Views on H.R. 3086Gao ID: 121716 June 22, 1983
GAO commented on the activities of the U.S. Marshals Service and on H.R. 3086, a bill that would amend existing laws governing the protection of Government witnesses, the performance of U.S. marshal duties, and the fees for serving process and rendering other court-related services. Attention was focused on the Witness Security Program, since recent GAO work showed that the program has enabled some witnesses to avoid legal obligations to third parties, because the Department of Justice refused to disclose the identities of witnesses. GAO believes that H.R. 3086 would provide third parties with the opportunity for judicial review of the facts on which Justice based its nondisclosure decision. GAO generally supports H.R. 3086, although clarification needs to be made concerning Federal information disclosure to State and local law enforcement officials on protected witnesses. GAO is also concerned about the accuracy of information sharing through on-line computer systems. GAO noted that H.R. 3086 sufficiently protects the safety of private citizens from the risks of relocating a witness and requires strict obedience to program guidelines and restrictions. Finally, GAO suggested ways that the Attorney General can improve the supervision and effectiveness of the program.