Information on the Red Notice System

IMTEC-93-23: Published: Mar 29, 1993. Publicly Released: Apr 30, 1993.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the United States National Central Bureau's (USNCB) use of the International Criminal Police Organization's (INTERPOL) red notice system to apprehend fugitives internationally who have committed crimes in the United States.

GAO found that: (1) statistics specifically pertaining to the arrest rate for U.S. fugitives who are subjects of red notices are not available because USNCB, INTERPOL, nor the Department of Justice collect data on such fugitives; (2) of the 114 U.S. fugitives entered into the red notice system between April 1990 and December 1992, USNCB has apprehended 37 percent as a result of red notices and diffusions; (3) law enforcement agencies do not compile data on red notices because they are one of many law enforcement tools used to apprehend fugitives, U.S. fugitives are more often apprehended as a result of diffusion, and it is not always possible to attribute an arrest to a specific cause; (4) none of the 199 fugitives wanted for drug-smuggling crimes were the subjects of red notices when comparing National Crime Information Center records to the red notice system; (5) law enforcement officials did not request red notices because they knew where the fugitive was staying, were not aware of the red notice system, or the cost of extradition outweighed the significance of the crime; (6) of the 60 red notices reviewed, there were 39 discrepancies in information between the notices and records maintained in USNCB red notice case files and the automated case tracking system; (7) USNCB had not conducted a risk analysis to identify threats to its systems and computer data, or developed contingency plans or a computer security plan; and (8) USNCB has no reasonable assurance that its data processing facility and systems would continue operating in the event of an emergency and computer security threats would be identified and countered.

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