- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 24, 2001

The House, concerned about growing internal problems impacting the FBI's credibility, yesterday created a new position of deputy inspector general within the Justice Department to oversee the federal agency.
Passed by a voice vote, the bill which adds $10 million to President Bush's $17.6 billion Justice Department budget request for fiscal 2002 now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to be modified.
The bill's chief sponsor, Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., Wisconsin Republican and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said a deputy inspector general with sole oversight responsibility over the FBI is necessary because of rising problems at the bureau and the public's growing distrust of the federal law enforcement agency.
"These problems cry out for attention, and I believe there needs to be one person in the Inspector General's Office whose sole purpose is to review FBI operations," said Mr. Sensenbrenner, whose committee oversees the Justice Department and the FBI.
During a recent committee meeting, Mr. Sensenbrenner said he was concerned that the FBI "has lost its way."
"Like a slugger who has lost his swing, I think it is time for this new administration to focus on fundamentals. If the department can't get the basics right, the American people will inevitably lose confidence in it one of our most trusted institutions," he said.
The FBI has come under fire in recent months for failing to turn over thousands of documents in the Timothy McVeigh case, over its handling of the investigation of Los Alamos scientist Wen Ho Lee and over the disclosure that veteran FBI Agent Robert P. Hanssen was spying for the Russians.
There are at least at least five separate investigations of the FBI currently under way, three ordered by Attorney General John Ashcroft.
In the Senate, Sens. Richard J. Durbin, Illinois Democrat, and Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania Republican, both members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, have introduced bipartisan legislation to create a separate, fully independent inspector general to oversee the FBI.
The two are expected to lead an effort to modify the House bill so that it is closer to their position.
The bill also requires the Justice Department to report to Congress on its use of Carnivore, an Internet cybersnooping system that has been challenged by some members of Congress and various civil liberties organizations.
"I'm pleased that Attorney General Ashcroft is performing a thorough legal review of Carnivore," said House Majority Leader Dick Armey of Texas. "But I'm even more pleased that today's legislation will provide additional accountability."
The bill includes an amendment by Rep. Bob Barr, Georgia Republican, requiring the attorney general and FBI director to provide Congress with a detailed report on all uses of Carnivore. The report must document the exact circumstances of the system's use, including the statutory authority upon which the department relied.
Mr. Ashcroft recently named Daniel P. Collins, a senior Justice Department official, to examine the legal problems associated with the system.
Carnivore gives the FBI the capability of sorting through all of the electronic communications that pass through a commercial Internet service provider. Last year, 32 members of Congress joined in a letter to former Attorney General Janet Reno asking her to suspend use of the system.

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