Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz on Friday issued the OIG’s list of Top Management and Performance Challenges facing the Justice Department in 2012, including finding a way to restore trust in the department following the Fast and Furious scandal.
“The issues raised in this year’s list pose a clear, if daunting, challenge: the Department must put in place an innovative and transparent strategic vision for how to fulfill its critical missions without additional resources,” Horowitz said in a statement Friday, pointing to the department’s strained budget.
This list is included in the Department’s annual Performance and Accountability Report. The OIG has prepared similar lists since 1998. The challenges are not ranked in order of importance, but national security continues to be the greatest challenge, the IG noted.
The list explains that “[S]afeguarding national security has remained the Department of Justice’s highest priority and the focus of intensive resources: the FBI alone dedicated approximately 4,200 of its approximately 13,000 special agents to investigate more than 33,000 national security cases in fiscal year 2011.”
The OIG also highlighted the continuing importance of restoring confidence in the Justice Department. This is due in part to the IG’s September 2012 report on Operation Fast and Furious, the botched gun-walking investigation that has been a point of contention between the department and congressional lawmakers.
“The OIG’s review of ATF’s Operations Wide Receiver and Fast and Furious revealed that ATF and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona did not manage these investigations responsibly and that hundreds of firearms that ATF agents could and should have interdicted ended up at multiple crime scenes in the United States and Mexico, including the scene of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent’s murder,” the list states.
The full list of challenges for the Department in the 2012 report is as follows:
- Safeguarding National Security
- Enhancing Cyber Security
- Managing the Federal Prison System
- Leading the Department in an Era of Budget Constraints
- Protecting Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
- Restoring Confidence
- Coordinating Among Law Enforcement Agencies
- Enforcing Against Fraud and Financial Offenses
- Administering Grants and Contracts
- Ensuring Effective International Law Enforcement