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FBI and DOJ Response to TRAC Report

Washington, D.C. November 05, 2006
  • FBI National Press Office (202) 324-3691

It is astonishing that TRAC continues to present statistics that demonstrate a fundamental misunderstanding of the basic principles on how federal investigations and prosecutions work. This report contains inaccurate figures, relies on a faulty assumption that every referral from an investigative agency should result in a criminal prosecution and ignores the reality of how the war on terrorism is being conducted, particularly the value of early disruption of potential terrorist acts with proactive investigation and prosecution.

Specifically, the report questions the number of international terrorism referrals from the FBI that were not prosecuted. The reality is that a referral does not mean that criminal charges should be filed. Often, matters are referred to prosecutors to assist in further investigation through the use of criminal investigative tools that require legal process such as a subpoena or surveillance order.

There are also a number of factual reporting errors. Specifically, TRAC is not clear what its declination rate refers to, but the actual matter declination rate for international terrorism cases is 67 percent. Instead of referring to the actual 36 defendants charged with international terrorism offenses in FY 06 (up to June; 40 during the full year), TRAC mysteriously comes up with 19. In addition, twenty defendants were charged with terrorist hoaxes in FY 06.