Éditoriaux Défense Sécurité Terrorisme Zones de conflits Logistique Livres de référence Liens
Terre Air Mer Gendarmerie Renseignement Infoguerre Cyber Recherche

Government Management, Information, and Technology

Government Management, Information, and Technology

Statement of John E. Collingwood, Assistant Director, Office of Public and Congressional Affairs, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Before the Subcommittee on Government Management Information, and Technology Committee on Government Reform and Oversight, House of Representatives, Washington, D.C., June 9, 1998.

Chairman Horn and members of the Subcommittee, I greatly appreciate the opportunity to appear here today. I look forward to discussing the FBI's efforts to be more responsive to the public and our many requesters seeking information pursuant to the Freedom of Information and Privacy Acts--and to discussing our progress in implementing EFOIA [Electronic Freedom of Information]. This is my first opportunity to appear before you on what we believe is an issue that ultimately is important to our ability to effectively investigate crime. I note it has been almost two years since the FBI last appeared before this panel.

Since we were last here, Mr. Chairman, the FBI has made significant strides in becoming more responsive to the public by reducing an intolerably high backlog of pending requests, by increasing our efficiency in processing requests, and by making our records available to the public in electronic format. While we still have a long way to go to be where we need to be--that is, no backlog and electronic processing end-to-end--the progress that we have made is directly attributable to the strong support we have received from Congress and the shared personal commitment of Attorney General Reno and Director Freeh. This support is enabling us both to vastly increase our responsiveness to the public and the efficiency with which we process records. We all share the view that an effective FOIA function can only help to increase the public's confidence in the FBI and our ability to investigate violations of the law consistent with the rule of law.

In late October, 1996, with the full support of Attorney General Reno and the consent of Congress, Director Freeh moved the FOIA function to my office. He did this to raise the profile of the function within the FBI and to provide for greater executive involvement and oversight of the function. In addition, our appropriations committees and ultimately Congress in Fiscal Year 1997 provided additional resources. Additional resources were provided in FY 1998. The message from both Attorney General Reno and Director Freeh and from Congress was clear: The FBI must reverse the decade-long trend of an increasing backlog of requests. I am pleased to report that we have done that but, again, we recognize that we have a long way to go to be where we need to be.

Please allow me to describe a few of the highlights since the FBI was last here.

  • We have established monthly and yearly goals designed to eliminate the backlog by 2001, and we are meeting these goals.
  • The backlog of pending requests peaked at 16,426. It now stands at 11,889, a 28 percent reduction. This is in addition to handling the approximately 13,000 new requests we receive every year. There has been an even greater reduction in the number of total pages in the backlog waiting to be processed.
  • We have established a backlog manager whose sole function is to look for ways to increase the efficiency with which we process requests; to better manage the flow of pending requests; and to organize and maintain the request queues consistent with EFOIA.
  • We have established a public information officer who functions to help the public identify records, make requests and acquire information.
  • We have established a negotiation team, consistent with EFOIA, to help meet the needs of requesters on a more timely basis.
  • We have focused hard on our oldest cases to get them processed and closed.
  • We have established a help desk to expedite the processing of FBI records held by other agencies so that their FOIA requests are not delayed by the FBI. In some instances this desk has reduced turnaround time from years to days or hours.
  • We have reorganized and streamlined operations to substantially increase the productivity of the analysts who process our records for release.
  • We have established a litigation function to relieve line analysts of the burden of handling litigation, thus increasing the time available for processing.
  • We have intensified training of our employees to make them more effective in their assigned areas of responsibility.
  • We have hired all of the new people Congress funded in Fiscal Year 1997 and assigned them to work in non-management positions that contribute directly to our backlog reduction efforts.

These are a few of the things we have done, and we are pleased that they have had a measurable impact. Realistically, there are many possible future factors that could adversely affect our continued success-such as increases in litigation or dramatic increases in the number of requests. But we are confident now that the 10-year trend of an increasing backlog is permanently reversed. We are confident that the backlog will be eliminated.

In regard to compliance with EFOIA, I am likewise pleased to report that we have some exciting advances underway. We are fully committed to both the letter and spirit of this new law, and we believe that ultimately its provisions will decrease, not increase, our workload. Many of the provisions codify what already is our practice.

Again, I would like to provide some highlights.

  • The FBI is committed to placing its FOIA public reading room on the FBI's web site. To date, we have placed 37 of our most requested cases on-line, encompassing over 19,000 pages of text. So far this year these cases have been accessed by the public over 1.4 million times. We have both the technology and resources to effectively continue this process.
  • We have examined many possible automated systems for record processing and release of documents in an electronic format and believe we have identified an effective and efficient system. We will test a pilot of this system in the near future to ensure its viability. We have both the resources and people to fully automate the process.
  • We have fully adopted the multi-track processing regimen.
  • We are creating an electronic index of all the material in our public reading room and will make that available on our web site.
  • We have a fully functioning negotiation team in place that is successfully working with requesters to more effectively meet their needs.
  • New cases added to our reading room will be added in an electronic format.

Mr. Chairman, responsiveness under FOIA is an important factor in maintaining the trust and confidence of the American people. We very much appreciate this committee's attention to the issue and the support Congress has given us. I cannot state that all of our problems are solved, but we are confident that the course we are pursuing will eliminate our backlog. More than any other achievement, we believe this is the most important task before us.

 

Derniers articles

Verdun 2016 : La légende de la « tranchée des baïonnettes »
Eyes in the Dark: Navy Dive Helmet Display Emerges as Game-Changer
OIR Official: Captured Info Describes ISIL Operations in Manbij
Cyber, Space, Middle East Join Nuclear Triad Topics at Deterrence Meeting
Carter Opens Second DoD Innovation Hub in Boston
Triomphe de St-Cyr : le Vietnam sur les rangs
Dwight D. Eisenhower Conducts First OIR Missions from Arabian Gulf
L’amiral Prazuck prend la manœuvre de la Marine
Airmen Practice Rescuing Downed Pilots in Pacific Thunder 16-2
On ne lutte pas contre les moustiques avec une Kalachnikov...
Enemy Mine: Underwater Drones Hunt Buried Targets, Save Lives
Daesh Publications Are Translated Into Eleven Languages
Opération Chammal : 10 000 heures de vol en opération pour les Mirage 2000 basés en Jordanie
Le Drian : Daech : une réponse à plusieurs niveaux
Carter: Defense Ministers Agree on Next Steps in Counter-ISIL Fight
Carter Convenes Counter-ISIL Coalition Meeting at Andrews
Carter Welcomes France’s Increased Counter-ISIL Support
100-Plus Aircraft Fly in for Exercise Red Flag 16-3
Growlers Soar With B-1s Around Ellsworth AFB
A-10s Deploy to Slovakia for Cross-Border Training
We Don’t Fight Against Mosquitoes With a Kalashnikov
Bug-Hunting Computers to Compete in DARPA Cyber Grand Challenge
Chiefs of US and Chinese Navies Agree on Need for Cooperation
DoD Cyber Strategy Defines How Officials Discern Cyber Incidents from Armed Attacks
Vice Adm. Tighe Takes Charge of Information Warfare, Naval Intelligence
Truman Strike Group Completes Eight-Month Deployment
KC-46 Completes Milestone by Refueling Fighter Jet, Cargo Plane
Air Dominance and the Critical Role of Fifth Generation Fighters
Une nation est une âme
The Challenges of Ungoverned Spaces
Carter Salutes Iraqi Forces, Announces 560 U.S. Troops to Deploy to Iraq
Obama: U.S. Commitment to European Security is Unwavering in Pivotal Time for NATO
International Court to Decide Sovereignty Issue in South China Sea
La SPA 75 est centenaire !
U.S. to Deploy THAAD Missile Battery to South Korea
Maintien en condition des matériels : reprendre l’initiative
La veste « léopard », premier uniforme militaire de camouflage
Océan Indien 2016 : Opérations & Coopération
Truman Transits Strait of Gibraltar
Navy Unveils National Museum of the American Sailor
New Navy, Old Tar
Marcel Dassault parrain de la nouvelle promotion d’officiers de l’École de l’Air
RIMPAC 2016 : Ravitaillement à la mer pour le Prairial avant l’arrivée à Hawaii
Bataille de la Somme, l’oubliée
U.S., Iceland Sign Security Cooperation Agreement
Cléopatra : la frégate Jean Bart entre dans l’histoire du BPC Gamal Abdel Nasser
Surveiller l’espace maritime français aussi par satellite
America's Navy-Marine Corps Team Fuse for RIMPAC 2016
Stratégie France : Plaidoyer pour une véritable coopération franco-allemande
La lumière du Droit rayonne au bout du chemin





Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).

Contact