- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 18, 2001

The chairmen of two House committees, concerned over recent reports of management problems within the Justice Department's international police-training section, are considering moving control of the agency to the State Department.
A review by Rep. Henry J. Hyde, Illinois Republican and chairman of the House Committee on International Relations, and Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., Wisconsin Republican and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, comes in the wake of a report by the Justice Department's Office of Inspector General concerning massive mismanagement within the International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP).
"As committees of oversight over these matters, we concur with the recommendation that something needs to be done to alleviate concerns that have been raised with the management, oversight and functions of ICITAP," the chairmen said in two jointly signed letters last week, one to Attorney General John Ashcroft and one to Secretary of State Colin L. Powell.
"We are not currently settled on the location of the final home of ICITAP," they said, adding that a prompt solution was needed to "more properly" address national security interests in the fight against international terrorism, transnational crime and narcotics trafficking.
In a report last year, the Inspector General's Office accused ICITAP officials of "serious, substantial and egregious misconduct" involving violations of government regulations on travel, security, the use of contractors, and the hiring and promotion of federal employees.
In their report, the investigators said Executive Director Robert K. Bratt made himself vulnerable to foreign blackmail by using his position improperly to obtain visas for two Russian women, including Yelena Koreneva, with whom he had a "romantic relationship."
Mr. Bratt, one of former Attorney General Janet Reno's closest advisers, has since retired. He has declined comment on the inspector general's report.
Investigators also said senior ICITAP managers gave classified documents to uncleared consultants or other staff, and routinely left the documents unsecured on their desks, even when they were away from the office on travel. They said that highly classified documents also were taken to the ICITAP offices even though there was no secure storage.
ICITAP was created in 1986 for the training of law enforcement and investigative personnel abroad. The program has since expanded dramatically in scope as the State Department has increased its funding through a variety of foreign-assistance programs.
The State Department has suggested that ICITAP be transferred in total to the department's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement, a move it said would "streamline management of the foreign assistance program."
The Justice Department believes the interests of the country would best be served by retaining ICITAP within that department.
Justice Department officials have argued that the development of foreign law enforcement institutions is not just a form of foreign assistance, that it is a "critical part of the U.S. strategy for fighting transnational crime."
Mr. Hyde and Mr. Sensenbrenner, in their letters to the Cabinet officers, said that while no decision had been made, ICITAP should be able to use "State's expertise in training on institutional, nation-building programs, while 'cop-to-cop' programs should be conducted by our federal law enforcement agencies."
"No legislative changes are required in order to implement this goal," they said, noting that federal law already provided for the attorney general and the secretary of Treasury to support law enforcement training activities in foreign countries, in consultation with the secretary of state.
The two chairman asked Mr. Ashcroft and Mr. Powell to prepare a comprehensive report on the matter in six months "so that the appropriate committees of jurisdiction may be able to make the necessary recommendations or changes as to where ICITAP is actually housed."


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