAOís findings, conclusions, and recommendation. DOJ 
provided technical comments, which GAO evaluated and incorporated, as 
appropriate. DOJ also expressed two specific concerns about the 
presentation of information that GAO responded to in the report.

www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-03-459.

To view the full report, including the scope
and methodology, click on the link above.
For more information, contact Richard M. Stana at (202) 512-8777 or 
stanar@gao.gov.

[End of section]

Contents:

Letter:

Scope and Methodology:

Background:

Results in Brief:

Demographic and Visa Information Used in Compiling the List of 
Nonimmigrant Aliens to Be Questioned:

Interviewers Complied with DOJ Guidance; Project Implemented 
Differently by Districts:

Complete Information Lacking on Status:

Project Results Not Analyzed and Hard to Measure:

Conclusions:

Recommendations for Executive Action:

Agency Comments and Our Evaluation:

Appendix I: List of Questions Used in Interviews:

Appendix II: Notification Letter Sent in the Eastern District of 
Michigan:

Appendix III: March 2003 Data on the Interview Project, by District, 
First and Second Phases of Interviews Combined:

Appendix IV: GAO Contacts and Acknowledgments:

GAO Contacts:

Acknowledgments:

Table:

Table 1: Branches of Law Enforcement Participating in Project, by 
District:

Abbreviations:

ATTF: Anti-Terrorism Task Force:

DOJ: Department of Justice:

EOUSA: Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys:

FBI: Federal Bureau of Investigations:

FTTTF: Foreign Terrorist Tracking Task Force:

INS: Immigration and Naturalization Service:

United States General Accounting Office:

Washington, DC 20548:

April 11, 2003:

The Honorable John Conyers, Jr.
Ranking Minority Member
Committee on the Judiciary
House of Representatives

The Honorable Russell D. Feingold
Ranking Minority Member
Subcommittee on the Constitution
Committee on the Judiciary
United States Senate:

In response to the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade 
Center and the Pentagon, the U.S. government moved on several fronts in 
an effort to thwart future terrorist attacks. For example, Congress 
passed the USA PATRIOT Act,[Footnote 1] which, among other things, 
expanded the government's authority to conduct surveillance on 
suspected terrorists and increased the ability of law enforcement and 
intelligence agencies to share information. Congress also enacted 
legislation to form a new executive department, the Department of 
Homeland Security,[Footnote 2] to enable the government to address the 
terrorist threat in a more coordinated manner. The Department of 
Defense imprisoned enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to 
interrogate them for information that might help prevent future attacks 
and catch other suspects. The Department of Justice (DOJ) detained 
aliens in this country whom they suspected of having knowledge of or 
involvement in terrorist activities. DOJ also initiated a project to 
interview about 7,600 nonimmigrant aliens[Footnote 3]--about 4,800 in 
the first phase of interviews and about 2,800 in the second phase--
whose characteristics were similar to those of the 
September 11 hijackers to try to determine, among other things, what 
knowledge they had of terrorists and planned terrorist activities.

Scope and Methodology:

In response to your request for information on the interview 
project,[Footnote 4] this report addresses the following objectives:

* the specific criteria DOJ used in compiling the list of nonimmigrant 
aliens to be questioned;

* whether law enforcement officers who conducted interviews complied 
with DOJ guidance on procedures for questioning aliens, including 
instructions, if any, on ensuring that the questioning was voluntary;

* the status of the interview project; and:

* what information resulted from the interview project.

To determine the specific criteria DOJ used in compiling the list of 
nonimmigrant aliens to be questioned, we reviewed available 
documentation and interviewed officials from DOJ, including the 
Director of the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys (EOUSA), and the 
Director of the Foreign Terrorist Tracking Task Force (FTTTF).

To determine whether law enforcement complied with the guidance, we 
reviewed the guidance that DOJ provided to the interviewing agencies on 
procedures for conducting the questioning. Specifically, we reviewed 
the Attorney General's directive on the project and the Deputy Attorney 
General's November 9, 2001, memorandum providing guidance, and the list 
of interview questions that EOUSA provided to the U.S. Attorney 
district offices. In addition, we interviewed officials from EOUSA, 
including the Director of EOUSA, as well as law enforcement officials, 
immigration rights advocates, and attorneys for interviewed aliens. 
Specifically, we interviewed 10 U.S. Attorneys and/or Assistant U.S. 
Attorneys; 47 federal, state, and local law enforcement officials who 
conducted the interviews; 8 attorneys who represented aliens that had 
been interviewed; and 22 immigration rights advocates. We conducted 
these interviews during visits to the following six U.S. Attorney 
districts:[Footnote 5]

* Eastern Michigan (Detroit, Michigan);

* Northern Texas (Dallas, Texas);

* Central California (Los Angeles, California);

* Southern New York (New York City, New York);

* Eastern New York (Long Island, New York); and:

* New Jersey (Newark, New Jersey).

To determine the status of the interview project and what information 
resulted from it, we interviewed DOJ officials, including the Director 
of EOUSA and the General Counsel of the Federal Bureau of Investigation 
(FBI), reviewed a February 2002 status report on the project's results, 
and reviewed statistics on project status that DOJ had compiled as of 
March 14, 2003. We also interviewed federal law enforcement officials 
from the FBI, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), 
Internal Revenue Service, and U.S. Postal Service. In addition, we met 
with state and local law enforcement officials from the Michigan State 
Police; West Bloomfield Township, Michigan Police; Farmington Hills, 
Michigan Police; and the Suffolk County, New York Police. We did not 
interview state and local law enforcement officials in the other four 
U.S. Attorney districts because they did not have an active involvement 
in the project. In addition, we interviewed attorneys for interviewed 
aliens, and immigration rights advocates in the six U.S. Attorney 
districts we visited.

We visited the Eastern Michigan and Northern Texas districts because 
over 20 percent of the interviews in the first phase of the project 
were conducted in these two districts. We visited the Central 
California and the New York area districts for geographic dispersion. 
In total, the six U.S. Attorney district offices we visited accounted 
for slightly over 27 percent of the interviews during the project's 
first phase. The information that we collected from the six districts 
pertains only to those districts and cannot be generalized to all of 
the districts involved in the interview project. We did not attend any 
interviews or talk with any alien who was questioned as part of the 
interview project. According to the attorneys and immigration rights 
advocates with whom we spoke, these individuals did not feel 
comfortable meeting with us because we are government officials. We 
obtained data on the status of the interview project from EOUSA, 
although limitations in EOUSA's data, which we note in the report, 
precluded us from providing a firm and complete accounting of the 
project's status.

We conducted our review from April 2002 to March 2003 in accordance 
with generally accepted government auditing standards.

Background:

Pursuant to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the Attorney 
General directed EOUSA to oversee an interview project that was 
intended to gather information on potential terrorism and help prevent 
any future terrorist attacks. In a November 9, 2001, memorandum to U.S. 
Attorneys, the Attorney General provided the directive for the project 
and the Deputy Attorney General provided guidelines for the project. 
EOUSA later distributed the list of questions to be asked, which were 
based on the Deputy Attorney General's guidelines. The subjects of the 
interviews were certain nonimmigrant aliens, who were to be considered 
potential sources of information about terrorists or terrorist 
activities, rather than suspects, and their participation in the 
interview project was to be voluntary.

Several federal law enforcement entities contributed to the development 
and implementation of the interview project. These included FTTTF, INS, 
EOUSA, U.S. Attorney offices, Anti-Terrorism Task Force (ATTF)[Footnote 
6] members, the FBI, and the Justice Management Division. The FTTTF 
developed the criteria for determining which nonimmigrant aliens should 
be interviewed. INS generated a list of prospective interview subjects 
and their addresses, and the address information was refined through a 
search of public databases. EOUSA implemented the project through its 
94 U.S. Attorney district offices, which were to coordinate the 
interviews with ATTF members in each U.S. Attorney district. The 
Attorney General's memorandum on the project stated that ATTFs would be 
used for this project because "federal resources have their limits... 
and...there are many more people to be interviewed than there are 
federal agents to conduct the interviews.":

The U.S. Attorneys were responsible for assigning the interviews to the 
various participating ATTF members, providing the written guidance 
issued by the Attorney General, collecting the reports of the 
interviews, and coordinating any follow-up investigations with FBI 
Special Agents-in-Charge. ATTF members were responsible for conducting 
the interviews in accordance with the guidance, drafting and submitting 
a written report of each interview, and participating in follow-up 
investigations, as they deemed appropriate.

Results in Brief:

Demographic and visa information on the perpetrators of the September 
11 attacks formed the criteria for compiling the list of nonimmigrant 
aliens to be questioned. To identify individuals whose characteristics 
were similar to those of the perpetrators, FTTTF sought to identify 
from INS records the names and current addresses of aliens that (1) had 
certain types of visas and (2) fit certain characteristics relating to 
gender, age, date of entry into the United States, and country that 
issued passport. Due to concerns about the reliability of INS's address 
information,[Footnote 7] FTTTF supplemented INS's address information 
with public source data. The FTTTF used similar criteria in the two 
phases of interviews except that the aliens' age range, the range of 
their dates of entry into the country, and the number of countries 
covered were expanded for the second phase.

The law enforcement officers who conducted the interviews adhered to 
DOJ's guidance, according to the law enforcement officials, attorneys 
for interviewees, and immigration advocates with whom we spoke. The 
attorneys and advocates told us that interviews were conducted in a 
respectful and professional manner, and interviewees were not coerced 
to participate. They noted, however, that the interviewed aliens did 
not perceive the interviews to be truly voluntary because they worried 
about repercussions, such as future INS denials for visa extensions or 
permanent residency, if they refused. Further, although there was 
consensus on the voluntary nature of the interviews, more than half of 
the law enforcement officers we spoke with expressed concerns about the 
quality of the questions asked and the value of the responses obtained 
in the interview project.

Because of data limitations, EOUSA cannot provide firm and complete 
information on the current status of the interview project. EOUSA's 
data indicated that, as of March 2003, 3,216 nonimmigrant aliens had 
been interviewed during the two phases of the interview project. This 
is about 42 percent of 7,602 names sent to U.S. Attorney offices for 
interviewing. However, the list contained such problems as duplicate 
names and data entry errors, which limited EOUSA's ability to determine 
exactly how many unique individuals (1) the list represented, (2) had 
left the country, (3) could not be located, and (4) had moved to 
another district. Because of these problems, it is not possible to 
determine how many interviews remain to be completed. Although the 
interview project was to end in May 2002, it was still ongoing in 
January 2003 and DOJ expected that it will be completed by March 1, 
2003.

Information resulting from the interview project had not been analyzed 
as of March 2003; and the extent to which the interview project may 
have helped the government combat terrorism is hard to measure. 
According to DOJ officials, there are no specific plans to analyze the 
project data. DOJ has asserted that the project netted intelligence 
information and had a disruptive effect on terrorists. EOUSA's February 
2002 status report to the Attorney General stated that the interview 
project resulted in useful leads, but it did not provide specific 
examples, citing the sensitivity of the leads. The report also stated 
that "fewer than" 20 interviewees were arrested, mostly due to 
immigration violations. The second phase of interviews, which was to 
have been completed in May 2002, was still ongoing in January 2003. Law 
enforcement representatives with whom we spoke expressed differing 
views on how the interview project affected community relations. Some 
said that the interview project was helpful in building ties to the 
community while others stated that it had a negative effect on 
relations between the Arab community and law enforcement personnel.

DOJ has not conducted an assessment of the interview project and as of 
January 2003, had no specific plans to do so, although EOUSA officials 
told us they thought such an assessment would be valuable. We recognize 
that DOJ acted quickly after the September 11 attacks to try to develop 
leads that could help deter another attack. National security, as 
opposed to interview project methodology and oversight, was rightfully 
paramount in importance. Because there are indications that the 
government's antiterrorism efforts will continue to rely, in part, on 
conducting interview projects with aliens who reside in this country, 
this report contains a recommendation to the Attorney General to 
initiate a review of the interview project that would address lessons 
learned. In commenting on a draft of this report, DOJ was silent on our 
findings, conclusions, and recommendation. DOJ provided technical 
comments, which we evaluated and incorporated, as appropriate. DOJ also 
expressed two concerns--one relating to the objective of the interview 
project and the other relating to our presentation of data--which we 
respond to in the Agency Comments and Evaluation section of the report.

Demographic and Visa Information Used in Compiling the List of 
Nonimmigrant Aliens to Be Questioned:

Selected characteristics of the perpetrators of the September 11 
attacks formed the criteria for compiling the list of nonimmigrant 
aliens to be questioned. To identify individuals whose characteristics 
were similar to those of the perpetrators, FTTTF obtained a dataset of 
336,330 records on nonimmigrant aliens who had entered the United 
States or were issued a visa between January 1, 1999, and September 5, 
2001. Because travelers could have entered, departed, and reentered the 
country several times, the dataset could have contained multiple 
records for a single alien. Of the 336,300 names that FTTTF received 
for the first phase of the interview project, it selected 5,146 names 
with public source addresses who:

* entered the United States after January 1, 2000;

* claimed citizenship from any of 15 countries in which intelligence 
indicated that there was an al Qaeda terrorist presence or activity; 
and:

* were males born between January 1968 and December 1983;

According to DOJ's February 2002 status report, FTTTF's rationale in 
selecting these characteristics was that their demographic similarity 
to the terrorists would make them more likely to reside in the same 
communities or be members of the same social groups and, therefore, 
more likely to be aware of suspicious activity.

INS obtained the name and address information from its Nonimmigrant 
Information System, an automated database that contains address and 
identity information on nonimmigrant aliens who were inspected upon 
their entry into the United States. Because FTTTF considered INS's 
address information to be of questionable reliability, it consulted 
public source databases and supplemented INS's information to attempt 
to provide the most current address information for these aliens to the 
U.S. Attorneys.[Footnote 8] The individuals selected for interview were 
identified as having a U.S. street address listed in commercially 
available public source records.

In March 2002, the Attorney General stated that the interview project 
produced valuable sources of information and started a second phase of 
interviews. Using criteria similar to those in the first phase of the 
project, FTTTF compiled a list of 3,189 names of nonimmigrant aliens 
for the second phase. The change in criteria included broadening the 
age range, date of entry, and number of countries of citizenship of the 
nonimmigrant aliens to those who:

* were males born between January 1955 and December 1984;

* entered the United States between January 1 and February 27, 2002; 
and:

* claimed citizenship from any of 26 countries in which intelligence 
indicated that there was an al Qaeda terrorist presence or activity.

FTTTF sent 8,335 nonimmigrant alien names to districts for interviewing 
during the two phases of the interview project. After eliminating some, 
but not all of the duplicate names, the districts had 7,602 names on 
their interview lists as of March 14, 2003.

Interviewers Complied with DOJ Guidance; Project Implemented 
Differently by Districts:

The interview guidelines, including the questions that law enforcement 
officers were to ask the nonimmigrant aliens, were distributed to 94 
U.S. Attorney districts.[Footnote 9] The guidelines stated the 
interviews were to be voluntary, and both law enforcement officers and 
nonimmigrant aliens' representatives with whom we spoke confirmed that 
the interviewers followed the guidelines for obtaining voluntary 
participation. There was some variation among districts about how the 
interview project was implemented.

Interviewers Complied with DOJ's Guidelines for Obtaining Voluntary 
Participation:

In all the districts we visited, officials from the U.S. Attorney 
offices told us they stressed that the questioning would be voluntary, 
and they distributed the guidance to the federal, state, and local law 
enforcement officials who would be conducting the interviews. The law 
enforcement officials we met with also stated that they followed the 
guidelines for obtaining voluntary participation.

In the three districts we visited where we were told that immigration 
rights advocates and attorneys sat in on interviews, we were told that 
interviews were conducted in a respectful and professional manner, and 
that the interviewees were not coerced to participate. However, they 
also reported that aliens told them that they did not feel the 
interviews were truly voluntary. This was because the aliens feared 
there could be repercussions to them for declining to participate. For 
example, interviewees were reportedly afraid that future requests for 
visa extensions or permanent residency would be denied if they did not 
agree to be interviewed. Some aliens also reported to their attorneys 
and advocates that they felt they were being singled out because of 
their ethnicity or religious beliefs.

DOJ Provided Guidance Package and Questionnaire to Interviewing 
Agencies:

The Deputy Attorney General provided EOUSA with guidance that consisted 
of a two-page Attorney General's directive on the interview project and 
an eight-page memorandum describing the topics that the interview was 
to cover and interviewing tips. EOUSA distributed these guidelines, as 
well as a list of interview questions based on the topics listed in the 
guidance, to its 94 district offices. EOUSA held a telephone conference 
with all U.S. Attorney district offices on November 9, 2001, to review 
the guidelines and reinforce the fact that the interviews were to be 
voluntary. The guidelines stated the following:

* The objective of the project was information gathering.

* The persons to be interviewed were not suspected of involvement in 
criminal activity; therefore, the interviews would be consensual, and 
every interview subject was free to decline answering questions.

* While the primary purpose of the interviews was not to ascertain the 
legality of the individuals' immigration status, the federal 
responsibility to enforce the immigration laws was an important one.

* The persons to be interviewed would not be asked about their 
religious beliefs or practices.

* Investigators should feel free to ask about any topic that would 
elicit information that could reasonably assist in the effort to learn 
about those who support, commit, or associate with persons who commit 
terrorism.

The interview topics included personal information about the alien, 
such as birthplace and country of citizenship; address and phone 
numbers, including those of family members and close associates; 
employment and sources of income; and education, including professional 
licenses or scientific expertise. Other topics covered the alien's 
foreign travel, involvement in armed conflicts, reaction to terrorism, 
knowledge of terrorism or the financing of terrorism, and knowledge of 
any criminal activity. (See app. I for the complete list of interview 
questions.) Of the 
33 questions on the interview form, 21 were in a "yes/no" format. The 
following are examples of questions asked:

* "Has the person ever visited Afghanistan? Yes or no. If yes, when and 
for what reason?":

* "Does the person know anyone capable [of] or willing to carry out 
acts of terrorism? Yes or No. If yes, please explain.":

* "Does the person have any knowledge of involvement in advocating, 
planning, supporting, or committing terrorist activities? Yes or No. If 
yes, please explain." and:

* "Is the person aware of any persons or groups in his homeland who 
might be planning or advocating terrorist acts against the U.S.? Yes or 
No. If yes, please explain.":

More than half of the law enforcement officers we interviewed raised 
concerns about the quality of the questions or the value of the 
responses. For example, they noted that the questions were redundant, 
did not produce complete answers, had limited value, and elicited 
responses that aliens thought would help them avoid attracting further 
attention from law enforcement.

Project Implementation Varied by District:

During our visits to U.S. Attorney districts, we learned of several 
differences in how the districts implemented the interview project. For 
example, there were differences among districts in training for the 
interviews, procedures for contacting interviewees, and agencies 
involved in conducting the interviews. In all of the districts we 
visited, law enforcement officials told us they received no formal 
complaints regarding the project.

Some Districts Held Mandatory Training Sessions, While Others Did Not:

In all six districts we visited, we were told that the interview 
guidelines were provided to the interviewers and that the voluntary 
nature of the interviews was stressed. Three districts (Eastern 
District of Michigan, Northern District of Texas, and New Jersey) held 
mandatory training sessions on how law enforcement officers were to 
conduct the interviews, and three districts did not. Each district that 
offered mandatory training required attendance by all personnel who 
were to conduct the interviews. These districts also offered additional 
training. For example, one of these districts conducted a session on 
how to identify fraudulent immigration documents, and the other two 
districts conducted sessions on Middle Eastern cultural awareness. At 
one district where mandatory training was held, law enforcement 
officials told us that the U.S. Attorney in that district instructed 
them not to deviate from the questions on the interview instrument. In 
this district, the interview data may be more limited because from a 
methodological standpoint, open-ended questions in which respondents 
are asked to express and explain their perceptions and experiences are 
more likely to elicit information of a substantive nature. The three 
districts that did not have mandatory training sessions still provided 
training to some, but not all, interviewers. For example, officials 
from the U.S. Attorneys office in the Central District of California 
stated that supervisors received training.

Different Methods Were Used to Contact Interviewees:

The districts we visited used different methods for notifying aliens 
about the interview project. In five of the districts we visited, the 
district let the law enforcement agent conducting the interview decide 
whether to contact the person by phone or by visiting their residence 
without prior notification. In general, agents told us that they used 
the contact method they thought would have the most success in 
producing an interview.

Two of the 94 districts--the Northern District of Illinois and the 
Eastern District of Michigan--sent letters to aliens notifying them of 
the interview project. Officials in the U.S. Attorneys office in the 
Eastern District of Michigan told us they sent a letter that described 
the project and provided time for the aliens to find counsel, if 
desired, and prepare for the interview. The letter explained the 
purpose of the project and stated that participation in the project was 
voluntary. After receiving the letter, aliens could either call to 
schedule the interview time and place or decline to be interviewed. We 
were told that agents would only conduct unannounced visits to aliens' 
residences if they did not respond to the letter. Almost all of the 
attorneys and immigration rights advocates we interviewed in the 
Eastern District of Michigan thought this approach was optimal for the 
project. The main criticism expressed about the Eastern District of 
Michigan's letter was that there was no mention in the letter that a 
person could bring an attorney to the interview. (See app. II for a 
copy of the letter.):

Federal and Local Law Enforcement Involvement Varied in the Project:

The involvement of INS, FBI, and local law enforcement agencies in the 
interview project varied across districts. Table 1 shows which agencies 
were and were not involved in conducting interviews in the six 
districts we visited.

Table 1: Branches of Law Enforcement Participating in Project, by 
District:

District: Eastern Michigan; Agencies involved: * FBI; * Bureau of 
Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; * Drug Enforcement 
Administration; * Internal Revenue Service; * U.S. Postal Service; * 
U.S. Secret Service; * State and local law enforcement; Agencies 
generally not involved: * INS; Reason cited for generally not involving 
agency: Afraid INS would intimidate people who agreed to be 
interviewed..

District: Northern Texas; Agencies involved: * FBI[A]; * INS; Agencies 
generally not involved: * Local law enforcement; Reason cited for 
generally not involving agency: Notified when in its jurisdiction, but 
it did not participate often..

District: Central California; Agencies involved: * FBI[A]; Agencies 
generally not involved: * INS; * Local law enforcement; Reason cited 
for generally not involving agency: Afraid INS would intimidate people 
who agreed to be interviewed.; Notified when in its jurisdiction, but 
it did not participate often..

District: Southern New York; Agencies involved: * INS; * Local law 
enforcement; Agencies generally not involved: * FBI; Reason cited for 
generally not involving agency: FBI's local resources stretched too 
thin due to the September 11 investigation..

District: Eastern New York; Agencies involved: * Local law enforcement; 
* U.S. Attorney Criminal Investigators; Agencies generally not 
involved: * INS; * FBI[B]; Reason cited for generally not involving 
agency: INS was understaffed.; FBI's local resources stretched too thin 
due to the September 11 investigation..

District: New Jersey; Agencies involved: * FBI[A]; * Local law 
enforcement; Agencies generally not involved: * INS; Reason cited for 
generally not involving agency: Afraid INS would intimidate people who 
agreed to be interviewed..

Source: GAO analyses based on site visits.

[A] Lead interviewing agency.

[B] Not involved in first phase of interviews, but involved in second 
phase.

[End of table]

As shown in table 1, the FBI served as the lead interviewing agency in 
three districts, and as a participating agency in one district. Four 
districts opted not to have INS agents conduct any interviews because 
they felt it would intimidate the interviewees or was understaffed. 
Local law enforcement was generally involved in conducting interviews 
in four districts, and minimally involved in two districts. According 
to DOJ's February 2002 status report, local police departments in a 
handful of jurisdictions refused to conduct interviews, citing concerns 
about racial profiling and local laws or regulations that restricted 
their participation in the enforcement of federal immigration laws.

Complete Information Lacking on Status:

It is not possible to provide complete information on the current 
status of the interview project because of limitations in EOUSA's data.

On February 26, 2002, DOJ reported some aggregate information on the 
first phase of interviews. Out of 4,793 potential interviews, DOJ 
reported that:

* 4,112 individuals were in the country, and 681 had left the country;

* 2,261 interviews were conducted;

* 1,097 individuals--about 27 percent of the 4,112 individuals who 
remained in the country--were not located;

* 785 individuals had relocated to another district; and:

* small percentage of individuals declined to be interviewed.[Footnote 
10]

DOJ reported that fewer than 20 people were arrested,[Footnote 11] 
mostly on immigration violations charges. Most of these arrests 
occurred when people who had agreed to be interviewed were found to 
have immigration violations. Three individuals were arrested on 
criminal charges--none of them appeared to have any connection to 
terrorism.

Since February 2002, EOUSA did not collect data on the status of the 
first phase of interviews. Therefore, of the 4,112 individuals who were 
determined to be in the country, we do not know how many were 
interviewed in addition to the 2,261 who had already been interviewed 
as of February 2002. For example, EOUSA did not have follow-up data on 
the status of the interviews of the 785 individuals who relocated to 
another district. In these instances, the ATTF in the district to which 
the individual had moved was tasked with completing the interview. 
EOUSA also did not have data on the total number of aliens who declined 
to be interviewed, although it reported that 8 out of 313 individuals 
in the Eastern District of Michigan, 1 out of 69 individuals in Oregon, 
and 1 out of 59 individuals in Minnesota refused to be interviewed.

EOUSA's data indicated that, as of March 2003, 3,216 nonimmigrant 
aliens had been interviewed during the two phases of the interview 
project. This is about 42 percent of 7,602 names sent to U.S. Attorney 
offices for interviewing. However, according to EOUSA officials, the 
following data problems make it difficult to determine the status of 
the project:

* The names of aliens to be interviewed were not "scrubbed for 
duplicates" before being sent to the U.S. Attorney offices.

* Arabic names consist of four distinct parts, while American databases 
were traditionally designed to accommodate three-part names.

* Variations in the spelling of traditional Arabic names and in the 
Arabic vs. American format for recording birth dates may have resulted 
in data entry errors.

These data problems limited EOUSA's ability to determine exactly how 
many unique individuals (1) the list represented, (2) had left the 
country, (3) could not be located, and (4) had moved to another 
district. Because there were duplicate names on the interview list, 
however, we can deduce that the number of individuals who were to be 
interviewed was fewer than 7,602, and the interview completion rate may 
have been higher than 
42 percent. Problems with the data also mean that EOUSA has not been 
able to determine how many interviews remain to be completed. (See app. 
III for data on the number of intended interview subjects and the 
number of people interviewed by district.):

As of January 2003, EOUSA's senior officials responsible for the 
project did not know the extent to which the interviews had been 
completed. Out of 94 U.S. Attorney districts, 26 districts had not 
conducted any interviews as part of the second phase of the project. 
The second phase was to begin in March 2002 and end in May 2002. EOUSA 
officials provided us the following information about the 26 districts 
that had not conducted any interviews during the second phase:

* Four districts did not receive any names for the first or second 
phase.

* Six districts did not receive any new names for the second phase.

* Seven districts determined that the individuals they were to 
interview for the second phase had left the country, transferred to 
another district, or could not be located.

* One district reported that all of the names provided for the second 
phase were duplicates from the first phase.

* EOUSA had no information on why the remaining 8 districts had not 
conducted any interviews during the second phase.

EOUSA officials told us that the interview project was a priority for 
DOJ because the directive to undertake the project came from the 
Attorney General. They noted, however, that they were asking law 
enforcement agents to interview people who were not under 
investigation. Therefore, at the field level, investigative needs may 
have shifted the priority assigned to conducting the interviews. 
Nonetheless, officials at EOUSA told us that the interview project was 
ongoing, and they expected it to be completed by March 1, 2003.

EOUSA officials told us that they have not done an assessment of the 
interview project to determine "lessons learned" in the event that a 
similar effort should be undertaken in the future. As of January 2003, 
EOUSA officials said they had no specific plans to conduct an 
assessment of their interview project. In response to our inquiries 
about what improvements, if any, could be made if such a project were 
undertaken again, they noted that information on project status could 
be more complete and reliable if several steps are taken when preparing 
for the project. For example, they said that it would be helpful to 
eliminate duplicate names from the interview list before disseminating 
the list to U.S. Attorney offices. They also said that a technical 
specialist should be involved in designing the project to ensure that 
the database can be readily updated. This would eliminate the need for 
EOUSA to query the districts individually to ascertain the status of 
the project. In addition, they noted that data consistency could be 
improved if districts were given guidance on how to interpret and 
report information (for example, what evidence would be needed to 
conclude that an individual had left the country). Finally, they stated 
that it might be useful to obtain feedback from federal, state, and 
local law enforcement on the interview instrument that was used in the 
project to ascertain what improvements could be made.

Project Results Not Analyzed and Hard to Measure:

The data gathered from the interview project had not been analyzed as 
of March 2003, according to senior EOUSA officials. These data have 
been maintained by the Justice Management Division in a centralized 
database. According to DOJ officials, there are no specific plans to 
analyze the project data. Further, it is difficult to measure the value 
and results of investigative leads obtained from the interview project. 
Law enforcement representatives with whom we spoke expressed differing 
views on how the interview project affected community relations.

EOUSA instructed the districts to forward to them any potential leads 
developed from the interviews. How and to what extent the interview 
project--including investigative leads and the increased presence of 
law enforcement in communities--helped the government combat terrorism 
is hard to measure. DOJ has asserted that the project netted 
intelligence information and had a disruptive effect on terrorists. DOJ 
also stated that the interview project strengthened relationships 
between law enforcement and Arab communities. Some law enforcement 
officials and representatives for aliens held the opposite view.

In its February 26, 2002, report to the Attorney General, DOJ officials 
stated that the project was helpful in disrupting potential terrorist 
activities. According to DOJ's report, "These contacts, combined with 
the widespread media attention the project received, ensured that 
potential terrorists sheltering themselves within our communities were 
aware that law enforcement was on the job in their 
neighborhoods."[Footnote 12] The report also stated that the project 
led to meaningful investigative leads--for example, to persons 
manufacturing fraudulent documents--though it did not specify how many 
or where because DOJ considered the information too sensitive to 
divulge. None of the law enforcement officials with whom we spoke could 
provide examples of investigative leads that resulted from the project. 
However, nine of the officials offered the opinion that if the 
interviews provided just one lead that helped prevent a terrorist 
attack, the project would have been worthwhile.

Law enforcement officials differed on whether the interview project was 
helpful in building ties to the community. DOJ stated in its report 
that the project contributed to community building by forging stronger 
ties between the law enforcement and Arab communities. Law enforcement 
officials who conducted interviews in 4 of the 6 districts visited 
expressed similar views to us. They said that the project gave them an 
opportunity to present a friendly law enforcement presence, obtain 
information (including on potential hate crimes directed against the 
interviewees), and leave a business card so the interviewee could 
contact them at a later time, if necessary. They also noted that the 
interviewed aliens were generally cooperative and appeared willing to 
help. Nine of the 47 law enforcement officials with whom we spoke 
reported that aliens offered to work as linguists to help them with 
their investigation. In contrast, federal law enforcement officials at 
the Central California and Eastern New York districts we visited 
expressed the view that the interview project had a negative effect on 
relations between the Arab community and law enforcement personnel.

In the 3 districts we visited where we were told that immigration 
rights advocates and attorneys sat in on interviews, they expressed the 
view that the project had a chilling effect on relations between the 
Arab community and law enforcement, even though the interviewers were 
professional and unthreatening. Attorneys and advocates told us that 
interviewed aliens told them they felt they were being singled out and 
investigated because of their ethnicity or religious beliefs. Moreover, 
as noted earlier, aliens reportedly feared repercussions from INS if 
they did not agree to the interview. According to the attorneys, this 
may have been the reason many of the interviewees offered their 
linguistic services in support of the government's efforts to combat 
terrorism.

Conclusions:

The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, quickly set in motion a 
number of government measures intended to combat terrorism. One of 
these was a project designed to gather information on terrorists and 
terrorist activities from selected nonimmigrant aliens who were to 
voluntarily agree to participate in interviews with law enforcement 
agents. Our review found that the project's intent of obtaining aliens' 
voluntary compliance with the interview project was met. However, the 
results of the project--in terms of how many, what types, and the value 
of investigative leads obtained from the interviews--are unknown 
because DOJ considers the information too sensitive to divulge. Views 
about the impact of the project on community relations were mixed, with 
some law enforcement officials indicating that the project helped build 
ties between law enforcement and the Arab community, while others 
indicated that the project had a negative effect on such relations. 
Further, 9 months after the interview project was scheduled to end, it 
was still ongoing. DOJ did not know what the status of the project was, 
and it had no specific plans for conducting a comprehensive assessment 
of lessons learned from the project. This makes oversight of the 
project difficult, and it does not capitalize on experience so that 
future interview projects could be implemented more efficiently and 
effectively.

We recognize that in initiating the interview project after the 
September 
11 attacks, DOJ acted quickly in an effort to develop leads that could 
help deter another attack. National security, as opposed to interview 
project methodology and oversight, was rightfully paramount in 
importance. It is also the case that national security concerns may 
impel the government to conduct additional interview projects (for 
example, interviews with Iraqi nationals residing in the United States) 
such as the one discussed in this report. We believe that lessons that 
can assist similar future efforts can be gleaned from DOJ's experience 
conducting the two-phased interview project discussed in this report. 
In undertaking the interview project, DOJ encountered a host of issues 
that may provide useful input to implementing an interview project in 
the future. For example, EOUSA officials told us that the status of the 
interview project could have been tracked more smoothly if there had 
been more up-front planning in certain areas, such as eliminating 
duplicate names from lists and setting up a mechanism for tracking case 
status. However, DOJ has not conducted a systematic, comprehensive 
assessment of the interview project to obtain feedback on what worked 
well and what could have been improved in implementing it. In 
discussions with EOUSA officials, they agreed that such an assessment 
would be valuable.

Recommendations for Executive Action:

Because there are indications that the government's antiterrorism 
efforts will continue to rely, in part, on conducting interview 
projects with aliens who reside in this country, we believe that the 
interview project affords an opportunity to build a knowledge base that 
could assist future efforts to collect interview data and monitor 
project status. Accordingly, we recommend that the Attorney General, 
upon completion of the interview project, initiate a formal review of 
the project and report on the lessons learned. The issues that such a 
review might address include methods for identifying and locating 
aliens, constructing effective interview questions, designing a 
database for maintaining the data collected, issuing guidance on 
interview methods and inputting data into the database, conducting the 
interviews, obtaining state and local support for the project, 
overseeing project status, and analyzing the data. The review should 
include input from participating law enforcement officials on what 
aspects of the project were effective and how the objectives of the 
project might have been better or more efficiently met.

Agency Comments and Our Evaluation:

Our draft report was reviewed by representatives of the Office of the 
Deputy Attorney General, Executive Office for United States Attorneys, 
Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Immigration and Naturalization 
Service, now part of the Department of Homeland Security. DOJ provided 
us with written comments that were primarily technical in nature, and 
we incorporated them into the report as appropriate. DOJ was silent on 
our findings, conclusions, and recommendation.

DOJ made two substantive points concerning our draft report. In its 
first point, DOJ took issue with our focus on data limitations and 
EOUSA's resulting inability to have firm and complete information on 
the status of the interview project. DOJ stated that the project's 
primary purpose was not to measure the number of persons interviewed, 
but to deter and disrupt potential terrorist activities, gather 
intelligence, and facilitate community outreach. DOJ noted that none of 
these purposes can be measured meaningfully by raw data on the number 
of persons interviewed. We agree with DOJ and made this point ourselves 
in the report. We state in the Results in Brief and Conclusions 
sections that interview project methodology and oversight are not of 
paramount concern when national security is at stake. Nevertheless, we 
believe that timely, quality data (for example, eliminating duplicate 
names from interview lists, maintaining current data on how many 
interviews were completed, and clearly tracking how many interviews 
could not be completed and why) serve an important function in terms of 
efficient project management and effective project oversight. 
Capitalizing on the lessons learned from how this interview project was 
designed and implemented can help future similar projects avoid 
potential pitfalls. That the government may have continuing interest in 
conducting interview projects with foreign nationals is evidenced by 
the FBI's current effort to conduct voluntary interviews with Iraqis to 
gather intelligence information to help with the war effort.

In its second point, DOJ took issue with how we present EOUSA data in 
two instances in the report. In one instance, DOJ stated that our 
graphical presentation of data on the Highlights page of the report 
does not provide an accurate picture of the project's accomplishments 
because it implies that interviews could have been completed with more 
effort. DOJ noted specifically that the chart does not account for a 
large number of aliens who had left the country and, therefore, could 
not have been interviewed. We did not present data on the number of 
potential interviewees who had left the country because our interviews 
with EOUSA officials had indicated the data were not reliable. For 
example, there may have been duplicate entries on the list of 
individuals who were thought to have left the country, or an individual 
may have been classified both as "unable to locate" and "left the 
United States." Because of limitations in the data, it was not possible 
to determine how many distinct individuals the number reported as 
having left the country represented. The chart on the Highlights page 
is intended as a summary of the most reliable information available on 
project status. In presenting the information, we attach no value 
judgment regarding DOJ's performance.

In the second instance, DOJ stated that the table in appendix III does 
not provide a complete and accurate representation of the project 
because we present less than half of the data provided by EOUSA. In 
appendix III, we present information, by judicial district, on the 
number of names sent to the district for interview, and the number of 
interviews conducted. We limit the information to these three variables 
because our discussions with EOUSA officials suggested that the data 
are reliable. We do not present other numbers provided by EOUSA--
specifically, on people referred to another district, transferred out 
of a district, left the United States, and unable to locate--because 
our discussions with EOUSA officials indicated that the data are not 
reliable for a variety of reasons. For example, in addition to the 
types of problems cited above, some districts may have double counted 
individuals who were referred into their district and then transferred 
out of the district. We added a footnote to the table in 
appendix III that makes explicit what additional information EOUSA 
provided us, and why we decided not to present it.

As agreed with your office, unless you publicly announce the contents 
of this report earlier, we plan no further distribution of it until 30 
days from the date of this report. We will then send copies of the 
report to the Chairman and Ranking Minority Member of the Senate 
Committee on the Judiciary; the Chairman of the House Committee on the 
Judiciary; the Chairman and Ranking Minority Member of the Subcommittee 
on Immigration, Senate Committee on the Judiciary; the Chairman and 
Ranking Minority Member of the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border 
Security, and Claims, House Committee on the Judiciary; the Attorney 
General; the Director of the FBI; the Director of the Foreign Terrorist 
Tracking Task Force; the Director of the Office of Management and 
Budget; the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, the Under 
Secretary for Border and Transportation Security, the Director of the 
Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Director of the 
Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, Department of Homeland 
Security; and other interested parties. We will also make copies 
available to others upon request. In addition, the report will be 
available at no charge on GAO's Web site at http://www.gao.gov.

If you or your staffs have any questions about this report, please 
contact Evi Rezmovic or me at (202) 512-8777. Key contributors to this 
report are listed in appendix IV.

Richard M. Stana
Director, Homeland Security and Justice:

Signed by Richard M. Stana:

[End of section]

Appendix I: List of Questions Used in Interviews:

[See PDF for image]

[End of section]

Appendix II: Notification Letter Sent in the Eastern District of 
Michigan:

[See PDF for image]

[End of section]

Appendix III: March 2003 Data on the Interview Project, by District, 
First and Second Phases of Interviews Combined:

Judicial district: Alabama-Middle; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 1; Number of interviews conducted: 1.

Judicial district: Alabama-Northern; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 25; Number of interviews conducted: 14.

Judicial district: Alabama-Southern; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 7; Number of interviews conducted: 4.

Judicial district: Alaska; Number of names assigned to districts: 8; 
Number of interviews conducted: 1.

Judicial district: Arizona; Number of names assigned to districts: 109; 
Number of interviews conducted: 54.

Judicial district: Arkansas-Eastern; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 27; Number of interviews conducted: 14.

Judicial district: Arkansas-Western; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 18; Number of interviews conducted: 12.

Judicial district: California-Central; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 259; Number of interviews conducted: 110.

Judicial district: California-Eastern; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 39; Number of interviews conducted: 18.

Judicial district: California-Northern; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 126; Number of interviews conducted: 63.

Judicial district: California-Southern; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 42; Number of interviews conducted: 16.

Judicial district: Colorado; Number of names assigned to districts: 
178; Number of interviews conducted: 82.

Judicial district: Connecticut; Number of names assigned to districts: 
103; Number of interviews conducted: 70.

Judicial district: Delaware; Number of names assigned to districts: 15; 
Number of interviews conducted: 9.

Judicial district: District of Columbia; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 66; Number of interviews conducted: 21.

Judicial district: Florida-Middle; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 423; Number of interviews conducted: 128.

Judicial district: Florida-Northern; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 55; Number of interviews conducted: 26.

Judicial district: Florida-Southern; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 248; Number of interviews conducted: 109.

Judicial district: Georgia-Middle; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 4; Number of interviews conducted: 2.

Judicial district: Georgia-Northern; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 202; Number of interviews conducted: 42.

Judicial district: Georgia-Southern; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 6; Number of interviews conducted: 3.

Judicial district: Guam/Northern Mariana[B]; Number of names assigned 
to districts: 6; Number of interviews conducted: 4.

Judicial district: Hawaii; Number of names assigned to districts: 18; 
Number of interviews conducted: 4.

Judicial district: Idaho; Number of names assigned to districts: 4; 
Number of interviews conducted: 0.

Judicial district: Illinois-Central; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 55; Number of interviews conducted: 29.

Judicial district: Illinois-Northern; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 482; Number of interviews conducted: 99.

Judicial district: Illinois-Southern; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 10; Number of interviews conducted: 6.

Judicial district: Indiana-Northern; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 53; Number of interviews conducted: 37.

Judicial district: Indiana-Southern; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 39; Number of interviews conducted: 19.

Judicial district: Iowa-Northern; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 18; Number of interviews conducted: 8.

Judicial district: Iowa-Southern; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 141; Number of interviews conducted: 69.

Judicial district: Kansas; Number of names assigned to districts: 69; 
Number of interviews conducted: 52.

Judicial district: Kentucky-Eastern; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 25; Number of interviews conducted: 14.

Judicial district: Kentucky-Western; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 19; Number of interviews conducted: 14.

Judicial district: Louisiana-Eastern; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 60; Number of interviews conducted: 26.

Judicial district: Louisiana-Middle; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 24; Number of interviews conducted: 12.

Judicial district: Louisiana-Western; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 28; Number of interviews conducted: 9.

Judicial district: Maine; Number of names assigned to districts: 8; 
Number of interviews conducted: 3.

Judicial district: Maryland; Number of names assigned to districts: 
157; Number of interviews conducted: 53.

Judicial district: Massachusetts; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 117; Number of interviews conducted: 77.

Judicial district: Michigan-Eastern; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 555; Number of interviews conducted: 330.

Judicial district: Michigan-Western; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 106; Number of interviews conducted: 60.

Judicial district: Minnesota; Number of names assigned to districts: 
188; Number of interviews conducted: 77.

Judicial district: Mississippi-Northern; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 6; Number of interviews conducted: 3.

Judicial district: Mississippi-Southern; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 7; Number of interviews conducted: 5.

Judicial district: Missouri-Eastern; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 53; Number of interviews conducted: 32.

Judicial district: Missouri-Western; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 66; Number of interviews conducted: 44.

Judicial district: Montana; Number of names assigned to districts: 5; 
Number of interviews conducted: 4.

Judicial district: Nebraska; Number of names assigned to districts: 16; 
Number of interviews conducted: 11.

Judicial district: Nevada; Number of names assigned to districts: 17; 
Number of interviews conducted: 6.

Judicial district: New Hampshire; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 15; Number of interviews conducted: 8.

Judicial district: New Jersey; Number of names assigned to districts: 
220; Number of interviews conducted: 106.

Judicial district: New Mexico; Number of names assigned to districts: 
28; Number of interviews conducted: 20.

Judicial district: New York-Eastern; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 246; Number of interviews conducted: 65.

Judicial district: New York-Northern; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 39; Number of interviews conducted: 21.

Judicial district: New York-Southern; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 134; Number of interviews conducted: 49.

Judicial district: New York-Western; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 46; Number of interviews conducted: 7.

Judicial district: North Carolina-Eastern; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 12; Number of interviews conducted: 6.

Judicial district: North Carolina-Middle; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 12; Number of interviews conducted: 3.

Judicial district: North Carolina-Western; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 25; Number of interviews conducted: 11.

Judicial district: North Dakota; Number of names assigned to districts: 
6; Number of interviews conducted: 4.

Judicial district: Ohio-Northern; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 32; Number of interviews conducted: 28.

Judicial district: Ohio-Southern; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 51; Number of interviews conducted: 20.

Judicial district: Oklahoma-Eastern; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 0; Number of interviews conducted: 0.

Judicial district: Oklahoma-Northern; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 57; Number of interviews conducted: 49.

Judicial district: Oklahoma-Western; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 41; Number of interviews conducted: 16.

Judicial district: Oregon; Number of names assigned to districts: 209; 
Number of interviews conducted: 83.

Judicial district: Pennsylvania-Eastern; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 65; Number of interviews conducted: 18.

Judicial district: Pennsylvania-Middle; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 13; Number of interviews conducted: 10.

Judicial district: Pennsylvania-Western; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 35; Number of interviews conducted: 21.

Judicial district: Puerto Rico; Number of names assigned to districts: 
0; Number of interviews conducted: 0.

Judicial district: Rhode Island; Number of names assigned to districts: 
5; Number of interviews conducted: 4.

Judicial district: South Carolina; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 50; Number of interviews conducted: 22.

Judicial district: South Dakota; Number of names assigned to districts: 
1; Number of interviews conducted: 0.

Judicial district: Tennessee-Eastern; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 15; Number of interviews conducted: 5.

Judicial district: Tennessee-Middle; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 17; Number of interviews conducted: 6.

Judicial district: Tennessee-Western; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 16; Number of interviews conducted: 6.

Judicial district: Texas-Eastern; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 89; Number of interviews conducted: 45.

Judicial district: Texas-Northern; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 364; Number of interviews conducted: 196.

Judicial district: Texas-Southern; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 660; Number of interviews conducted: 148.

Judicial district: Texas-Western; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 265; Number of interviews conducted: 111.

Judicial district: Utah; Number of names assigned to districts: 6; 
Number of interviews conducted: 4.

Judicial district: Vermont; Number of names assigned to districts: 5; 
Number of interviews conducted: 2.

Judicial district: Virgin Islands; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 0; Number of interviews conducted: 0.

Judicial district: Virginia-Eastern; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 212; Number of interviews conducted: 83.

Judicial district: Virginia-Western; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 6; Number of interviews conducted: 8.

Judicial district: Washington-Eastern; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 21; Number of interviews conducted: 14.

Judicial district: Washington-Western; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 97; Number of interviews conducted: 30.

Judicial district: West Virginia-Northern; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 16; Number of interviews conducted: 11.

Judicial district: West Virginia-Southern; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 10; Number of interviews conducted: 9.

Judicial district: Wisconsin-Eastern; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 59; Number of interviews conducted: 24.

Judicial district: Wisconsin-Western; Number of names assigned to 
districts: 89; Number of interviews conducted: 37.

Judicial district: Wyoming; Number of names assigned to districts: 0; 
Number of interviews conducted: 0.

Judicial district: Total; Number of names assigned to districts: 7,602[ 
A]; Number of interviews conducted: 3,216.

[End of table]

Source: Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys.

Note: EOUSA also provided us the following data: number of people 
referred to a district, number of people transferred out of a district, 
number of people who left the United States, and number of people law 
enforcement was unable to locate. We are not presenting these data 
because EOUSA officials told us that the data were unreliable for a 
variety of reasons. One reason cited was lack of criteria for the 
categories. For example, if there was testimonial evidence that a 
person left the country, one district might classify that as "unable to 
locate" while another district might classify that as "left the United 
States." Additionally, some districts might have double-counted people 
in certain categories, such as people who might have transferred in and 
out of a district. Finally, except for number of interviews conducted, 
the other categories may have contained duplicate entries.

[A] FTTTF sent 8,335 nonimmigrant alien names to districts for 
interviewing during the two phases of the interview project. After 
eliminating some of the duplicate names, the districts' lists of names 
totaled 7,602 as of March 14, 2003. There remains a degree of 
inaccuracy even in this number because, among other things, it contains 
duplicate names that were not always detected, as well as data entry 
errors.

[B] Guam/Northern Mariana consists of two districts that are under one 
U.S. Attorney.

[End of section]

Appendix IV: GAO Contacts and Acknowledgments:

GAO Contacts:

Richard M. Stana (202) 512-8777
Evi L. Rezmovic (202) 512-8777:

Acknowledgments:

In addition to the above, Cheryl Dorfman, Sam Van Wagner, Mark 
Macauley, Keith Wandtke, David Alexander, Ann Finley, Jan Montgomery, 
and Amy Rosewarne made key contributions to this report.

FOOTNOTES

[1] P.L. 107-56 (2001).

[2] Homeland Security Act of 2002, P.L. 107-296 (2002).

[3] Nonimmigrants are foreign nationals, such as students, tourists, 
and certain types of workers, who enter the United States on temporary 
visas.

[4] You have also raised issues regarding other antiterrorism measures 
implemented after September 11. We will be issuing reports to address 
your request for information on them.

[5] In addition to the U.S. Attorney districts visited where we met 
with 22 immigration rights advocates interviewed, we also went to 
Houston, Texas, and met with 8 immigration rights advocates.

[6] ATTFs operate under the direction of the U.S. Attorneys and are 
comprised of federal, state, and local law enforcement officials. They 
are charged with implementing and coordinating the DOJ's antiterrorism 
plan, serving as a conduit for disseminating information about 
terrorists between federal and local agencies, and providing a standing 
organizational structure for a coordinated response to a terrorist 
incident in the district. ATTFs were established by the Attorney 
General shortly after September 11.

[7] In our recent report, U.S. General Accounting Office, Homeland 
Security: INS Cannot Locate Many Aliens Because It Lacks Reliable 
Address Information, GAO-03-188 (Washington D.C.: November 21, 2002), 
we reported that INS alien address information could not be relied on 
to locate many aliens of interest to the United States, and recommended 
specific measures to improve INS's program for gathering the 
information.

[8] GAO-03-188.

[9] EOUSA distributed the guidance to all 94 U.S. Attorney districts 
even though not every district was given a list of nonimmigrant aliens 
to interview. EOUSA wanted all districts to be aware of the project and 
its guidelines in case they were asked to conduct interviews at a later 
point in time.

[10] Except for reporting on a few districts, DOJ did not report the 
number of people who declined to be interviewed.

[11] DOJ did not report the exact number of people arrested.

[12] Final Report of Interview Project, DOJ, EOUSA (February 26, 2002).

GAO's Mission:

The General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress, 
exists to support Congress in meeting its constitutional 
responsibilities and to help improve the performance and accountability 
of the federal government for the American people. GAO examines the use 
of public funds; evaluates federal programs and policies; and provides 
analyses, recommendations, and other assistance to help Congress make 
informed oversight, policy, and funding decisions. GAO's commitment to 
good government is reflected in its core values of accountability, 
integrity, and reliability.

Obtaining Copies of GAO Reports and Testimony:

The fastest and easiest way to obtain copies of GAO documents at no 
cost is through the Internet. GAO's Web site ( www.gao.gov ) contains 
abstracts and full-text files of current reports and testimony and an 
expanding archive of older products. The Web site features a search 
engine to help you locate documents using key words and phrases. You 
can print these documents in their entirety, including charts and other 
graphics.

Each day, GAO issues a list of newly released reports, testimony, and 
correspondence. GAO posts this list, known as "Today's Reports," on its 
Web site daily. The list contains links to the full-text document 
files. To have GAO e-mail this list to you every afternoon, go to 
www.gao.gov and select "Subscribe to daily E-mail alert for newly 
released products" under the GAO Reports heading.

Order by Mail or Phone:

The first copy of each printed report is free. Additional copies are $2 
each. A check or money order should be made out to the Superintendent 
of Documents. GAO also accepts VISA and Mastercard. Orders for 100 or 
more copies mailed to a single address are discounted 25 percent. 
Orders should be sent to:

U.S. General Accounting Office

441 G Street NW,

Room LM Washington,

D.C. 20548:

To order by Phone: 	

	Voice: (202) 512-6000:

	TDD: (202) 512-2537:

	Fax: (202) 512-6061:

To Report Fraud, Waste, and Abuse in Federal Programs:

Contact:

Web site: www.gao.gov/fraudnet/fraudnet.htm E-mail: fraudnet@gao.gov

Automated answering system: (800) 424-5454 or (202) 512-7470:

Public Affairs:

Jeff Nelligan, managing director, NelliganJ@gao.gov (202) 512-4800 U.S.

General Accounting Office, 441 G Street NW, Room 7149 Washington, D.C.

20548: