Accomplishments of FBI Undercover Operations

GGD-84-79: Published: Aug 21, 1984. Publicly Released: Sep 20, 1984.

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Arnold P. Jones
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the accuracy of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) reporting of accomplishments resulting from undercover operations.

GAO found that, in 1982, FBI reported that its undercover operations: (1) resulted in 680 convictions, $4.4 million in fines, $63.9 million in recoveries, $5.7 million in asset forfeitures, $1.4 million in restitutions, and $741.1 million in potential economic losses prevented; (2) cost $5.9 million, excluding costs for salaries and for litigation resulting from undercover operations. Most of the accomplishments checked by GAO were accurately reported, but GAO found some recurring errors, including: (1) reported accomplishments which did not result from undercover operations; (2) reported accomplishments which were misclassified; (3) data processing errors; and (4) unreported accomplishments. GAO also found that: (1) FBI accomplishment reports do not recognize contributions made by other law enforcement agencies; (2) about half of the total dollar value of the accomplishments reported was composed of the face value of counterfeit negotiable securities seized by FBI; and (3) FBI reports the dollar value of seized narcotics as part of the total value of recoveries. GAO believes that modifications FBI made to its accomplishment review procedures will improve the accuracy of reporting and reduce reporting errors.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Attorney General should direct the Director, FBI, to report to Congress and the public the value of seized narcotics separately from other accomplishments classified as recoveries.

    Agency Affected: Department of Justice


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