ILW.COM - the immigration portal Immigration Daily

Immigration Daily: the news source for legal professionals. Free! Join 35000+ readers

Home Page

Advanced search


Immigration Daily

Archives

Processing times

Immigration forms

Discussion board

Resources

Blogs

Twitter feed

Immigrant Nation

Attorney2Attorney

CLE Workshops

Immigration books

Advertise on ILW

VIP Network

EB-5

Chinese Immig. Daily

About ILW.COM

Connect to us

Make us Homepage

Questions/Comments


SUBSCRIBE

Immigration Daily

 

Chinese Immig. Daily



The leading
immigration law
publisher - over
50000 pages of free
information!

Copyright
©1995-
ILW.COM,
American
Immigration LLC.

Immigration Daily: the news source for
legal professionals. Free! Join 35000+ readers
Enter your email address here:



< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily < Back to current issue of Immigrant's Weekly

< Go back to Immigration Daily

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

LIST OF NAMES...................................................................................... xiii

 

ORGANIZATION CHARTS..................................................................... xvi

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY............................................................................ 1

 

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION..................................................... 23

 

I.      Allegations......................................................................................... 23

 

II.     Background........................................................................................ 23

 

A.... Prior Investigations of ICITAP.................................................... 25

 

B.... OIG Investigation........................................................................ 27

 

C.... Organization of the OIG Report................................................... 28

 

CHAPTER TWO: ISSUANCE OF VISAS TO RUSSIAN WOMEN.... 31

 

I.      Background........................................................................................ 31

 

A.... Allegations and Introduction........................................................ 31

 

B.... Process by Which Russians Obtain Visas to Travel to the

 

       United States............................................................................... 32

 

1.... Standard Processing of Visa Applications............................. 33

 

2.... The Visa Referral Process.................................................... 34

 

C.... The Koreneva and Bolgak Visas.................................................. 35

 

II.     The Visa Referral Form Contained False and Misleading Statements..... 37

 

III.    Department Officials Knowingly Made False and Misleading

 

         Statements on the Visa Referral Form.................................................. 39

 

A.... Synopsis of the Evidence............................................................ 40

 

B.... Bratt Meets Koreneva and Bolgak................................................ 41

 

C.... Bratt Extends Invitation to Visit the United States; Bratt Learns

 

       that Koreneva Previously Denied Visa.......................................... 43

 

D.... Bratt’s Knowledge of Visas and the Visa Referral System............. 45

 

1.... Bratt’s Initial Inquiries about Visas........................................ 45

 

2.... Bratt and Hoover Meet with Consular Official....................... 48

 

3.... NIV Section Chief Donald Wells Describes the Referral Process to Bratt and Lake........................................................................................... 52

 

4.... OIG’s Conclusion............................................................... 56

 

E.... The Visa Referral Package is Submitted to the Embassy............... 59

 

1.... Bratt Gives Koreneva and Bolgak the Visa Application

 

...... Forms; Bratt Asks Lake to Submit the Applications............... 59

 

2.... Lake’s Explanation of How He Obtained the Referral

 

...... Form................................................................................... 60

 

3.... Lake Called Bratt to Discuss the Referral Form..................... 62

 

a..... Telephone Records...................................................... 62

 

b.... Bratt’s Explanation....................................................... 63

 

c..... Lake’s Explanation and Claim of Good Faith................. 64

 

F.... Motive........................................................................................ 68

 

IV.    OIG’s Conclusions............................................................................ 70

 

CHAPTER THREE: FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH NATIONAL SECURITY REGULATIONS...................................................................................... 77

I.      Background........................................................................................ 77

 

II.     ICITAP Security Violations................................................................ 79

 

A.... Disclosure of Classified Information to Unauthorized Persons....... 79

 

1.... Guidelines and Regulations................................................... 79

 

2.... Violations by Cary Hoover................................................... 83

 

a..... Disclosure to Martin Andersen...................................... 83

 

b.... Disclosure to Jane Rasmussen....................................... 85

 

c..... Disclosure to Paul Mackowski...................................... 85

 

d.... Hoover’s Response...................................................... 86

 

e..... OIG’s Conclusion........................................................ 88

 

3.... Violations by Associate Director Joseph Trincellito............... 88

 

4.... Violation by Robert Perito.................................................... 89

 

5.... Others with Unauthorized Access to Classified Documents.... 89

 

a..... Beth Truebell................................................................ 89

 

b.... Beverly Sweatman........................................................ 90

 

c..... Shaleen Schaefer.......................................................... 91

 

d.... Robert Perito................................................................ 91

 

B.... Failure to Safeguard Classified Information.................................. 92

 

1.... Regulations.......................................................................... 93

 

2.... Routing Classified Documents Through Headquarters

 

...... Offices................................................................................ 95

 

3.... Additional Instances of Unsecured Classified Documents...... 97

 

4.... Secure Room Left Open...................................................... 97

 

5.... SCI Documents at ICITAP.................................................. 98

 

a..... SCI Material Found at ICITAP in 1996.......................... 98

 

b.... SCI Material Found on Trincellito’s Desk in 1997........ 100

 

6.... Unsecured Classified Documents in Haiti............................ 101

 

7.... Unauthorized Transportation of Classified Documents to Residences  102

 

8.... Classified Information Improperly Sent by E-mail................ 104

 

C.... Improper Certification of Clearance Levels to Embassies............ 104

 

D.... Failure to File Travel Notices..................................................... 107

 

E.... Joseph Trincellito’s Security Violations...................................... 108

 

a..... Violations................................................................... 108

 

b.... Trincellito’s Response................................................ 113

 

c..... OIG’s Conclusions..................................................... 114

 

III.    Managerial Failures and Indifference Regarding Security

 

         Procedures....................................................................................... 115

 

A.... Security Reviews of ICITAP Revealed Continuing Problems...... 115

 

1.... SEPS Review:  February 1994............................................ 116

 

2.... SEPS Follow-up:  December 1994...................................... 117

 

3.... Criminal Division Review:  March 1996............................... 118

 

4.... SEPS Review:  April 1996.................................................. 119

 

5.... SEPS’ Sweep:  April 1997.................................................. 119

 

B.... Management’s Failure to Discipline Trincellito for Security Violations   120

 

1.... Managers Acknowledged That They Knew of

 

...... Trincellito’s Violations....................................................... 121

 

2.... Failure to Impose Administrative Sanctions......................... 123

 

a..... Trincellito Not Disciplined for Multiple Violations........ 123

 

b.... Security Not Included in Performance Appraisal

 

...... Reports...................................................................... 125

 

c..... Stromsem’s Conflict of Interest in Disciplining

 

...... Trincellito................................................................... 126

 

3.... OIG’s Conclusions............................................................ 127

 

C.... Lack of Reporting of Security Incidents..................................... 127

 

D.... ICITAP Practices that Contributed to Security Violations........... 127

 

1.... Increased Use of Consultants............................................. 128

 

2.... Employees’ Paperwork Not Processed Properly................. 128

 

E.... Changes in Security Officers at ICITAP..................................... 129

 

1.... Removal of Shannonhouse................................................. 130

 

2.... Removal of Frary............................................................... 131

 

3.... OIG’s Conclusions............................................................ 133

 

F.... The Criminal Division’s Responsibility for ICITAP’s Security Problems    133

 

G.... Stromsem’s Explanation and the OIG’s Conclusions.................. 135

 

IV.    Actions Resulting from the SEPS Sweep and OIG Investigation......... 138

 

V.     Contacts with Foreign Nationals........................................................ 139

 

A.... Applicable Regulations.............................................................. 139

 

B.... Bratt’s Involvement with a Russian Citizen................................. 140

 

1.... Investigation....................................................................... 140

 

2.... Vulnerabilities Created by These Contacts........................... 142

 

C.... Andersen’s Involvement with a Russian Citizen.......................... 144

 

1.... Investigation....................................................................... 144

 

2.... Vulnerabilities Created by the Contacts............................... 145

 

CHAPTER FOUR: BUSINESS CLASS TRAVEL............................... 147

 

I.      Introduction...................................................................................... 147

 

II.     Government Travel Regulations......................................................... 148

 

A.... Business Class Travel................................................................ 149

 

B.... Authorization and Approval of Travel......................................... 150

 

C.... Reimbursement......................................................................... 150

 

D.... Personal Travel......................................................................... 151

 

E.... Omega Travel Agency............................................................... 151

 

1.... Contract Carriers and Government Fares............................. 151

 

2.... Booking at the Most Economical Fare Compatible with

 

...... the Business Purposes of the Trip....................................... 152

 

III.    Travel To Europe............................................................................. 152

 

A.... The First Trip:  November 1996................................................. 153

 

1.... Booking the November 1996 Trip....................................... 153

 

a..... Initial Request............................................................. 153

 

b.... Omega’s Response..................................................... 155

 

c..... Final Planned Itinerary................................................. 156

 

2.... Violations of Travel Regulations......................................... 161

 

a..... The Travel Cost the Government in Excess of

 

...... Amount Required for Business Purposes..................... 161

 

b.... Authorizations and Reimbursement Vouchers.............. 164

 

3.... Travelers’ Explanations...................................................... 164

 

4.... OIG’s Conclusions on November 1996 Trip....................... 165

 

B.... The Second Trip:  January 1997................................................. 167

 

1.... The 14-Hour Rule.............................................................. 168

 

2.... Planning the Second Trip.................................................... 168

 

3.... Authorizations and Reimbursement Vouchers...................... 172

 

4.... Bratt’s Discussion with Steven Parent................................. 172

 

5.... Turcotte’s Statement.......................................................... 174

 

6.... Lora’s Statement................................................................ 176

 

7.... Hoover’s Explanation......................................................... 177

 

8.... Bratt’s Explanation............................................................. 177

 

9.... OIG’s Conclusions on January 1997 Trip to Moscow......... 178

 

C.... The Third Trip:  March 1997...................................................... 181

 

1.... Arrangement of Business Class Travel................................ 181

 

2.... Authorizations and Vouchers.............................................. 183

 

3.... Hoover’s and Stromsem’s Explanations.............................. 183

 

4.... OIG’s Conclusions on March Trip..................................... 184

 

D.... The Fourth Trip:  June 1997....................................................... 185

 

1.... Scheduling......................................................................... 186

 

2.... Authorizations and Reimbursement Vouchers...................... 189

 

3.... OIG’s Conclusions on June Trip........................................ 189

 

IV.    OIG’s Conclusions........................................................................... 190

 

A.... Bratt......................................................................................... 190

 

B.... Others....................................................................................... 192

 

C.... JMD......................................................................................... 192

 

V.     Bratt’s Attempts to Influence Witnesses............................................ 198

 

A.... Allegation.................................................................................. 198

 

B.... Turcotte’s Statement................................................................. 198

 

C.... Bratt’s Denial............................................................................ 203

 

D.... OIG’s Conclusion..................................................................... 205

 

CHAPTER FIVE: FAILURE TO FOLLOW TRAVEL

 

REGULATIONS.................................................................................... 207

 

I.      Investigation..................................................................................... 207

 

II.     Frequent Flyer Programs................................................................... 207

 

A.... Department of Justice Regulations Governing Use of

 

       Frequent Flyer Miles.................................................................. 207

 

1.... No Personal Use of Benefits Accrued on Business Travel; Accumulation of Miles May Not Affect Travel Decisions........................................ 208

 

2.... Commingled Accounts....................................................... 209

 

3.... Prohibition on Upgrading Travel with Frequent Flyer

 

...... Miles................................................................................. 210

 

4.... Hotel and Other Frequent Traveler Benefit Programs........... 211

 

B.... Bratt and Other Travelers Used Government Frequent

 

       Traveler Benefits for Personal Travel.......................................... 211

 

1.... Bratt’s Use of Frequent Flyer Miles for Personal Travel....... 211

 

a..... Record of Bratt’s Travel............................................. 211

 

b.... Bratt’s Explanation..................................................... 213

 

2.... Stromsem’s Upgrade......................................................... 215

 

3.... Hoover’s Travel................................................................. 216

 

4.... Frequent Flyer Miles Accumulated by ICITAP Managers..... 218

 

5.... OIG’s Conclusions............................................................ 219

 

C.... Travelers Failed to Use Contract Carriers................................... 220

 

D.... Fly America Act........................................................................ 221

 

III.    Failure to Follow Other Travel Regulations........................................ 222

 

A.... Excess Expenses Caused by Personal Travel.............................. 222

 

B.... Travelers Failed to Have a Supervisor Authorize Travel and Approve Reimbursement Vouchers.................................................................................. 223

 

C.... Contract Employees’ Reimbursement of Travel Expenses

 

       Through Employee Travel Vouchers.......................................... 225

 

IV.    Pretextual Travel............................................................................... 226

 

A.... Stromsem Trip to Tours, France................................................ 226

 

B.... Bratt European Trips................................................................. 227

 

1.... January 1997 Trip to Moscow............................................ 228

 

2.... March 1997 Trip to Moscow.............................................. 229

 

3.... June 1997 Trip to Moscow................................................. 229

 

C.... Bratt’s Explanations and OIG’s Conclusions.............................. 230

 

CHAPTER SIX: LAKE BUYOUT......................................................... 233

 

I.      Introduction...................................................................................... 233

 

II.     The Buyout Program Prohibition on Personal Services....................... 234

 

III.    Lake Performed Personal Services in Violation of the Buyout

 

         Program Requirements...................................................................... 236

 

A.... Lake’s Post-Retirement Work for OPDAT................................. 237

 

1.... Bratt and Lake’s Descriptions of Lake’s Work for

 

...... OPDAT............................................................................. 237

 

2.... Lake’s Duties..................................................................... 239

 

a..... Documents................................................................. 239

 

b.... Interviews of OPDAT Staff......................................... 241

 

3.... Comparison of Lake’s Work with Personal Services

 

...... Factors.............................................................................. 242

 

a..... Control and Supervision of Lake................................. 242

 

b.... Comparable Services Use Government Personnel........ 244

 

c..... Inherently Governmental Functions.............................. 245

 

d.... Other Indicia of a Personal Services Contract: On-site Performance, Use of Government Equipment, Term

 

...... of Employment, and General Appearances................... 246

 

4.... OIG’s Conclusions............................................................ 248

 

B.... Lake’s Work at the INS............................................................. 250

 

1.... Bratt’s Description of Lake’s Work at the INS.................... 250

 

2.... Documents Describing Lake’s INS Assignments................. 251

 

3.... Descriptions of Lake’s Work.............................................. 252

 

4.... Comparison of Lake’s INS Work with Personal Services Factors 253

 

C.... End of Lake’s INS Work and Work for NDIC........................... 254

 

IV.    Repayment of Lake’s Buyout Bonus................................................. 256

 

A.... Background.............................................................................. 256

 

B.... Existence of a Good Faith Exception......................................... 258

 

C.... Inapplicability of a “Good Faith” Exception in this Case............. 261

 

1.... The OPDAT Contract........................................................ 261

 

a..... Bratt’s and Lake’s Versions........................................ 261

 

b.... Other Evidence........................................................... 262

 

c..... Modification to Interlog Contract................................. 268

 

2.... Lake’s INS Contract.......................................................... 268

 

3.... Complaints to JMD that Lake was Performing Personal Services.. 272

 

a..... First Complaint to JMD............................................... 272

 

b.... Second Complaint to JMD.......................................... 273

 

4.... JMD’s Revised Contract for Lake’s Work.......................... 274

 

V.     OIG’s Conclusions........................................................................... 274

 

CHAPTER SEVEN: THE HIRING OF JO ANN HARRIS AS AN OPDAT CONSULTANT................................................................................................................ 277

 

I.      Introduction...................................................................................... 277

 

II.     Applicable Contracting and Ethical Principles..................................... 278

 

III.    Development Of The ILEA Conferences and the Decision to Hire

 

         Harris............................................................................................... 281

 

A.... Background.............................................................................. 281

 

B.... Chronology of Harris’ Hire........................................................ 281

 

1.... September 1996:  Preliminary Conversations About

 

...... Harris’ Availability and Interests.......................................... 281

 

2.... November and December 1996:  Harris’ Availability and Agreement to Consult on the ILEA Conferences........................................................ 284

 

C.... Bratt’s and Lake’s Explanations for Hiring Harris....................... 289

 

D.... OIG’s Conclusions................................................................... 291

 

IV.    The Harris Contract.......................................................................... 294

 

A.... Harris’ Rate of Pay.................................................................... 294

 

1.... Discussions Regarding Harris’ Fee..................................... 294

 

2.... OIG’s Conclusions............................................................ 297

 

B.... The Interlog Contract Used to Obtain Harris’ Services................ 298

 

1.... Determining Which Contracting Mechanism to Use.............. 298

 

2.... OIG’s Conclusions............................................................ 301

 

C.... The Harris Contract Modifications............................................. 301

 

1.... Contract Provisions............................................................ 301

 

2.... Modifications to the Statement of Work.............................. 302

 

V.     OIG’s Conclusions........................................................................... 305

 

CHAPTER EIGHT: MANAGEMENT OF PERSONNEL.................. 307

 

I.      Introduction...................................................................................... 307

 

II.     Misuse of Consultants....................................................................... 307

 

A.... Contract Employees Used as Managers and Not Distinguished

 

       From Federal Employees........................................................... 308

 

B.... Directing the Hiring of Specific Consultants................................ 312

 

C.... Retroactive Statements of Work................................................. 314

 

D.... Former Consultants Supervising Contracts Under Which

 

       They Had Worked..................................................................... 314

 

E.... The Hiring of Maryanne Pacunas................................................ 315

 

III.    Favoritism........................................................................................ 317

 

A.... Hiring of Jill Hogarty.................................................................. 318

 

1.... Background....................................................................... 319

 

a..... Vacancy Announcement Process................................. 319

 

b.... Hiring Rules and Regulations....................................... 319

 

2.... Hogarty’s Department of Justice Career Path....................... 320

 

a..... Consultant.................................................................. 320

 

b.... Federal Employee: Temporary Position........................ 322

 

c..... Federal Employee: Permanent Position......................... 323

 

3.... Allegation of Preselection................................................... 323

 

4.... Hogarty’s Explanation........................................................ 324

 

5.... Decision to Hire Hogarty for Permanent Career Position...... 325

 

a..... ICITAP Managers Denied Selecting Hogarty................ 326

 

b.... Bratt Denied Selecting Hogarty.................................... 328

 

6.... Evidence of Preselection..................................................... 329

 

a..... Bratt Authorized Hiring Hogarty Before Vacancy Announced 329

 

b.... Hoover Told Bratt that Hogarty Had No Health

 

...... Benefits...................................................................... 331

 

c..... Administrative Services Officer Robert Miller

 

...... Directed to Create a Position for Hogarty with

 

...... Health Benefits............................................................ 331

 

7.... OIG's Conclusion.............................................................. 334

 

B.... Hiring of Richard Nearing.......................................................... 334

 

C.... Socializing with Subordinates..................................................... 339

 

1.... Allegations and Investigation............................................... 339

 

2.... OIG's Conclusion.............................................................. 342

 

CHAPTER NINE: FINANCIAL MISMANAGEMENT....................... 345

 

I.      ICITAP’S Inability to Account for Expenditures for the Newly Independent States  345

 

A.... State Department Requests for Accounting of Expenditures........ 346

 

B.... ICITAP Managers’ Explanations................................................ 348

 

C.... Allegation of Deliberate Misrepresentation.................................. 350

 

D.... OIG’s Conclusions................................................................... 351

 

II.     The Interlog, Inc. Unilateral Price Increase......................................... 352

 

III.    Criminal Division Managers Misused Contract for Computer

 

         Support Services.............................................................................. 354

 

A.... Contract 1................................................................................. 354

 

1.... Work Outside the Scope of the Contract............................. 355

 

2.... Overpayments for Unqualified Staff.................................... 356

 

B.... Contract 2................................................................................. 359

 

C.... Explanations and OIG’s Conclusions......................................... 360

 

D.... Summary of Billings.................................................................. 362

 

IV.    ICITAP’s Management Information System....................................... 364

 

A.... Development of the System....................................................... 365

 

B.... OIG’s Conclusions................................................................... 369

 

V.     The ILEA Translation Cost Overruns................................................ 369

 

VI.    Haiti................................................................................................. 374

 

CHAPTER TEN: MISCELLANEOUS ALLEGATIONS..................... 377

 

I.      Donations of Excess Computers....................................................... 377

 

A.... DOJ Computers for Education Program..................................... 377

 

B.... Donation Directed by Executive Officer Bratt............................. 378

 

1.... Bratt’s Version................................................................... 378

 

2.... Investigation....................................................................... 379

 

C.... Donations Directed by Senior Deputy Executive Officer

 

       Bright........................................................................................ 379

 

1.... Investigation....................................................................... 380

 

2.... Bright’s Version................................................................. 382

 

D.... OIG’s Conclusions................................................................... 384

 

II.     Grant Award to Robert Lockwood.................................................... 385

 

III.    Alleged Conflict of Interest................................................................ 392

 

IV.    Excess American Bar Association Overhead and Rwanda

 

         Expenditures..................................................................................... 392

 

V.     The Haitian Police Special Investigative Unit...................................... 393

 

VI.    Claims of Retaliation......................................................................... 394

 

A.... Martin Andersen........................................................................ 394

 

B.... Janice Stromsem....................................................................... 396

 

C.... Michael Gray............................................................................. 396

 

D.... Lisa Konrath............................................................................. 397

 

VII.   Special Treatment for Jill Hogarty as a Contractor.............................. 398

 

VIII. Conditions at the Haitian Police Training Academy in 1995................. 399

 

IX.    Illegal Transportation of Hazardous Material by Air............................ 400

 

CHAPTER ELEVEN: RECOMMENDATIONS AND

 

CONCLUSIONS.................................................................................... 401

 

I.      Recommendations Regarding Discipline and Repayment of Funds...... 401

 

A.... Criminal Division Executive Officer Robert K. Bratt.................... 401

 

B.... Associate Executive Officer Joseph R. Lake, Jr.......................... 404

 

C.... ICITAP Director Janice Stromsem............................................. 405

 

D.... Special Assistant to the ICITAP Director Cary Hoover............... 406

 

E.... Associate ICITAP Director Joseph Trincellito............................ 407

 

F.... Acting Director of OPDAT Thomas Snow................................. 407

 

G.... Executive Assistant Denise Turcotte........................................... 407

 

II.     Other Recommendations................................................................... 408

A.... Oversight Committee................................................................. 408

 

B.... Follow-up After Investigations................................................... 408

 

C.... Security Issues.......................................................................... 409

 

D.... Travel....................................................................................... 410

 

1.... Review of Audit Process.................................................... 410

 

2.... Training............................................................................. 410

 

3.... Frequent Flyer Miles........................................................... 410

 

E.... Training on Ethical Issues.......................................................... 412

 

F.... Performance Evaluations............................................................ 412

 

G.... Re-employment Issues............................................................... 412

 

III.    OIG’s Conclusions........................................................................... 412

 

 

 

LIST OF NAMES

 

 

 

NAMES                                                POSITION

 

ALEXANDRE  Carl             

  OPDAT Director, June 1997 to present.

 

ANDERSEN  Martin  ICITAP contractor (1993); ICITAP and OPDAT term employee (1995-97). 

 

BARTSCH   Richard

  Contractor in Office of Administration who dealt with computer              systems.

 

BEJARANO  Edward

  FBI Special Agent detailed to ICITAP as Deputy Director 1996 to 1998.

 

BOLGAK  Ludmilla

  One of two women with whom Bratt socialized in Moscow and          invited to visit him in the United States.

 

BONNER  Mark

  OPDAT Resident Legal Advisor, Moscow, Russia

 

September 1996-January 1998.

 

BRANDEL  Sarah

  Head of INL Section of State Department that funded OPDAT's

 

Russian, NIS, and Eastern European training programs.

 

BRATT     Robert

  Criminal Division Executive Officer August 1995 – July  2000.

 

ICTAP Acting Director 1995.

 

ICITAP and OPDAT Coordinator  September 1996 – April 1997.

 

Detailed to Immigration and Naturalization Service 

 

April 1997 – March 1998.

 

Detailed to JMD 1998-2000.

 

Retired August 2000.

 

BRIGHT   Sandra

  Criminal Division Deputy Executive Officer.

 

Served as Acting Executive Officer, during Bratt's absence from Office of Administration.

 

BUTLER   Lorraine

  Criminal Division Facilities and Security staff member.

 

CANTILENA   Linda

  Chief, Criminal Division Facilities and Security Staff.

 

DENNY  Stephen

  Assistant Director, JMD Procurement Services Staff.

 

DIDATO  Thomas

  OPDAT contractor who functioned as NIS Assistant Program Manager 1996 – 1998.

 

FRYE  Eugene

  Office of Administration Fiscal staff.

 

FRARY   M. Paul

  OPDAT employee (1996-1997) ICITAP and OPDAT Security Officer September 1996 – February 1997.

 

GAIGE  Robin

  Criminal Division Deputy Executive Officer; in charge of ICITAP and OPDAT's administration April 1996 –  mid-May 1997, when she resigned to go to the National Drug Intelligence Center.

 

GRAY  Michael

  OPDAT contractor who functioned as OPDAT Newly

 

Independent States Program Manager, until succeeded by Joseph Lake, and then was an assistant to Lake.

 

HARRIS  Jo Ann

  Former Criminal Division Assistant Attorney General (1993-95). 

 

Served as a consultant to OPDAT January 1997 – August 1997.

 

HOGARTY  Jill

  ICITAP Consultant  September 1994 – January 1996.

 

ICITAP Temporary employee January 1996 – January 1997.

 

ICITAP Permanent employee beginning January 1997.

 

HOOVER  Cary

  ICITAP employee beginning September 1990.

 

Special Assistant to ICITAP Director Janice Stromsem

 

(1995 to 1997).

 

JOHNSON   Paul

  Office of Administration employee, Special Assistant to Bratt.

 

KEENEY  John

  Criminal Division Acting Assistant Attorney General 1995-1998.

 

KORENEVA  Yelena (Helen)                          

  Russian woman with whom Bratt became romatically involved, who he invited to visit him in United States.

 

KOVALENKO  Tatyana

  Moscow interpreter through whom Bratt met Koreneva and Bolgak.

 

KRISKOVICH  David

  FBI Special Agent, detailed to ICITAP, were he served as the founding Director from January 1986 – June 1994.

 

LAKE  Joseph

  Criminal Division, Associate Executive Officer 1991 – 1997. 

 

Newly Independent States Program Manager in 1996.

 

Retired with Buyout bonus in 1997, returned the next day as contractor first at OPDAT, then at INS

 

LANG  Patrick

  ICITAP Program Manager Haiti, through 1998. 

ICITAP Program Manager South Africa 1998-1999.

ICITAP Director 1999 - present 

LOCKWOOD  Robert

  Clerk of the Court in Broward County, Florida. 

Developed program to bring Russian and Israeli judges to United States and American and Israeli judges to Russia. 

Received Office of Justice Programs grant through OPDAT. 

MANN  Raquel

  In charge of  ICITAP administration 1994 to 1996.

 

MILLER   Robert

  ICITAP administrative officer.

 

MUCKLE   Verna

  Criminal Division Deputy Executive Officer for finances until succeeded by Gaige. 

 

Transferred to head of Office of Administration Management Information Systems.

 

PERITO   Robert

  ICITAP Deputy Director 1996 to present. 

 

Retired from State Department, served as ICITAP Deputy Director as contractor for six months prior to permanent appointment

 

PODGORSKI  John

  Office of Administration employee.

 

Contracting Officer’s Technical Representative for Interlog contract.

 

RASMUSSEN   Jane

  ICITAP consultant.

 

REILLY   Richard

  Office of Administration employee.

 

Mann and Gaige’s successor as head of ICITAP and

 

OPDAT administration (1997).

 

RICHARD   Mark

  Criminal Division Deputy Assistant Attorney General.

 

RODEFFER   Mark

  JMD, Associate Assistant Director, Financial Operations Service, Finance Staff. 

 

RUBINO   Jerry

  Director, Security and Emergency Planning Staff.

 

SHANNONHOUSE   John

  ICITAP Security Officer 1995-96.

 

Contracting Officer’s Technical Representative for Interlog contract and for development of ICITAP automated financial management systems.

 

SILVERWOOD  James

  OPDAT staff member; Criminal Division attorney and ethics advisor.

 

Acting OPDAT Director April 1997 – June 1997.

 

SPOSATO  Janis

  JMD, Deputy Assistant Attorney General.

 

STROMSEM   Janice

  Director, ICITAP (1995-99).

 

TREVILLIAN   Robert

  ICITAP Management Analyst.

 

TRINCELLITO   Joseph

  ICITAP Associate Deputy Director. 

 

Head of ICITAP and OPDAT Haiti  program.

 

TRUEBELL   Beth

  Contractor who functioned as Lake’s assistant 1995 – 1997. 

 

OPDAT federal employee September 1998.

 

WARLOW    Mary Ellen

  Criminal Division Counsel  for National Security Matters.

 

ICITAP/OPDAT Coordinator May 1997 –  March 1998. 

 

WILLIAMS  Learia

  ICITAP Administrative Management.

 

Maintained ICITAP’s personnel files and list of personnel with a security clearance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ORGANIZATION CHARTS

 

 

 

 

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

The International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP) is an office within the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice that provides training for foreign police agencies in new and emerging democracies and assists in the development of police forces relating to international peacekeeping operations.  The Criminal Division’s Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training (OPDAT) trains prosecutors and judges in foreign countries in coordination with United States Embassies and other government agencies.  The Criminal Division’s Office of Administration serves the Criminal Division’s administrative needs.  This report details the results of an investigation by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) into allegations that managers in ICITAP, OPDAT, and the Office of Administration committed misconduct or other improprieties.

 

The allegations raised a wide variety of issues including managers’ improper use of their government positions to obtain visas for foreign citizens, widespread violations of the rules governing the handling and storage of classified documents, managers’ use of business class travel without authorization, managers’ use of frequent flyer miles earned on government travel for personal use, violations of contractual rules and regulations, failure to supervise contracts leading to substantial cost overruns and overcharges by contractors, and favoritism in the hiring and promotion of certain employees.  Many of the allegations concerned the actions of Robert K. “Bob” Bratt, a senior Department official who became the Criminal Division Executive Officer in charge of the Office of Administration in 1992.  At varying times during the years 1995-1997, Bratt also was the Acting Director of ICITAP and the Coordinator of both ICITAP and OPDAT.

 

We substantiated many of the allegations and found that individual managers, including Bratt, committed serious misconduct.  We also concluded that managers in ICITAP, OPDAT, and the Office of Administration failed to follow or enforce government regulations regarding ethics, security, travel, and contracts.  As a result of our investigation, we recommended discipline for three employees.  We would have recommended significant discipline for Bratt, including possible termination, but for Bratt’s retirement effective August 1, 2000.  We also found that some of the problems revealed by this investigation go beyond holding individual managers accountable for their actions and that the Department can make changes to enhance the performance of other managers, employees, and offices.  Therefore, we made nine recommendations concerning systemic improvements for the Department to consider.

 

The report is divided into chapters addressing the major allegations.  In this Executive Summary, we summarize the background of the investigation and the allegations, the investigative findings, and the OIG conclusions with respect to each chapter.

 

I.            BACKGROUND OF THE INVESTIGATION

ICITAP was created in 1986 and although it is part of the Department of Justice, its programs are funded by the Department of State.  OPDAT, created in 1991, is similarly funded.  Both ICITAP and OPDAT are headed by Directors, with a Coordinator responsible for overseeing the management of both organizations.  The Office of Administration handles the administrative functions for the Criminal Division, including personnel, budget, information technology, and procurement matters.  The Executive Officer heads the Office of Administration.

 

Bratt became the Executive Officer for the Criminal Division in 1992.  He was appointed the Acting Director of ICITAP in March 1995 following the dismissal of the previous Director.  After Janice Stromsem was selected as ICITAP Director and assumed the post in August 1995, Bratt resumed his duties as Executive Officer.  Bratt was appointed to the newly created post of Coordinator in September 1996 where he remained until being detailed to the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) in April 1997 at the request of the Attorney General.

 

ICITAP has had a long history of turmoil.  Between 1994 and 1997, four different individuals assumed the responsibility of Director or Acting Director.  During that period, there were two different investigations into allegations of misconduct as well as reviews of ICITAP’s organizational structure and financial systems.  In 1994, at the request of the Criminal Division Assistant Attorney General, the OIG completed two investigations of ICITAP that examined allegations of favoritism in selecting consultants, misconduct in travel reimbursements, poor quality of ICITAP’s work products, waste and inefficiency in program and contract expenditures, and management of foreign programs.  The OIG did not substantiate the allegations of misconduct but did find that ICITAP did not plan its programs carefully.  The OIG also made recommendations to improve ICITAP’s financial management.  In January 1995, Bratt examined a proposed ICITAP reorganization plan and conducted an investigation following additional allegations of misconduct that were made to the Criminal Division, allegations that Bratt substantiated.

 

This OIG investigation began in April 1997 when an ICITAP employee reported to the Department’s security staff that an ICITAP senior manager had provided classified documents to persons who did not have a security clearance.  The Department’s security staff and the OIG investigated the allegation and confirmed it.  The OIG continued the investigation to determine the extent of security problems at ICITAP.  While this investigation was ongoing, the OIG received numerous allegations of misconduct and mismanagement at ICITAP and OPDAT, and we broadened our investigation to encompass these new allegations.

 

II.         INVESTIGATION OF ALLEGATIONS

A.          Issuance of Visas to Russian Women

Bratt made four trips to Russia in late 1996 and 1997 in conjunction with his duties as ICITAP and OPDAT Coordinator.  We received several allegations of impropriety relating to these trips.  The most serious allegation was that Bratt and Criminal Division Associate Executive Officer Joseph R. Lake, Jr. improperly used Bratt’s government position to obtain visas for two Russian women, one or both of whom it was alleged were Bratt’s “Russian girlfriends.”

 

Our review determined that in 1997 Russians seeking to visit the United States had two methods of obtaining visas from the American Embassy in Moscow:  the standard process and the “referral” process.  The standard process could be used by any Russian seeking to visit the United States.  Russians applying through the standard process were required to wait in long lines at the American Embassy in Moscow to submit their applications, and the process included an interview by an American Embassy official.  The Embassy official could deny the application if, among other reasons, the official did not believe the applicant had established that he or she would return to Russia.  The “referral” process could be used in much more limited circumstances.  The referral process required that United States government interests be supported by the applicant’s visit to the United States or that a humanitarian basis existed for the visit.  In the referral process, the visa application was submitted by an Embassy official who completed a form approved by an Embassy Section Chief setting forth the United States government interest in or the humanitarian basis for the applicant’s visit.  No interview was required, and the use of the referral process generally ensured that the applicant would receive a visa.

 

Two Russian citizens, Yelena Koreneva and Ludmilla Bolgak, received on April 7, 1997, visas to visit the United States.  They received the visas because Lake submitted their applications using the referral process and purported that a government interest existed for their visit to the United States.  On the referral form Lake wrote that “[a]pplicants have worked with the Executive Officer (EO) Criminal Division in support of administrative functions, Moscow Office.”  He signed it “Joe Lake for BB.”  In addition to being the ICITAP and OPDAT Coordinator, Bratt retained the title and many of the responsibilities of the Executive Officer.

 

We determined that neither woman had ever worked for Bratt or the Criminal Division.  Both women socialized extensively with Bratt during his visits to Moscow, but Bratt did not have a professional relationship with them.  We concluded that the statement written on the referral form was false.

 

We found that Bratt first visited Moscow in November 1996 during which he received a tour of various tourist sites from a Russian interpreter.  According to the interpreter, during the tour she told Bratt that she also worked for a Russian “match-making” agency.  She said that in response, Bratt told her he would like to meet a single Russian woman.  The interpreter contacted a business associate, Bolgak, who had a friend who was single, Koreneva.  Bratt met Koreneva and Bolgak on his next trip to Moscow, in January 1997.  On this trip, as well as his later trips to Moscow, Bratt socialized extensively with Koreneva and Bolgak, usually meeting them for dinner or drinks. 

 

During the January trip, Bratt invited the women to come to the United States to visit him.  Koreneva told Bratt that she had previously been denied a visa to visit the United States.  Between the January trip and his next trip to Moscow in March 1997, Bratt investigated how Russians could obtain visas to visit the United States.  He made inquiries of a personal friend who worked for the State Department and also of Cary Hoover, the Special Assistant to the ICITAP Director.  Bratt learned that Russians applied for visas at the American Embassy in Moscow, that they were interviewed by Embassy officials, and that the Embassy made a determination as to whether the applicant would return to Russia.  Bratt also asked Hoover specifically for information about the referral process.

 

In March 1997 Bratt and Hoover returned to Moscow on business.  During this trip Bratt and Hoover met with an unidentified Embassy official to learn more about the visa process.  The evidence showed that Bratt, Hoover, and the Embassy official discussed the likelihood of Koreneva being denied a visa.  During the meeting Bratt told the official that one or both of the women might work for the Department of Justice in the future.  We concluded that Bratt learned through these various inquiries that Koreneva would likely be denied a visa again if she used the standard application process.

 

Although Bratt and Lake deny it, the evidence showed that Bratt returned to the Embassy again during this March trip, this time accompanied by Lake who was also in Moscow, and met with Donald Wells, the head of the Embassy office responsible for issuing visas through the referral process.  Bratt and Lake told Wells that they wished to bring two women with whom they had a professional relationship to the United States for consultations.  Wells told the men that the referral process could only be used if there was a government interest in the women’s visit to the United States.

 

We also learned that within a few days of the meeting with Wells, Lake obtained a visa referral form from the Embassy.  The evidence showed that Lake called Bratt, who had returned to the United States, to discuss the form. Lake submitted the women’s applications and the visa referral form containing the false statement about the women having worked for the Executive Officer to the Embassy.  The visas were issued shortly thereafter although they were never used by the women.  Although he initially falsely claimed to the OIG that he was just friends with Koreneva, Bratt later admitted to the OIG that he had an intimate relationship with her.

 

We concluded that Bratt and Lake knowingly used the referral process even though they were aware that it required a government interest in the women’s visit and that no such government interest existed.  We also found that Bratt’s and Lake’s explanations of their conduct, as well as their denials that certain events happened, were not credible.  We concluded that Bratt and Lake committed egregious misconduct.

 

B.          Security Failures at ICITAP

In April 1997 the Department of Justice Security and Emergency Planning Staff (SEPS) received an allegation from an OPDAT employee that Special Assistant to the ICITAP Director Hoover had improperly given classified documents to individuals who worked at ICITAP and who did not have security clearances.  SEPS and the OIG confirmed the allegation.  SEPS then conducted an unannounced, after-hours sweep of the ICITAP offices on April 14, 1997, to further assess ICITAP’s compliance with security rules and regulations.  During that sweep and a follow-up review conducted by the Criminal Division Security Staff, 156 classified documents were found unsecured in the office of Joseph Trincellito, ICITAP Associate Director.  The OIG and SEPS conducted further investigation to determine the extent of ICITAP’s security problems and ICITAP management’s responsibility for the failures.

 

The OIG found that the problems discovered in the 1997 security reviews had existed for many years.  Evidence showed that senior managers provided or attempted to provide classified documents to uncleared consultants or other staff.  Staff, including senior managers, routinely left classified documents unsecured on desks, including when individuals were away from their offices on travel.  Stromsem, Hoover, and Trincellito improperly took classified documents home.  Highly classified documents containing Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI), or “codeword” information, were brought to the ICITAP offices even though ICITAP did not have the type of secure facility (a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility or “SCIF”) required to store SCI.  The evidence showed that ICITAP inaccurately certified to United States Embassies that individuals had security clearances when they did not.  We also found one instance where classified information was sent over an unsecure e-mail system.

As an example of the inattention ICITAP managers gave to security, we set forth the troubling history of ICITAP Associate Director Trincellito’s handling of classified information.  From 1995 through early 1997, ICITAP’s security officers repeatedly found classified documents left unattended in Trincellito’s office.  The security officers warned Trincellito that he was violating security rules, and they also notified other ICITAP managers about the problem.  One security officer, after becoming aware of repeated violations, documented the violations in writing and recommended discipline for Trincellito.  ICITAP Director Stromsem on occasion spoke to Trincellito about his violations and attempted to make it easier for him to comply with rules by putting a safe in his office.  However, in the face of repeated violations indicating that Trincellito refused to comply with security regulations, Stromsem and other senior ICITAP managers failed to take sufficient action, such as initiating discipline, to ensure that Trincellito complied with security regulations.

 

We found that ICITAP managers’ own violations of the security rules, their tolerance of Trincellito’s known violations, and the removal of the security officers who attempted to enforce the rules sent a message that security was not important at ICITAP.  We also found that the Criminal Division did not adequately supervise ICITAP’s security program even though security reviews conducted by both SEPS and the Criminal Division beginning in 1994 showed a pattern of security violations.

 

In this chapter we also discuss the security implications raised by Bratt’s involvement with Koreneva.  Bratt held a high-level security clearance and had access to highly classified documents.  We concluded that Bratt’s intimate involvement with a Russian citizen about whom he knew very little, his invitation to her to visit the United States and his office, his improper use of his government position to obtain a visa for Koreneva and Bolgak, and his attempt to conceal the true nature of the relationship left him vulnerable to blackmail and represented a security concern.

 

We found that the actions of another ICITAP employee who was intimately involved with a Russian national also represented a security concern.

 

C.         Business Class Travel

We found that Bratt and other ICITAP and OPDAT managers improperly flew business class when traveling to and from Moscow in 1996 and 1997.  Government and Department Travel Regulations restrict the use of business class by government travelers.  Even in circumstances when business class may be used, it must be authorized by the traveler’s supervisor.  We found that Bratt instigated and approved a scheme to improperly manipulate his flight schedules in order to qualify for business class travel.  We concluded that Bratt’s and the

 

other managers’ use of business class was not authorized and violated the rules limiting the use of business class travel.

 

On one trip, in November 1996 Bratt, Lake, and Thomas Snow, the Acting Director of OPDAT, traveled to Moscow and several other European cities using business class on at least one leg of the trip.  Business class was arranged by the Department’s travel agency because the method used by the airlines to calculate the cost of trips with several stops made the use of business class less expensive than coach class.  However, we found that a weekend stop in Frankfurt, Germany, violated the Travel Regulations and that the stop should not have been used as a basis to obtain business class accommodations.  We also found that the Department’s travel agency had suggested an alternative itinerary for this trip that would have saved the government substantial money but that the itinerary was improperly rejected by Lake.

 

On a second trip, in January 1997 Bratt and Hoover flew business class to Moscow purportedly pursuant to the “14-hour” rule.  If authorized by a supervisor, government regulations permit travelers to fly business class when a flight, including layovers to catch a connecting flight, is longer than 14 hours.  For this trip, Bratt requested that his Executive Assistant determine whether the flight proposed by the travel agency qualified for business class under the 14-hour rule.  His Executive Assistant checked with three different individuals and based on the information she received, she told Bratt that he did not qualify for business class because both legs of the flight took less than the requisite time.

 

Nonetheless, according to Bratt’s Executive Assistant, Bratt told her to “do what you can to get me on business class.”  As a result, Bratt’s Executive Assistant arranged with the Department’s travel agency to lengthen Bratt’s flight for the purpose of obtaining a flight long enough to qualify for business class travel.  Even with the manipulations, however, the flight from the United States to Moscow was still less than 14 hours.  We concluded that Bratt and Hoover did not qualify for the use of business class and that they were not authorized to use that class of service.

 

In March 1997, on a third trip, Bratt, Hoover, and Stromsem flew business class from Moscow to the United States even though there were economy flights available that would have fit the business needs of the travelers.  Although Hoover and Stromsem were originally scheduled to fly on an economy class flight, Bratt directed that their flights be changed to avoid the disparity between his subordinates traveling economy while he traveled on business class.  We held Bratt accountable for all the excess costs of the March trip.  On his fourth trip, in June 1997 Bratt flew business class on both legs of his trip to and from Moscow.  Contemporaneous documents show that the choice of flights for both of these trips was dictated by Bratt’s desire to use business class rather than for business reasons.  In one facsimile to the travel agency concerning the June 1997 trip, Bratt’s Executive Assistant asked, “Can you rebook him [Bratt] with a slightly longer layover in Amsterdam …. So that at least two extra hours is added onto the trip? ….”  In addition, the travelers were not authorized to travel on business class for either the March or June trip.

 

In sum, we found that Bratt pressured his staff to obtain business class travel and approved a scheme to lengthen his travel time solely for the purpose of obtaining flights that would qualify for business class travel under the 14-hour rule.  We concluded that Bratt’s manipulation of flight schedules to qualify for business class travel violated the Travel Regulations and was improper.  The government spent at least $13,459.56 more than it should have for these four trips.

 

We also found that the Justice Management Division (JMD), which is responsible for auditing foreign travel vouchers, did not question the use of business class travel by Bratt or the other managers who accompanied him even when the lack of authorization was apparent on the face of the travel documents that the travelers submitted to be reimbursed for their expenses.

 

In this chapter we also detail a conversation between Bratt and his Executive Assistant that led her to believe that Bratt was coaching her how to answer OIG questions.  Through a series of rhetorical questions that falsely suggested that Bratt was not involved in making decisions regarding his use of business class, Bratt tried to shift to his Executive Assistant the responsibility for the decisions leading to Bratt’s business class travel.  Bratt also told her that she should not report their conversation to anyone.  For some time after that conversation, Bratt continued to contact her asking whether she had been interviewed by the OIG and what she had said.  Despite OIG requests to Bratt that he not discuss the subject of our interviews with individuals other than his attorney, we found that Bratt discussed topics that were the subject of the investigation with individuals who would be interviewed by the OIG.  Bratt also called individuals, such as the two Russian women for whom he had improperly obtained visas, to alert them that the OIG would be seeking to interview them.

 

D.         Failure to Follow Travel Regulations

During the course of the investigation, we found that ICITAP, OPDAT, and Office of Administration managers violated government Travel Regulations with respect to the use of frequent flyer benefits.  Government regulations state that all frequent flyer miles accrued on government travel belong to the government.  Because airlines generally do not permit government travelers to keep separate accounts for business and personal travel, travelers may “commingle” miles earned from business and personal travel in one account.  However, the Travel Regulations are explicit that it is the responsibility of the traveler to keep records adequate to verify that any benefits the traveler uses for personal travel were accrued from personal travel.

 

We found that between 1989 and 1998 Bratt used 380,000 miles for personal travel.  Bratt told the OIG that while he had no records to verify how many miles he had accrued from his personal travel, he believed that he had collected at lease 150,000 miles from personal travel as well as miles from the use of a personal credit card.  Even giving Bratt the benefit of his recollection, we concluded that Bratt improperly used between 156,000 and 230,000 miles earned from government travel for his personal benefit.

 

We found that Hoover also used frequent flyer miles accrued from government travel to purchase airline tickets and other benefits for personal travel for himself and a family member.  Stromsem used miles accrued on government travel to upgrade her class of travel in violation of government rules.

 

The investigation revealed that managers violated other Travel Regulations as well.  Lake was inappropriately reimbursed by the government for some of the travel expenses associated with weekends that he spent in Frankfurt, Germany, when he was on personal travel.  In violation of the regulations requiring a traveler’s supervisor to authorize travel and approve travel expenses, Bratt repeatedly either authorized his own travel or had subordinates sign his travel requests.  Both Bratt and Stromsem routinely had subordinates approve their travel expenses.

 

We received an allegation that Stromsem took a business trip to Lyons, France, as a pretext that allowed her to visit her daughter who was in Tours, France.  Although Stromsem did not list a business purpose on her travel paperwork for her stop in Lyons, we did not conclude that her trip to Lyons was pretextual.

 

We also received an allegation that Bratt’s trips to Moscow in 1997 were for the purpose of furthering his romantic relationship with a Russian woman.  We found that the lack of advance planning for the trips, the fact that most of his meetings in Moscow were with his own staff rather than Russians, and his romantic relationship with a Russian woman strongly suggested that the trips to Moscow were not necessary or were unnecessarily extended for personal rather than government reasons.

 

E.          Lake Buyout

On March 31, 1997, Lake retired from the federal government after receiving $25,000 as part of a government-wide buyout program (the Buyout Program) to encourage eligible federal employees to retire.  The following day Lake began working for OPDAT as a consultant.  Lake worked as a subcontractor to a company that had been awarded a contract to provide various support services to ICITAP.  In May 1997 at Bratt’s request, Lake worked as a consultant to the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) after Bratt was detailed there.

 

The Buyout Program prohibited former federal employees from returning to government service as either employees or as contractors working under a “personal services” contract for five years after their retirement.  A personal services contract is defined by federal regulations as “a contract that, by its express terms or as administered, makes the contractor personnel appear, in effect, [to be] Government employees.”  Violation of the prohibition requires repayment of the incentive bonus.

 

We found that while at OPDAT and INS after his retirement Lake reported to and was supervised by Bratt, that Lake supervised and gave directions to federal employees or other contractors, that he used government equipment, and that other staff were often unaware that Lake was not a federal employee.  The evidence showed that Lake essentially did the same job as an OPDAT consultant that he had performed while a government employee.  We

 

concluded that Lake worked at OPDAT and the INS under a personal services contract in violation of the Buyout Program requirements.

 

The evidence showed that Lake planned for several months to return to work for the Department as a consultant.  Both Bratt and Lake were warned by officials in JMD and the Criminal Division Office of Administration that Lake’s return as a consultant could constitute a personal services contract.  We concluded that Bratt and Lake improperly failed to ensure that Lake’s work met the requirements of the Buyout Program.

 

After allegations were raised in the media that Lake had received Buyout money and then improperly returned to work for the Department, Bratt asked JMD for an opinion as to whether Lake should repay the Buyout bonus.  A JMD official concluded that Lake was not obligated to pay back the money based upon a “good faith” exception to the rule requiring repayment.  We determined that there is no “good faith” exception to the requirement that a person who violates the Buyout Program prohibition against performing personal services must repay the bonus.  We also concluded that even if a good faith exception existed in the law it would not apply in this case as Lake was aware of the prohibition against personal services and was warned that his return as a consultant might constitute the performance of personal services.

 

We also found that JMD permitted Lake to work at INS without a contract for several months.  In addition, while JMD issued a purchase order for Lake’s INS work in July 1997, senior JMD procurement officials later expressed concerns that the purchase order that had been issued by their office was a personal services contract.  We also found that hiring Lake as a subcontractor to a third party contractor added unnecessary costs to the contract.

 

F.          Harris Contract

Jo Ann Harris was the Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division from November 1993 until August 1995, when she left the federal government.  Under federal regulations, Harris was barred from contracting with the government for one year after her government service.  In December 1996 Harris agreed to become an OPDAT consultant to organize, moderate, and evaluate three conferences that OPDAT was planning to hold at the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in Budapest, Hungary, and to assist OPDAT in developing curriculum for other OPDAT training programs.  The OIG investigated allegations that the award of this contract to Harris violated ethical rules that prohibit contracting with former government officials on a preferential basis.  We found that OPDAT’s award of a contract to Harris to develop curriculum for OPDAT programs and the processes used to develop the contract, to determine Harris’ fee, and to modify her contract raised the appearance of favoritism.

 

In September 1996 Harris had discussions with Criminal Division managers, including Bratt, about the possibility of her assisting OPDAT as a consultant.  In November 1996 Harris discussed on the phone with Bratt specific projects that she could work on such as the ILEA conferences and curriculum development.  At Bratt’s direction, an OPDAT official called Harris in early December 1996 and had a similar conversation with Harris during which she reiterated her interest in working on OPDAT projects.  On December 12, 1996, Bratt, Harris, and Lake met in Harris’ former office at the Department of Justice, and Harris agreed to Bratt’s proposal that she work as a consultant on OPDAT projects.  The Statement of Work, a contract document that set out the tasks that OPDAT was seeking from a consultant, was issued on January 23, 1997.  The tasks included preparing for the ILEA conferences, acting as the conference moderator, and developing curricula for other OPDAT programs.

 

Because no competition was involved in awarding Harris’ contract, we evaluated the propriety of OPDAT’s award of her contract under the rules pertaining to the award of sole-source contracts.  Sole-source contracts, which do not require the solicitation of competing bids, may be awarded when the exigencies of time or the consultant’s expertise justify the waiver of the competitive process.  We concluded that OPDAT could have awarded a sole-source contract for her work on the ILEA conference given her extensive experience and the short time frame that existed to prepare for the conference.  However, we concluded that Bratt’s decision to hire Harris to develop curricula for OPDAT projects other than the ILEA conferences created the appearance of favoritism.  We also found that Bratt discussed with Harris what projects she could perform and the Statement of Work was written to fit those projects.  We concluded that the process OPDAT used to develop Harris’ contract violated the principle that the task to be accomplished should drive the development of a contract rather than the desire to hire a particular consultant.

 

We disproved the allegation that Harris was paid $65,000 for eight days work.  She was paid approximately $27,000 for 42 days work on two ILEA conferences.  However, we found that Harris’ rate of pay was not the result of an “arms length” negotiation.  Harris told Bratt, her former subordinate, to set the fee and to “scrub it” because she did not want to read about the fee in the newspaper.  She agreed to accept $650 per day although her contract was later modified to permit her to be paid based on an hourly rather than a daily rate.  We were unable to determine the basis for the $650 per day fee or find any evidence that Bratt and Lake used any comparable consultant fee arrangement as the basis for setting Harris’ rate.  Evidence showed that the Department of State, ICITAP, and OPDAT generally set the fees for their consultants at a lower rate.  We concluded that the lack of a clear record setting forth the basis for the fee raised the appearance that Harris was given preferential treatment by her former subordinates.

 

We also found that OPDAT hired Harris to perform work outside the scope of the contract, which only authorized services to ICITAP not OPDAT.

 

G.         Improper Personnel Practices

The OIG received various allegations relating to ICITAP’s and OPDAT’s hiring and management of personnel.  The evidence showed that ICITAP and OPDAT managers misused contractor personnel.  Federal regulations prohibit contractor personnel from directing federal employees or exercising managerial oversight.  Yet, ICITAP and OPDAT managers did not distinguish between employees and contractor personnel and often failed to identify personnel working for contractors as such.  As a result, ICITAP and OPDAT staff were often confused about consultant’s roles and the scope of their authority.

 

We found that contractor personnel were used as managers.  For example, one of ICITAP’s Deputy Directors was a subcontractor employed by a contractor that provided a variety of services to ICITAP.  After ICITAP Director Stromsem was advised by an administrative official that there were limits to the authority of personnel employed by contractors, Stromsem cautioned the Deputy Director about the limitations.  However, Stromsem did not notify other staff about the Deputy Director’s status as a subcontractor, and he remained in the position of Deputy Director until he became a federal employee six months later.

 

We found other problems with the use of contractor personnel including ICITAP’s selection of particular consultants to be hired by its service contractors.  This left ICITAP vulnerable to claims that it was violating the rules restricting personal services contracts.  The practice of directing the hiring of consultants wasted money because ICITAP was performing the administrative work associated with hiring consultants at the same time that it was paying its service contractors administrative fees.  In addition, consultants often began work before the Statement of Work was issued to the prime contractor.  This practice required the paperwork to be backdated or ratified in order for the consultant to be paid.  We also found that consultants were hired as federal employees and then made decisions affecting their former contractor employer in violation of ethical regulations.  This practice was stopped by Mary Ellen Warlow, who became the Coordinator for ICITAP and OPDAT in 1997 after Bratt left for the INS.

 

We investigated allegations that ICITAP managers engaged in favoritism in the hiring of staff.  Federal employees are hired after a competitive process that begins with the public issuance of a vacancy announcement that describes the application process and sets forth the responsibilities and other particulars of the position.  Managers were alleged to have engaged in “preselection,” that is, they decided whom to hire before beginning the competitive selection process required by federal regulations.

 

The hiring of Jill Hogarty in particular raised complaints.  Hogarty was an attorney who worked as a bartender at Lulu’s New Orleans Cafe, an establishment located near the ICITAP offices which was visited regularly by ICITAP Associate Director Trincellito and other ICITAP staff.  While visiting Lulu’s, Trincellito discussed ICITAP’s work with Hogarty, and eventually Trincellito invited Hogarty to consider working as a consultant to ICITAP.  Hogarty gave Trincellito her resume, and Trincellito wrote the paperwork that resulted in her being hired as an ICITAP consultant in September 1994.  According to Hogarty, while she was a consultant to ICITAP, she dated Bratt for several months, from September 1995 to December 1995.  At that time Bratt had resumed his position as Executive Officer but he retained authority to approve personnel decisions at ICITAP.  In November 1995, during the time that Hogarty and Bratt were dating, Hogarty applied to become a temporary federal employee at ICITAP.  She was selected by Trincellito for this position in December 1995.

 

On January 5, 1997, Hogarty’s employment status changed once again, and she became a permanent federal employee.  It was this selection that raised the complaint about preselection.  The vacancy announcement for the position that Hogarty obtained opened on November 1, 1996.  An ICITAP employee who held a term position told the OIG that while the position was still open for applications, he was discussing the announcement for the position with another employee when Hogarty told them that it was her position and that she had been selected for it.  The employee told the OIG that even though he was interested in the position himself, he did not apply for it because he believed Hogarty’s statement that she had already been selected.

 

To investigate the allegation of preselection, we attempted to determine which manager had selected Hogarty for the position and the reason for the selection.  The paperwork listed Stromsem as the official requesting the recruitment.  The paperwork did not show who had made the selection, however.  All of ICITAP’s top managers – Director Stromsem, Associate Director Trincellito (who was also Hogarty’s direct supervisor), the ICITAP Deputy Directors, and Special Assistant to the Director Hoover – denied having selected Hogarty for the permanent position.  Bratt also denied selecting Hogarty.

 

We found strong evidence that Bratt and Stromsem preselected Hogarty.  An e-mail from Bratt on October 8, 1996, showed that Bratt authorized hiring Hogarty before the vacancy announcement that opened the position for competition was issued.  We also learned from an ICITAP administrative official that in October or November 1996, Stromsem asked the official to determine how they could get Hogarty health benefits, which Hogarty did not have at that time.  The administrative official said that he and Stromsem agreed to create a “term” position vacancy for Hogarty, but that instructions came back from Bratt through Stromsem to make the position permanent.  We concluded that Bratt and Stromsem engaged in preselection in violation of federal regulations governing personnel hiring.

 

We investigated other allegations of favoritism, including the hiring of a consultant who was the father of Stromsem’s former husband’s stepchildren.  He was subsequently selected by Stromsem to become an ICITAP term employee although his qualifications for the position were questionable.  He was ultimately not hired for the term position because of the intervention of

 

Warlow when she became Coordinator.  We concluded that Stromsem’s involvement with this hire gave rise to the appearance of favoritism.

 

The OIG also received numerous allegations that Bratt gave favored treatment to a select group of Office of Administration and ICITAP staff and that he dated subordinates.  Although we only conducted a limited investigation into these allegations, we found that some of the employees who socialized with Bratt received rapid career advancement and that Bratt was often involved in the promotions.  We saw evidence that he dated staff in the Office of Administration and ICITAP and that in one instance he intervened to protect the salary of a subcontractor with whom he had a social interest but who had been found unqualified by Office of Administration staff for the position she held.  We concluded that Bratt’s actions gave rise to an appearance of favoritism.

 

H.         Financial Management

In response to allegations that ICITAP’s finances were mismanaged, the OIG examined ICITAP’s financial management system.  We found that until 1997 ICITAP could not account for its expenditures.  ICITAP did not receive sufficient information from its contractors to permit it to track whether it received the goods and services for which it had paid.  This led to significant problems in 1997 when the State Department, which was funding ICITAP’s programs, asked for detailed information on how the money for programs in the Newly Independent States had been spent.  ICITAP spent several months trying to provide an acceptable answer to the State Department’s request and only succeeded by the use of estimates and extrapolations from the financial information ICITAP did collect.  Although the OIG had advised ICITAP in its 1994 report following an earlier investigation into ICITAP’s financial management system that ICITAP needed to collect more detailed information from its contractors, the problem was not remedied until after the State Department requested detailed financial information in 1997.

 

We found that ICITAP did not pay sufficient attention to the services its contractors provided and left itself vulnerable to overcharges.  In one instance, a contractor notified ICITAP that it was unilaterally raising one of its fees, an action not permitted by the contract.  Despite this notice, ICITAP did nothing for two years until a JMD contracting officer noticed the overcharge. 

 

Subsequent negotiations with the contractor resulted in reimbursement to ICITAP of some of the money.

 

Office of Administration managers hired staff for the Criminal Division by using contractor personnel for jobs that were outside the scope of the contract under which they worked.  In 1991 the Criminal Division awarded a contract to provide computer support services and in 1996 the Criminal Division awarded the same contractor a second contract for computer support services.  The contractor provided employees to work in the Criminal Division’s correspondence units performing tasks such as reading and responding to correspondence.  This work was outside the scope of the first contract, which only authorized computer support services.  The contractor also provided employees who worked as writers, planned conferences, published reports, and organized parties.  The services of these personnel were outside the scope of both contracts.

 

We also found that Criminal Division managers failed to adequately supervise the contract and the contractor charged the government for the services of personnel who were unqualified under the terms of the contract.  The contract set out very specific labor categories, such as Senior Programmer Analyst, and set forth the tasks to be accomplished and the qualifications for each labor category.  We found problems with 25 of 56 of the contractor’s personnel under the first contract and problems with 19 of 54 of the contractor’s personnel under the second contract.  We concluded that the minimum the contractor overcharged the government was $1,164,702.01.

 

The OIG received an allegation that ICITAP had spent substantial sums of money on an automated management information system (IMIS) that did not function properly.  Our investigation showed that the development of IMIS was difficult, that users were unhappy with the product, and that a system designed to replace IMIS could not be completed by the contractor.  We concluded that managers did not adequately analyze ICITAP’s needs in the initial stages of development, and consequently IMIS was constantly being upgraded and modified leading to new problems.  Also, the decision to use floppy disks to transfer information from the field to headquarters rather than develop a network capacity that could be utilized by all users led to significant problems, such as that the data from the floppy disks was often out of date or could not be accessed once it was received at headquarters.  IMIS and the attempt to develop the replacement system ultimately cost more than one million dollars.  We did not investigate to determine how much money might have been saved had IMIS been better planned.

 

ICITAP’s lack of planning also led to a substantial cost overrun of the translation budget for the first ILEA conference.  A hypothetical transnational crime and the statutes of various countries were translated for the conference.  The budget for translations was $16,000; the ultimate cost was $128,258.  Lake delegated much of the responsibility for coordinating the ILEA conference to his assistant, who worked for a contractor.  Lake’s assistant ordered large amounts of material to be translated on an expedited basis without adequately determining the cost of the translations.  The assistant failed to research whether some of the material was already translated and ordered some of the material on a costly expedited basis when it was unnecessary to do so.  We concluded that Lake delegated responsibility to someone who was not qualified to manage the task and then failed to adequately supervise her.

 

We examined whether ICITAP could account for the goods it ordered for use in Haiti by selecting 131 expensive items to track.  The investigation showed that the contractor responsible for providing goods and services to ICITAP in Haiti had in place an effective inventory control system and that ICITAP could account for all but one of the selected items.

 

I.             Miscellaneous Allegations

In this chapter we summarize the results of our investigation of additional allegations, most of which we did not substantiate.

 

We found that Bratt directed that Criminal Division excess computers be sent to a school associated with a girlfriend, and Deputy Executive Officer Sandra Bright initiated and pursued the donation of computers to a school associated with her husband.  In 1996 Bratt directed that 35 computers be sent to an elementary school in Virginia where his then girlfriend was employed as a teacher.  On one occasion in 1996 Bright directed that 25 computers be sent to the school district in Virginia where her husband was employed as a principal and on another occasion in 1996 Bright directed that 30 computers be sent to the school at which her husband was employed.  We concluded that Bratt’s and Bright’s actions created the appearance of favoritism.

 

We did not substantiate an allegation that Robert Lockwood was awarded an OPDAT grant because of his alleged association with Attorney General Janet Reno.  The American-Israeli Russian Committee that Lockwood directed received a $17,000 grant from OPDAT in 1997.  At the time, Lockwood was the Clerk of Courts of Broward County, Florida, and was acquainted with the Attorney General, although not closely so.  We determined that the Attorney General received a phone call from Lockwood in 1997 but that they only discussed Lockwood’s organization and its mission; he did not seek any funding from her.  Lockwood became involved with OPDAT through the OPDAT Resident Legal Advisor in Moscow.  We did not find evidence that the Attorney General encouraged anyone to award a grant to Lockwood’s Committee or that she knew that an award had been made.  We also did not find any evidence that the Attorney General or anyone from her office took any action after Lockwood’s grant was not renewed the following year.

 

The remainder of the chapter discusses allegations that we failed to substantiate concerning personnel issues, financial matters, allegations of retaliation, and other issues.

 

III.     RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSIONS

In this chapter of the report, we offer a series of recommendations to the Department, including that certain employees receive discipline and that the Department seek compensation from employees who improperly received money or benefits from the Department.  We also made nine recommendations concerning systemic improvements in the areas of travel, ethics, and training.

 

Bratt retired from the Department effective August 1, 2000, and is not subject to discipline.  We recommended that the Department recover the costs of his improper use of business class travel and his improper use of frequent flyer miles.

 

Lake is also not employed by the Department any longer and is not subject to discipline.  We recommended that the Department recover the $25,000 Buyout bonus and the cost of travel expenses that Lake improperly charged the government, including costs associated with the November 1996 trip to Moscow.

 

We found that Stromsem violated security regulations, improperly used frequent flyer miles accrued on government travel for personal benefit, and was involved in the preselection of Hogarty in violation of personnel regulations.  We concluded that Stromsem’s conduct warrants the imposition of discipline.  We also recommended that the Department recover the costs of Stromsem’s improper use of frequent flyer miles.

 

We found that Hoover violated security regulations by disclosing classified information to uncleared parties and by removing classified documents to his home.  We also found that he improperly traveled on business class on a flight to Moscow in January 1997 and that he improperly used frequent flyer miles accrued on government travel for his personal benefit.  We concluded that Hoover’s conduct warrants the imposition of discipline.  We also recommended that the Department recover the costs of Hoover’s improper use of business class travel and frequent flyer miles.

 

We concluded that Trincellito’s repeated failure to observe fundamental security practices and his continued resistance to the advice and warnings of ICITAP’s security officers warrants the imposition of discipline.

 

We also recommended that SEPS and other agencies responsible for issuing security clearances carefully consider the findings and conclusions set forth in this report before issuing a security clearance to the individuals most involved in the security breaches.  In addition, we made non-disciplinary recommendations with respect to two other individuals.

 

During the course of the investigation, we observed various systemic issues, and we suggested improvements for the Department to consider relating to oversight of ICITAP and OPDAT, security, investigative follow-up, travel, training, performance evaluations, and early retirement programs.  For example, we recommended that the Department monitor ICITAP’s compliance with security regulations by continuing to perform periodic unannounced security reviews. 

 

Because many of the travel violations that we found were apparent on the face of the travel forms, we recommended that the Department review the process JMD uses to audit travel vouchers.  We believe the Department should offer increased training on travel regulations to employees and secretarial or clerical staff who process travel-related paperwork.  And we offered suggestions designed to increase Department employees’ use of frequent flyer miles for government travel and to decrease the incidents of improper use.

 

We recommended that increased attention be given to the recommendations and lessons learned from investigations.  We found that despite numerous investigations of ICITAP, the same problems continued to surface and that managers failed to act on investigative recommendations.  Management must take increased responsibility for ensuring that the results of investigations are appropriately considered and addressed.

 

 

 

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION

I.            ALLEGATIONS

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) initiated this review to investigate allegations of misconduct and mismanagement by officials in three Department of Justice Criminal Division offices: the International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP); the Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training (OPDAT);[1] and the Office of Administration.

 

In April 1997, an ICITAP employee alleged to the Department of Justice Security and Emergency Planning Staff (SEPS), and later to the OIG, that an ICITAP manager had repeatedly and knowingly violated government security regulations.  SEPS preliminarily confirmed that the allegation had some basis and, at SEPS' request, we opened an investigation.  In the summer and fall of 1997, we received additional allegations that significantly enlarged the scope of our investigation.  Also in August and September 1997, several newspapers ran accounts of security breaches, travel abuses, improper hiring and contracting practices, and improper conduct by ICITAP officials in Moscow.  This OIG investigation reviewed these and other allegations of misconduct and mismanagement in ICITAP, OPDAT, and the Office of Administration.

II.         BACKGROUND

ICITAP was created in 1986 to train police forces in Latin America to conduct criminal investigations.  Since its inception, ICITAP’s mission has expanded to encompass two principal types of projects:  1) developing police forces in the context of international peacekeeping operations, and 2) enhancing the capabilities of existing policing forces in emerging democracies based on internationally recognized principles of human rights, the rule of law, and modern police practices.  Mark Richard, former Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Criminal Division, told the OIG that because the Department of Justice believes that international or transnational crime will be a central priority of 21st century law enforcement, ICITAP provides training to ensure that foreign law enforcement officials work cooperatively with the United States and other countries. 

 

Even though it is located in the Criminal Division, ICITAP programs may be instituted at the request of the National Security Council and the Department of State.  ICITAP does not appear as a “line item” in the Department of Justice budget.  Rather, the majority of ICITAP’s budget is project-specific funding provided by the Department of State and the Agency for International Development.[2]

 

When the allegations against ICITAP officials were raised in 1997, ICITAP had a Washington, D.C.-based staff of approximately 40 employees.  The Headquarters’ staff oversees the work of ICITAP managers stationed in nine foreign countries and a cadre of contract instructors and advisors stationed in foreign countries who teach basic criminal investigative techniques and provide administrative guidance to local police organizations.

 

From 1986 until 1994, the Director of ICITAP reported to the Deputy Attorney General.  In 1994, supervision of the office was transferred to the Criminal Division.[3]  Even with this move, ICITAP retained a unique status within the Criminal Division:  it was the only program office to report directly to the Criminal Division Assistant Attorney General (AAG).  All other Criminal Division offices reported to the AAG through a Deputy AAG.

 

OPDAT, created in 1991, works with United States embassies and other United States government agencies to coordinate training for judges and prosecutors in South and Central America, the Caribbean, Russia, other Newly Independent States, and Central and Eastern Europe.  The office also serves as the Department of Justice’s liaison between private and public agencies that sponsor visits to the United States for foreign officials interested in learning about this country’s legal system.  Until 1996, OPDAT, like other Criminal Division program offices, reported to the AAG through a Deputy AAG.  In 1996, OPDAT had seven staff members in its Washington, D.C. headquarters and it also had attorneys in Haiti, Poland, Russia, and other countries serving as Resident Legal Advisors.  By 1999, OPDAT’s headquarters staff had grown to 20. 

 

The Office of Administration supports the Criminal Division's mission by managing its personnel, budget, procurement, and computer services.  The Office, headed by the Executive Officer, is organized into operational staffs each directed by a Deputy Executive Officer.  During the time period under investigation, the Executive Officer reported directly to the AAG for the Criminal Division.  Robert K. Bratt served as the Criminal Division's Executive Officer from 1992 until April 1997.  He came to the Criminal Division after serving as Executive Officer in the Civil Rights Division for almost six years.  At various times during 1995 to 1997, Bratt was also responsible for the management of ICITAP and OPDAT.

 

A.          Prior Investigations of ICITAP

This review of ICITAP’s operations is not the first time the OIG has investigated allegations of misconduct or mismanagement in ICITAP.  On April 22, 1994, the same day that Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick transferred oversight of ICITAP to the Criminal Division,  Criminal Division AAG Jo Ann Harris referred to the OIG a series of allegations of misconduct at ICITAP.  At the time, David Kriskovich, an FBI Special Agent on detail, was the Director of ICITAP and John Theriault, also an FBI Special Agent on detail, served as ICITAP's Deputy Director.  Theriault became Acting Director in July 1994 and permanent Director that September. 

 

In response to the referral from Harris in 1994, the OIG completed two investigations of ICITAP that examined allegations of favoritism in selecting consultants, misconduct in travel reimbursements, poor quality of ICITAP’s work products, waste and inefficiency in program and contract expenditures, and management of foreign programs.  In the first report issued in July 1994, we did not substantiate allegations of misconduct involving ICITAP personnel, but noted “some wasteful and questionable practices as well as areas where better planning and communication should have occurred.”

 

A second OIG report issued in August 1994 discussed weaknesses the OIG found in ICITAP’s management.  The OIG found that “ICITAP did not have an effective system to verify that goods and services ordered from the service contractors were actually received.”  The report also noted that ICITAP was deficient in its planning.

 

In January 1995 AAG Harris asked Bratt to review a proposed ICITAP reorganizational plan and also to investigate allegations of improper conduct by senior ICITAP officials.  In late February 1995, Harris relieved Theriault of his ICITAP responsibilities and appointed Bratt Acting Director of ICITAP while the Criminal Division searched for a permanent replacement.  In August 1995, Harris announced the selection of Janice Stromsem, formerly ICITAP’s Associate Director for Operations, as ICITAP's new Director.  Harris resigned from the Department of Justice at the end of August 1995, and John C. Keeney, a Deputy AAG in the Criminal Division, became the Criminal Division Acting AAG until June 1998 when James Robinson took office as AAG.   

 

In summary, within the 18 months immediately prior to the period that is the primary focus of our current investigation, ICITAP had four different Directors (Kriskovich, Theriault, Bratt, Stromsem), had been the focus of two investigations into alleged managerial wrongdoing (OIG and an internal Criminal Division review), and three changes in the Department official to whom the ICITAP Director reported (Gorelick, Harris, Keeney).  In addition, in 1994 ICITAP was asked to undertake the enormous challenge of training 5000 Haitian police officers in 18 months. 

 

In September 1996 Keeney created the position of Coordinator to oversee the management of both ICITAP and OPDAT.  At the same time, Keeney named Bratt as the first Coordinator.  Sandra Bright was named Acting Executive Officer in the Office of Administration.  However, she told the OIG that Bratt continued to be involved in the management of the Office of Administration until he left the Criminal Division in April 1997 to assume a senior management position at the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).[4]

 

During mid-April 1997, after receiving the allegations of security problems at ICITAP as discussed previously, SEPS conducted an unannounced security sweep of ICITAP's offices.  SEPS subsequently suspended the security clearances of ICITAP’s Associate Director and Stromsem's Special Assistant. 

 

B.          OIG Investigation

The scope of the OIG’s present investigation included allegations of misconduct, security violations, financial mismanagement, travel violations, and favoritism in ICITAP, OPDAT, and the Office of Administration.  During the course of the investigation, we uncovered evidence of possible misconduct that had not otherwise been raised to us and where warranted we enlarged the scope of the investigation to encompass these areas.  We found that some of the allegations touched on subjects that the OIG had identified as problems in 1994.

 

The OIG investigative team was led by an Assistant United States Attorney from the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on detail to the OIG and at various times four investigators, two auditors, an inspector, and a program analyst worked on the investigation.  In addition, the team was supplemented by a SEPS employee and a special agent from the Department of State, who assisted at certain times with aspects of the investigation.

 

In the course of the investigation, we interviewed several hundred witnesses, primarily in Washington, D.C. but also in other cities in the United States and abroad.  In order to fully investigate several of the more serious allegations, OIG investigators also traveled to Haiti and Russia to interview additional witnesses.  In addition, the OIG team reviewed thousands of pages of documents.

 

One aspect of our investigation that merits comment was the relative paucity of neutral, credible, and forthcoming witnesses.  We found that many witnesses who played central roles in several important matters suffered what we considered to be highly improbable memory lapses during their interviews. We found certain witnesses’ memories especially weak with regard to acts that might constitute wrongdoing by ICITAP, OPDAT, or Office of Administration supervisors.  In addition, to preserve the integrity of witness statements as well as to reduce the effect of the investigation, we asked witnesses not to discuss our interviews with other Criminal Division employees.  Nevertheless, we found the topics we were investigating appeared to be broadly known and discussed among witnesses, despite our request.

 

C.         Organization of the OIG Report

The report is organized into chapters by the type of allegation that we investigated.  Chapter 2 addresses the allegation that Bratt and former Criminal Division Associate Executive Officer Joseph Lake improperly obtained tourist visas for two Russian women Bratt socialized with in Moscow. Chapter 3 examines ICITAP's security practices.  In this chapter, we detail security violations we found, the failure of ICITAP managers to take steps to correct these persistent problems, and personal conduct that created unreasonable risks that classified information could be compromised.

 

Chapter 4 examines ICITAP and OPDAT managers’ use of business class to travel to Moscow at government expense.  Chapter 5 discusses other violations of Department of Justice and federal government Travel Regulations by ICITAP and OPDAT managers.

 

Chapter 6 examines the allegation that Lake violated the terms of his $25,000 “buyout bonus” after he resigned from the Department of Justice under a special early retirement program and then returned to work as a consultant on OPDAT and INS projects.  Chapter 7 discusses the hiring of former Criminal Division AAG Harris as a consultant to OPDAT.

 

Chapter 8 discusses allegations of improper personnel practices at ICITAP, OPDAT, and the Office of Administration, including those offices’ use of consultants.  Chapter 9 examines allegations of financial mismanagement, including overpayment of more than $1 million to a contractor hired to provide computer expertise to the Criminal Division’s Office of Administration.  Chapter 10 summarizes miscellaneous allegations, many of which we found were either false or could not be substantiated.  In Chapter 11, we provide our conclusions and recommendations.

 

Finally, in an appendix at the end of the report, we include exhibits.

 

As we have done with some other OIG special reports, we afforded the main individuals whose actions we criticized or who we propose for discipline the opportunity to review the portions of the substantive chapters of our draft report that pertained to their conduct and to make written responses.  This review process began July 10, 2000.  After carefully considering their written comments, we included information from the responses in the report and revised the report when we believed it appropriate.

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER TWO: ISSUANCE OF VISAS TO RUSSIAN WOMEN

I.            BACKGROUND

A.          Allegations and Introduction

Several related allegations were made to the OIG about Criminal Division Executive Officer Robert K. Bratt and his trips to Moscow in late 1996 and 1997.  In this chapter, we discuss the allegation that Bratt and former Associate Executive Officer Joseph R. Lake, Jr. improperly used their government positions to obtain visas for two Russian women, one or both of whom, it was alleged, were Bratt’s “Russian girlfriends.”

 

We determined that three questions needed to be answered to resolve this allegation:

 

·       Did Bratt or Lake assist any Russian women to obtain visas?

 

·       Did they provide assistance improperly?

 

·       Did Bratt or Lake provide assistance knowing that it was improper to do so?

 

As a first step, we asked the Department of State to review its Moscow records to determine whether Bratt or Lake had assisted two Russian women to obtain visas to visit the United States.  According to State Department records, in April 1997 the Department of State issued visas to Yelena Koreneva and Ludmilla Bolgak on the basis of a written representation Lake made, ostensibly on behalf of Bratt, that the women had worked with Bratt in Moscow and that a visit to Washington, D.C., would assist the women in the future.

 

Because the answer to the first question was affirmative – that Lake, and possibly Bratt, had assisted two Russian women in obtaining visas – we turned to addressing the remaining two questions.

 

In our investigation, we interviewed Bratt, Lake, and American Embassy (Moscow) staff.  We also interviewed Americans and Russians who were with Bratt and Lake during their visits to Moscow, including the two Russian women whose visa applications are at the center of the allegations.  To gather evidence and conduct interviews that would not otherwise be available to us, we conducted some of these interviews in Moscow.  We sought and reviewed various documents, including State Department records, hotel bills, and telephone records.

 

We begin by describing the visa process that was in place at the American Embassy in Moscow in the spring of 1997.

 

B.          Process by Which Russians Obtain Visas to Travel to the United States

The United States requires citizens of certain countries to obtain visas prior to their arrival in the United States.  The visa is a document that authorizes an individual to travel to a port of entry in the United States.[5]  It is attached to a traveler’s passport.  In March and April 1997, Russians needed visas to enter the United States.  The United States Embassy in Moscow was charged with issuing visas to qualifying applicants.  Russians who wanted to visit the United States as tourists had to apply for a visa prior to purchasing their airline tickets to the United States. 

 

One purpose of the visa process is to screen out foreign citizens who are likely not to return to their home country.  The Embassy denied visas to Russian applicants who did not establish to the Embassy’s satisfaction that they would return to Russia.  Typically, Embassy officials evaluated the strength of an applicant’s ties to Russia when determining whether to issue a tourist visa.  In making their determinations, Embassy officials looked to factors such as whether an applicant was married, had children, or was traveling with or without family; whether an applicant had valuable property in Russia (an apartment, a business, a car); and whether, when, and where an applicant had previously traveled abroad.  If, in an Embassy official’s judgment, an applicant had inadequate ties to Russia, then the official would deny the visa application.  To avoid unsuccessful re-applications, it was the policy of the United States Embassy in Moscow to tell unsuccessful applicants the reason for the denial of a visa.  In that way, applicants knew not to apply until there had been a relevant change of circumstance.

 

Visa applications from persons who did not seek to reside permanently in the United States were processed and issued or denied by the Non-Immigrant Visa (NIV) Section of the Embassy.  In March and April 1997, the NIV Section had two different processing mechanisms for non-immigrant visas:  the standard process and the “referral” process.  The standard process was available to any Russian.  The referral process was available only at the request of an Embassy official and only in limited circumstances, usually when the United States government had an official interest in the person’s travel.[6] 

 

1.           Standard Processing of Visa Applications

In March and April 1997, to apply for a tourist visa using the standard process, a Russian living in Moscow had to obtain an application form, fill it out, and present it in person at the American Embassy Consular Section, with a valid Russian passport and two photographs.[7]  An Embassy official would review the papers and interview the applicant at the time the application was submitted.  The reviewing American Embassy official immediately made and communicated the official’s decision to the applicant.  In addition, the applicant had to pay two fees:  a processing fee and, if a visa was approved, a visa fee.  Visa application forms were free and could be easily obtained from the Embassy. 

 

The process imposed burdens on applicants.  There were no appointments, and applications were taken on a first-come, first-served basis.  Two lines had to be negotiated – the first to pay the processing fee, the second for the interview.  The process routinely took at least one full business day. 

 

2.           The Visa Referral Process

Applications for visas that were referred followed an entirely different path.  In the referral process, the request for a visa was made by an Embassy official, rather than the applicant.  The Embassy recognized only two bases for an NIV referral:  a professional basis that supported United States government interests and a humanitarian basis.  As set forth in the American Embassy in Moscow’s written guide to the referral process, the purpose of the referral process is to “provide VIP handling for nonimmigrant visa applicants where such treatment directly supports U.S. national interests.  Except for cases presenting urgent humanitarian considerations, all referrals requesting waivers of personal appearance by the applicant must be based on U.S. interests.”[8]

 

A referral was made by means of a form, signed by a United States Embassy Section Chief.  In addition to the passport, photographs, and visa application completed by the applicant, the visa referral application package included a form with blanks for identifying the Embassy official making the request and the Embassy Section Chief authorizing the request; the form also included several blank lines on which to specify the purpose of the trip and the United States government interest.  Unlike visa application forms, which are generally available to anyone, visa referral forms were not available to Russians.  They were available only to the sponsoring Embassy official to refer professional contacts.  They did not leave the Embassy, but were hand-carried by Embassy personnel from the requesting office to the NIV Section.  The Embassy official submitted the visa application, accompanying documents, and the referral form directly to the NIV Section. 

 

In Moscow, when a visa application was referred, the applicant did not have to appear in person at the Embassy or stand in line.  By signing the referral form, the sponsoring Embassy official requested waiver of the interview and recommended issuance of the visa.  As a State Department official familiar with the referral process told us, the visa referral ensures the applicant will get a visa because it is in the interest of the United States government. 

 

In Moscow, in March and April 1997, visa referral applications were reviewed by NIV Section Chief Donald Wells. 

 

C.         The Koreneva and Bolgak Visas

The American Embassy issued visas for Yelena Koreneva and Ludmilla Bolgak on April 7, 1997.  Their applications were referred.  The visa applications were reviewed and approved by NIV Section Chief Wells.  Depicted on the next page is the referral form submitted with the applications.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The referral form submitted with the Koreneva and Bolgak package was signed “Joe Lake for BB,” as the “Embassy Officer” making the request.  Bratt’s Department of Justice telephone number in Washington, D.C., was listed as the submitter’s telephone number.[9]  In response to the form’s direction to specify the United States government interest, Koreneva and Bolgak were described as having “worked with the Executive Officer (EO) of the Criminal Division in support of administrative functions, Moscow Office.”  The applications submitted by Lake are shown in the Appendix at Exhibit 1.

 

II.         THE VISA REFERRAL FORM CONTAINED FALSE AND MISLEADING STATEMENTS

Using the referral process was appropriate only if the United States government had an interest in the women’s visit to the United States or for humanitarian reasons.  The referral form submitted for Koreneva and Bolgak stated that such a government interest existed because the women worked with the Executive Officer for the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice, who at the time was Bratt,[10] and implied that they would continue in that capacity.  We sought to determine whether that representation was true or whether, as alleged, the women merely socialized with Criminal Division personnel, particularly Bratt.  If Bratt’s relationship with either woman was purely social, then obtaining a visa for her on the basis of an alleged government connection was improper and constitutes serious wrongdoing. 

 

Lake admitted to the OIG that he had filled out, signed, and submitted the visa referral form.  Lake claimed during an October 1997 OIG interview that he took a “broad interpretation” of the fact that one of the women, Bolgak, had functioned for Bratt as an interpreter while Bratt was in Russia.  Lake admitted, however, that all of the times he witnessed Bolgak translating for Bratt were social occasions.  Lake also acknowledged that when he completed the referral form, he had no knowledge of whether either of the Russian women had worked for the United States government.[11] 

 

We found substantial evidence that Bratt’s relationship with both women was entirely social.  He met them through Tatyana Kovalenko, a Russian who gave Bratt and others a tour of Moscow tourist sites in November 1996.  According to Kovalenko, she arranged Bratt’s introduction to Koreneva because Bratt, upon hearing that Kovalenko at one time had worked for an international “match-making” agency that introduced Russian women to American men, asked to meet a single Russian woman on his next trip.  Kovalenko called her business associate Bolgak for a recommendation; Bolgak, who was married, proposed fixing Bratt up with Koreneva.  It was Koreneva with whom Bratt ultimately developed a close relationship. 

 

We found that Bratt always met with Koreneva and Bolgak in social settings – bars and restaurants, and on one occasion, Bolgak’s home.  There is no evidence that the women were ever part of a business meeting with Bratt; that they ever received payment for business services; or that they ever rendered any type of business service for the Criminal Division.  Both women said that Bratt rarely spoke about Department work.

 

In an April 23, 1997, memorandum to Jerry Rubino, Director of the Department of Justice Security and Emergency Planning Staff (SEPS), Bratt characterized his relationship with Koreneva and Bolgak as purely social:[12]

 

I would like to give you the names of two friends I have made during my trips to Russia over the past few months.  These two individuals, [Bolgak and Koreneva], are Russian nationals I have met and interacted with socially in a setting completely unrelated to the Department’s work in Russia.  I know these two individuals only as friends ….

 

See Appendix, Exhibit 2.

 

ICITAP Director Janice Stromsem and Cary Hoover, ICITAP Special Assistant to the Director, both of whom accompanied Bratt to Russia and met the women, also described the women as friends of Bratt’s whom he had invited to visit the United States for personal reasons.  Stromsem said that she did not recall any discussion regarding using the women for Department of Justice work. 

 

Neither of the women worked for Bratt on a professional basis.  While Bolgak did translate for Bratt, she did so only so he could talk to Koreneva.  Bolgak worked out of her home running her own business, the Prospect Business Corporation, and also worked for an American company known as “People to People.”  Bolgak told the OIG that she never discussed working for the Department of Justice with Bratt, that she was very busy, and that she was not looking for additional work.  She also said that Bratt and Koreneva were just friends and that there was definitely no business connection between them.  Koreneva also said there was never any discussion about her doing work for the Department of Justice and that the proposed trip to the United States was for personal reasons not business. 

 

Accordingly, we find that the statement in the visa referral form that “[a]pplicants have worked with the Executive Officer (EO) Criminal Division in support of administrative functions, Moscow Office” was false.  Additionally, the implication given in the form that the women would continue working for the Executive Officer was misleading.

 

III.     DEPARTMENT OFFICIALS KNOWINGLY MADE FALSE AND MISLEADING STATEMENTS ON THE VISA REFERRAL FORM

We sought to determine whether Lake knowingly made false and misleading statements on the referral form and whether Bratt should be held accountable for the statements because he directed or authorized Lake to use the referral process knowing that it should only be used if the proposed visit supported government interests.

 

A.          Synopsis of the Evidence

To place the evidence in context, we briefly summarize our factual findings.  We then discuss these facts in detail and set forth Bratt’s and Lake’s explanations for their actions.

 

Bratt made four trips to Moscow, the first of which was in November 1996.  On that trip, he asked Kovalenko, a Russian tour guide, to help him meet an unmarried Russian woman on his next trip.  Between his first and second trips, he received correspondence from Bolgak, Kovalenko’s business associate, and a letter and a photograph from Koreneva, Bolgak’s unmarried friend.  In January 1997, on his second trip, he met Bolgak and Koreneva.  During Bratt’s trips in January, March, and June 1997, Bratt socialized extensively with Koreneva and Bolgak.  In January, Bratt invited the women to visit him in the United States.  Bratt learned in January that although Bolgak had visited the United States on other occasions, Koreneva had been denied a tourist visa when she had previously applied to visit the United States. 

 

After extending the invitation and after returning to the United States, Bratt made inquiries with a personal friend who worked in the State Department as well as with ICITAP employee Cary Hoover about the procedure for obtaining visas for the women.  When he returned to Moscow in March 1997, Bratt and Hoover visited an unidentified Embassy official who described generally who qualified for a tourist visa.  We concluded that Bratt learned enough from all of these conversations to realize that Koreneva would likely be turned down again for a tourist visa if she used the standard process.

 

Bratt and Lake, who was also in Moscow in March 1997, then visited Embassy official Donald Wells, who headed the NIV Section and ruled on referred visa applications.  Wells described for them the visa referral process and explained that it could only be used when a proposed trip to the United States was expressly in the United States government’s interest.  Based on Wells’ description of the conversation, we believe it would have been apparent to Bratt that if he represented that the women worked for him on government business in Moscow, the visa referral process would likely result in the issuance of the visas.

 

At dinner with the women during the March trip, Bratt gave Koreneva and Bolgak visa application forms and told them to return the forms to Lake, who was staying in Moscow for several additional days.  After they did so, Lake obtained a visa referral form from the Embassy and called Bratt, who was in the United States, to discuss the form.  Lake falsely represented on the referral form that the women had worked for the Executive Officer  and then submitted the visa referral application package to the Embassy on April 4, 1997, in Bratt’s name.  Shortly thereafter, the Embassy issued the visas.[13]

 

Lake told the OIG that he did not intentionally submit a false statement on the visa referral form.  He stated that he was told by Bratt and others that the women had worked for the Executive Officer.  In contrast, Bratt placed the blame for what he called the “erroneous” submission on Lake.  Bratt said that he had no knowledge of the visa referral process, that he did not know that Lake was using the referral process, and that he had no intent to use the referral process. 

 

Yet, the evidence and the inferences that can be drawn from the evidence show that Bratt and Lake willfully submitted Koreneva’s and Bolgak’s visa applications for referral processing despite knowing that the referral process could not be used unless the government had an interest in the applicants’ visit to the United States.  We also conclude that Bratt’s and Lake’s versions of events are not credible and are contradicted by substantial evidence.

 

B.          Bratt Meets Koreneva and Bolgak

Bratt traveled to Moscow four times:  in November 1996, January 1997, March 1997, and June 1997.  Bratt was asked by the OIG how he came to meet Bolgak and Koreneva.[14]  Bratt said that he met them through Tatyana Kovalenko, an interpreter who gave Bratt’s group a tour of Moscow tourist sites in November 1996.   Bratt said that at a department store his group stopped for coffee and Cokes, and that he and Kovalenko talked about a range of things, “from the economy and what it was like in Russia, to American women versus Russian women.”  According to Bratt, he then told Kovalenko that he might be coming back to Moscow and he wanted to go on a tour on an afternoon he was not working.  She said that she might be unavailable to take him on a tour on his next trip, and she suggested her friend Bolgak might be available to interpret.  Kovalenko then said that Bolgak might bring along her friend, Koreneva, “who is a nice - an attractive single person to join your group.”  Bratt said he replied that he would “be more than glad to meet with” them.  At a later point in the OIG interview, however, Bratt was asked if he recalled having a conversation about being fixed up with someone.  He replied that when he and Kovalenko were talking about Russian and American women at the department store, Kovalenko asked Bratt if he was single and asked if he would like to meet one of her friends (Koreneva), who was also single.  Bratt replied that he would.  Bratt said that after returning to the United States, he received a letter and photograph from Koreneva and several e-mails and possibly a letter from Bolgak. 

 

Kovalenko, however, reported the circumstances differently.  As she recalled it, at some point during the tour of various tourist sites she gave to Bratt in November 1996, she explained to Bratt that she had once worked for a match-making agency, Scanners, that introduced eligible Russian women to interested American men.  On hearing that, Bratt told her that he would be returning to Moscow in the near future and asked her to introduce him to a woman who was single.  Bratt wrote his home address on the back of his government business card and asked Kovalenko to have the woman write him. 

 

Kovalenko worked as an English/Russian interpreter and tour guide and occasionally translated for Bolgak’s company, the Prospect Business Corporation.  Kovalenko considered Bolgak a “business associate.”  When Bratt asked to meet a single Russian woman on his next trip, Kovalenko told the OIG, she did not know anyone suitable.  Kovalenko said that she asked Bolgak if she knew anyone, and Bolgak proposed her friend, Koreneva.

 

Asked about the nature of his relationship with Koreneva and Bolgak, Bratt initially described them to the OIG as friends.  He acknowledged numerous social meetings with the women while he was in Moscow on business trips.  Bratt said that in January 1997 he met with the two women socially on three occasions.  Bratt said that when he returned to Moscow in March and June 1997, he had at least three social engagements with the women on each of those trips.  As we discuss later in this chapter, Bratt ultimately admitted to the OIG that in March 1997 there was a “little bit more intimacy” with Koreneva – “a little bit more hugging” – and that in June he was “sexually intimate” with Koreneva. 

 

C.         Bratt Extends Invitation to Visit the United States; Bratt Learns that Koreneva Previously Denied Visa

Bratt told the OIG that he extended an invitation for Koreneva and Bolgak to visit him in the United States because the women had shown him and Hoover “tremendous hospitality,” and he wished to reciprocate.  Bratt said he had a general discussion in January 1997 with the women about coming to the United States to visit Bratt and Hoover.  According to Bratt, Koreneva stated that she wanted to visit the United States and Bolgak said that, although she had been there, she would like to return.  Bratt said that in response he extended a casual invitation to the women.  He invited them to stay with him and said that he would show them Washington, D.C., and his beach house in Delaware.[15]  Bratt acknowledged being told in January 1997 that Koreneva had previously been denied a visa to visit the United States.  He stated that there was “virtually no discussion” about that issue then or on any subsequent occasion. 

 

According to Bolgak, during Bratt’s March 1997 trip to Moscow, Bratt invited Koreneva and Bolgak to visit the United States and to stay at his home.  Bolgak told the OIG that she had previously traveled several times to the United States on business and with her husband and son for pleasure and was familiar with the visa process.  She said that when Bratt invited them she told Bratt that the first step was to get visas.  Bolgak said that she explained to Bratt that the visa process was difficult and that it involved waiting in long lines and that sometimes an applicant would wait for hours only to have the office close while the applicant was in line.  Bolgak also said that she told Bratt that it might be difficult for Koreneva to get a visa because she had been refused in the past and because she was single.  Bolgak told the OIG that Bratt said that he would take care of getting visas for the women.[16] 

 

Koreneva, too, said that Bratt told them that he would take care of their visas.  Koreneva confirmed that in response to Bratt’s invitation, Bolgak told Bratt of the problems they had experienced in the past getting visas.  Koreneva said that she also explained to Bratt her concerns about getting a visa.  Koreneva said she told Bratt that she had been denied a visa to visit the United States in 1994 and that the consular officer told her that she had been denied the visa because she could not prove that she would return to Russia.  Bratt, she said, told her that he would take care of the visas; he did not explain how.  Koreneva said she knew that she had to pay at least $20 for the processing fee and offered to give Bratt the money, but he told her not to worry because he would pay for the visas. 

 

Koreneva also said that in the discussion about the trip, Bratt offered to buy airline tickets for both Koreneva and Bolgak and offered to have them stay with him in the United States.  Koreneva said that they only had to bring money for meals and incidental expenses. 

 

D.         Bratt’s Knowledge of Visas and the Visa Referral System

1.           Bratt’s Initial Inquiries about Visas

Bratt made at least three inquiries about visas before he returned to Moscow in March 1997.  One was directed to Scott McAdoo, a childhood friend with whom Bratt remained close.  McAdoo was a program analyst at the Department of State.[17]  Bratt said that after his January 1997 trip to Moscow he talked to McAdoo about how Russians get visas to visit the United States.  Bratt said, as did McAdoo, that Bratt asked only the most general questions, such as whether Russians apply for visas in the United States or in Russia.  Bratt and McAdoo said that Bratt did not discuss visa referrals with McAdoo at that time.

 

McAdoo told the OIG he recalled that in their first conversation about visas, Bratt told him that he had become friends with two Russian women – an interpreter and her friend – who wanted to visit the United States.  Bratt, he said, was unclear where to send the women to get tourist visas.  McAdoo said that he told Bratt that the women should go to the American Embassy in Moscow, where they would have to complete the necessary forms and be interviewed. 

 

Bratt said that after hearing from McAdoo that the women had to arrange for visas in Moscow, he told that to Hoover.  Hoover, according to Bratt, said that “he was aware of that already.”  Bratt stated that he and Hoover had no other conversation about visas prior to leaving for Moscow in March 1997. 

 

Bratt specifically denied discussing visa referrals with anyone before his March 1997 trip to Moscow.  In his OIG interview, Bratt said:

 

We never talked about – I never talked with anybody about referring visas.  I don’t recall – you know, there was just – it wasn’t that big a deal.  It wasn’t like I was running around here and there asking questions about visas.  Cary [Hoover] and I talked about visas a little bit in general, you know, in that sense of – all these trips were learning processes for me because it was all brand new as far as never been overseas other than Haiti, wonderful Haiti.

 

And, you know, I remember – and I don’t remember specifically when, but I remember in that time frame talking about how does, you know – quotas on people.  Just the general – the issues surrounding, you know, what are, you know – just general conversation about, you know, what the State Department does, what, you know – passports.  Just general informational stuff about the comings and going of, you know, how the systems, various, you know, State Department works overseas.

 

Never ever, ever, … I can tell you this unequivocally was there any intent, was there any discussion to go through referral.  It wasn’t discussed.  It was just not, simply was not an issue that I dealt with.

 

Bratt denied having any knowledge about visa referrals until after his OIG interview in October 1997 when we raised the issue.

 

Hoover, however, told the OIG a different version of his conversations with Bratt about visas.  According to Hoover, Bratt went on vacation immediately after returning from the January trip to Moscow.  Hoover recalled that as soon as Bratt came back from vacation, Bratt asked him how Russians got visas to visit the United States.  Hoover did not immediately respond but told Bratt that he would investigate and get back to him.  Hoover reported back to Bratt the next time they saw each other, a few days later.

 

Hoover’s response to Bratt was based on Hoover’s conversation with his roommate, who was a contract employee for the Department of State working on computerizing the visa process at embassies abroad, and on Hoover’s own experience, both professional and personal.  Hoover said he talked over the process as he understood it with his roommate, who told him that Russians got tourist visas for the United States by going to the American Embassy, turning in applications, paying fees, and submitting to interviews.[18] 

 

Hoover said that he relayed this information to Bratt.  Hoover told the OIG that he also explained to Bratt that the primary concern of Embassy officials was whether a visa applicant would overstay the visa.  To assess this, Hoover told Bratt, Embassy officials would review with the applicant at the time of the interview the applicant’s bank accounts, property, previous foreign travel, and similar facts. 

 

Hoover said that after he told Bratt what he knew about the visa process, Bratt either made a statement or raised a question to Hoover about “the referral form.”  This comment or question required Hoover to go back to his roommate to ask about the mechanics of visa referrals.  ICITAP had used the visa referral process in Haiti, although Hoover said he was not familiar with the mechanics of those cases.  Hoover told Bratt that he would talk to his roommate and get back to Bratt.

 

According to Hoover, in response to Bratt’s second inquiry, he learned from his roommate that in the visa referral process someone “vouches” for the visitor – presumably for the applicant’s character and intention to return to the applicant’s country.  Hoover said that he told his roommate that the projected visits of Koreneva and Bolgak were not government related.  Hoover said that his roommate told him that he did not think that it mattered; it was just a form the government employee filled out because it was a “vouchering.”  Hoover also said that his roommate told him that it was not a request for special treatment.  Hoover said that he told all this to Bratt in February 1997.[19]  Hoover said that after that conversation, Bratt told Hoover that he was very interested in bringing Koreneva and Bolgak to the United States and that when Bratt and Hoover returned to Moscow, they would have to go to the Embassy to talk to someone and get the necessary forms.  Hoover told the OIG that he thought at the time that Bratt wanted to talk to someone at the Embassy to see whether the visa process could be made easier for Koreneva and Bolgak; to ascertain, at a minimum, that they would not be rejected for visas.  It was Bratt’s express concern, Hoover said, that Koreneva not be embarrassed by being rejected for a visa. 

 

2.           Bratt and Hoover Meet with Consular Official

We found that when Bratt returned to Moscow in March 1997, he made further inquiries about the visa process.  Bratt acknowledged meeting with an Embassy official at the American Embassy in Moscow with Hoover present to discuss getting visas for the women.  Both Hoover and Bratt described the meeting in innocuous terms, and both denied discussing or obtaining any information about the visa referral process. 

 

Bratt described having a general conversation with an Embassy official, whose name Bratt did not recall, about obtaining tourist visas for the women.  Bratt said that he told the official that the women were friends of his who would be traveling to the United States to visit him.

 

Bratt said that he asked the official if there were any issues involved in getting visas for single women.  He said he was told that the Embassy would take a hard look at single women under the age of 20.[20]  To the OIG, Bratt denied knowing about the visa application process before he and Hoover went in March 1997 to the Embassy to pick up the visa application forms.  Bratt said that until he went to talk to the official, “to stop by to pick up the forms ... I had no idea what forms you pick up or what, how it worked, until it was explained to us.”  Bratt said the official told him where the applications could be dropped off.  Bratt denied discussing the visa referral process during this meeting, but Bratt told the OIG that Hoover brought up the possibility “that we would be working with these women in the future.”[21]  Bratt said that the Embassy official handed the tourist visa applications to Hoover as they were concluding the meeting. 

 

Hoover told the OIG that he thought it was on Tuesday (March 25, 1997) that Bratt told Hoover he wanted to talk to someone in the Embassy and pick up visa applications for Koreneva and Bolgak.  Hoover called the Embassy to arrange a meeting.  Hoover said that when he tried to contact the “principal consular officer,” an American woman who said she was his secretary told Hoover that the officer was out, but that he would be returning.  She said that Hoover could call or come over later and introduce himself.

 

According to Hoover, later that day he and Bratt walked over to the Consular Section and met with a man Hoover thought was the principal consular officer.  Hoover told the OIG that Bratt did the talking at the meeting.  Hoover described the meeting as “a routine transaction between bureaucrats.”  He said that Bratt introduced himself either as an employee of the Department of Justice or as the Executive Officer of the Department of Justice Criminal Division and said that he was picking up tourist visa applications for two women.  Bratt told the officer that the women were Russian friends whom he wanted to have visit on a “tourism trip.”  Hoover said Bratt told the officer that he wanted to know what was required for a visa because he did not want the women to be embarrassed by applying for and then being denied visas.  Bratt, according to Hoover, gave the consular official some information about the women, such as their ages, marital status, and travel history. 

 

Hoover recalled that the consular official asked some questions about the “unmarried woman” (Koreneva).  The official said that if the women were in their early twenties, had never traveled, and had no bank accounts, then they would not get visas, but that he did not see any problem with the women as Bratt described them.  Hoover recalled that, in response to Bratt’s repeated requests for reassurance, the consular official repeated that as long as the women were not in their 20s and from the “provinces,” there should not be a problem with the applications.  Hoover did not recall the official talking about how, to whom, or where to return the completed visa applications. 

 

Hoover told the OIG that he had a “90 percent recollection” that Bratt represented at the meeting that there was a possibility that one or both of the women might work for the Department of Justice in the future.  Hoover said that he was surprised, in his words “cold cocked,” when he heard Bratt make this comment.

 

According to Hoover, at the end of the meeting, the official handed Bratt an envelope that Bratt put inside his portfolio.  Hoover said that he never saw what was inside the envelope.  He assumed it was two visa application packages. 

 

Hoover said that he found the meeting with the Embassy official difficult because the meeting was not about official government business but Bratt’s personal business, and he did not like being made a part of it.  Hoover said that after the meeting with the Embassy official, Hoover told Lake about the meeting.  Although Hoover did not recall specifically what he told Lake, he did recall talking to Lake about the matter, and Hoover told the OIG that he probably gave Lake a “blow by blow” account of the meeting. 

 

Hoover contradicted Bratt’s description of the meeting in certain respects.  Hoover described Bratt as being the one who brought up the possibility that one or both of the women would be working for the Department of Justice, while Bratt claimed it was Hoover who brought up the topic.  Similarly, Hoover claimed Bratt received the visa applications while Bratt asserted that it was Hoover.[22]

 

The evidence contradicts Bratt’s claim that the unidentified Embassy official told him that the applications could be “dropped off.”  Hoover did not recall the official providing any information about where to return the completed visa applications.  A State Department official familiar with the procedures used at the Embassy in Moscow told us that the Embassy did not accept applications that were dropped off.  Under the circumstances applying to Koreneva and Bolgak, the official said that the only way to drop off a visa application was through the referral process.

 

3.           NIV Section Chief Donald Wells Describes the Referral Process to Bratt and Lake

The evidence shows that Bratt returned a second time to the American Embassy in Moscow during the March 1997 trip, this time with Lake, and made further inquiries about visas for the women.  On this second visit, both Bratt and Lake were specifically told about the visa referral process.

 

In November or December 1997, Marjorie Ames, the American Embassy in Moscow’s Anti-Fraud Officer, was at a staff meeting in Moscow where she explained that the Department of Justice (the OIG) was investigating an allegation that two women may have been improperly referred for visas.  Donald Wells, the Non-Immigrant Visa Section Chief at the American Embassy in Moscow, immediately told Ames that he thought that he knew which visas were involved and described a meeting with two men relating to referred visas for two Russian women.

 

In January 1998, the OIG interviewed Wells in Moscow about the meeting he had recalled to his colleague.  At the beginning of the interview, the OIG showed Wells photographs of Bratt and Lake.  Wells immediately recognized them as the men who had come to his office.  Wells stated that approximately a year prior to the OIG interview, the two men in the photos, whose names he could not recall, met with him in his office.  The subject of the discussion was how to obtain visas using the referral system. 

 

Wells recalled that the men in the photographs (Bratt and Lake) told him that they were Temporary Duty Personnel (TDY) with the legal attaché.[23]  Wells said that he recalled that they were with the Department of Justice; at the time he thought they were with the FBI.  Wells remembered the case because he thought it was unusual to have two individuals come to his office inquiring about referring non-immigrant visa applicants.  Wells also said the case stuck in his mind specifically because it was unusual to have two men discussing two women of a fairly young age and asserting that they had professional contacts. 

 

Wells recalled that Bratt and Lake told him that they worked in Moscow with the women and that they wished to bring them to the United States for consultations.  Wells said that although the men assured him that they had a business relationship with the women and that the women worked for them in an official capacity, Wells’ “gut” feeling was that the situation was “unusual.”  Wells clearly recalled that because there were “two men asking for [visas for] two women,” he emphasized to the men that a visa referral was only available where there was a professional relationship with the women.  Wells said he may have gone on to tell the men that if the women were young, unmarried, and had no professional relationships, “they might even have a hard time getting a visa in the regular process.”

 

Wells told the OIG that a referred visa can only be issued for two reasons, a professional relationship or humanitarian reasons.  Wells stated that in this case there was no humanitarian interest expressed by Bratt or Lake; the referral was “strictly for their work as they were working with these two individuals.”  Wells said that he briefed the men on the two different visa application processes:  the referred visa process that required a professional relationship between a government employee and the visa applicant, and a second, standard one, for all cases where there was no professional relationship and no government business purpose to the visit.  Wells said that he told the men that the visa referral form was part of the referral process at the American Embassy in Moscow.  Wells told us that, in answer to their question, he told the men that if they sent his office a referral form signed by the head of the Embassy Legal Office that he would process it. 

 

Wells explained to Bratt and Lake that his office does not process “personal referrals.”  Wells told the OIG that he informed the two men that they could give a personal letter in support of a visa application for a Russian friend, but that it would have to go through the standard process, not the referral process.  The whole conversation, Wells told the OIG, lasted approximately five minutes.

 

A few days after the meeting, Wells said, he was presented with a visa referral package for two Russian women, Bolgak and Koreneva.  He recalled that the package included a visa referral form signed by Thomas Robertson, Chief of the Law Enforcement Section of the American Embassy in Moscow.  Wells told the OIG that even though at the time that Wells was speaking to Bratt and Lake he believed that their relationship with the women was social, not professional, when he saw the referred visa application package come across his desk signed by Robertson, he thought his gut feeling must have been wrong.  Because the package contained the appropriate signatures and information, Wells approved the referral application.

 

Wells’ recollection of meeting with Bratt and Lake is corroborated by Mark Bonner, the OPDAT Moscow Resident Legal Advisor.  Bonner told the OIG that in March 1997 Bratt questioned him about how to obtain visas for Russian nationals, and Bratt asked Bonner to show him where the consular  office was located.  Bonner brought Bratt and Lake to a particular floor and section of the Old Executive Annex of the Moscow Embassy and saw them go down a corridor.  The description of the location provided by Bonner corresponded to the location of Wells’ office.  He said that he was told by Bratt and Lake to wait for them in a corridor.  Later, Bratt and Lake returned, and Bonner escorted them back to his office.  Bonner said he did not know with whom they met or why.[24]

 

One other piece of evidence corroborates that Bratt and Lake met with Wells.  Because Bratt wanted to talk to someone at the Embassy about visas, Hoover’s roommate prepared a small list for Hoover identifying three men who worked at the NIV Section of the Embassy in March 1997.  Wells’ name is on that list.  Lake was last in possession of the list and gave it to the OIG. 

 

Bratt denied talking to Wells, denied making any inquiries about the visa referral system, and denied having any knowledge about the referral system.  When asked by the OIG whether he and Lake met with Wells, Bratt responded:

 

      Bratt:  Unequivocably on anything, swear on mother’s grave, that is totally false.  That never occurred.  I never, never ever sat in anyone’s office with Joe Lake and had any discussion in Russia on the visas.  Absolutely unequivocally did not happen.

 

* * *

 

            Bratt:  I never talked with anybody with Joe Lake on visas.  Joe Lake and I never discussed visas with anybody.  That is simply, simply untrue, absolutely untrue.

 

Bratt insisted that Wells and Hoover were lying:

 

Bratt:  And, you know, Mr. Wells, I am not saying he is lying, but we never had – I guess I am saying he is lying because I did not, we did not have a discussion with him about the referral system. 

 

* * *

 

Q:      And if people told us that you made specific inquiries about referrals, and visa referrals, and what that process is about, prior to the time that you went to Russia in 1997, in March 1997, are they lying too?

 

Bratt: Yeah.  We never talked about – I never talked with anybody about referring visas. 

 

In an interview with the OIG in May 1998, Lake denied meeting with Wells.  However, in his July 2000 written response to the OIG following his review of this chapter, Lake stated that he and Bonner met with Wells to obtain information “that was necessary to obtain visas for two Russian women to go to the United States as guests of Bratt.”  Lake denied that Bratt was present during the meeting.

 

In Bratt’s August 2000 written response to the OIG, Bratt again denied meeting with Wells.  He stated that prior to submitting his response he learned from Lake that Lake and Bonner had met with Wells.  Bratt contended that this supported his claim that he knew nothing about visa referrals. 

 

4.           OIG’s Conclusion

The evidence from Wells, which is supported by Bonner, directly contradicts Bratt’s claim and Lake’s original claim that neither Bratt nor Lake spoke with Wells.  Wells and Hoover contradict Bratt’s claim that he had no knowledge of visa referrals in March 1997.

 

The evidence shows that prior to the March trip to Moscow, Bratt was making plans to have the women visit and was making inquiries of Hoover and McAdoo regarding the visa process.  Bratt claimed that he only asked for basic information about the visa process.  Yet, there was little reason for Bratt to make such efforts to get that basic information.  Bratt knew that Bolgak knew how to obtain visas using the standard process because, as she had told Bratt, she had been to the United States on several occasions.  In fact, the evidence shows that Bratt went beyond getting general information and asked Hoover specifically about the referral process, thereby indicating that he already had some knowledge of the referral mechanism, at least enough information to ask a question about it.

 

Bratt and Hoover’s meeting with the unidentified Embassy official before Bratt and Lake met with Wells is also significant.  Hoover stated that he had a “90 percent recollection” that Bratt brought up the possibility that one or both of the women would be working for the Department of Justice.  Although Bratt claimed that Hoover was responsible for bringing up the topic, Bratt did admit that it came up during the meeting.  If Bratt was only seeking information about tourist visas, there would have been no reason to falsely claim that the women might work for the Department of Justice in the future.  If, on the other hand, Bratt knew before the meeting, or learned during it, that a working relationship might ease the visa process, then claiming such a relationship would make sense.

 

In addition, although Bratt claimed that the purpose of his and Hoover’s meeting with the unidentified Embassy official was to learn more about the visa process – “I had no idea what forms you pick up or what, how it worked, until it was explained to us” – very little about the process was discussed during this meeting.  Hoover could not recall the official providing any information about how, to whom, or where to return the completed visa applications. 

 

Rather, considering Hoover’s account of what was said at the meeting, the focus of the meeting was the likelihood of the women, particularly Koreneva, being denied a visa.  According to Hoover, during the meeting Bratt expressed his concern about embarrassing Koreneva if she was denied a visa.  We believe that Bratt learned enough during this meeting to realize that Koreneva, a single woman who had previously been denied a visa, likely would be denied a visa again if she used the standard application process.  This caused Bratt and Lake to meet with Wells, to represent to Wells that they wanted to bring two women who worked with them in Moscow to the United States, and to ask about the visa referral process through which Bratt might be able to obtain Koreneva’s visa for her.

 

At the meeting with Wells, Bratt and Lake learned explicitly, to the extent that they did not already know, that the visa referral process required  the government to have an interest in the issuance of the visa; Bratt’s personal interest in the visit would not be sufficient.  Therefore, contrary to his own statements, Bratt did know about the referral process before the visa applications were submitted.

 

We did not credit Lake’s latest version of events in July 2000 in which he claimed that he and Bonner, not Bratt, met with Wells.  Bonner denied attending any meeting with Lake where visas were discussed.[25] Bonner told the OIG that on the occasion when he accompanied Lake to pick up the passports that neither he nor Lake discussed visas with any Embassy official and that Lake picked up the visas from a woman.  In addition, despite two OIG interviews that covered the subject of Lake’s involvement in submitting the referral form in some detail, Lake never mentioned in his interviews such a meeting with Bonner and an Embassy official to discuss visas.  In May 1998, when Lake was specifically asked whether he met with Wells, he denied it.  Lake did describe an occasion when, according to Lake, Bonner accompanied him to the Embassy to drop off the visa applications and they met an unidentified individual who gave Lake the visa referral form.  (Lake’s description of this is discussed later in this chapter, in Section III E2.)  However, Lake’s description of that encounter does not match Well’s description of his meeting with the two men.  Wells told the OIG that the men asserted that the female visa applicants worked with the men, and Wells said he specifically told the men that the referral process required a government interest in the women’s visit.  Lake said he only recalled that the man who handed him the form may have said that filling it out was only a “formality” and that Lake never told the man anything about the purpose for the women’s visit. 

 

In addition, in his July 2000 written response, Lake said he met with Wells to obtain information “that was necessary to obtain visas for two Russian women to go to the United States….”  Yet, there was no reason for Lake to have such a meeting.  Bratt had already been told how to obtain visas by McAdoo, Hoover, Bolgak, Koreneva, and an unidentified Embassy official.  Lake had the women’s application forms; there was no further information that he needed.  Therefore, because Lake’s July 2000 version of events is inconsistent with his previous versions as well as other evidence, we do not credit it.

 

E.          The Visa Referral Package is Submitted to the Embassy

1.           Bratt Gives Koreneva and Bolgak the Visa Application Forms; Bratt Asks Lake to Submit the Applications

In the evening of the same day in March 1997 that Bratt and Hoover met with the unidentified Embassy official and obtained the visa application forms, Bratt, Hoover, Lake, and Stromsem had dinner with Bolgak and Koreneva at Planet Hollywood in Moscow.  Bratt told the OIG that Hoover gave the forms to the women during the dinner.  In his October 1997 interview with the OIG, Bratt said he told the women that they could “drop off” the applications or, if Lake was still in Moscow, they could ask Lake to drop them off at the Embassy.  He said he told Lake about the visa applications and asked Lake to drop them off and to advance the visa fees for him.  In his August 1998 OIG interview, Bratt said that at dinner Bolgak asked Bratt to return the forms to the Embassy because it was difficult for the women to take off from work.  Bratt said that because he was leaving Moscow, Lake immediately volunteered to drop off the applications. 

 

Hoover said that Bratt gave the forms to the women at Planet Hollywood.  Stromsem, too, recalled that Bratt gave the women the visa applications during dinner at Planet Hollywood and that the others were “all just kind of listening” to Bratt telling Bolgak that she needed to fill out the forms.  She recalled that Bratt told the women to return the applications to Lake.  Bolgak told the OIG that, in Lake’s presence, Bratt gave her the application forms, told her to complete them, and to return them to Lake.  Koreneva told the OIG that Bratt told them he was leaving Moscow and that Lake would take care of the visa processing. 

 

Lake said that he met the women for the first time at Planet Hollywood on the March 1997 trip.  Lake said that he and Bratt discussed the women’s visas the evening before Bratt left Moscow.  (Bratt left the morning of Friday, March 28, 1997.)  Bratt told Lake to check for an envelope at the hotel front desk the following Monday, because the women would be dropping off passports and completed visa applications.  Lake said Bratt asked him to take the applications to a particular person at the Embassy.  Lake said he did not remember the name of that person. 

 

2.           Lake’s Explanation of How He Obtained the Referral Form

Lake told the OIG that pursuant to Bratt’s instruction he picked up an envelope containing Bolgak’s and Koreneva’s completed visa applications at the hotel.[26]  Lake said he asked Bonner to take him to the “INS offices” at the American Embassy.[27]  Lake said that Bratt told him to ask for a specific “INS” employee.  That person – Lake said he did not recall the name – was not in.  Another man, also unidentified, helped him.  Lake’s attempt to drop off the applications, he said, was thwarted when the unidentified Embassy official told Lake that the visa application package needed to include a visa referral form and $40 for each visa.  Lake said that the Embassy official handed him a visa referral form and the official may have said that filling it out was only a “formality.”  Lake said he did not identify himself and did not tell the official anything about the purpose of the women’s trip.[28] 

 

Lake said that he took a copy of the form back to Bonner’s office to fill out.  According to Lake, Bonner saw the completed form but never told Lake there was any problem with it.  Lake said Bonner told Lake to have Robertson, the head of the Law Enforcement Section at the Embassy, sign the form.  Lake put the completed form in Robertson’s in-box.  Lake said that Robertson later that day asked him what the form was about.  Lake told Robertson his reasons, and Robertson signed the form.[29]

 

Lake’s version of events is contradicted by other evidence.  First, Ann Sausman, the administrative assistant to Robertson, recalled that Lake had either asked her for or, in her presence, had taken a visa referral form from her desk, which she described as a cubicle adjacent to Bonner’s.  Sausman told the OIG that she kept visa applications and referral forms, as well as other Embassy forms, on her desk.  Sausman recalled wondering at the time why Lake needed a visa referral, since he had been in the country for such a short time.  She did not talk to Lake about the form, however.  Sausman also noted that although she normally handled the processing for all visa referrals in the Law Enforcement Section, she did not handle any of the paperwork involved in the Koreneva and Bolgak referral.  Sausman stated that she could not recall any other temporary duty personnel who visited the Law Enforcement Section submitting a visa referral.

 

Second, Wells told the OIG that the American Embassy in Moscow was particularly firm about using the referral system only where a government interest existed; therefore, it is unlikely that an Embassy official would have simply given such an important form to Lake, an individual unknown to the Embassy official, with the instruction that filling it out was only a “formality.”

 

Third, Lake claimed that Bonner accompanied him when he was given the application form by the Embassy official.  Bonner recalled escorting Lake and Bratt into the Embassy and escorting Lake when Lake picked up the passports after the visas were approved; Bonner said that he did not recall escorting Lake on any other occasion.  Bonner also denied reviewing the referral form or discussing it with Lake. 

 

3.           Lake Called Bratt to Discuss the Referral Form

Lake dated the referral form Thursday, April 3, 1997.  Embassy records show that Lake submitted the visa application package and paid the visa fee on Friday, April 4.  The visas were issued on Monday, April 7, 1997. 

 

The evidence shows that Lake called Bratt on April 3, 1997, the day that Lake dated the visa referral form.  Bratt did not have any explanation for this phone call.  Bratt and Lake are also inconsistent with each other regarding what Bratt knew about the visa referral form.

 

a.           Telephone Records

Telephone records establish that Lake telephoned Bratt in Washington, D.C., on April 3, 1997, the day Lake dated the referral form and the day before Lake submitted the visa referral form to the Embassy.[30]  The phone records the OIG reviewed show that on April 3, 1997, Lake placed a seven-minute phone call to Bratt’s office starting at 8:45 a.m. Moscow time.  That call was received in Washington, D.C. (Eastern Standard Time or EST) on April 2, from 11:45 p.m. to 11:52 p.m.  Lake then made a sustained effort to reach Bratt at home.  Starting at 11:59 p.m. EST, Lake twice called a number that was one digit away from Bratt’s home number.[31]  Lake then called Linda Cantelina, the Criminal Division security officer, at home from 12:07 a.m. to 12:12 a.m.  While Cantelina said that she did not remember the call, she said that it would not be unusual for Lake to call her to get a phone number.  After the call to Cantelina, Lake successfully dialed Bratt’s home number.  The telephone records show that the call lasted for three minutes, starting at 12:13 a.m. EST, April 3, 1997 (9:13 a.m. Moscow time).

 

Phone records also show that there were two calls on April 3, 1997, from Bratt’s office in Washington, D.C. (from the phone of his Executive Assistant), to Bonner’s office in Moscow  Each was just under 1½ minutes and was placed between 9:20 a.m. and 10:00 a.m., EST, or between 6:20 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., Moscow time.  These are the only calls from Bratt’s office to Bonner’s office in Moscow between the time Bratt returned to the United States (March 28, 1997) and the time Lake left Moscow (April 9, 1997).  Lake next called Bratt at home on Sunday, April 6, 1997.  The call lasted 16 minutes.

 

b.           Bratt’s Explanation

To the OIG, Bratt denied that he knew that Lake had filled out a visa referral form or knew that Lake submitted the visa applications through the referral process.  Bratt said he asked Lake to drop off the applications and then, Bratt said, he heard and learned nothing more about them until he was told, either from Lake or the women, that the visas had been issued.  Bratt specifically denied talking to Lake in person or on the telephone about the visa referral form.  Any telephone conversation he had with Lake after Bratt left Moscow, Bratt claimed, had to have been about another topic. 

 

Bratt specifically denied any recollection of a midnight call from Lake.  Bratt said that the only call from Lake that he remembered receiving after he left Moscow was a call at the office to tell him that the visas had been issued.  When we told Bratt that telephone records showed a call on April 3, 1997, to his home, Bratt reiterated that he recalled talking to Lake during that period, but not at home and not to discuss the visa referral form. 

 

Q:  And you have no recollection of being informed by Mr. Lake that he was going to be required to fill out a visa referral form?

 

    Bratt:  No, he never called.

 

Q:  Do you have any recollection of Mr. Lake ever telling you on the telephone, in person, at any time, that he had any difficulty returning to the embassy the visa application forms, completed visa application forms?

 

    Bratt:  In April of 1997?  No.

 

Q:  Or in March of 1997.

 

    Bratt:  No.  Absolutely not.

 

*  *  *

 

    Bratt:  My last talk to Joe about this issue was at Planet Hollywood at dinner that night when it was being discussed.  That was the last time that came up.  The next time I heard was when he mentioned to me in some phone call somewhere after, you know, between the 1st and the 15th of April when he called in.  But there is just – there is no gray area here.  Absolutely, I am perfectly clear about this.  Couldn’t be clearer. 

 

When asked about Lake’s claim that Lake talked to Bratt about the visa referral form, Bratt said about Lake, as Bratt had said about Wells and Hoover, that Lake was lying.

 

Q:  So if Joe Lake were to tell us that he received directions from you at about the time this form was filed, regarding this form, he would be lying?

 

A:  Yes, he would, absolutely would be lying.

 

Q:  And if he had any discussion with you about this form, at the time the form was filed, he would be lying?

 

A:  Yes, he would, absolutely. 

 

c.            Lake’s Explanation and Claim of Good Faith

Lake’s version of events was different from Bratt’s.  In his first OIG interview in October 1997, Lake told us that he spoke to Bratt about the visa referral form when the office to which Bratt had directed him would not accept the visa application package.  Lake said that an Embassy official told him that an additional form had to be completed and fees had to be paid.  Lake said that he took the form the unidentified official gave him back to Bonner’s office and called Bratt, who was now back in the United States.  Lake said that he called Bratt to find out from Bratt how to deal with paying for the visas and filling out the form.  Lake said that he and Bratt discussed generally what to put on the form and that he told Bratt that he had to write something regarding the purpose of the trip.  Lake told the OIG that he thought the conversation probably occurred on April 3, 1997, the day that he dated the visa referral form. 

 

In his second interview with the OIG conducted in May 1998, Lake said at first that he had no recollection of any conversation with Bratt regarding the contents of the referral form.  However, later in the same interview, Lake said that he believed he spoke with Bratt about the visa referral form and the fees, that he “might” have called Bratt to discuss the form, and that it was possible that he discussed every aspect of the form with Bratt. 

 

We asked Lake about the calls that he made from Moscow on April 3, 1997, between 11:45 p.m. EST (April 2) and 12:13 a.m. EST (April 3), to Bratt’s office and home.  Lake said that he thought that he spoke to Bratt once, that he recalled only one late-night phone conversation with Bratt, and that he might have called Bratt to discuss the visa referral form.  He said he did not recall leaving any phone messages for Bratt. 

 

During the October 1997 OIG interview, Lake said that in response to his inquiry, Bratt said that the purpose of the women’s trip was to visit him, to see Washington, D.C., to visit Bratt’s office, and to go to his beach house.  According to Lake, Bratt never told him any official government-related reason for the trip.  Lake admitted, however, that he knew that describing a strictly social purpose was inadequate for purposes of the visa referral form; it required a government-related interest in Koreneva’s and Bolgak’s trip to the United States.  Lake therefore wrote on the form that the women had worked for the Executive Officer.  Lake said that his response to the question of “purpose” was “an exercise in creative writing.” 

 

In May 1998 Lake told the OIG a new version of events and Lake implied that this showed he had acted in good faith when he completed the visa referral form.  Lake said that Bratt spoke to him on Bratt’s last day in Moscow, prior to Lake submitting the visa applications.  Bratt asked Lake to pick up the women’s passports and applications and turn them in to the “INS” section of the Embassy.  According to Lake, Bratt had given him a card with Bolgak’s address and telephone number written on it.  On the same card, Lake said that Lake wrote “old embassy, 2nd floor,” “the other is Helen,” and “working w/ Bob.”  Lake said Bratt made the statement about “working with Bob,” and Lake wrote it down.  Lake interpreted it to mean that both women were working for Bratt.  Lake said that he had recently found the note mixed in with other papers in his Rolodex.  He provided the document to the OIG.  We show the note below; the arrow has been added by the OIG to designate the section of the note at issue.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After reviewing this draft chapter in July 2000, Lake made a more explicit claim to the OIG in his written response.  Lake stated that he believed the statements he wrote on the visa referral form were true because: 1) Bratt told him the women worked for Bratt, as reflected in Lake’s notes, 2) Lake “believe[d] he had [a conversation] with … Bonner, about how payment for the two women’s translation work was being handled,” 3) Lake observed Bolgak translating for Bratt on one occasion, and 4) Hoover later substantiated that the women had been paid for their work. 

 

Bratt told the OIG that he had no conversation with Lake about the women’s visas after the Planet Hollywood dinner.  Bratt also denied ever telling Lake where to go to drop off the visas, and he denied being present with Lake on Bratt’s last day in Moscow.  Implicit in Bratt’s statements to us was a denial that he had ever told Lake that the women had worked for him or the Department of Justice.

 

Lake’s claim that he acted in good faith when he wrote that the women had worked for the Executive Officer is contradicted by substantial evidence.  First, we do not put much credence in Lake’s claim about the meaning and significance of his notes.  Lake only recalled this incident in a second interview with us, based upon some notes that he claimed to have made at the time of the conversation with Bratt.  Notwithstanding that Lake told us that the notes he wrote say “working w/ Bob,” the notation appeared to us to state “wed. morning w/ Bon[ner],” and the last word in the phrase was clearly not “Bob.”[32]  Additionally, Hoover informed us that he met with Lake in December 1997, prior to Lake’s second interview with the OIG, because Lake had found some notes that confused him.  Lake did not show the notes to Hoover but asked if Hoover knew what “working for Bob” meant.  Lake told Hoover that even though Lake had written the notes, he did not know what they meant.  We find it incredible that Lake, knowing the seriousness of the allegations against him, would not immediately recall in his first interview, if true, that Bratt had told him that the women were working for Bratt and the Criminal Division.  Instead, Lake claimed to the OIG that his memory was suddenly jogged by notes that he told Hoover he did not understand and found confusing.  Accordingly, we have given little credence to this version of events.  We believe that Lake tried falsely to exculpate both himself and Bratt in his first interview and then decided to simply exculpate himself by the time of his second interview by claiming the note said something it did not.

 

Second, Lake gave no details about his alleged conversation with Bonner regarding payment for the women’s translation work, and Bonner denied having had such a conversation. 

 

Third, with respect to Lake’s claim that Hoover substantiated that the women had been paid, Hoover told the OIG during one interview that he might have said to Lake and others in March 1997 that because of Bolgak’s facility with English, she had the potential to be valuable to ICITAP should ICITAP establish a program in Moscow.  In a previous interview, however, Hoover denied to the OIG ever suggesting or considering having Bolgak perform interpreting work for the Department of Justice.  Even in the light most favorable to Lake, Hoover’s comments would not have supported Lake’s statement on the visa referral form that both women had worked for the Executive Officer.

 

In addition, it is a fact acknowledged by all – including Bratt and the women – that the women did not work for the Department of Justice in any capacity.  Therefore, neither Hoover nor Bonner would have had a reason to falsely tell Lake that the women had been paid for their work.

 

F.          Motive

We explored whether there was a reason Bratt would direct that the referral process be used.  We had been told by several witnesses that they assumed or believed, based on their observations of Bratt and Koreneva together, that Bratt was “interested in” Koreneva.  Pursuit of a personal relationship with Koreneva could constitute a motive for Bratt to participate in making false statements on the visa referral document.  We therefore asked Bratt about his interest in and relationship with Koreneva.

 

In his response to us, Bratt misled the OIG about several related topics: how he came to meet Koreneva, the circumstances under which he socialized with her, and the nature of their relationship.  In his October 1997 OIG interview, Bratt described his relationship with the Russian women as social, based on a friendship they had developed during his travels to Moscow.  Bratt compared the relationship to other friendships he had developed with people in various countries, such as a man who was his driver in Haiti.  Bratt specifically stated that, although he liked Koreneva, he did not get romantically involved with her. 

 

In his July and August 1998 OIG interviews, Bratt admitted that he socialized with Bolgak and Koreneva on numerous occasions.  He said that in January 1997, he arrived in Moscow on Thursday, called the women on Friday, and invited them to dinner that night, where they were joined by Hoover.  On the following Monday, Bratt, Bolgak, and Koreneva went to an Irish pub.  Bratt and the women went to a restaurant either on Tuesday or Wednesday night of that trip.

 

In March, Bratt’s group arrived in Moscow on Saturday, March 22, and Bratt, Stromsem, and Hoover had dinner with Koreneva and Bolgak that night.  On Sunday Bratt went shopping with Koreneva in the afternoon.  While Hoover and Stromsem told the OIG that they saw Bratt bring Koreneva to the hotel on Sunday afternoon, Bratt denied taking Koreneva to his hotel that day.  He refused, on the advice of counsel, to answer a follow-up question regarding whether he spent any other time alone with Koreneva.  Sunday evening Bratt and Hoover joined Koreneva, Bolgak, and Kovalenko at Bolgak’s apartment for dinner.  This was a dinner that had been arranged prior to Bratt’s March trip to Moscow.  Later in the week (according to Bratt it was on Wednesday night), Bratt, Hoover, Stromsem, and Lake had dinner with Bolgak and Koreneva at the Planet Hollywood restaurant.  At the dinner, Bratt gave the visa application forms to Bolgak and Koreneva.  On Thursday night, Bratt, Lake, and Hoover had drinks with the two women.  Bratt left Russia the morning of Friday, March 28, 1997. 

 

On August 7, 1998, at the request of the OIG, Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Keeney directed Bratt to answer the OIG’s questions about his relationship with Koreneva.  After he received that direction, Bratt told the OIG that in March 1997, after the Wednesday night dinner at Planet Hollywood at which he had given the visa applications to the women, Koreneva returned with him to his hotel room.  Bratt stated that he invited Koreneva to his hotel room so that he could give her some gifts and that she remained about 20 minutes.  Bratt further acknowledged that on the next night (Thursday, March 27), his last night in Moscow on the March trip, he again invited Koreneva to his hotel room where, he said, “there was a little bit more hugging, a little bit more intimacy” with Koreneva.  Bratt then said that he became sexually intimate with Koreneva when he returned to Moscow in June 1997. 

 

Thus, Bratt’s prior statements to the OIG that he had a friendly relationship with Koreneva that was not romantic were false.[33]

 

The evidence shows that Bratt had a significant motive to circumvent the regular visa application process for tourists.  At the time the visa applications were submitted, Bratt was involved in a romantic relationship with Koreneva.  He had learned from Koreneva herself that the standard visa process might be an obstacle to Koreneva’s coming to the United States.  As Hoover told the OIG, Bratt repeatedly expressed his concern that Koreneva not be embarrassed by a denial of her visa application.  Unless the regular visa process was circumvented, however, it was likely that Koreneva would be rejected for a visa again.

 

IV.      OIG’s CONCLUSIONS

We find that Lake intentionally made a false statement on the visa referral application form.  We further conclude that Lake did so at Bratt’s behest.  We do not credit Bratt’s claims that he had no prior knowledge of or involvement in the submission of Koreneva’s and Bolgak’s visa applications through the referral process.  We believe that Bratt knew from Wells the requirements for the referral process and knew from Lake that Lake intended to complete and submit the referral form.  Substantial evidence disputes Bratt’s claim that Lake was acting on his own in submitting the visa referral form.

 

The evidence that we developed during the course of this investigation establishes that:

 

·     Bratt initiated the plan to have the women come visit him in the United States;

 

·     Bratt had a romantic relationship with Koreneva;

 

·     Bratt knew that Koreneva stood a substantial risk of being denied a visa if she applied using the standard process, thereby providing him with a motive to circumvent the routine visa processing system; and

 

·     Bratt learned from an Embassy official that the referral process would circumvent the normal visa processing system but that it required that the applicant’s visit to the United States be in the interest of the United States government.

 

Bratt’s denial of the most important issue – his knowledge that Lake was submitting the visa referral form on Bratt’s behalf – must be evaluated in the context that Bratt provided false or misleading information to the OIG regarding many different issues relating to the issuance of the visas.

Bratt’s portrayal of how he came to meet Koreneva was different from the version told to the OIG by Kovalenko, who stated that Bratt specifically asked her to introduce him to a single Russian woman.

 

Bratt’s initial description to the OIG of his relationship with Koreneva as friendly socializing did not accurately portray the true nature of their relationship.  By his own subsequent admission, there was “a little bit more intimacy” the day after Bratt provided Koreneva with the visa application, and he became sexually intimate with Koreneva on his next trip to Moscow.

 

Bratt said that the concern expressed by Bolgak about getting visas was having to take off work to submit the forms.  Bratt also said that although he knew Koreneva had been denied a visa previously, there was no discussion about it.  Yet, both Bolgak and Koreneva described a conversation with Bratt in which they discussed how difficult it was to obtain visas, particularly for Koreneva, who had been denied a visa previously.

 

Bratt acknowledged making some inquiries about obtaining visas.  After returning from the January 1997 trip, Bratt made inquiries of McAdoo, a personal friend, and Hoover about obtaining visas for the women.  Despite obtaining the basic information that Bratt was supposedly seeking, that is, how Russians get visas to visit the United States, Bratt nevertheless sought additional information about visas from Hoover and about visa processing from an unidentified Embassy official whom he met in Moscow in March 1997.  We believe that the purpose of the meeting with the Embassy official was to determine the likelihood that Koreneva would again be denied a visa.  We conclude that Bratt judged as a result of this meeting that Koreneva risked being denied a visa and he further learned, or already knew, that another mechanism existed that would provide a different result – the visa referral process.

 

The evidence shows that Bratt sought information specifically on the visa referral system.  Bratt’s adamant claim that he knew nothing about the visa referral system is contradicted by both Hoover and Wells.  Hoover described a conversation about visa referrals that he had with Bratt after they returned to the United States from their January 1997 trip, a conversation initiated by Bratt.  Even more significantly, Wells, a State Department employee with no interest in the outcome of this investigation, described a meeting with two Department of Justice employees to discuss visa referrals for two Russian women.  Wells identified pictures of Bratt and Lake as the men with whom he had spoken and identified Koreneva and Bolgak, through their applications, as the women who were being discussed.  Wells remembered the meeting because his instinct told him that something was amiss with the applications – feelings that he put aside when the paperwork for Bolgak’s and Koreneva’s visas came through with the appropriate signature.  Wells’ statement is corroborated by Bonner, who escorted Bratt and Lake to a location in the Embassy corresponding to Wells’ office.

 

In his third version of events, Lake claimed that he attended the Wells meeting with Bonner, not Bratt.  Lake’s claim is not credible because it was inconsistent with Lake’s prior versions, was denied by Bonner, and was inconsistent with Wells’ version of the meeting.  Moreover, Bratt and Lake's claim that Bratt did not meet with Wells does not address all the other evidence that demonstrates that Bratt directed or approved Lake's use of the visa referral process.  As we discussed, Bratt made inquiries about the visa referral process to Hoover, Bratt falsely asserted to an Embassy official that the women worked for the Department of Justice, Bratt and Lake gave conflicting accounts about whether Bratt told Lake that the women worked for him, and Bratt could not explain the subject of a midnight call on the night before the visa referral form was submitted.  All of this evidence, even independent of Bratt and Lake's meeting with Wells, showed that Bratt directed Lake to use the referral process to obtain the women’s visas.

 

Lake and Bratt contradict each other regarding whether any conversation about the visa referral form took place prior to its submission, and Lake has given differing versions about what he and Bratt discussed.  Bratt claimed that he had no conversation with Lake about the visa referral form.  In his first interview, on the other hand, Lake said that in a phone call with Bratt they discussed generally what to put on the referral form; in his second interview, Lake first said he could not recall a conversation, but then acknowledged that he believed a conversation about the visa referral form occurred and that he possibly discussed the entire form with Bratt.  Lake’s phone records show a midnight call to Bratt on the day that Lake dated the referral form.  A subordinate is unlikely to contact a supervisor after midnight about something less than a topic of extreme urgency.  Yet Bratt could not recall this late night phone call.  We believe the most credible version of events that is consistent with the evidence is that after Lake obtained the visa referral form and before he submitted it, he called Bratt to discuss it and ensure that he was following Bratt’s directions.

 

Lake claimed that when they were discussing the visa referral form, Bratt only told him that the purpose of the women’s visit was to visit Bratt and Washington, D.C.  Even under Lake’s version of events – that Bratt did not direct the specific words to use on the referral form – Bratt is still responsible for the wrongful and improper use of the visa referral form.  Once Bratt knew that Lake was using the referral process to submit the visa applications, he had a duty to ensure that Lake did not use that process or complete or submit the referral form.  Instead, even under Lake’s scenario, Bratt left it to Lake to describe a government interest, words that Bratt may not have wanted to state himself but which Bratt knew would be necessary to ensure a successful application.

 

In addition to the direct evidence that contradicts Bratt’s claim that he knew nothing about Lake’s submission of the visa referral form, we find that Bratt’s and Lake’s versions of their involvement strain common sense.  Under Bratt’s version, he did nothing for the women that they could not do for themselves.  Bratt told the OIG that picking up and dropping off the application forms was the part of the process for which he offered assistance.  Yet the only part of the visa application process Bolgak did not identify as difficult was securing visa application forms.  Indeed, Department of State officials told us that visa applications are freely and easily available in the Embassy and in other places around Moscow.  Moreover, picking up an application form for Koreneva would not address, let alone solve, the problem that Bratt knew she had:  establishing to the satisfaction of the Embassy that even though she was young, unmarried, and without substantial financial ties to Russia, she would return home after a trip abroad.

 

Furthermore, we do not believe Bratt’s claim that Bolgak asked Bratt to drop off the visas and Lake interceded to volunteer for Bratt.  The Embassy did not accept applications that were “dropped off” for the standard visa process, although it did for the referral process.  Bolgak had experience applying for American visas; she had visited the United States several times, and she knew that the process involved waiting in long lines.  Given her experience, we believe that Bolgak knew that the application forms to be submitted through the standard process could not be dropped off and therefore she would not have asked Bratt to do so.  We also believe that Bratt was aware that the applications could not be dropped off as part of the standard process because Bolgak described to him the lengthy process that they had to go through to get visas – the lines and the time it took to get through the standard process.  In addition, when discussing the standard process, both Hoover and McAdoo said they told Bratt that the women had to be interviewed. 

 

Bratt told the OIG that as part of the discussion about obtaining “tourist visas,” the unidentified Embassy official told Bratt and Hoover where the applications could be “dropped off.”  We do not believe that an Embassy official would have told Bratt how to do something that the Embassy did not permit.  However, based on Wells’ description of his conversation with Bratt and Lake, it is likely that Wells told Bratt that applications for referred visas and supporting documents could be “dropped off” at the NIV Section.  Therefore, although Bratt told us that the unidentified Embassy official spoke about “dropping off” applications, we believe that Bratt actually was told by Wells that he could “drop off” the referral package and that this is further proof that Bratt met with Wells and learned about the referral process.

 

Bratt and Lake each claim that the other is responsible for the false statement on the referral form.  Bratt’s version of events is that Lake acted completely on his own to submit the visas through the referral process.  According to Bratt, he gave Lake no instructions about where or how to deliver the visa applications, and they had no discussions whatsoever about the visa referral system.  Under this scenario, by mere coincidence when dropping off the women’s completed tourist visa applications, Lake happened to wind up in the one section of the Embassy that dealt with visa referrals.  Lake then, acting completely on his own initiative, made false statements on a government document and put Bratt’s initials on it but told Bratt nothing about his actions.  We find this version strains credulity and is contradicted by credible evidence.

 

Lake had no apparent motive for acting in such an improper manner.  Lake, unlike Bratt, had no personal interest in Koreneva’s trip to the United States.  Therefore, it is unlikely that Lake would take it upon himself, without consulting Bratt, to act in a way that would subject himself to possible criminal penalties.  We believe Lake acted at the behest of his boss.  As Lake wrote on the form, “per BB.”  In addition, Lake gave Bratt’s office number as the contact number on the referral form.  Since the Embassy might have called that number to verify or ask a question about the information contained in the referral, it is doubtful that Lake would give that number if Bratt was oblivious to what Lake was doing.

 

Lake told the OIG that he believed his statements on the referral form were truthful because Bratt and others told him the women worked for Bratt.  We find Lake’s version of events no more credible than Bratt’s.  Lake initially told us that his response to the question of purpose on the form was “an exercise in creative writing.”  In addition, the evidence shows that Lake had no basis for believing the women had ever worked for Bratt in Moscow.  Lake’s statement that he obtained the referral form from an unidentified consular official who told him to fill it out as a “formality” is contradicted by Sausman, a secretary who worked in the Embassy Law Enforcement Section.  Sausman said that either Lake took a referral form from her desk or that she gave him one.  Furthermore, given the Embassy’s policies about the use of the referral system only for government purposes, it is unlikely that an Embassy official would have simply given such an important form to an unknown individual with the instruction that filling it out was a mere “formality.”

 

Thus, we conclude on the basis of witness statements, telephone records, and other documentary evidence that Bratt learned that Koreneva was unlikely to obtain a visa through the normal visa application process.  Bratt learned about the referral process and asked Lake to submit the Koreneva and Bolgak visa applications using the referral process.  To achieve Bratt’s goal, Lake intentionally misrepresented that Koreneva and Bolgak worked with Bratt in Moscow.  We conclude that Bratt knew, because Lake told him, what Lake was writing on the form before Lake’s submission of the women’s applications for referred processing.  We conclude that Bratt asked Lake to do this because Bratt and Koreneva had a close personal relationship, and Bratt wanted to ensure that Koreneva would be able to get a visa.

 

Our conclusion that Bratt committed serious misconduct would not change even if Bratt did not specifically tell Lake what to write on the visa referral form or know what Lake had written.  Bratt knew that Lake could only complete the form in a manner that would accomplish what Bratt wanted if Lake submitted the applications through the visa referral process, and to do so Lake would have to misrepresent on the visa referral form the government’s interest in the women’s trip.

 

Bratt was therefore able to obtain a valuable United States government document – a visa – for a woman who most likely would not otherwise have been able to obtain a visa.  We find that Bratt's actions in this matter constitute egregious misconduct.[34]

 

Bratt’s culpability in this matter is increased because he intentionally entwined a subordinate in his personal activities, who then engaged in misconduct at Bratt’s behest.[35]

 

Lake also committed misconduct by submitting a visa application that he knew was false.  While he did so at Bratt’s behest in order to obtain a benefit for his supervisor, Lake knew that the application he submitted was false.  His submission of that false application also constitutes egregious misconduct.

 

CHAPTER THREE: FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH NATIONAL SECURITY REGULATIONS

I.            BACKGROUND

The OIG received allegations that ICITAP personnel mishandled classified security documents in violation of government and Department of Justice regulations.  The OIG conducted a joint investigation into these allegations with the Department of Justice Security and Emergency Planning Staff (SEPS), the Department office responsible for ensuring compliance with security regulations.  The OIG and SEPS investigated allegations that ICITAP staff knowingly:  (1) disclosed classified documents to unauthorized personnel, (2) failed to secure classified documents, and (3) negligently mishandled classified documents.

 

We found a pattern and practice of improper disclosure of classified documents; improper handling, storage, and transport of classified documents; and a failure to verify security clearances.  We found that ICITAP managers were repeatedly given notice of the problems through prior security reviews[36] and from staff reports.  Although managers issued written policies when informed of problems, they in fact failed to correct deficiencies.

 

The investigation of ICITAP security issues was initiated when Martin Andersen, OPDAT’s Senior Advisor for Policy Planning and a former ICITAP contractor and employee, reported to SEPS on April 9, 1997, that Cary Hoover, Special Assistant to the Director of ICITAP, had on more than one occasion improperly disclosed classified documents to Andersen and to others.  Andersen also alleged that ICITAP personnel were certifying to United States embassies that contractors had security clearances when in fact they did not.

 

From April 10, 1997, through April 14, 1997, SEPS interviewed ICITAP’s former security officers[37] and contractors and invited the OIG to participate in the investigation.  Based on these interviews, SEPS preliminarily determined that unauthorized individuals had been given access to classified documents.

 

SEPS also determined there was sufficient cause to warrant an unannounced after-hours search of ICITAP headquarters to assess further ICITAP’s compliance with security regulations, rules, and orders.  The search, or “sweep,” was conducted on April 14, 1997.  During the sweep, SEPS found that the entrance to ICITAP’s offices had been left unsecured and 16 classified documents ranging from “Confidential” to “Secret”[38] were found on the desk or credenza of ICITAP Associate Director Joseph Trincellito in violation of the regulations governing the handling of classified information.  In a follow-up search of Trincellito’s office files conducted by the Criminal Division a few days after the SEPS sweep, more improperly secured classified documents were uncovered. In total, 156 classified documents (144 originals and 12 duplicates) were found unsecured in Trincellito's office.

 

The OIG and SEPS notified and met with representatives of the agencies whose documents were at risk of having been compromised.  The agencies were informed that foreign nationals, including Russians, had previously had access to the ICITAP office space.  A Russian delegation, for example, had been escorted through the ICITAP office space in February 1997 and had been given the use of the ICITAP conference room.  It was not known if any of the foreign nationals saw unsecured classified documents.  One agency noted that among the unsecured classified documents was a politically sensitive document that, if disclosed, could have significant adverse effects on its programs.

 

SEPS’ initial interviews suggested that there was a continuing pattern of lax security at ICITAP.  Given the security violations already confirmed, the OIG and SEPS decided to assess the extent of ICITAP’s security problems and ICITAP's management’s responsibility for the problems that existed.  As part of the investigation, the OIG, with SEPS, interviewed present and past staff, contractors, and federal employees about ICITAP’s security practices and tracked, where possible, the disposition both here and abroad of improperly secured classified documents about which we were told.

 

We found that the problems that were revealed in April 1997 were pervasive, recurrent, and persistent.  Our investigation confirmed that unauthorized disclosures had been made to uncleared contractors; established that over the course of several years, many ICITAP personnel routinely and repeatedly violated security regulations; and showed that ICITAP management failed to enforce security regulations even when violations were brought to ICITAP managers’ attention.

 

We describe below the problems that we found and the managerial failures and indifference to security that permitted these problems to continue.  We begin our discussion for each kind of violation we found with a brief review of relevant regulations and procedures.

 

II.         ICITAP SECURITY VIOLATIONS

A.          Disclosure of Classified Information to Unauthorized Persons

1.           Guidelines and Regulations

Federal regulations and rules mandate that “no person may be given access to classified information or material originated by, in the custody, or under the control of the Department, unless the person:  (1) has been determined to be eligible for access … (2) has a demonstrated need-to-know and (3) has signed an approved nondisclosure agreement.”  Executive Order 12958, part 4.2; 28 CFR, part 17, § 17.41.  In essence, a person must have an appropriate security clearance and must have a need to know the information before the person is to have access to classified information.  Executive Order 12968 § 3.1-3.3.  A person with a security clearance is responsible for safeguarding classified information in his or her possession from disclosure to unauthorized personnel.  Executive Order 12968 § 6.2.

 

Certain individuals, generally government employees, are authorized by the government to have access to classified information.  Such authorization is granted after a candidate “passes” a background investigation[39] and is briefed by an office’s or agency’s security personnel on the rules regarding the handling of classified material.  At the briefing, the duty to safeguard classified information from unauthorized disclosure is explained, as are the federal regulations that prescribe how persons with a security clearance are to handle and maintain classified information in a safe and secure manner.  SEPS informed the OIG that the briefing for Department of Justice employees includes direction about how to ascertain whether and at what level another person has a security clearance.

 

Because authorization is based on a “need to know,” a security clearance for one project does not automatically authorize disclosure to that person of classified information relating to another project, even in the same office, and a security clearance does not automatically transfer between offices.  Similarly, when an individual who has a security clearance leaves federal service for more than one year, and the required investigation was conducted more than 36 months from the date of the new appointment, upon the individual's return to federal service there must be a reinvestigation and a re-certified need to know in order for the individual to gain access to classified information.  As should be apparent from the regulations, relying on someone’s statement that he is cleared or that he has a particular security clearance level is never an adequate means to determine another person's clearance level.  The proper method is to ask SEPS or to ask an office's security officer. 

 

In addition to the rules and the briefings that are provided to persons receiving a security clearance, ICITAP personnel were specifically instructed that clearance levels had to be verified before classified information could be distributed to other individuals.  John Shannonhouse became the ICITAP security officer in September 1995.  Shortly thereafter Shannonhouse checked the security clearance of everyone in the ICITAP office – contractors and employees alike.  He immediately discovered and disclosed to all ICITAP staff that no contractor had a security clearance.[40]  In his September 22, 1995, e-mail to ICITAP staff alerting them, Shannonhouse expressly explained that the routine name, fingerprint, and credit check performed on contractors (and employees) before they began work did not constitute clearance to handle classified documents.  Shannonhouse sent the following e-mail to all personnel:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The e-mail made two important points:

 

·       None of the ICITAP contractors had a clearance and some ICITAP employees might not have clearances; and

 

·       Everyone had the duty to verify an individual’s clearance level before passing on classified information – as Shannonhouse wrote, “NEVER ASSUME that a person is appropriately cleared.”

 

In violation of the regulations and despite Shannonhouse’s clear warning, ICITAP employees with security clearances gave classified documents or gave access to classified documents to individuals who were not cleared to receive them.  We discuss subsequently instances in which there were unauthorized disclosures of classified information at ICITAP.

 

2.           Violations by Cary Hoover

Cary Hoover started with ICITAP in September 1990 as a Training Coordinator and held various positions at ICITAP over the years.  In August 1995 he became Special Assistant to ICITAP Director Janice Stromsem.

 

a.           Disclosure to Martin Andersen

Andersen told investigators that, during the time he was a contractor to ICITAP,[41] Hoover provided him with classified documents knowing that Andersen did not have a security clearance.  Andersen said that he and Hoover had several discussions about Andersen’s lack of a clearance, so Andersen believed that the disclosures were deliberate and intentional.  Andersen could not recall the dates but said that Hoover provided him with classified documents at both the “Confidential” and “Secret” level, such as cables from the State Department and the Department of Defense concerning Panama, El Salvador, and Haiti.  Andersen claimed that Hoover distinguished these documents from Top Secret documents, which Andersen said Hoover would not share with Andersen because he did not have a security clearance.  

 

Andersen described two particular occasions toward the end of his tenure as a contractor with ICITAP (i.e., the fall of 1995), when Hoover provided him with classified information.  In each case, Andersen said, Hoover gave him the documents to assist Andersen to carry out his assignment.  In one case, Andersen said, he was preparing a paper on Cuba.  In the material that Hoover gave Andersen was a document from the State Department classified either “Confidential” or “Secret.”  According to Andersen, because Andersen did not have a clearance, Hoover consulted with Stromsem about giving Andersen the document before Hoover made the document available to Andersen.[42] 

 

Anderson said that about the same time, or perhaps some weeks afterwards, he was asked to look into issues involving El Salvador.  Andersen said that Hoover again provided Andersen with classified material, this time several cables classified “Confidential” or “Secret.”  Andersen remembered these events, he said, because after he received classified documents, he was concerned that in conversation with friends in the human rights community he might inadvertently disclose classified information.[43]

 

b.           Disclosure to Jane Rasmussen

Andersen also alleged that Hoover had improperly disclosed classified information to Jane Rasmussen, another ICITAP consultant.  Rasmussen confirmed Andersen’s allegation.  She told investigators that in February 1997, Hoover provided her with a document classified “Secret” to assist in her research.  She, too, did not have a security clearance and knew it.  Rasmussen explained that while she could not be certain, she believed that Hoover knew that she was not cleared because either shortly before or after viewing the classified document, she told Hoover that she had applied for a clearance with the Agency for International Development (AID), but had not yet received it.

 

Rasmussen said that Hoover instructed her not to leave the document unattended and not to let other people know that she had it.  Hoover told Rasmussen that she was not permitted to copy the document, but that she could take notes, which she did.  Rasmussen said she returned the document to Hoover within a couple of hours but kept her notes.

 

Rasmussen took the notes with her when she left ICITAP.  She provided the notes to investigators, and we verified that Rasmussen’s notes came from a document classified “Secret.”

 

c.            Disclosure to Paul Mackowski

A third incident involving Hoover was reported by former ICITAP Security Officer Paul Frary.  He told the OIG that he believed unauthorized disclosures of classified information were made to Paul Mackowski, a Medford, Massachusetts, police officer detailed to ICITAP for two years ending in 1996.  Mackowski, too, did not have a security clearance.  Frary told the OIG that sometime after Mackowski’s departure from ICITAP Frary found classified “Confidential” documents among Mackowski’s papers.

 

Frary’s allegation was corroborated by Mackowski, Hoover, and other ICITAP staff.  Mackowski specifically recalled reading a “Confidential” cable from the United States Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia (former Soviet Union).  Other ICITAP staff told us that they saw Mackowski handle classified documents and that Mackowski had unescorted access to the secure room.[44]

 

Hoover said that he confirmed that there were classified documents among the documents that Mackowski had packed at the end of his detail to be sent to him in Massachusetts.  Hoover admitted responsibility for some of the classified documents given to Mackowski. 

 

SEPS suspended Hoover’s security clearance on April 15, 1997. 

 

d.           Hoover’s Response

When we asked Hoover whether he had disclosed classified documents to any ICITAP consultant, at first, in a blanket denial, he said that he had not.   When we reviewed his contacts with particular contractors, however, Hoover admitted that he gave Andersen, Rasmussen, and Mackowski classified documents.

 

Hoover said that he thought that Andersen, Rasmussen, and Mackowski all had security clearances.  He said that he was confused about Rasmussen’s security status because of her previous employment with AID.  Hoover said that he thought Rasmussen had been a government employee at AID – not a contractor – and had a clearance.  According to Hoover, Rasmussen also told him that she had a security clearance when she worked at AID and that he relied on her assertion when he provided her with the classified document.[45]  Hoover said that when he gave the classified document to Rasmussen, “it didn’t dawn on me that she would take notes.”  Hoover acknowledged that he did not verify her clearance although he knew that Rasmussen was an ICITAP contractor and not a federal employee.[46]

 

When asked whether he had given classified information to Andersen, Hoover at first said that he was uncertain.  Later he admitted that he had.  Hoover said that to assist Andersen with his work, he provided Andersen with classified documents on El Salvador and Panama.  Hoover said he believed that most of the documents provided to Andersen were at the “Confidential” level. 

 

Hoover said that, although no one ever told him that Andersen had a Department security clearance, he believed that Andersen had a security clearance from the day Andersen first arrived for work at ICITAP as a consultant in 1993.  Hoover said that because Andersen was a former employee of the United States Senate, he believed Andersen had a clearance and that the clearance automatically transferred with him to his new position at ICITAP.  After reviewing a draft of this chapter, Hoover wrote in his response to the OIG that Andersen “aggressively encouraged” the transactions and that Andersen was in violation of the security rules as well.  Hoover also blamed ICITAP’s security officers for failing to issue memoranda listing the clearance status of all personnel and for failing to check to ensure that all personnel were obeying the rules. 

 

Hoover also admitted that he provided classified documents to Mackowski and that he may have given Mackowski the classified documents that were found unsecured among papers Mackowski had boxed up and asked to have shipped to him in Massachusetts after he left ICITAP.  Hoover said that he did not ask Mackowski and he did not check with SEPS to determine whether Mackowski had a clearance.  Hoover stated that he believed that everyone who came to ICITAP had completed the necessary paperwork for an interim security clearance, and Hoover presumed that this was the case with Mackowski.[47]

 

When asked whether he recalled Shannonhouse’s September 22, 1995, memorandum to all ICITAP staff that stated, “NEVER ASSUME that a person is appropriately cleared,” Hoover said that he did not recall it.  In another interview some months later, however, he acknowledged that he remembered it.  Hoover admitted to the OIG that “nothing changed” at ICITAP after Shannonhouse sent this e-mail about security violations.[48] 

 

e.            OIG’s Conclusion

Hoover’s responses made clear that he did not follow basic security practice that requires the individual with the security clearance to have SEPS verify a security clearance before classified information is disclosed to another individual.  Security rules and regulations place the responsibility for compliance on the individual with the security clearance, not the person receiving the information.  Hoover’s (and Stromsem’s) blame of the administrative staff and security officers is unwarranted.  Hoover was briefed on the requirements when he received his security clearance; in addition, Shannonhouse’s reminder in his September 1995 e-mail was quite clear.

 

3.           Violations by Associate Director Joseph Trincellito

Hoover was not the only ICITAP employee making unauthorized disclosures of classified information.  Palmer Wilson, an ICITAP employee and former contractor who did not have a security clearance, said that Associate Director Trincellito twice tried to give him classified documents.   According to Wilson, in January or February 1996 Trincellito gave him a classified document.  When Wilson informed Trincellito that he did not have a clearance and gave it back to Trincellito, Trincellito commented that Wilson must have a clearance because Wilson had been in the Army.[49]  Wilson told Trincellito that he was retired and no longer had a clearance.  In late spring 1996, Trincellito again offered a classified document to Wilson.  Wilson again told Trincellito that he did not have a clearance and refused to take the document.  Trincellito made a comment to the effect of  “Oh yes, I remember now.”

 

Trincellito stated to the OIG that he did not recall this incident. 

 

4.           Violation by Robert Perito

Wilson also reported to the OIG that, possibly in mid-summer of 1996, ICITAP Deputy Director Robert Perito offered him a classified document.  Wilson said that when he told Perito he did not have a clearance, Perito withdrew the offer.  As we discuss in the next section, Perito himself was not authorized to possess the classified document that he attempted to give to Wilson. 

 

5.           Others with Unauthorized Access to Classified Documents

We found numerous other instances in which individuals who did not have security clearances were given access to classified materials, although we could not always identify who was responsible for providing the information.

 

a.           Beth Truebell

Beth Truebell was a contractor who came to ICITAP in the spring of 1995 from the Criminal Division’s Office of Administration.  She was responsible for writing, editing, and producing the ICITAP Bi-Weekly report that was distributed to various governmental agencies.  To do her job, Truebell said, she routinely reviewed classified cables and had unescorted access to ICITAP’s secure room.  Truebell said that everyone, including herself, believed she had a “Secret” security clearance.  Truebell did not recall who told her she had a security clearance or granted her access to the secure room.  In September 1995 in his routine review of the clearance status of ICITAP staff, Shannonhouse discovered that Truebell was not cleared to have access to any classified material.

 

According to Shannonhouse, even after he told Stromsem and Hoover that Truebell had no clearance, she remained in her position for another month and a half.  According to Stromsem, Truebell did not have access to classified documents during this period. 

 

 

b.           Beverly Sweatman

Truebell’s successor on the ICITAP Bi-Weekly newsletter was Beverly Sweatman, another contractor.  Shannonhouse told the OIG that he questioned Sweatman about her security clearance in March 1996 after Sweatman asked him for the combination to the secure room.  When Shannonhouse asked her if she had a security clearance, Sweatman responded that she must have one since she was given classified documents to review.  Sweatman, in fact, did not have a clearance at that time and did not receive one until April 1996. 

 

According to Sweatman, Lorraine Butler, a security specialist on the Criminal Division Security and Facilities Program Staff (Criminal Division Security Staff),[50] told her in December 1995 or January 1996 that she had a clearance.  Under Sweatman’s version of the incident, the problem was only one of getting “written confirmation” of the security clearance.  Sweatman denied to the OIG reviewing any classified documents prior to obtaining her security clearance.

 

SEPS records show that the Defense Investigative Service Clearance Office (DISCO)[51] did not grant Sweatman a clearance until April 29, 1996.  Therefore, she did not have a security clearance in December 1995 or January 1996, when she began working on the ICITAP Bi-Weekly and began her review of classified cables.

 

c.            Shaleen Schaefer

Shaleen Schaefer, a legal intern who worked at ICITAP from October 1995 to August 1996, did not have a clearance but did have access to classified documents.  Schaefer told investigators that Hoover, Perito, and Trincellito knew that she did not have a clearance because at various times when they would ask her to stay late to receive a classified fax or teletype she would tell them that she could not stay because she did not have a clearance.  Nonetheless, Schaefer said that she had access to classified material because she distributed mail in the office and classified documents ended up on her desk for distribution.  According to Schaefer, Perito wanted to get her a security clearance, but Hoover and Stromsem did not think it was necessary.

 

Stromsem wrote in her August 2000 response to the OIG that she did not believe Schaefer needed a clearance because her duties, as Stromsem understood them, did not require access to classified documents. 

 

d.           Robert Perito

Perito started working at ICITAP in October 1995 as a contractor, after retiring from the Department of State.  He had a security clearance at the Department of State, but he did not have one as a contractor.  Perito became an ICITAP employee in April 1996.  Perito's Department of Justice security clearance was not approved until September 30, 1996. 

 

Shortly after Perito arrived at ICITAP, Shannonhouse found classified “Confidential” documents in Perito’s office.  When questioned by Shannonhouse, Perito told Shannonhouse that he had a Top Secret Clearance that had carried over (presumably from his work at the State Department).  Shannonhouse told Perito, correctly, that security clearances do not automatically transfer and, in addition, that Perito was a consultant.

 

Shannonhouse told the OIG that he again found classified documents unattended in Perito’s office in July or August of 1996.  On this occasion, Shannonhouse left a written notice of violation on Perito’s desk.

 

Perito acknowledged to the OIG that he might have handled classified information when he did not have a Department of Justice security clearance.  Perito said that he believed that his State Department security clearance was still valid when he accepted the position at ICITAP and that no one told him that he could not handle classified information until he had a Department of Justice clearance.[52]  Perito claimed that at the Department of State classified documents were left on desks when individuals went out of the office.  Perito also said, “there are security practices which are in general use in the government, which do not necessarily conform in strict detail to what the regulations are.”[53] 

 

B.          Failure to Safeguard Classified Information

As we have already described, the April 1997 unannounced sweep of ICITAP’s offices by SEPS disclosed the improper handling and storage of classified information at ICITAP Headquarters. 

 

The problems disclosed by the sweep were part of ICITAP's continuing history of security violations in its handling, storage, and transfer of classified information, with Trincellito being the most conspicuous and continuous violator.  In addition, we found that Trincellito, and possibly Stromsem, improperly handled and stored what were to have been more stringently protected Top Secret-SCI (TS-SCI) documents, and that Stromsem, Trincellito, and Hoover improperly removed classified information from their offices and reviewed it at their homes.  It was also alleged and we confirmed that classified documents had been improperly handled and stored in ICITAP’s Haiti field office. 

 

1.           Regulations

Federal rules describe how classified information must be maintained.  The most significant rules include:

 

·       Classified documents, when removed from storage for working purposes, shall be kept under constant surveillance and turned facedown or covered utilizing Department Cover Sheets when not in use.  28 CFR 17, § 17.80, para. a.

 

·       Whenever classified material is not under the personal control of an authorized and appropriately cleared person, whether during or outside of working hours, it will be guarded or stored in a locked security container.  28 CFR 17, § 17.73 (introduction).

 

·       Classified information may not be removed from official premises without proper authorization.  Executive Order 12958, § 4.2 (c).

 

After ICITAP became a part of the Criminal Division, some effort was made to focus on security issues.  On October 13, 1995, Shannonhouse sent a memorandum to all ICITAP staff cautioning them that because ICITAP was under the jurisdiction of the Criminal Division, more scrutiny of security issues could be expected.  He advised the staff that classified documents “should never be left unattended unless they are properly locked up.”  He also stated that classified material should never be left in anyone’s in-box.  See Appendix, Exhibit 3.  

 

In December 1995 Stromsem sent a memorandum to all ICITAP staff attaching a summary of basic security procedures (Administrative Procedure No. 9).  In her memorandum, Stromsem told her staff that as part of the Criminal Division, ICITAP had to follow Criminal Division policy on security.  Stromsem wrote:  “the attached ICITAP Administrative Procedure emphasizes those points that are most applicable to our office, and which may be unique to our location.”  She concluded:  “Security is an important issue for ICITAP.  Please take the time to read and understand the attached administrative procedure.”

 

The attachment to Stromsem’s memorandum, Administrative Procedure No. 9, addressed the proper handling of classified documents and directed, “An ICITAP employee cannot make the decision that a classified document is not really as important as the security level implies.”  The Administrative Procedure No. 9 went on to state:

 

Classified documents should never be dropped on a person’s desk or in box.  Classified material should only be passed on in person to an individual that has the proper security clearance.  It is the responsibility of the person passing on the classified material to ensure that the recipient has the proper security clearance.

 

Classified documents, when removed from storage for working purposes, must be kept under constant surveillance … under the control of an authorized person at all times.

 

When not in use, secure documents must be locked in an authorized safe.  They are not to be left on or in desks ….

 

The secure room should be kept locked at all times, unless someone with the appropriate clearance is actually inside.

 

* * *

 

Anyone who violates the security regulations for classified information is subject to administrative sanctions or punishment.

 

In addition, Shannonhouse sent e-mails to ICITAP staff notifying them of the importance of safeguarding classified information.  By e-mail dated November 29, 1995, Shannonhouse cautioned all ICITAP staff about the proper handling of classified documents:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shannonhouse repeated his message that classified documents should never be left unattended in an e-mail on May 3, 1996, and again in an e-mail on August 12, 1996.  See Appendix, Exhibit 4.

 

2.           Routing Classified Documents Through Headquarters Offices

Notwithstanding these regulations and warnings, as we discuss below, our investigation revealed that classified documents were left on ICITAP employees’ desks when the employees were not present and, at times, were left unsecured on desks for extended periods when staff was away from the office on business travel.  The procedure used at ICITAP Headquarters to route classified material through the office materially contributed to violations of the regulations.

 

Before 1993, at ICITAP classified documents were stored in a secure room at ICITAP and retrieved as needed.  However, in 1993 ICITAP Deputy Director John Theriault initiated a policy of circulating classified documents by means of a distribution list attached to classified documents.  Under that policy, once classified documents were logged into the office, they were given to Hoover, who would determine who should receive the documents.  ICITAP administrative support personnel would then hand-carry the classified documents, at least to the first person on the list.  If someone on the list was out of the office, the classified documents would be left in the person’s office, often for days.  This method of routing classified material through ICITAP continued until the SEPS security sweep in April 1997.

 

According to ICITAP employees, ICITAP personnel routinely left classified documents unattended on desks.  Most of the ICITAP staff we interviewed acknowledged finding or leaving classified documents sitting unsecured on their desks or in-boxes. 

 

ICITAP employees also observed that senior ICITAP officials, including Trincellito, Hoover, and Perito, left classified documents on their desks, even when they were gone on business trips.  Several senior officials acknowledged leaving classified documents unattended.  ICITAP Deputy Director Perito acknowledged that he left classified documents unattended and that he might have continued to do so even after receiving a security violation notice from the security officer.  ICITAP Director Stromsem said to the OIG that “everyone at ICITAP” left documents unattended during working hours.  She also told the OIG that “all ICITAP personnel” assumed that classified documents that did not have coversheets had been declassified and did not need to be safeguarded.  Hoover told the OIG in February 1998 that he left classified documents unattended for brief periods of time, such as when he would go to the restroom, even though he knew that ICITAP’s procedures required that classified information be put away and not be left unattended.  In his written response to the OIG following his review of the draft, Hoover stated that he never left classified materials on his desk when he was not present.  He also stated, however, that “[d]ropping off cables on employees’ desks may not have been the appropriate action, but with the volume of cable traffic and the failure by the administrative component to come up with any better system, it became the only viable method and every staff member engaged in the practice.” 

 

3.           Additional Instances of Unsecured Classified Documents

We were told, as well, about discoveries at ICITAP of unsecured classified documents in areas other than offices.  Shannonhouse told the OIG that in August 1995 he found a large stack of classified “Confidential” and “Secret” documents relating to Haiti apparently abandoned in an unused desk in a room primarily used to store computer equipment.  According to Shannonhouse, the cleaning crew had regular unsupervised access to the room.

 

Hoover recalled that in late 1995 or early 1996, two staff members found classified documents among unclassified files in an unsecured location while establishing a new central filing system at ICITAP.  Hoover recalled that many of the documents were copies and did not have classification cover sheets.

 

After the SEPS sweep in April 1997, ICITAP conducted a search of its unsecured files for classified documents.  Classified documents were found mixed in with unclassified documents in the “central country files,” which were stored in unlocked file cabinets in hallways and accessible to anyone walking through ICITAP.

 

4.           Secure Room Left Open

ICITAP employees also told us about violations involving the “secure room.”  The ICITAP secure room contained several safes  and a secure fax machine.  Most of ICITAP’s classified information was kept in the safes in the secure room.  Because the room did not meet certain security requirements (for example, the walls did not go all the way to the ceiling), ICITAP policy required that the safes in the secure room be locked when not in use. 

 

We learned, however, that despite this requirement, the practice at ICITAP was for the safes to be opened in the morning and stay open until the end of the day when the safes would then be locked again.  While some employees said that when the safes were open the door to the secure room remained closed, others told the OIG that the secure room door was left open with the safes open and unattended.  SEPS also found in its 1996 review that the secure room door was left open. 

 

In addition, ICITAP staff and Criminal Division security staff told us that consultants, most of whom did not have security clearances, had access to the secure room.

 

5.           SCI Documents at ICITAP

Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) denotes a particularly high classification level.  Special provisions apply to reading, storing, and handling SCI documents.  In addition to other regulations, SCI material may only be discussed or stored within a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF),[54] and it may not be stored in a building that does not have such a facility.

 

ICITAP did not have a SCIF and therefore SCI material could not be stored or even read in the ICITAP office space.  Nonetheless, SEPS found TS-SCI material at ICITAP in its announced 1996 review and then again in its 1997 sweep.  In its 1996 security compliance review, SEPS found two TS-SCI documents in an ICITAP office safe.  In its findings to ICITAP, SEPS instructed ICITAP to ensure that all SCI information was stored, processed, or discussed only in an accredited SCIF.  Despite these instructions, one year later during the 1997 security sweep, SEPS found the cover sheet of a TS-SCI document, known as document #1021, on Trincellito’s desk and another TS-SCI document in Trincellito’s office.  Thus, in 1997 SCI material was still being taken to the ICITAP offices.  The OIG investigated ICITAP’s practices with respect to handling SCI material and attempted to identify who had brought the TS-SCI documents to ICITAP in 1996 and 1997.

 

a.           SCI Material Found at ICITAP in 1996

Trincellito and Stromsem were the only ICITAP employees authorized in 1996 to receive or view TS-SCI material.  Both Trincellito and Stromsem had been briefed by SEPS on the proper handling of SCI material. 

 

Shannonhouse spent several days before the announced April 1996 SEPS review making sure that everything was in order, including sending out e-mail to ICITAP staff on March 27 and March 29 reminding them of the upcoming security review.  Shannonhouse told the OIG that he examined the safes during his preparations and did not find any TS-SCI materials in the safes.  However, SEPS found the TS-SCI document the following week (April 1-3) during its review.

 

We determined that Trincellito picked up and signed for a TS-SCI document (control #1351) at the Justice Command Center on Wednesday, March 27, 1996.  Trincellito said he did not recall the circumstances of how the document got to the ICITAP offices.

 

Two SEPS Security Specialists recalled that Stromsem told them when they met to discuss their findings after the 1996 security review that the State Department had mailed or “dropped off” TS-SCI material at the ICITAP offices.  Stromsem told them that ICITAP personnel had not paid any attention to the markings and that she had Shannonhouse file the document in the secure room at ICITAP.  Stromsem could not explain to SEPS why she accepted the TS-SCI material knowing that ICITAP did not have a SCIF.  One of the SEPS Security Specialists noted to the OIG that it was highly unlikely that TS-SCI material would be “dropped off.”  He thought it more likely that Stromsem picked up the document at an intelligence meeting and brought it back to ICITAP.

 

We believe it likely that one of the TS-SCI documents found by SEPS in 1996 was brought to ICITAP by Trincellito.  Trincellito removed a TS-SCI document from the Justice Command Center the week before the security review,[55] and he has a history of disregarding security rules, including, as shown conclusively by the 1997 incident that we discuss subsequently, disregard of rules concerning SCI material.  We were unable to determine conclusively whether Trincellito, Stromsem, or an unknown third party was responsible for the presence of the second SCI document that SEPS found was improperly secured.

Following the 1996 review, Stromsem signed a memorandum to SEPS on behalf of ICITAP responding to SEPS’ findings of security violations.  Stromsem stated in the September 11, 1996, memorandum that ICITAP had taken steps to ensure that TS-SCI materials were not being stored, processed, or handled on-site at ICITAP.  She stated in the memorandum that employees requiring access who had an established need-to-know and were properly cleared could gain access at the Justice Command Center or in another accredited SCIF at the main Justice building.  The information was then either destroyed on the spot, or left and properly secured.  According to Stromsem’s response, SCI documents were never removed and taken to ICITAP. 

 

b.           SCI Material Found in Trincellito’s Office in 1997

Despite Stromsem’s response, which set forth the correct procedures for handling TS-SCI materials, the cover sheet of another TS-SCI document, document #1021, was found on Trincellito’s desk in 1997 and another SCI document was found in his office.  The Justice Command Center log showed Trincellito signed for TS-SCI document #1021, on September 25, 1996.  From this, we conclude that Trincellito took the SCI document from the Justice Command Center to ICITAP in violation of regulations.

 

Trincellito’s signature, signifying that he had destroyed the document, was on the cover sheet of document #1021 found by SEPS during the sweep.  Additional information on the cover sheet established that the individual who witnessed the destruction of the SCI document was not appropriately cleared, in violation of the regulations.

 

Trincellito initially denied having a TS-SCI document at ICITAP.  When Trincellito was shown the cover sheet of document #1021 with writing on it, he acknowledged that it was his signature.  Trincellito said that he could not recall the document but that based on his written comments on the remaining sheet, he must have destroyed the document. 

 

Stromsem said that ICITAP received TS-SCI material by several means: ICITAP would be called by the Justice Command Center to come and review a document, ICITAP would receive the same document “without all the classified markings” on the classified cable machine, and sometimes ICITAP would receive the documents from the Criminal Division “front office” in an interoffice envelope.[56]  According to Stromsem, it was Trincellito who primarily handled the TS-SCI material.  She said that normally, once she read a TS-SCI document, she would put it back in the safe.  Stromsem claimed that she did not know that she could not store TS-SCI material at ICITAP.

 

These responses to the OIG, however, contradicted Stromsem’s representations to SEPS after its 1996 security review in which Stromsem wrote that TS-SCI material was never brought to ICITAP.  When questioned about her 1996 response to SEPS, Stromsem stated that she intended her response to SEPS to pertain only to the documents read at the Justice Command Center and not to the documents received at ICITAP.  Stromsem said she failed to realize that the TS-SCI documents received at ICITAP were subject to the same regulations and restrictions as the documents read at the Justice Command Center.  In her August 2000 written response to the OIG, Stromsem further explained this comment by saying that she meant that ICITAP sometimes received the same document by different media and with different classification markings.  Stromsem said that there may have been misunderstandings resulting from differently labeled duplicate copies. 

 

We do not believe that this explanation excuses Trincellito, or anyone else, for bringing SCI into ICITAP office space in 1996 and 1997.  Trincellito did not claim that he had been confused about the classified markings on the documents.  In addition, since the documents that SEPS found in 1996 and the cover sheet found on Trincellito’s desk in 1997 were clearly marked as SCI, neither Trincellito nor Stromsem had any basis to assume that the markings were incorrect.

 

6.           Unsecured Classified Documents in Haiti

An ICITAP manager alleged to the OIG that classified documents had been found in 1995 in an unsecured building used by ICITAP in Haiti.  Based on interviews with ICITAP employees working in Haiti in 1995, we discovered that classified documents had been left unsecured on a bookshelf in a building in Haiti that was used by ICITAP for offices and living quarters. At least one Haitian national who did not have a security clearance, and possibly others, had access to the building.

 

In August 1997, SEPS and the OIG conducted an unannounced security review of the ICITAP Haiti offices to determine if we could identify the origin of the unsecured classified documents found in 1995 and whether there was an ongoing problem with handling classified documents at ICITAP Haiti.  Because the documents found in 1995 had been destroyed and the origin of the documents could not be determined through the interviews, we were unable to determine the source for the classified documents.  However, we did find that there were strict and tight controls of classified documents then in use at ICITAP Haiti.  We found no unsecured classified documents in the ICITAP offices or the training facility.  There was no evidence that any security problems that were present at the onset of the Haiti program (1994-95) represented a continuing problem. 

 

7.           Unauthorized Transportation of Classified Documents to Residences

Having a security clearance does not provide authority to take classified documents home.  To take classified documents to a personal residence, the Department security officer (i.e., SEPS) must give permission.  Permission will only be given if unusual operational requirements necessitate it and SEPS approves a written request.  SEPS’ approval of the request may require, among other safeguards, a physical survey of the residence, installation of an approved alarm system and a safe, the establishment of procedures for the proper transmission and safeguarding of the information, and other safeguards deemed necessary by SEPS.  The Criminal Division’s Office of Administration in its Weekly Bulletin of July 28, 1995, distributed to offices within the Criminal Division including ICITAP, noted under the title “Removal of Classified Information” that “Department of Justice policy prohibits employees from taking classified information home without prior approval from the Department Security Officer.” 

 

Senior ICITAP officials repeatedly violated these requirements.  Hoover, Stromsem, and Trincellito all took classified material home without authorization in violation of security regulations.[57]  Hoover and Stromsem admitted to the OIG that they took classified documents home.   Hoover said that he took home only “Confidential” documents because he did not want to risk taking home documents with a higher level of classification.  Hoover said he did not consider whether he was authorized to bring classified documents home.  He claimed that he was overwhelmed with work and wanted to read the documents at his leisure.  Hoover took the classified documents home in his briefcase, and he acknowledged that he did not have an approved safe for storing classified materials at home.  After working with the documents, Hoover said, he locked them back in his briefcase and put the briefcase in his coat closet until he returned to work.  Hoover did this approximately a half dozen times always, he said, when his roommate was out of town.

 

Stromsem also admitted to the OIG that she and Trincellito took classified documents home to review.  Stromsem said she never considered that it might be a problem and that she was simply continuing the practice that was in place under other managers.[58]

 

Trincellito said he had no recollection of taking classified documents home.  However, a former ICITAP staff member recalled that on a Friday evening in September or October 1996, Trincellito took documents with classified coversheets and placed them in his briefcase to take out of the office.  According to the former staffer, Trincellito made a comment to him on his way out of the office about how he had some “reading to do over the weekend.” 

 

8.           Classified Information Improperly Sent by E-Mail

Special precautions must be taken when using a computer to process or send classified information.  In the Justice Department, classified information can only be sent on a system that has been “accredited” by SEPS.

 

In mid-1998, during a review of recovered e-mail from ICITAP/OPDAT personnel, the OIG found an e-mail among Stromsem’s messages from then Associate Executive Officer Joseph Lake discussing apparently classified information.[59]  Lake sent the e-mail to Stromsem on July 12, 1995, on an unclassified e-mail system used in the Department of Justice.  Lake began the e-mail, “I received a secure telephone call from the Defense Intelligence Agency [DIA] this morning at 11:45 a.m. ….”  The DIA confirmed that the e-mail was derived from a classified document and therefore that Lake had sent classified information over unsecured lines. 

 

Lake sent this e-mail only a few months after Theresa Statuti of the Criminal Division’s Management Information Staff met with Lake, Stromsem, and other ICITAP personnel to brief them regarding computer security.  Stromsem said that she did not recall the e-mail from Lake and did not recall whether any steps were taken to purge the system and secure the information.[60] 

 

C.         Improper Certification of Clearance Levels to Embassies

In addition to the improper handling of classified documents, we found that ICITAP personnel violated other security regulations as well.  In the Department of Justice, SEPS is the office that verifies security clearances.  When an office wants to verify whether a person has a security clearance and at what level, that office's security officer makes a written request to SEPS for clearance verifications.  SEPS researches the individual’s clearance level and reports back to the requesting office in writing the individual’s clearance level.  SEPS automated its security clearance verification system in August 1996.  In July 1996, SEPS provided all security program managers and component executive officers in the Department with instructions on how to obtain security clearance verification from SEPS. 

 

Andersen alleged to SEPS that Trincellito had improperly certified that Andersen had a “Secret” security clearance in a Country Clearance Cable [61] sent to the United States Embassy in Haiti.  Furthermore, Andersen told the OIG that on two of the four trips he took to Haiti, Trincellito authorized the transmission of cables to the Embassy stating that Andersen had an interim “Secret” clearance.  Andersen provided SEPS and the OIG with a copy of one of the cables and the approval sheet signed by Trincellito.  In fact, Andersen did not have any security clearance.

 

We provided to SEPS for analysis the Justice Management System Terminal that ICITAP used to send Country Clearance Cables to United States embassies in order to assess (1) how common the practice was at ICITAP of directly verifying clearances without going through SEPS, (2) how often ICITAP “verified” clearances for individuals who did not have clearances, and (3) ICITAP personnel's motive for verifying clearances.

 

SEPS found messages from November 1995 through April 1997 that passed on clearance level data for Department of Justice, contractor, and other federal agency personnel to United States embassies.  SEPS compared ICITAP's representations in the cables against SEPS' records.  SEPS found repeated instances where ICITAP or OPDAT represented that someone had a “Secret” or “Top Secret” clearance when the individual did not have a security clearance at all or had been cleared at a lower level than that represented.  SEPS found that in the cables ICITAP had incorrectly “certified” the security clearance for 17 individuals, in addition to Andersen.  The State Department then relied on and used ICITAP’s inaccurate information to allow individuals access to classified areas and information otherwise restricted from them.  Trincellito, Bejarano, and Perito had approved many of these Country Clearance Cables. 

 

Learia Williams, ICITAP’s personnel security specialist, was responsible for keeping a list of security clearances and for sending requests to SEPS to verify clearances.  At a minimum, Williams should have been consulted before the clearances were sent.  Williams told the OIG, however, that no one checked with her before sending out the cables.

 

We attempted to determine why ICITAP followed this practice.  Hoover, Perito, Bejarano, and Deputy Executive Officer Robin Gaige all told the OIG that ICITAP’s practice to represent security clearances in the cables to embassies preceded them, and they expressed ignorance of the rules regarding verification of security clearances.  According to Perito, who was a former State Department official, he did not believe he was “certifying” someone’s security clearance level.  Rather, he saw himself as just passing along information that had been provided to him by the traveler.  Perito claimed to the OIG that it was normal practice when dealing with other government employees to ask them their clearance level and to accept what they said at face value.  Perito acknowledged that he did not verify that clearance levels were accurate prior to sending the cables.  He said that he would not have known where to go to verify the traveler’s clearance.  Trincellito told the OIG in his July 2000 written response that on one occasion Andersen told Trincellito that a cable had to be sent that night and Andersen also represented that he had a security clearance.  Trincellito said that he accepted Andersen’s representation and processed the cable in a manner consistent with office policy.[62] 

 

The evidence showed that even when ICITAP personnel were explicitly told how to do things properly, they often continued to follow their old procedures.  For example, on April 24, 1997, ICITAP was briefed by SEPS on the proper procedures for completing clearance cables.  Yet, on April 29, 1997, Jill Hogarty, an ICITAP employee who had attended the briefing, certified incorrectly an ICITAP staff member's clearance level in a cable to an Embassy. 

 

D.         Failure to File Travel Notices

Persons with access to SCI documents or information incur a special security obligation and must be alert to the risks associated with hazardous travel, that is, travel to, through, or within countries that pose a threat to SCI or personnel with SCI clearance.  Specifically, SCI cleared personnel performing official hazardous travel were required to: 1) submit an itinerary in advance of travel to SEPS, 2) receive a Defensive Security Briefing, and 3) report any unusual incidents. 

 

SEPS requires that personnel with SCI access notify it prior to foreign travel and provide SEPS in advance with a travel itinerary.  According to SEPS, this requirement is specifically covered in the initial briefing for clearance at the SCI level.  Bratt, Stromsem, and Trincellito each received an SCI security briefing and therefore were on notice of the special requirements that accompany an SCI clearance.

 

We reviewed the business travel of Bratt, Stromsem, and Trincellito for 1995, 1996, and 1997.[63]  None met the notice of travel security requirement.  Although Bratt went on nine foreign trips, only four notices were on file with SEPS and those notices were all filed after the trips had been completed and after initiation of the OIG investigation.  Acting Executive Officer Sandra Bright signed four notices for Bratt, all dated June 30, 1997, for trips that Bratt took to Moscow and Haiti in January, February, March, and June 1997.

 

Stromsem had 25 foreign business trips during the same period and gave SEPS notice of four, all after initiation of the OIG investigation.  Trincellito took 15 foreign business trips during this period and filed no notice with SEPS.

 

E.          Joseph Trincellito’s Security Violations

Trincellito was one of two people at ICITAP holding an SCI clearance, and he regularly and routinely reviewed classified information.  We found during the course of this investigation that Trincellito repeatedly violated the rules pertaining to the safe handling of classified material.  We also found that Trincellito refused to change his conduct even when violations were brought to his attention.  Because Trincellito’s violations were numerous, were repeated, and were flagrant, we discuss them here in some detail.  In Section III, we also discuss the failure of ICITAP managers to correct Trincellito’s conduct.

 

Trincellito briefly served as ICITAP’s security officer for approximately five months in 1995.  Trincellito told the OIG that when he had been the Executive Officer at Interpol prior to coming to ICITAP, some security responsibilities fell within his purview.  Notwithstanding this background, numerous ICITAP staffers we interviewed about security problems said that they had seen Trincellito leave classified information unsecured in his office.  ICITAP’s former Security Officer Shannonhouse and his successor Frary found Trincellito recalcitrant when they tried to get him to conform his conduct to basic security procedures for handling classified information.

 

a.           Violations

Shannonhouse told the OIG that he repeatedly removed unattended classified documents from Trincellito’s desk.  The first occasion was in September 1995 shortly after Shannonhouse became the ICITAP security officer.  Shannonhouse said that he talked to Trincellito about the documents and Trincellito said that he would be more careful.  Shannonhouse told the OIG that he notified his supervisors, Associate Director for Administration Raquel Mann and Administrative Services Officer Robert Miller, about Trincellito’s security violation.  According to Shannonhouse, Mann told him that Trincellito always had this problem and that Shannonhouse should try to talk to Trincellito about it, but that she did not think Trincellito would change.  Shannonhouse said that Miller told him that this was a “very sensitive issue due to Trincellito’s position.”  Shannonhouse also said that Miller, who was Shannonhouse’s direct supervisor, told him that he should take a very slow approach to this.  Rather than “escalating it too quickly,” Miller told Shannonhouse, he should take every possible opportunity for the problem to be corrected at the lowest possible level.  Miller told Shannonhouse to talk to Trincellito about violations; if that did not work, to place warning notices in his in-box; and if that failed to correct the problem to speak to Trincellito’s supervisor.

 

Shannonhouse said that he again found unsecured documents in Trincellito’s office in October 1995.  On this occasion when Shannonhouse tried to talk to Trincellito about the problem, Shannonhouse said, Trincellito sounded irritated and told Shannonhouse that documents at ICITAP were ones that could be read any time in The Washington Post.  Shannonhouse said that he told Trincellito that there could be small differences, such as a person’s name, that could make all the difference but that he continued to hear that same explanation from Trincellito on other occasions.  Shannonhouse told the OIG that he continued to keep his supervisors, Miller and Mann, informed of Trincellito’s violations and occasionally sent out e-mail to everyone in ICITAP on proper security procedures.[64]  

 

When verbal warnings failed, Shannonhouse created a written notice he called a “Warning of Security Violation.”  See Appendix, Exhibit 5.  Shannonhouse said it was printed on bright pink paper with huge type so that it was impossible to overlook.  Shannonhouse left the first such warning on Trincellito’s desk in February or March 1996.  Shannonhouse said that once he started leaving warning notices on Trincellito’s desk, Trincellito stopped talking to Shannonhouse about them but instead would shift the conversation to how much Shannonhouse would not enjoy being transferred to Haiti.

 

Shannonhouse told the OIG that in early 1997 he told Stromsem about Trincellito’s violations when she asked if there were likely to be any problems that would show up in an upcoming security audit.  Stromsem said that she would talk to Trincellito and the violations would not happen again.  Shannonhouse said that he stopped noticing classified documents on Trincellito’s desk and initially assumed that Trincellito had straightened himself out.

 

However, Shannonhouse learned as a result of the April 1996 SEPS review that Trincellito continued to keep unsecured classified documents on his desk – only the documents no longer had classified coversheets.  Shannonhouse said he learned that SEPS personnel found “Secret” and “Confidential” documents on Trincellito’s desk.  They also found one of Shannonhouse’s warnings of a security violation still in Trincellito’s “in-box.”

 

Shannonhouse said that shortly after the SEPS review, at SEPS’ recommendation, he went through the documents on Trincellito’s desk, window ledges, bookcases, and floor.  After spending three hours going through “readily accessible documents,” Shannonhouse said he found approximately 43 classified “Confidential and “Secret” documents without coversheets scattered randomly throughout Trincellito's office.  Shannonhouse said he reported his finding to ICITAP Director Stromsem, since it related directly to one of the findings in the SEPS review and since he had alerted Stromsem to the problem prior to the review.  Shannonhouse told the OIG that Trincellito would not discuss the violations with him and again asked “how I would like to be transferred to Haiti.” 

 

 

In August 1996, Shannonhouse said that he again found classified documents left unattended on Trincellito’s desk.  He said he issued another written warning but Trincellito refused to discuss the violation.  Shannonhouse said he moved to the “next level” and described the problem to Edward Bejarano, one of ICITAP’s Deputy Directors and Trincellito’s supervisor.  Bejarano told Shannonhouse to ask the Criminal Division Security Staff for guidance.  Shannonhouse told the OIG that he did speak to the Criminal Division Security Staff about what to do about a person who continued to violate the security rules.  Shannonhouse said that while he did not identify the individual about whom he was calling, when the Criminal Division Security Staff asked if it was Trincellito, he confirmed that it was.  Shannonhouse also told the OIG that the Criminal Division Security Staff gave him some advice about kinds of discipline, but that in spite of a promise to do so, the Security Staff did not send him any examples of written notices of administrative penalties.  By e-mail, Shannonhouse reported his call to Bejarano. 

 

In mid-August 1996, Shannonhouse again found unattended classified documents on Trincellito’s desk.  Shortly thereafter, Shannonhouse attended a Criminal Division Security Officers’ Quarterly Meeting.  During the meeting Shannonhouse asked how to handle serious repeat offenders, particularly when they were high-ranking individuals.  Shannonhouse said he was given advice that he considered impractical, such as bringing in the marines to conduct a raid and following Trincellito around to pick up after him, but was not otherwise told how to handle the situation.

 

Shortly after the meeting, in August 1996, Shannonhouse was removed as security officer and he was succeeded by Paul Frary.  Frary said that initially he concentrated on physical security and did not go out of his way to look for unsecured classified documents.  Yet, Frary, like Shannonhouse, found that Trincellito violated security regulations.  Frary recalled that just after ICITAP relocated to new offices (in December 1996), Frary escorted a workman into Trincellito’s office.  When Frary entered the office, Trincellito was not there, but classified documents were on his desk.  Frary escorted the workman to another room and looked for Trincellito.  A short time later, Trincellito came in with his overcoat on indicating that he had been out of the building.  Frary said he told Trincellito about the classified documents left unsecured on his desk.  Trincellito told Frary that he was only out for a short time to attend a meeting.  Frary said he told Trincellito he should have locked up the classified documents.  Frary said he believed he told Miller and Deputy Executive Officer Gaige about the incident.

 

Frary also recalled that in mid-February 1997 a supervisor from the moving company came to the ICITAP offices to inspect furniture damaged in the move.  Trincellito’s desk was on the list.  Frary recalled that Trincellito was on travel so he and the moving company supervisor entered Trincellito’s office and inspected the desk.  When Frary opened the unlocked middle drawer, he found a stack of classified documents two to three inches high with classified cover sheets.  Frary said he took the documents with him.  Documentation prepared by Frary at the time of the incident show that the materials found in Trincellito’s office were classified “Confidential” and “Secret.”

 

Frary told the OIG that he tried to report the security violation to Hoover.  Hoover was unavailable so Frary said he told Gaige, who had administrative responsibility for ICITAP, that he had to write up a security violation.  Frary wrote up the security violation in a memorandum and also made reference to the previous violation.  The regulations governing the issuance of formal memoranda on a security violation mandate a disciplinary recommendation by the Security officer.  Frary therefore wrote:

 

As part of the security regulations covering violations, I am to recommend the administrative action that we should take because of this violation.  I feel that Mr. Trincellito does not view the safeguarding of classified information as a high priority.  Because of his lackadaisical attitude, he should have a suspension of his security clearance for a period of time or at a minimum, an official reprimand for this violation.

 

See Appendix, Exhibit 6.

 

Frary said he submitted the memorandum, dated February 28, 1997, to Gaige and told the Criminal Division Security Staff to expect his notice.  As we discuss further in Section IIIB2 of this chapter, no discipline was ever imposed on Trincellito.

 

The ICITAP security officers were not the only ones to notice Trincellito’s improper handling of classified documents; it was common knowledge throughout ICITAP.  One employee noted that classified coversheets stuck out all over Trincellito’s desk; another individual told us that he saw classified documents in plain view in Trincellito’s office while Trincellito was away.  Another employee told us that Trincellito left classified documents unsecured even after a safe was placed in his office.[65]  The employee told the OIG, “You could walk into Joe Trincellito’s office just about anytime and see classified documents left unattended” and that “it was a running joke that you could find classified documents left unattended in Joe T’s office.”

 

Notwithstanding the repeated warnings of violations, in April 1997, when SEPS conducted its sweep of the ICITAP offices and the Criminal Division conducted its review, they found in Trincellito’s office 156 unsecured classified documents and an open safe with nothing in it but a videotape and instructions for setting the combination.  On April 15, 1997, SEPS suspended Trincellito’s security clearance. 

 

b.           Trincellito’s Response

Within a few days after SEPS suspended Trincellito’s security clearance, Trincellito sent a written letter to Jerry Rubino, the Director of SEPS, apologizing for his inattention to security and explaining his conduct.  Trincellito said that he had been overwhelmed with work, that he had not taken the time to review the materials in his files, and that an administrative mixup regarding setting the combination had prevented him from using the safe that had been put in his office.  Trincellito concluded his letter by stating that he was “deeply sorry for any mistakes that I have made in handling classified material….” 

 

The OIG interviewed Trincellito in May 1998 about his security practices.  Trincellito told the OIG that he could not recall any specific instances of security violations before the SEPS sweep.  Trincellito said that he did not recall Security Officers Shannonhouse or Frary talking to him about security violations.  Trincellito did recall a meeting in February or March 1997 with Stromsem during which she told him that classified documents were found on his desk.  Stromsem, he said, told him to be more conscientious about security.  Trincellito said he did not recall receiving Shannonhouse’s e-mail on security rules and the proper handling of classified documents, although he acknowledged receiving a pink notice of a security violation.  Trincellito did admit that there were times when he would be called out to a meeting and probably left classified documents on his desk.  He could not recall how often that may have occurred.

 

After reviewing a draft of this chapter, Trincellito responded in writing to the OIG.  In his July 2000 response, as well as his letter to Rubino and his May 1998 OIG interview, Trincellito set out several explanations for his conduct.  Trincellito said that he had been overwhelmed with work on the Haiti project.  He said that he handled more documents, both classified and unclassified, than anyone else in the office; that he had no staff support; and that he was constantly on travel.  Trincellito said that classified documents were left on his desk unattended because other people left them there in his absence.

 

With respect to the 156 documents found in his office in April 1997, Trincellito told the OIG that most of the documents predated his arrival at ICITAP.  He said that he believed many of the 156 were in files he acquired when he was assigned to the Haiti project and when he assumed responsibility for various other countries.  Trincellito also said that he received classified documents from the State Department without cover sheets, mixed in with unclassified documents.  Trincellito said this explained why classified documents were found unsecured in his office.

 

Trincellito said he did not know why a safe was placed in his office in February or March 1997.  Trincellito told the OIG that he did not use the safe to store his classified documents because it was new and the combination had not been set, that he did not know how to set the combination, and that he did not have time to learn.  According to Trincellito, he asked an administrative official for assistance in setting the combination, but he was told to watch a videotape for instructions. 

 

In his July 2000 written response, Trincellito objected to the OIG’s reliance on Shannonhouse for information.  Trincellito stated that Shannonhouse was hostile toward Trincellito because of issues unrelated to security, such as Shannonhouse’s computer-system duties.  Trincellito denied that he had ever threatened to transfer Shannonhouse to Haiti and asserted that he did not have the authority to order a non-voluntary transfer.  Trincellito also stated that Shannonhouse did not provide training, advice, or assistance in securing classified information and that Shannonhouse did not correct the problem of individuals leaving classified information on desks when employees were away from their offices. 

 

c.            OIG’s Conclusions

Trincellito and others pointed to the Haiti project as a factor in many of the problems that arose in ICITAP.  We acknowledge that the Haiti project was an immense undertaking and that Trincellito and many other ICITAP staffers were required to work extraordinary hours.  Nonetheless, we believe that there were alternatives available to Trincellito other than ignoring security rules and regulations.

 

Trincellito’s explanation that he was not responsible for most of the 156 classified documents being in his office is unpersuasive.  Only 44 of the classified documents predated Trincellito’s involvement in operational activities and only seven classified documents predated Trincellito’s assignment to ICITAP in 1993.  Although we were unable to determine exactly where each of the 156 documents was found in Trincellito’s office, our records show that at least 36 were found on, in, or near his desk.  Even if the remaining documents had been found in program files, these were files in his office concerning programs for which he was responsible.  We believe that after approximately 18 months of receiving warnings for security violations, Trincellito should have ensured that files did not contain any classified materials.

 

We believe that Shannonhouse credibly reported to us his contacts with Trincellito regarding security violations.  Shannonhouse’s account is corroborated by the fact that Frary also found violations, that managers reported that Shannonhouse informed them of Trincellito’s violations, and that other ICITAP staff members also saw unsecured classified documents in Trincellito’s office.  Trincellito’s attempt to blame Shannonhouse is unwarranted.  Shannonhouse reminded all staff, including managers, of their responsibilities to safeguard classified material.  It was Trincellito’s responsibility to follow the regulations.  We saw no evidence that Trincellito ever asked for assistance in dealing with classified information.  Rather, the evidence supports our conclusion that Trincellito did not view security as a priority and he simply ignored the security officers’ efforts to make him conform to the rules.

 

III.     MANAGERIAL FAILURES AND INDIFFERENCE REGARDING SECURITY PROCEDURES

Since at least 1994, ICITAP had been given repeated notice of and opportunities to correct security problems, yet they persisted.  We therefore examined why these problems were allowed to persist.  We conclude on the basis of our investigation that managerial indifference towards the security program was at the root of ICITAP’s security problems.

 

According to an Executive Order, heads of offices that handle classified information are required to commit themselves and their managers, as well as the necessary resources, to the successful implementation of a security program.  Executive Order 12968 § 5.6.  Stromsem, the head of ICITAP, did not do so.  ICITAP senior management failed to accept responsibility for security and failed to take real corrective action when faced with documented security violations.

 

A.          Security Reviews of ICITAP Revealed Continuing Problems

From 1994 to the April 14, 1997, unannounced security sweep, SEPS conducted annual security compliance reviews of ICITAP and performed follow-up reviews on maintaining proper security procedures.  Once ICITAP was made part of the Criminal Division in 1995, the Criminal Division Security Staff also conducted independent security reviews.  Until the April 1997 sweep, all of the reviews were announced.  ICITAP was given oral and written notice after the reviews of the problems the security staffs found, yet many of the problems were still found in 1997, at the time of the sweep.  We found a disturbing pattern in which SEPS would conduct an ICITAP compliance review, the review would result in findings of non-compliance, and ICITAP would respond by claiming that corrective measures had been taken to safeguard national security information.  But at the next review, similar findings would be identified, and ICITAP would make similar responses.  As a result, problems originally identified in 1994 and 1996 were still found in 1997.

 

1.           SEPS Review:  February 1994

In February 1994 SEPS performed an announced security compliance review of ICITAP.  At the time, ICITAP was under the jurisdiction of the Deputy Attorney General.  In the review SEPS found a series of improper security practices, including improper storage and handling of classified documents by ICITAP personnel.  SEPS found that during business hours, ICITAP left classified material unattended in unlocked safes in the secure room, even though the secure room did not have adequate security features to permit classified material to be left unsecured while the room was unattended.  SEPS also found that ICITAP did not adequately control uncleared personnel or visitors in its space.  SEPS noted that janitorial personnel had unescorted access to ICITAP without the required FBI name and fingerprint checks having been completed.  SEPS also found that classified material may have been left unattended and unsecured in staff in-boxes for short periods of time and that control logs[66] were not adequately maintained for safes located in offices, rather than the secure room.  The review also disclosed that an individual without a need to know had access to the combination for a safe used to store classified information.

 

In March 1994, SEPS made written recommendations for resolving each of its 22 findings.  With respect to the finding that classified material may have been left unattended, SEPS recommended:

 

Brief all persons accessing [classified documents] of the proper handling and storage of such material.  The briefing should emphasize that [classified documents] not under the constant surveillance of an authorized person, must be stored in [an] approved security container.

 

SEPS noted in the memorandum that it briefed ICITAP managers on the findings, including the ecurity officer, Trincellito.

 

In its response to SEPS’ findings, then ICITAP Director David Kriskovich wrote in a May 1994 memorandum to SEPS that ICITAP had begun to implement SEPS’ remedial recommendations.[67]  He told SEPS that “[a]s part of [ICITAP’s] commitment to assuring complete security compliance,” it was going to include “ICITAP Security Programs and Responsibilities as a significant concern in” the required bi-annual Management Control Report to the Justice Management Division.  As SEPS learned when it checked for our investigation, however, ICITAP failed to file Management Control Reports with Justice Management Division (JMD) of the Department of Justice.  JMD personnel told SEPS that ICITAP claimed at one point that it was exempt from filing Management Control Reports.

 

2.           SEPS Follow-up:  December 1994

In December 1994, SEPS conducted a standard follow-up review of ICITAP concerning the findings of its February 1994 review.  According to SEPS, the standard follow-up review entailed meeting with the target office’s security officer, asking the security officer how the office had corrected the problems that SEPS had identified, and determining what steps had been taken to prevent their recurrence.  SEPS does not necessarily re-inspect to verify correction.

 

SEPS wrote a report dated January 10, 1995, detailing its findings from the follow-up review that on the basis of its interview with ICITAP’s security officer, it found that ICITAP had satisfactorily corrected the problem of improper storage of classified documents.  However, it found that ICITAP had not corrected other problems.  ICITAP had not, for example, created written procedures for controlling access to ICITAP’s office space by uncleared personnel and visitors. 

 

ICITAP sent a response to SEPS dated March 30, 1995, signed by Bratt, who had just been appointed Acting ICITAP Director, stating that ICITAP would correct the violations.  In April 1995, SEPS held security briefings on basic security procedures for ICITAP personnel.

 

3.           Criminal Division Review:  March 1996

In March 1996 a Criminal Division security review found the same problems.[68]  After being told that SEPS was planning another review, the Criminal Division Security Staff did a preliminary review of ICITAP’s security practices in preparation for the SEPS review.  The Criminal Division found that, among other problems, contractors had unauthorized access to computers and that contractors were allowed unescorted access to the secure room, even though security background investigations of the contractors had not been performed.[69]

 

As a result, the Criminal Division Security Staff spent several weeks working on ICITAP’s security practices and preparing Shannonhouse for the upcoming SEPS review.  They provided ICITAP with department-wide security policy memoranda and asked ICITAP personnel questions to see if they were security conscious.  They also provided Shannonhouse with five copies of all applicable security rules, regulations, and Department policies.

 

4.           SEPS Review:  April 1996

SEPS conducted its next review in April 1996.  The SEPS review showed that ICITAP still did not store classified documents in conformity with regulations.  SEPS found that “Secret” and “Confidential” classified material had been left unattended and unsecured on Trincellito’s desk while he was on business travel.  In addition, SEPS found that two TS-SCI documents were improperly stored at ICITAP, the key to the classified telephone system was left in the machine unattended and improperly secured, and that an ICITAP employee had been given access to classified information without a security clearance.

 

SEPS staff told us that they discussed their 1996 findings with Stromsem, Hoover, Perito, and Shannonhouse in an exit briefing.  Stromsem, who had been the ICITAP Director since August 1995, recalled that all ICITAP personnel were re-briefed by SEPS on security procedures after the 1996 review.

 

In response to the 1996 SEPS findings, Stromsem wrote to Rubino:

 

No one is allowed access to NSI [National Security Information] until confirmation of their clearance is received.  The status of all clearances are confirmed and updated on an ongoing basis….  All ICITAP employees have been informed of the proper handling and storage requirements of NSI material.  They have all been instructed that NSI must be either under constant surveillance or stored and secured in the appropriate GSA approved security container…. [Sensitive Compartmentalized Information] Materials are not being stored, processed, or handled on site at ICITAP.  (Emphasis added.) 

 

5.           SEPS’ Sweep:  April 1997

Despite Stromsem’s representations, SEPS found in its unannounced sweep of April 1997 that classified documents were left unsecured in Trincellito’s office, including TS-SCI documents.  After the SEPS sweep, Bratt requested the Criminal Division Security Staff to conduct yet another security review of ICITAP and OPDAT.  In a memorandum to Bratt, dated April 17, 1997, Linda Cantilena, the Chief of the Criminal Division Security Staff, identified among ICITAP’s security problems: personnel did not know who the security officer was, personnel did not know how to verify clearances, cables were sent to American Embassies that included improperly verified security information, formal access controls to the ICITAP office space still did not exist, safes in people’s offices did not have control logs, classified documents were taken home, and there were inconsistent procedures regarding handling of classified documents.  In addition, the OIG investigation found that at least until March 1997, ICITAP was still giving uncleared contract personnel access to classified documents and unescorted access to ICITAP’s offices. 

 

B.          Management’s Failure to Discipline Trincellito for Security Violations

We believe that the recurrent nature of these problems can be explained by the fact that ICITAP senior managers changed little or nothing in office practice when informed of security violations.  Because Trincellito was the most flagrant and well-known violator of the security rules, we examined what ICITAP management knew about his conduct and what action it took in response.  As we set out below, we learned that senior managers were aware of Trincellito’s repeated violations and that some effort was made to counsel Trincellito and to make it easier for him to comply with the rules.  However, despite clear evidence that Trincellito continued to act in complete disregard of the rules, management did not take steps to ensure that the problem was solved.

 

Shannonhouse said that when he discovered documents on Trincellito’s desk, he kept his own supervisors informed.  He also said that he informed Stromsem and Deputy Director Bejarano, Trincellito’s supervisor. 

 

Frary told the OIG that although the fact that there were security problems was fairly well known throughout ICITAP, the prevailing management attitude about security seemed to be one of  “not being concerned about things as long as the job got done.”  He said that there was a concern that problems be handled in house so as to not “air our dirty laundry.”  Frary said that after he took over the Security officer duties, Hoover told him not to be “overzealous” in his duties “like my predecessor and something to the effect of being easy on Joe [Trincellito] or cut him some slack.” 

 

1.           Managers Acknowledged That They Knew of Trincellito’s Violations

We found that the failure to deal with Trincellito’s violations was not because ICITAP managers were unaware of them.  The managers admitted to us that they knew Trincellito violated security regulations.

 

Both Miller and Mann, Shannonhouse’s supervisors, confirmed that Shannonhouse repeatedly told them that Trincellito was not properly handling and storing classified documents.  Mann described Trincellito’s office as a “rat’s nest” strewn with classified as well as unclassified documents.  Miller said that Trincellito was “notoriously sloppy” in handling classified documents.  Miller also told the OIG that talking to Trincellito did not rectify the situation.  Miller said that Trincellito simply continued the same pattern of behavior.

 

Miller also said that Mann continually informed Stromsem about the security violations but nothing was done.  According to Miller, Stromsem did not like administrative interference with ICITAP operations.  Miller commented that when Mann tried to remind Stromsem of the rules and procedures, Mann was viewed as “disloyal to Jan” and obstructing operations.

 

Mann said that Stromsem saw enforcement of security regulations as interfering with the office's operational initiatives.  She said Stromsem would listen to her and her staff, and tell them to go ahead and issue policy to correct the problem, but without enforcement nothing changed.  Mann believed that it was “symptomatic” of Stromsem’s management style that Stromsem would not take responsibility for Trincellito or require corrective action or discipline.

 

Hoover said that as a member of the management team at ICITAP he had input into the policies and the decisions made concerning security at ICITAP.  Hoover acknowledged to the OIG that he knew of several occasions that Trincellito had left classified material on his desk.  In a September 1998 OIG interview Hoover said that sometime in 1995, after Shannonhouse had found a problem, Hoover counseled Trincellito.  When in 1996, Shannonhouse came to him again for advice on Trincellito’s repeated violations, Hoover said he recommended that Shannonhouse talk to Bejarano, and Hoover raised the problem to Stromsem.  Hoover told the OIG that in response to the February 1997 Frary notice, Trincellito was told to stop mishandling classified documents.  Hoover said that he did not recall any of the managers ever making a suggestion to take administrative action against Trincellito.  According to Hoover, Stromsem was aware of the security problems at ICITAP, and Hoover acknowledged that security issues were unmanaged.  Hoover admitted to the OIG that he told Frary not to be overzealous in his security duties but said that he did not “necessarily” tell Frary to “go easy” on enforcing security regulations.  Hoover said he did not want Frary to “target” Trincellito as Hoover believed Shannonhouse had done. 

 

Deputy Director Bejarano, Trincellito’s supervisor, was also informed of Trincellito's security problems.  He said that each security officer had come to him once about Trincellito’s failure to properly secure classified documents.  Bejarano said he told Shannonhouse to report the incident through security channels.  But Bejarano did nothing to follow up; he did not know if a memorandum was ever written memorializing the incident or if any action had been taken against Trincellito. 

 

Deputy Director Perito knew as well that Trincellito repeatedly left classified documents unattended.  Perito described Trincellito as careless in the handling of classified information, which, he said, put ICITAP as an organization at risk.  Perito told the OIG, however, that he did not believe it was his responsibility to take or suggest any corrective action against Trincellito for his security violations because ICITAP was a collegial environment and Trincellito was one of the managers. 

 

Stromsem recalled that the 1996 SEPS security review documented that Trincellito had left classified documents unattended.  In response to SEPS’ findings, Stromsem said she called a general meeting concerning security and, based on Shannonhouse’s advice, she had a conversation with Trincellito about safeguarding classified documents.  Stromsem claimed that she personally checked for a short time afterwards to see whether Trincellito left classified documents unattended and found that he did not.  She acknowledged that she was told on two subsequent occasions, however, that Trincellito had left classified documents unattended.  After the last incident, Stromsem said that she arranged, at Gaige’s recommendation, for a safe to be placed inTrincellito's office to store classified documents.  Stromsem also said that she and Hoover met with Trincellito to discuss the third incident and the reason for the safe.  Stromsem denied knowing that Frary had made written recommendations about Trincellito's security problems until after the SEPS sweep in 1997 when Gaige mentioned it to her and Bratt. 

 

At the time that Frary submitted the security violation notice in February 1997, Bratt was the ICITAP/OPDAT Coordinator.  Bratt told the OIG that Gaige and Stromsem informed him in February 1997 of a documented security violation by Trincellito.  Bratt said that Stromsem told him that she had discussed the matter with Trincellito and would take care of the problem.

 

2.           Failure to Impose Administrative Sanctions

As Stromsem noted in her December 1995 memorandum to ICITAP staff on security, government employees and contractors are subject to appropriate sanctions if they knowingly, willfully, or negligently disclose classified information to unauthorized persons or otherwise violate security regulations, such as by leaving classified documents unsecured.  Sanctions may include reprimand, suspension without pay, removal, loss or denial of access to classified information, or other sanctions in accordance with applicable law and agency regulation.  Agency heads or senior agency officials are required to take “appropriate and prompt corrective action when a violation or infraction occurs.”  Executive Order 12958 § 5.7(e)(1).  The Criminal Division Facilities and Security Manual provided to ICITAP, as well as ICITAP Administrative Policy No. 9, discuss administrative sanctions for security violations.

 

a.           Trincellito Not Disciplined for Multiple Violations

We did not find that any discipline or other administrative sanction had ever been imposed on anyone at ICITAP, including Trincellito, for security violations.  There were numerous security incidents involving Trincellito that were corroborated through interviews and documentation.  Yet, Trincellito never received any type of administrative sanction for his continued pattern of behavior and reckless disregard for security.

 

As discussed, Frary wrote a report detailing two security violations by Trincellito and recommended that he receive some form of discipline.  However, no administrative sanction or disciplinary action was taken in response to Frary's notice.  Indeed, no senior manager other than Gaige admitted to having seen it, and it was never forwarded to the Criminal Division Security Staff.

 

Gaige said she did not forward Frary’s memorandum to the Criminal Division Security Staff or talk to Stromsem about forwarding the information because she was unaware that she was required to do so.  She told the OIG that she raised the problem of Trincellito at a senior staff meeting that Trincellito attended and sent out a reminder on securing classified documents to all ICITAP employees.[70]  See Appendix, Exhibit 7.

 

Gaige recalled to the OIG that Trincellito acknowledged at the staff meeting that Frary had spoken to him about having found unsecured classified documents in Trincellito’s office and acknowledged that he knew that he should not leave unsecured classified documents.  Gaige said, however, that he and others at the meeting treated the problem as a nuisance – as an administrative matter – but not one of importance.  The solution that was discussed at the meeting was to get Trincellito a safe for his office.

 

When questioned by the OIG about this incident, Trincellito denied that he was present when his violations were discussed at the staff meeting and denied knowing why he had received a safe in his office.  Instead, Trincellito claimed that he was on travel at the time of the meeting.  However, Gaige’s notes of a March 5, 1997, staff meeting show that she discussed getting a safe for Trincellito and show that Trincellito was at the meeting, along with Stromsem, Special Assistant to the ICITAP Director Pamela Swain, Hoover, and Bejarano.  Gaige told the OIG that at the same meeting they discussed the fact that Frary had found that Trincellito had left classified documents unsecured.  Trincellito’s travel records show that he was on travel the following week.

 

Hoover said that Stromsem never discussed the consequences of the failure to comply with security regulations.  Given Trincellito's repeated violations, Hoover said, there was no reason to think that such verbal review of proper practices would have any effect on Trincellito.  Hoover thought that it would have been reasonable to impose sanctions but, he said, no one was ever sanctioned for security violations.

Stromsem wrote in her August 2000 response to the OIG that at no time did anyone from any of the various security programs – SEPS or the Criminal Division – ever recommend that she should take disciplinary action against anyone in ICITAP.  “Since there were no recommendations for disciplinary action …, none was taken.”  Stromsem said that she had not seen Frary’s memorandum although she acknowledged being told that Frary had found classified materials in Trincellito’s office. 

 

Essentially, the only action that ICITAP management took was to have an occasional talk with Trincellito and finally to provide him with a safe – a safe that Trincellito refused to use.  Although we recognize that not every security violation warrants discipline, the failure to take any disciplinary action against Trincellito, with his history of repeated security violations, highlights management’s failings in ensuring that the security rules were followed.  We believe that Stromsem had more information than SEPS or the Criminal Division security staff about the security problems in her office.  She was not required to wait until somebody else recommended appropriate action.  As a manager, she was obligated to take the necessary steps to correct the problem – without waiting for others to recommend a course of action.

 

b.           Security Not Included in Performance Appraisal Reports

Furthermore, despite Trincellito’s flagrant disregard of the security rules, his annual Performance Appraisal Reports (PAR) were not affected by his persistently reckless handling of classified documents.  Performance appraisals are to be done once a year for each employee in the Justice Department.  Each employee is told in advance the elements of his job on which he will be evaluated.  In November 1995, Bratt sent out a memorandum to all the section chiefs in the Criminal Division requiring offices to include as a “critical element” in evaluations the management of classified information for employees whose duties significantly involved the handling of classified information.  Trincellito was the only ICITAP employee identified by Bratt as such an employee. 

 

Stromsem said that during the period when she supervised Trincellito, she completed his performance evaluation.  Stromsem said she did not see security as an overriding factor in rating Trincellito and believed he received one outstanding evaluation and one outstanding or excellent evaluation over the time frame of 1995-1997.[71] 

 

In essence, the OIG investigation revealed that Stromsem not only failed to administratively sanction Trincellito for his flagrant disregard for safeguarding classified information, she failed to note or account for his deficiencies in his performance rating.

 

c.            Stromsem’s Conflict of Interest in Disciplining Trincellito

We received information that Trincellito and Stromsem dated while they both worked at Interpol prior to their employment at ICITAP.  Stromsem admitted that she continued intermittently to date Trincellito through 1994, when they were both at ICITAP.[72]  Stromsem said that she stopped dating Trincellito before she became ICITAP Director in August 1995.  Stromsem said that she did not view having dated Trincellito as creating a conflict of interest in making personnel decisions about him.

 

We believe that Stromsem’s relationship with Trincellito created a conflict of interest with respect to decisions about whether and how Trincellito should have been disciplined for committing security violations.  Given that ICITAP staff knew of her prior relationship with Trincellito, knew that Trincellito repeatedly violated rules and regulations regarding security without any apparent consequence, and at least one staff member knew (because Stromsem told him) of acts by Trincellito that could reasonably have been interpreted to mean that Trincellito’s interest in Stromsem continued, staff could easily conclude that Trincellito was being protected by Stromsem.  Stromsem should have been cognizant of the appearance problem and delegated issues involving misconduct by Trincellito to other senior managers.

 

3.           OIG’s Conclusions

We conclude that Trincellito’s pattern of violating basic security regulations was known throughout the office, including everyone involved in ICITAP’s management.  Stromsem, Hoover, Bejarano, Perito, Mann, Miller, and Gaige all knew that Trincellito routinely violated security regulations governing the handling of classified documents.  Yet, no manager took responsibility for ensuring that Trincellito handled classified documents with the care the regulations required.

 

C.         Lack of Reporting of Security Incidents

ICITAP management not only failed to resolve security problems, they also failed to report violations to Department security officers, thereby preventing those offices from assisting ICITAP in fixing its security problems.  The Department of Justice Security Program Operating Manual directs Department employees and contractors to report “[a]ny incidents that indicate an employee knowingly or willfully violated security policies established for the protection of NSI [National Security Information].  Disclosure or compromise of classified information through negligence must also be reported.  Pursuant to Department regulations, the ICITAP/OPDAT security officer or managers should have reported security violations to the Criminal Division Security Staff.

 

Most of the security violations that occurred at ICITAP, particularly those pertaining to Trincellito, were apparently never reported to the Criminal Division.  Criminal Division Security Staff described to the OIG only two security violations at ICITAP of which they were aware.  Cantilena recalled being notified of one security violation pertaining to Trincellito but was unaware of his repeated violations, and she stated that she never received the February 28, 1997, security violation report written by Frary.

 

D.         ICITAP Practices that Contributed to Security Violations

ICITAP managers continued a number of practices that exacerbated the security problem.  As we previously discussed, the practice of routing classified documents through the office by means of a distribution list contributed to the problem of leaving classified documents unattended on employees’ desks.  There were other problematic practices as well.

 

1.           Increased Use of Consultants

Although ICITAP had consultants in its office as early as 1988, consultants were not involved in operational matters that required them to handle classified information, and they were not located at ICITAP Headquarters.  Consequently, there was no need to obtain security clearances for them.  Over the years its use of consultants changed markedly, but ICITAP’s practice of not obtaining clearances for consultants did not. 

 

In subsequent years, consultants worked closely with government employees, often sharing the same titles such as program manager.  They were often indistinguishable from federal employees.  Consultants worked at ICITAP Headquarters and had free and unescorted access to its premises and access to classified information without clearances. 

 

In her August 2000 written response, Stromsem stated that she followed procedures that were put in place by ICITAP’s first Director, “an FBI agent well-versed in security matters.”  We found, however, that procedures that may have been appropriate when ICITAP was small should have been changed when ICITAP grew and made increased use of consultants.

 

2.           Employees’ Paperwork Not Processed Properly

In addition to the problem of giving consultants unauthorized access to classified documents, federal employees also received unauthorized access.  ICITAP managers and employees appeared to assume that once individuals were present at work they had an interim security clearance.  This assumption was misplaced.  We found that ICITAP did not ensure that an interim clearance had been granted before the new employees began work.

 

According to ICITAP administrative personnel, ICITAP managers did not inform them that individuals had been hired until they showed up.  Miller said that there was no notification to the administrative section so that they could initiate a background investigation prior to the person starting work at ICITAP.  This created a security problem for ICITAP, which it attempted to rectify by making an exception to the security rules the norm.

 

ICITAP would bring the individual on board quickly by requesting a “waiver of the pre-appointment investigation” from SEPS and stating that the individual hired would not be required to handle classified information. However, in some instances, shortly thereafter ICITAP would send a second letter requesting an interim security clearance.  Preliminary security background investigation questionnaires would be handed to an employee after the employee was already working at ICITAP.  To further confuse matters, at times the background documentation was misplaced or lost and an individual would go months without the initiation of a background investigation.  All the while the individual was already at work at ICITAP with access to classified documents.

 

These problems are illustrated by what happened with Martin Andersen.  According to Andersen, when he was hired as a two-year term employee, he was told his report date would be delayed because ICITAP had forgotten to process his security clearance background questionnaire.  Andersen received a letter from Stromsem dated August 17, 1995, that said:

 

As you are aware, your security papers were submitted on August 16, 1995.  We anticipate receiving an interim - secret clearance for you in time for you to enter on duty with us on September 3, 1995.

 

Around the same time that Stromsem sent Andersen the letter, ICITAP administrative personnel sent two memoranda to SEPS, a day apart.  The first memorandum (dated August 15, 1995) requested an interim security clearance for Andersen because a Top Secret clearance was essential for his work; the second (dated August 16, 1995) requested a waiver of a pre-appointment investigation and stated that Andersen would not handle classified information until given a security clearance.  SEPS initiated a background investigation on Andersen but did not initiate the interim clearance process for Andersen.  SEPS told the OIG that it may have assumed the second letter withdrew the first request.  Andersen therefore never received an interim security clearance.  However, Andersen and others at ICITAP believed he had an interim clearance because no one actually verified Andersen’s clearance with SEPS before providing Andersen with access to classified information.

 

E.          Changes in Security Officers at ICITAP

In April 1997, the Criminal Division Security Staff found that, “there is confusion over who is responsible for security for ICITAP or OPDAT ....”  Some of this confusion can be explained by the fact that Bratt and ICITAP managers removed Shannonhouse and then Frary from their security officer positions.  We found that the removal of Shannonhouse and Frary created a perception in ICITAP that they were removed because managers disliked the security officers’ enforcement of security rules.

 

1.           Removal of Shannonhouse

As can be seen from his e-mail, Shannonhouse attempted to enforce security standards and procedures, but he was replaced after only a year, in August 1996.  We were told by ICITAP staff that Shannonhouse “got flack for pushing security issues” and that Shannonhouse was removed because he was “overzealous.”  We were also told that Shannonhouse was removed after Trincellito complained to Stromsem about him. 

 

According to Shannonhouse, after he had again found classified documents on Trincellito’s desk, he discussed the problems he was having with Trincellito in a Security Officers' Quarterly Meeting in mid-August 1996.  An e-mail dated August 15, 1996, shows that Shannonhouse notified Bejarano that Shannonhouse had spoken to Cantelina of the Criminal Division Security Staff and that Cantelina would send some guidelines concerning administrative sanctions for security violations.  See Appendix, Exhibit 8.  A few days later, Shannonhouse was relieved of his duties as the ICITAP security officer.

 

We attempted to determine the reason for Shannonhouse’s removal as the security officer.  However, we were unable to find any manager who acknowledged making the decision to remove Shannonhouse and who would state the basis for the decision.

 

Stromsem said that Bratt removed Shannonhouse because of an incident between Shannonhouse and a contractor, Richard Bartsch, and not as a result of security issues with Trincellito.  In her August 2000 written response to the OIG, Stromsem reiterated that Bratt made the decision to remove Shannonhouse and that she had nothing to do with it.  Bratt told the OIG that he was not aware of the reasons and never discussed with Stromsem why Shannonhouse was replaced as security officer.  Bratt denied wanting to suspend Shannonhouse from his position as the security officer.

 

In an e-mail dated August 23, 1996, Miller, Shannonhouse's supervisor, told Shannonhouse that Miller was informed of the change on August 22, 1996, at 3:30 p.m. and that he was not consulted in the matter but merely told what was going to take place. 

 

We found that, interestingly enough, Shannonhouse was the only person who received any administrative sanction for actions related to security.  Shannonhouse received a letter of instruction for failing to observe the chain of command.  The letter of instruction, dated May 28, 1996, and signed by Miller, noted that Shannonhouse’s actions had caused the Criminal Division Security Staff to conduct an investigation of Bartsch.[73] 

 

Miller told the OIG that Shannonhouse notified Linda Cantilena, head of the Criminal Division Security Staff, of a security problem involving Bartsch and that Cantilena started to investigate the matter.  Miller said that Stromsem and Perito became aware of the situation and were furious about it.  According to Miller, Stromsem “called off” Cantilena and the investigation never occurred, but Stromsem and Perito demanded that Miller take some administrative action against Shannonhouse.  Miller said he took the lowest level of action possible so as to not permanently affect Shannonhouse’s career while still satisfying Stromsem and Perito.

 

2.           Removal of Frary

Frary told the OIG that the week that he issued the security notice, he was transferred from his position as ICITAP Security officer to the Criminal Division’s Security Staff with other responsibilities.  As with Shannonhouse, we did not find a clear explanation for Frary’s removal.[74]  Although Gaige said that personnel matters were discussed at ICITAP senior staff meetings, she said that Frary was removed as Security officer without any discussion at a senior staff meeting. 

 

The evidence is not clear, however, whether the decision to move Frary to other duties was the result of Frary’s report on Trincellito’s violations.  In a memorandum dated February 13, 1997, Bratt wrote that Frary, and other personnel, were to be moved from ICITAP and OPDAT’s payrolls to the Office of Administration’s payroll.  Frary did not submit his memorandum until February 28, 1997, suggesting that the decision to move Frary was made before and was therefore unrelated to Frary’s submission of the violation notice.  However, the memorandum did not state that Frary’s move also meant that Frary (or the others) would also change jobs.  In addition, Frary said he told Gaige of the problem regarding Trincellito in “mid-February” before he wrote the memorandum.  Therefore, we were unable to determine what nexus, if any, Frary’s violation notice report had on the decision to transfer him to other duties.

 

We learned during our investigation of an action that Stromsem took after the SEPS security sweep in April 1997 and after Trincellito’s and Hoover’s clearances were suspended.  Stromsem asked for and received a Card Transaction History Report, which indicated who had been in ICITAP office space on certain dates.  Stromsem learned that Frary had been present at (and presumably had let SEPS into) ICITAP’s offices on the evening of the SEPS sweep, April 14, 1997.[75]  Paula Barclay, who replaced Frary as the security officer, asked the Criminal Division, at Stromsem’s request, to “ascertain the purpose of Paul Frary’s access” on April 14, 1997, the date of the sweep, and other dates and asked whether access to ICITAP’s office space could be limited to “duty hours” for select individuals.

 

Stromsem said in her August 2000 response to the OIG that several days after the sweep, Frary was observed removing documents from ICITAP files after he had been transferred to duties not relating to ICITAP.  Stromsem said she requested information about Frary’s whereabouts to see if he had entered ICITAP office space on other occasions during after hours periods.  Stromsem said that when she determined that the only times he had come into ICITAP space after hours coincided with the times he accompanied the SEPS staff, she did not pursue the matter further. 

 

3.           OIG’s Conclusions

Shannonhouse, who appeared diligent in his duties as a security officer, was first reprimanded and then removed from his position.  Frary was similarly removed.  Both were removed shortly after they made Trincellito’s violations an issue.  However, the evidence regarding the reasons for Shannonhouse’s and Frary’s removal was unclear and therefore insufficient to conclude that ICITAP managers retaliated against Shannonhouse and Frary.  Nonetheless, the clear message the managers sent was that it did not pay to be diligent as a security officer.  Indeed, that same message was given to Paula Barclay when she became the security officer after Frary.  One day after announcing Barclay’s assumption of the security officer duties, Stromsem e-mailed Barclay:  “Pls. Don’t worry about this new duty.  Between us, Liberia is much more important over the immediate term.”[76]

 

F.          The Criminal Division’s Responsibility for ICITAP’s Security Problems

The Criminal Division acquired responsibility for oversight of ICITAP in 1994.  ICITAP personnel complained to us that the Office of Administration Security Staff was often not helpful.  An ICITAP administrative officer noted that, with respect to one security issue regarding contractors, it took “a year of e-mails” with the Security Staff before the matter was straightened out.  In addition, the ICITAP security officers and others said that they did not receive specialized training to assist them in managing the security program at ICITAP.  Linda Butler, a security specialist with the Criminal Division Security Staff, acknowledged that at one time there was no special training for the security officers, but she said the Criminal Division began holding quarterly security meetings with all the security officers.[77]

 

Although ICITAP generally failed to notify the Criminal Division Security Staff about violations, in those few instances that the Criminal Division Security Staff did know about, they failed to conduct the follow-up required by the regulations.  The Division Security Officer is required to report in writing security violations to SEPS and is required to initiate a security inquiry to make an assessment of the damage incurred from a national security standpoint.  Criminal Division Security Staff told the OIG that they were aware of two security violations at ICITAP before the sweep: one involving Trincellito and one concerning Truebell.  However, the Criminal Division Security Staff did not have any report of security violations for these two incidents, meaning that the Security Staff had failed to notify SEPS in writing of the violations and the Security Staff had also failed to initiate a security inquiry as required by the regulations.  In addition, although Frary said that he informed Cantilena that he had written a security violation report and that she would be getting a copy, Cantilena never followed up when she did not receive the report.

 

As the Criminal Division Executive Officer, Bratt was the senior manager in charge of security for the Criminal Division.  As Acting Director of ICITAP and Coordinator, he also had direct responsibility for security at ICITAP.  We received conflicting statements regarding Bratt’s responsibility for security problems.  A Criminal Division Security official told the OIG that Bratt had the attitude that security was not important and openly made comments to that effect at Criminal Division staff meetings.  The security official recalled being at a Criminal Division retreat in 1995 or 1996 when Bratt told all the Office of Administration personnel present that security was not important.

 

On the other hand, another ICITAP administrative official said he never heard Bratt make such comments and told the OIG that Bratt and Lake had tightened security at ICITAP.  Another ICITAP administrative official believed that Bratt was concerned about security when he supervised ICITAP in 1995, but once he left, it was back to “business as usual.” 

 

Based on our investigation, it appeared that Bratt did make some attempts to improve security but ultimately he failed to ensure that security problems were completely resolved.  For example, Bratt said that when he received the allegation about improper disclosures of classified information by Hoover from Andersen in November or December 1995, he investigated the allegation by asking Hoover whether it was true.  Hoover said “no” and Bratt made no further inquiry.  Hoover, however, said that Bratt never asked him.

 

We saw no evidence that the Criminal Division Security Staff ever committed itself to oversee security at ICITAP.  The Criminal Division Security Staff should have been aware of the compliance reviews conducted by SEPS and the security failures and violations SEPS found, but they did not actively follow up with ICITAP to ensure that corrective action was taken and sustained.  In addition, no action was taken even though the Criminal Division was told, albeit informally, by Shannonhouse that someone in ICITAP was repeatedly violating security regulations.  Nor did the Criminal Division notify SEPS of security violations and problems it knew about at ICITAP.  In response to a question about a different issue, Criminal Division Deputy Assistant Attorney John Keeney told the OIG that the Criminal Division had tried to hold ICITAP to the same standard as the rest of the Department but because of ICITAP’s uniqueness the Criminal Division was slow to impose Criminal Division standards on ICITAP.

 

G.         Stromsem’s Explanation and the OIG’s Conclusions

ICITAP Director Stromsem gave several reasons for her failure to enforce security regulations: (1) she was not aware of the extent of the problem, (2) she merely permitted practices to continue that had been instituted by her predecessors, and (3) her staff had insufficient training and guidance on security issues.  Stromsem said to the OIG, for example, that “it never occurred to [me] that ICITAP’s procedures needed to change,” even after SEPS briefed her on problems it found in 1996.  It was not until after the April 1997 SEPS sweep, she said, that she realized ICITAP’s security problems were not isolated to a few individuals.  Stromsem added that in light of the procedures practiced by other sections within the Criminal Division and other agencies (such as the State Department and USAID), she did not perceive the problem at ICITAP until it was brought to her attention by SEPS in 1997.  Similar excuses were given by other managers. 

 

After reviewing the draft of this chapter, Stromsem disputed the OIG’s conclusion that she had failed to enforce security regulations, and she gave several additional explanations for her conduct.  Stromsem stated that the information relied on by the OIG was brought to the OIG’s attention by “disgruntled employees,” who she identified as Andersen, Shannonhouse, Frary, Miller, and Mann.  She also stated that Shannonhouse and Frary did not perform their duties adequately; that it was their responsibility to discover that classified materials had been improperly placed in program files.  Stromsem wrote that the OIG erroneously concluded that managers were not concerned about security and she noted that after the 1996 SEPS review “staff were counseled, they were re-briefed by the SEPS staff, and memoranda concerning security procedures were prepared and distributed to staff on more than one occasion.”  Stromsem also objected to the OIG’s failure to discuss the enormity of the Haiti mission and her constant travel schedule.  Stromsem did not assert that these factors contributed to any failings on her part; she only noted that the report focused on “negative information gleaned from a few discredited former employees.”

 

We believe that these excuses for failing to correct security problems – that managers were unaware of the rules, that the practices were long-standing, that others did the same thing, that ICITAP personnel had insufficient training and guidance, that appropriate action was taken, and that if the action was inappropriate others were to blame – are unpersuasive.  ICITAP managers had ample opportunity to learn the correct procedures, through briefings by security officials and written procedures that were distributed to all ICITAP staff.  ICITAP managers, in particular, had access to security guidance.  For example:

 

·       Shannonhouse’s e-mail of September 22, 1995, warned everyone not to assume that a staff member or contractor was appropriately cleared.

 

·       Stromsem’s memorandum of December 1995 attached a basic security procedures manual that instructed staff not to drop classified documents on desks and informed staff that classified documents had to be kept under constant surveillance.

 

·       SEPS briefed managers following the 1994 and 1996 security reviews; in 1994, Trincellito was one of the managers briefed on the finding that classified documents could not be left unattended. 

 

·       Gaige sent a security reminder on March 4, 1997, again noting basic security procedures.

 

These notices were all in addition to the governmental rules and regulations that persons handling classified documents were required to know and observe.

 

Indeed, we found that even when ICITAP personnel were specifically instructed not to follow a certain practice and then told the proper procedure, they continued the improper practice.  For example, weeks after being given a briefing on computer security, Lake sent a classified message via the unclassified e-mail system; days after being briefed by SEPS that ICITAP could not “certify” a clearance level to an embassy, Hogarty did so.  The problem was not with the guidance; it was with the managers’ refusal to enforce the rules.

 

Stromsem’s, Hoover’s, and Trincellito’s responses to the OIG all reflected a view that it was not their responsibility to correct problems.  They insisted that the security officers or the administrative staff should have ensured that they were following the rules.  We disagree.  The security officers did not have the authority to fix the routing system in ICITAP and they certainly had no responsibility to follow staff around ensuring that classified information was not left unsecured or given to uncleared personnel.  As senior managers, Stromsem, Hoover, and Trincellito had the duty to be proactive in ensuring that security regulations were followed.  They should not have gone along with obvious security violations just because other managers or other agencies did not follow the rules.

 

ICITAP managers also failed to support the ICITAP security officers and ultimately removed two in a way that fed a perception that the security officers were being punished for their diligence.  Managers communicated to the security officers that security was not an ICITAP priority.  Hoover told Frary not to be “overzealous” about security, and Stromsem told Barclay that security was not something she needed to “worry about.” 

 

The failure to adequately deal with Trincellito's repeated violations is symptomatic of ICITAP managers’ overall failings with respect to security.  We do not believe that sending out memoranda constituted sufficient action. None of the managers took responsibility to stop what was apparent to almost everyone in ICITAP – Trincellito’s flagrant and continuous violation of the security rules.  The failure to enforce the rules against a senior manager had its costs.  ICITAP management’s own poor security practices and lack of support for the security program lent to the overall attitude that it was “okay” to bend or break the security regulations in the interest of the mission.  As an example of the effect management’s attitude had on other employees, Shannonhouse told the OIG that in 1996 he found an employee leaving classified documents on Hoover’s desk.  When Shannonhouse told the employee she could not leave classified documents unattended, the employee replied that she “did not see why she should have to worry about this when none of the upper level people do.”  According to Shannonhouse, the employee specifically mentioned Trincellito as leaving documents out all the time. 

 

We conclude that Stromsem, Hoover, and Trincellito bear the greatest responsibility for the ICITAP security failings.  However, other ICITAP managers – Perito, Bejarano, Mann, Miller, and Bratt – also played a part in the problem.  They did little to rectify the situation.  We acknowledge, however, that to the extent that any of them tried, Stromsem’s unwillingness to improve security acted as an effective deterrence to her subordinate managers.  Stromsem’s refusal to enforce the rules against Trincellito and her own security violations sent a clear signal that security was not an ICITAP priority and security rules could be ignored without consequence.

 

IV.      ACTIONS RESULTING FROM THE SEPS SWEEP AND OIG INVESTIGATION

In the end, the lesson of ICITAP may be how simple it was to correct ICITAP’s security problem.  After the SEPS sweep in April 1997, the suspension of security clearances, and changes in managers, ICITAP finally improved its overall security posture.  The Criminal Division Security Staff also assisted ICITAP to implement new, improved security procedures.  New rules dealing with contractor security were issued.  All ICITAP employees now wear badges that are color coded to show their clearance levels.

 

The Criminal Division conducted an unannounced “sweep” of ICITAP and OPDAT in August/September 1997.  In September/October 1997, it conducted a compliance review of the ICITAP offices.  No classified document or other security violations were found during the review.  An unannounced SEPS review in March 2000 continued to show ICITAP's heightened security awareness and compliance with the rules, although an SCI document was found improperly stored in an office safe. 

 

Given ICITAP's history, ICITAP senior management will have to rigorously enforce security policies and procedures, including taking administrative action against violators, over a sustained period and will have to be models of security compliance themselves to ensure that ICITAP does not slip back into its old ways.

 

V.         CONTACTS WITH FOREIGN NATIONALS

When individuals with SCI clearances have continuing contacts with foreign nationals, the danger of compromise of classified information requires special procedures.  To address this danger, the Department has issued regulations and directives that require individuals with SCI clearances to notify SEPS of certain contacts with foreign nationals.

 

Criminal Division Executive Officer Robert Bratt and OPDAT staffer Martin Andersen both had close relationships with a Russian citizen.  Andersen notified the Criminal Division of his relationship with the Russian woman after the relationship had ended and also informed the Criminal Division that she had asked him to obtain classified documents for her.  Bratt failed to timely notify SEPS of his relationship and also attempted to conceal the nature of the relationship.

 

A.          Applicable Regulations

Federal regulations required that employees with SCI clearances report to the Department Security officer any close, personal, or social relationship with a foreign national, not including contacts or relationships developed within the scope of employment and known to the employee’s supervisor.  Employees with SCI clearances were also required to report any contact in which a foreign national sought illegal or unauthorized access to classified or otherwise sensitive information or the employee was concerned about being the target of actual or attempted exploitation by a foreign entity.

 

B.          Bratt’s Involvement with a Russian Citizen

1.           Investigation

Early in our investigation, allegations made to the OIG raised the question of whether Bratt violated government regulations with respect to his contacts with foreign nationals.  As part of our investigation into whether Bratt improperly obtained visas for two female Russian nationals, we reviewed whether Bratt’s conduct with these women violated security regulations.  We concluded that his conduct did and that his conduct posed a risk to the security interests of the United States.

 

The details of Bratt’s contacts and relationship with Yelena Koreneva and Ludmilla Bolgak, both of whom are Russian citizens, are set forth in Chapter Two.  In summary, Bratt had frequent social contact with both women when he visited Russia in January, March, and June 1997, and he ultimately admitted to the OIG that he had a sexual relationship with Koreneva.  We concluded that Bratt caused to be submitted a false statement on an official government document in order to improperly obtain visas for the women.

 

Bratt’s judgment in his relationship with the women appeared flawed from the beginning.  An examination of Bratt’s conduct in Russia shows how he made himself vulnerable to blackmail or extortion.  Bratt, the holder of a high-level position in the Department with an SCI clearance, met Koreneva by essentially asking his Russian tour guide in Moscow to set him up with a single Russian woman.  He met Koreneva and Bolgak on his next business trip to Russia.  Bratt spent much of his free time with them during his January and March trips and invited them to visit him in the United States, to see Washington, D.C., to visit his office, and to go to his beach house in Delaware.  Bratt issued these invitations despite knowing virtually nothing about either woman or their associations.[78]

 

Bratt made himself even more vulnerable when, told that Koreneva might have difficulty getting a visa, Bratt, with the help of Lake, got Koreneva and Bolgak visas by misrepresenting to the American Embassy that the women worked with Bratt in Moscow on official business.  This misconduct alone created a significant potential for blackmail or pressure by Russian intelligence services or by Russian criminal organizations.

 

Bratt exacerbated the problem when, on the June 1997 trip, Bratt told the women that he had been promoted to a new, higher position[79] and further compromised himself by having a sexual relationship with Koreneva.

 

Bratt continued to compound the security risk by trying to hide the true nature of his relationship with Koreneva.  Even though Bratt had been briefed on the requirements for holding an SCI clearance, he did not report to the Department his contact with Bolgak and Koreneva until April 1997.  Bratt told the OIG that, during an April 1997 meeting with Jerry Rubino, the Director of SEPS, they discussed the fact that Andersen dated a Russian student and was delinquent in notifying SEPS about it.  Bratt said he then told Rubino about his friendships with Bolgak and Koreneva and that Rubino told him to write it down in a memorandum.  In the memorandum, dated April 23, 1997, Bratt described the women only as “friends,” with whom he interacted with “socially.”  However, by his own admission, at the time he submitted the memorandum, Bratt's relationship with Koreneva had already become more involved, and he had spent time alone with her in his hotel room where, according to Bratt, “there was a little bit more hugging, a little bit more intimacy.”  In his notice to SEPS, Bratt did not describe the number of contacts he had with Koreneva and Bolgak or how he came to meet them.  He also did not supplement the memorandum after he became sexually involved with Koreneva, which he claimed first occurred in June 1997.

 

Bratt also tried to hide from the OIG the true nature of his relationship with Koreneva.  In an October 1997 interview, Bratt expressly, and falsely, denied that he had ever become romantically involved with Koreneva.  He told the OIG that his relationship with Koreneva was a social friendship and likened their friendship to one he had developed in Haiti with a driver.  It was not until an OIG interview in August 1998 that Bratt admitted that he was more intimate with Koreneva in March 1997 and that he was sexually intimate with her in June 1997.

 

In March 1998, on the basis of the OIG’s preliminary findings, SEPS suspended the security clearance of Bratt and directed that Lake’s clearance be suspended.[80] 

 

2.           Vulnerabilities Created by These Contacts

Bratt should have been sensitive to the risk that his conduct could make him a target of Russian security.  Bratt held an SCI clearance, one of the highest levels of clearances that can be granted, and had access to highly sensitive SCI material during his time at the Criminal Division.  The United States government places the highest degree of trust in personnel granted SCI clearances.  In such circumstances, close, continuing personal associations with foreign nationals present a security concern.  The purpose of reporting close, continuing personal associations is to protect both SCI material and SCI personnel from the threat of compromise.

 

Bratt, as the highest administrative officer in the Criminal Division, was charged with distributing notice of and enforcing security practices.  As part of those duties, Bratt issued a memorandum on July 26, 1996, to all Criminal Division personnel addressing foreign threats to American intelligence.  With the memorandum, Bratt distributed a brochure called, “Threat Awareness for Overseas Travel.”  In his cover memorandum, Bratt noted:  “[t]he brochure offers readers a brief overview of the foreign intelligence threat – including why U.S. officials may become a target, methods frequently used by foreign intelligence and security services, and security tips to adopt while traveling abroad.”  The brochure itself notes that, “Usually, any intelligence activities directed against you will be conducted in an unobtrusive and non-threatening fashion... [often] without the target’s awareness.”  This includes, the brochure warns, seemingly normal conversation contrived to extract information about individuals, their work, and their colleagues.  The brochure warns that concealed devices may be planted in hotel rooms and recommends such common sense practices as not divulging any “personal information about yourself or colleagues.”  In addition, the General Accounting Office issued a report in June 2000 that identified numerous incidents of foreign spies targeting United States nuclear scientists traveling abroad by bugging their hotel rooms, searching their personal belongings, and offering them sexual favors.  Despite the advice that he provided to other Criminal Division personnel, Bratt gave personal information to Koreneva and Bolgak, invited Koreneva to his hotel room, invited both women to tour his office in Washington, D.C., and became romantically involved with Koreneva.

 

Bonner, the OPDAT Resident Legal Attache in Moscow, told the OIG that on Bratt’s first visit to Moscow in November 1996, Bonner told Bratt of the American Embassy policy requiring the reporting of all contact with Russian female nationals to the Regional Security officer.  Bonner said that he also told Bratt about an espionage incident a few years before involving Russian women and the United States Embassy Marine Security detail.  Bonner said he explained to Bratt that the Regional Security officer required a report from “us” if they had a date, a romantic date, or more with a non-American.  To Bonner, the term “us” included Bratt.  Bratt said that he recalled that Bonner told him a story about a marine, but he did not understand the point.  Bratt said that no one briefed him about any additional security restrictions, reporting requirements, special actions he should take, or things to avoid doing during his travels to Russia.[81]  American Embassy records disclose that Bratt failed to file any foreign contact report in Moscow. 

 

Bratt’s compromising actions in Moscow made him susceptible to blackmail or extortion by Russian foreign intelligence services, or other individuals, to obtain sensitive information.  The visit of Koreneva and Bolgak represented real risks to the United States government since Bratt invited the women to visit his office in the Department of Justice and other sights in Washington, D.C.  In the last year, it was reported that a Russian official was arrested when he was found gathering information from a listening device planted in a State Department conference room. 

 

C.         Andersen’s Involvement With a Russian Citizen

1.           Investigation

On April 8, 1997, the day before he made a series of allegations to SEPS about ICITAP, Andersen disclosed to government officials that he had a two-month sexual relationship with a Russian woman named Svetlana Baugadinova in April and May 1996.  Andersen had reported contact with Baugadinova to the Criminal Division in August 1996.  Andersen told the Criminal Division that Baugadinova had requested that he disclose classified information to her on three occasions.  Andersen placed the relationship with Baugadinova in April and May 1996.

 

Andersen explained to investigators that Baugadinova visited him at his office in OPDAT on several occasions.  Normally, Baugadinova would sign in at the reception desk and wait for Andersen.  Once, however, she was allowed into his office when he was not there.  When he returned to his office, Andersen said, he found Baugadinova rummaging through his desk.  She said that she was looking for a pencil.  Andersen said that Baugaudinova asked for classified documents after Andersen pressured her to complete her research on money-laundering and organized crime.  Baugaudinova’s response to Andersen was that he should get her some classified documents so she could finish the dissertation.  Andersen told investigators that given the context of the requests, he felt that she made them in a joking manner.  Andersen said that he did not give her any documents.  A subsequent investigation of Baugadinova revealed no other requests for classified material from other people. 

 

In an August 2000 letter to the OIG, Andersen stated that Baugaudinova had a pass from the National Institute of Justice and had access through her work to various parts of the Department, including some parts of OPDAT.  Andersen stated that he was not responsible for her being permitted to enter OPDAT.  Andersen also said that he reported the information about Baugadinova seeking information from him immediately after he received guidance from an expert in intelligence matters in OPDAT about what he should do about her request.

 

2.           Vulnerabilities Created by the Contacts

Andersen said that he notified his supervisor before beginning the relationship and that he raised concerns about a possible security breach, thereby thwarting a possible threat to national security.  We note, however, that according to the time frame that Andersen provided to the OIG, he did not report Baugadinova’s request for classified information to the Criminal Division or other appropriate authorities for several months.  We believe that this was an inappropriate delay.


Immigration Daily: the news source for
legal professionals. Free! Join 35000+ readers
Enter your email address here: