oversight

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

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 2003-04-11.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

             United States General Accounting Office

GAO          Report to Congressional Committees




April 2003
             HOMELAND
             SECURITY
             Justice Department’s
             Project to Interview
             Aliens after
             September 11, 2001




GAO-03-459
                                                April 2003


                                                HOMELAND SECURITY

                                                Justice Department’s Project to Interview
Highlights of GAO-03-459, a report to
Congressional Requesters                        Aliens after September 11, 2001



 As one response to the September               Between September 11 and November 9, 2001, the Immigration and
 11 terrorist attacks, the                      Naturalization Service (INS) compiled a list of aliens whose characteristics
 Department of Justice (DOJ)                    were similar to those of the hijackers. DOJ searched its databases for aliens
 initiated a project to interview               that fit certain characteristics relating to type of visa, gender, age, date of
 aliens whose characteristics were              entry into the United States, and country that issued the passport, and
 similar to those responsible for the
 attacks. The purpose was to                    identified 7,602 names for interview.
 determine what knowledge the
 aliens might have of terrorists and            According to law enforcement officials, attorneys for interviewees, and
 terrorist activities. GAO was asked            immigration advocates in six U.S. Attorney districts, law enforcement
 to determine                                   officers who conducted the interviews adhered to DOJ guidelines for the
                                                project. The guidelines stressed that the project’s objective was information
 •     the criteria DOJ used in                 gathering, not criminal investigation, and that participation was to be
       compiling the list of aliens to          voluntary. Attorneys for interviewees and immigration advocates agreed
       be questioned,                           that the law enforcement officers adhered to project guidelines, but
 •     whether law enforcement                  expressed the view that interviewed aliens did not perceive the interviews to
       complied with DOJ guidance               be truly voluntary. They noted that although aliens were not coerced to
       for the project,
                                                participate in the interviews, they worried about repercussions, such as
 •     the interview project’s status,
       and                                      future INS denials for visa extensions or permanent residency, if they
 •     what information resulted                refused to be interviewed.
       from it.
                                                Firm and complete information on the project’s status is unavailable. As of
                                                March 2003, law enforcement officers had interviewed 3,216 aliens—about
                                                42 percent of the names on the list (see figure). However, the list contained
 Because there are indications that             problems such as duplicate names and data entry errors, making it difficult
 the government’s antiterrorism
                                                to determine how many interviews remained to be completed.
 efforts will continue to rely, in part,
 on conducting interview projects
 with aliens who reside in this                 DOJ asserted that the project netted intelligence information and had a
 country, GAO recommends that the               disruptive effect on terrorists. But the results are difficult to measure, and
 Attorney General initiate a formal             DOJ has not fully analyzed all the data obtained from the interviews or how
 review of the project and report on            effectively the project was implemented.
 lessons learned. In commenting on
 a draft of this report, DOJ was
 silent on GAO’s findings,                      Interviews Completed and Not Completed, as of March 2003, from INS’s List of 7,602 Names
 conclusions, and recommendation.
 DOJ provided technical comments,
 which GAO evaluated and                           Interviews completed                                                            Interviews not completed for 58%
 incorporated, as appropriate. DOJ                 for 42% of names                                                                of names on interview list. Reasons
 also expressed two specific                       on interview list                                                               include one or more of the following:
 concerns about the presentation of                                                                                                 - not yet contacted
 information that GAO responded to                                                 3,216                                            - left the country
 in the report.                                                                                        4,386                        - could not be located
                                                                                                                                    - moved to another district
                                                                                                                                    - refused to be interviewed
                                                                                                                                    - data problems
 www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-03-459.                                                                                                  (e.g., duplicate names, data entry errors)

 To view the full report, including the scope
 and methodology, click on the link above.      Source: GAO’s analysis of Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys’ interview project data.
 For more information, contact Richard M.
 Stana at (202) 512-8777 or stanar@gao.gov.
Contents


Letter                                                                                    1
               Scope and Methodology                                                      2
               Background                                                                 3
               Results in Brief                                                           4
               Demographic and Visa Information Used in Compiling the List of
                  Nonimmigrant Aliens to Be Questioned                                    7
               Interviewers Complied with DOJ Guidance; Project Implemented
                  Differently by Districts                                               8
               Complete Information Lacking on Status                                   12
               Project Results Not Analyzed and Hard to Measure                         15
               Conclusions                                                              17
               Recommendations for Executive Action                                     18
               Agency Comments and Our Evaluation                                       18

Appendix I     List of Questions Used in Interviews                                     21



Appendix II    Notification Letter Sent in the Eastern District of
               Michigan                                                                 28



Appendix III   March 2003 Data on the Interview Project, by District,
               First and Second Phases of Interviews Combined         29



Appendix IV    GAO Contacts and Acknowledgments                                         32
               GAO Contacts                                                             32
               Acknowledgments                                                          32


Table
               Table 1: Branches of Law Enforcement Participating in Project, by
                        District                                                        12




               Page i                                      GAO-03-459 DOJ Interview Project
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




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Page ii                                                GAO-03-459 DOJ Interview Project
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,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,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 aliens3—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.




                                   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.



                                   Page 1                                                 GAO-03-459 DOJ Interview Project
              In response to your request for information on the interview project,4 this
Scope and     report addresses the following objectives:
Methodology
              •   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:5

              •   Eastern Michigan (Detroit, Michigan);
              •   Northern Texas (Dallas, Texas);
              •   Central California (Los Angeles, California);
              •   Southern New York (New York City, New York);


              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.




              Page 2                                                 GAO-03-459 DOJ Interview Project
             •   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.


             Pursuant to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the Attorney
Background   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.


             Page 3                                        GAO-03-459 DOJ Interview Project
                   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)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.


                   Demographic and visa information on the perpetrators of the September
Results in Brief   11 attacks formed the criteria for compiling the list of nonimmigrant aliens



                   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.




                   Page 4                                                  GAO-03-459 DOJ Interview Project
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,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


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.




Page 5                                              GAO-03-459 DOJ Interview Project
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.




Page 6                                         GAO-03-459 DOJ Interview Project
                        Selected characteristics of the perpetrators of the September 11 attacks
Demographic and Visa    formed the criteria for compiling the list of nonimmigrant aliens to be
Information Used in     questioned. To identify individuals whose characteristics were similar to
                        those of the perpetrators, FTTTF obtained a dataset of 336,330 records on
Compiling the List of   nonimmigrant aliens who had entered the United States or were issued a
Nonimmigrant Aliens     visa between January 1, 1999, and September 5, 2001. Because travelers
                        could have entered, departed, and reentered the country several times, the
to Be Questioned        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.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,




                        8
                        GAO-03-188.




                        Page 7                                          GAO-03-459 DOJ Interview Project
                            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.


                            The interview guidelines, including the questions that law enforcement
Interviewers                officers were to ask the nonimmigrant aliens, were distributed to 94 U.S.
Complied with DOJ           Attorney districts.9 The guidelines stated the interviews were to be
                            voluntary, and both law enforcement officers and nonimmigrant aliens’
Guidance; Project           representatives with whom we spoke confirmed that the interviewers
Implemented                 followed the guidelines for obtaining voluntary participation. There was
                            some variation among districts about how the interview project was
Differently by              implemented.
Districts
Interviewers Complied       In all the districts we visited, officials from the U.S. Attorney offices told
with DOJ’s Guidelines for   us they stressed that the questioning would be voluntary, and they
Obtaining Voluntary         distributed the guidance to the federal, state, and local law enforcement
                            officials who would be conducting the interviews. The law enforcement
Participation               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


                            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.




                            Page 8                                                  GAO-03-459 DOJ Interview Project
                        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   The Deputy Attorney General provided EOUSA with guidance that
Package and             consisted of a two-page Attorney General’s directive on the interview
Questionnaire to        project and an eight-page memorandum describing the topics that the
                        interview was to cover and interviewing tips. EOUSA distributed these
Interviewing Agencies   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:




                        Page 9                                          GAO-03-459 DOJ Interview Project
                                  •   “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            During our visits to U.S. Attorney districts, we learned of several
Varied by District                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     In all six districts we visited, we were told that the interview guidelines
Training Sessions, While Others   were provided to the interviewers and that the voluntary nature of the
Did Not                           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



                                  Page 10                                       GAO-03-459 DOJ Interview Project
                              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   The districts we visited used different methods for notifying aliens about
to Contact Interviewees       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         The involvement of INS, FBI, and local law enforcement agencies in the
Enforcement Involvement       interview project varied across districts. Table 1 shows which agencies
Varied in the Project         were and were not involved in conducting interviews in the six districts
                              we visited.




                              Page 11                                          GAO-03-459 DOJ Interview Project
Table 1: Branches of Law Enforcement Participating in Project, by District

                                                                        Agencies generally not              Reason cited for generally not involving
 District                      Agencies involved                        involved                            agency
 Eastern Michigan              • FBI                                    • INS                               Afraid INS would intimidate people who
                               • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco,                                                agreed to be interviewed.
                                 Firearms, and Explosives
                               • Drug Enforcement Administration
                               • Internal Revenue Service
                               • U.S. Postal Service
                               • U.S. Secret Service
                               • State and local law enforcement
                                     a
 Northern Texas                • FBI                                    •   Local law enforcement           Notified when in its jurisdiction, but it did
                               • INS                                                                        not participate often.
                                     a
 Central California            • FBI                                    •   INS                             Afraid INS would intimidate people who
                                                                        •   Local law enforcement           agreed to be interviewed.
                                                                                                            Notified when in its jurisdiction, but it did
                                                                                                            not participate often.
 Southern New                  •   INS                                  •   FBI                             FBI’s local resources stretched too thin
 York                          •   Local law enforcement                                                    due to the September 11 investigation.
 Eastern New York              •   Local law enforcement                •   INS                             INS was understaffed.
                               •   U.S. Attorney Criminal               •   FBIb                            FBI’s local resources stretched too thin
                                   Investigators                                                            due to the September 11 investigation.
 New Jersey                    •   FBIa                                 •   INS                             Afraid INS would intimidate people who
                               •   Local law enforcement                                                    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.


                                                       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.


                                                       It is not possible to provide complete information on the current status of
Complete Information                                   the interview project because of limitations in EOUSA’s data.
Lacking on Status
                                                       On February 26, 2002, DOJ reported some aggregate information on the
                                                       first phase of interviews. Out of 4,793 potential interviews, DOJ reported
                                                       that


                                                       Page 12                                                       GAO-03-459 DOJ Interview Project
•     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.10

DOJ reported that fewer than 20 people were arrested,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.




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.




Page 13                                                 GAO-03-459 DOJ Interview Project
•   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.




Page 14                                        GAO-03-459 DOJ Interview Project
                      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.


                      The data gathered from the interview project had not been analyzed as of
Project Results Not   March 2003, according to senior EOUSA officials. These data have been
Analyzed and Hard     maintained by the Justice Management Division in a centralized database.
                      According to DOJ officials, there are no specific plans to analyze the
to Measure            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


                      Page 15                                       GAO-03-459 DOJ Interview Project
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.”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


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




Page 16                                             GAO-03-459 DOJ Interview Project
              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.


              The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, quickly set in motion a
Conclusions   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


              Page 17                                       GAO-03-459 DOJ Interview Project
                     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.


                     Because there are indications that the government’s antiterrorism efforts
Recommendation for   will continue to rely, in part, on conducting interview projects with aliens
Executive Action     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.


                     Our draft report was reviewed by representatives of the Office of the
Agency Comments      Deputy Attorney General, Executive Office for United States Attorneys,
and Our Evaluation   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


                     Page 18                                       GAO-03-459 DOJ Interview Project
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


Page 19                                       GAO-03-459 DOJ Interview Project
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




Page 20                                        GAO-03-459 DOJ Interview Project
               Appendix I: List of Questions Used in
Appendix I: List of Questions Used in
               Interviews



Interviews




               Page 21                                 GAO-03-459 DOJ Interview Project
Appendix I: List of Questions Used in
Interviews




Page 22                                 GAO-03-459 DOJ Interview Project
Appendix I: List of Questions Used in
Interviews




Page 23                                 GAO-03-459 DOJ Interview Project
Appendix I: List of Questions Used in
Interviews




Page 24                                 GAO-03-459 DOJ Interview Project
Appendix I: List of Questions Used in
Interviews




Page 25                                 GAO-03-459 DOJ Interview Project
Appendix I: List of Questions Used in
Interviews




Page 26                                 GAO-03-459 DOJ Interview Project
Appendix I: List of Questions Used in
Interviews




Page 27                                 GAO-03-459 DOJ Interview Project
               Appendix II: Notification Letter Sent in the Eastern District of Michigan
Appendix II: Notification Letter Sent in the
Eastern District of Michigan




               Page 28                                                 GAO-03-459 DOJ Interview Project
               Appendix III: March 2003 Data on the
Appendix III: March 2003 Data on the
               Interview Project, by District, First and
               Second Phases of Interviews Combined


Interview Project, by District, First and
Second Phases of Interviews Combined

                                                             Number of names       Number of interviews
                Judicial district                          assigned to districts            conducted
                Alabama-Middle                                                 1                      1
                Alabama-Northern                                              25                     14
                Alabama-Southern                                               7                      4
                Alaska                                                         8                      1
                Arizona                                                     109                      54
                Arkansas-Eastern                                              27                     14
                Arkansas-Western                                              18                     12
                California-Central                                          259                     110
                California-Eastern                                            39                     18
                California-Northern                                         126                      63
                California-Southern                                           42                     16
                Colorado                                                    178                      82
                Connecticut                                                 103                      70
                Delaware                                                      15                      9
                District of Columbia                                          66                     21
                Florida-Middle                                              423                     128
                Florida-Northern                                              55                     26
                Florida-Southern                                            248                     109
                Georgia-Middle                                                 4                      2
                Georgia-Northern                                            202                      42
                Georgia-Southern                                               6                      3
                                      b
                Guam/Northern Mariana                                          6                      4
                Hawaii                                                        18                      4
                Idaho                                                          4                      0
                Illinois-Central                                              55                     29
                Illinois-Northern                                           482                      99
                Illinois-Southern                                             10                      6
                Indiana-Northern                                              53                     37
                Indiana-Southern                                              39                     19
                Iowa-Northern                                                 18                      8
                Iowa-Southern                                               141                      69
                Kansas                                                        69                     52
                Kentucky-Eastern                                              25                     14
                Kentucky-Western                                              19                     14
                Louisiana-Eastern                                             60                     26
                Louisiana-Middle                                              24                     12
                Louisiana-Western                                             28                      9
                Maine                                                          8                      3
                Maryland                                                    157                      53
                Massachusetts                                               117                      77
                Michigan-Eastern                                            555                     330
                Michigan-Western                                            106                      60




               Page 29                                                 GAO-03-459 DOJ Interview Project
Appendix III: March 2003 Data on the
Interview Project, by District, First and
Second Phases of Interviews Combined




                                              Number of names       Number of interviews
Judicial district                           assigned to districts            conducted
Minnesota                                                    188                      77
Mississippi-Northern                                            6                      3
Mississippi-Southern                                            7                      5
Missouri-Eastern                                               53                     32
Missouri-Western                                               66                     44
Montana                                                         5                      4
Nebraska                                                       16                     11
Nevada                                                         17                      6
New Hampshire                                                  15                      8
New Jersey                                                   220                     106
New Mexico                                                     28                     20
New York-Eastern                                             246                      65
New York-Northern                                              39                     21
New York-Southern                                            134                      49
New York-Western                                               46                      7
North Carolina-Eastern                                         12                      6
North Carolina-Middle                                          12                      3
North Carolina-Western                                         25                     11
North Dakota                                                    6                      4
Ohio-Northern                                                  32                     28
Ohio-Southern                                                  51                     20
Oklahoma-Eastern                                                0                      0
Oklahoma-Northern                                              57                     49
Oklahoma-Western                                               41                     16
Oregon                                                       209                      83
Pennsylvania-Eastern                                           65                     18
Pennsylvania-Middle                                            13                     10
Pennsylvania-Western                                           35                     21
Puerto Rico                                                     0                      0
Rhode Island                                                    5                      4
South Carolina                                                 50                     22
South Dakota                                                    1                      0
Tennessee-Eastern                                              15                      5
Tennessee-Middle                                               17                      6
Tennessee-Western                                              16                      6
Texas-Eastern                                                  89                     45
Texas-Northern                                               364                     196
Texas-Southern                                               660                     148
Texas-Western                                                265                     111
Utah                                                            6                      4
Vermont                                                         5                      2
Virgin Islands                                                  0                      0
Virginia-Eastern                                             212                      83




Page 30                                                 GAO-03-459 DOJ Interview Project
Appendix III: March 2003 Data on the
Interview Project, by District, First and
Second Phases of Interviews Combined




                                                   Number of names             Number of interviews
    Judicial district                            assigned to districts                  conducted
    Virginia-Western                                                 6                            8
    Washington-Eastern                                              21                           14
    Washington-Western                                              97                           30
    West Virginia-Northern                                          16                           11
    West Virginia-Southern                                          10                            9
    Wisconsin-Eastern                                               59                           24
    Wisconsin-Western                                               89                           37
    Wyoming                                                          0                            0
                                                                      a
    Total                                                      7,602                          3,216
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.




Page 31                                                          GAO-03-459 DOJ Interview Project
                  Appendix IV: GAO Contacts and
Appendix IV: GAO Contacts and
                  Acknowledgments



Acknowledgments

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


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




(440122)
                  Page 32                                   GAO-03-459 DOJ Interview Project
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                         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


                         Contact:
To Report Fraud,
                         Web site: www.gao.gov/fraudnet/fraudnet.htm
Waste, and Abuse in      E-mail: fraudnet@gao.gov
Federal Programs         Automated answering system: (800) 424-5454 or (202) 512-7470


                         Jeff Nelligan, managing director, NelliganJ@gao.gov (202) 512-4800
Public Affairs           U.S. General Accounting Office, 441 G Street NW, Room 7149
                         Washington, D.C. 20548