International Terrorism

Status of GAO's Review of the FBI's International Terrorism Program Gao ID: T-GGD-89-31 June 22, 1989

GAO discussed its review of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) international terrorism program. GAO noted that its review of FBI investigations closed between January 1, 1982 and June 30, 1988, has progressed slowly because FBI has taken: (1) about 3 months to update a database of closed investigations so that GAO could select a sample for review; (2) about 6 months to complete GAO questionnaires; and (3) several months to review, edit, and provide GAO with the copies of selected case files. GAO found that FBI opened cases because the subjects were believed to be: (1) directly involved in terrorist acts; (2) members or leaders of terrorist groups; or (3) associated with terrorist groups. GAO estimated that: (1) about 99 percent of the investigations were not extensive; (2) 38 percent of the subjects were U.S. persons; (3) FBI recorded information on individuals in its databases in 47 percent of the cases; and (4) FBI monitored or observed First Amendment activities in 11 percent of the cases. GAO also found that FBI closed cases for a variety of reasons, with the most frequent reason being that it did not develop information that linked the subject with terrorist activities.

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