Priority Open Recommendations: Department of Justice

GAO-20-350PR Published: Apr 20, 2020. Publicly Released: Apr 27, 2020.
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Fast Facts

Each year, we make more than 1,000 recommendations to help improve the federal government. We alert department heads to the recommendations where they can save the most money, address issues on our High Risk List, or significantly improve government operations.

This report outlines our 18 priority open recommendations for the Department of Justice as of April 2020.

The recommendations relate to whistleblower complaints, technology, immigration courts, opioids, cybersecurity, and improper payments.

Since our previous letter in April 2019, the Department of Justice implemented 7 of our priority recommendations.

Department of Justice priority recommendations graphic

Department of Justice priority recommendations graphic

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What GAO Found

In April 2019, GAO identified 14 priority recommendations for the Department of Justice (DOJ). Since then, DOJ has implemented 7 of those recommendations by, among other things, improving the information it provides on Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) whistleblower complaints, ensuring the privacy and accuracy of FBI face recognition capabilities, and more efficiently using information in the National Crime Information Center’s Missing Persons and Unidentified Persons files and National Missing and Unidentified Persons System.

In April 2020, GAO identified 11 additional priority recommendations for DOJ, bringing the total number to 18. These recommendations involve the following areas:

  • improving efforts to combat illicit opioid use.
  • addressing cyber security risk management.
  • assessing the susceptibility of DOJ’s Law Enforcement program to improper payments.

DOJ’s continued attention to these issues could lead to significant improvements in government operations.

Why GAO Did This Study

Priority open recommendations are the GAO recommendations that warrant priority attention from heads of key departments or agencies because their implementation could save large amounts of money; improve congressional and/or executive branch decision making on major issues; eliminate mismanagement, fraud, and abuse; or ensure that programs comply with laws and funds are legally spent, among other benefits. Since 2015, GAO has sent letters to selected agencies to highlight the importance of implementing such recommendations.

For more information, Greta Goodwin at (202) 512-7952 or

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