Justice Department

Coordination Between DEA and the FBI Gao ID: GGD-90-59 March 21, 1990

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the relationship between the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in investigating drug trafficking, focusing on: (1) how DEA and FBI coordinated their enforcement activities; (2) how the Department of Justice oversaw drug enforcement activities; (3) the status of efforts to merge DEA and FBI authority and resources into a single agency; and (4) DEA and FBI officials' views on the advantages and disadvantages of such a merger.

GAO found that: (1) DEA and FBI independently carried out their drug law enforcement responsibilities; (2) FBI and DEA undertook several joint initiatives designed to enhance coordination, but officials acknowledged that day-to-day informal coordination had been more successful; (3) since FBI and DEA did not follow an Attorney General order requiring the two agencies to report to him, he took several steps to ensure coordination; (4) the Attorney General rejected merging DEA and FBI drug law enforcement activities, but did not rule out such a merger if the need arose; and (5) DEA and FBI officials cited many advantages and disadvantages to establishing one drug law enforcement agency, and officials of the two agencies disagreed as to which agency should remain after a merger.

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