MARCH 07, 2008
Claiming to have shifted priorities to terrorism cases, federal agencies responsible for fighting white-collar crime in the U.S. have drastically reduced the amount of investigations submitted to the Department of Justice for prosecution.
The problem is that not all of the government agencies in decline conduct terrorism-related investigations. A new study based on nearly 7 million Justice Department records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), reveals the incredible in drop in the last two decades.
The investigation was conducted by Syracuse University and findings were published in a report that features graphs and charts as well as a breakdown by agency. It reveals that the Secret Service led all agencies with a 67% decline in cases referred for prosecution, even though it doesn’t focus on terrorism and espionage.
This certainly questions the terrorism focus theory as an explanation for the agencies’ steep referral decline in matters such as mail fraud, tax fraud, counterfeiting and financial fraud. Other agencies that don’t investigate terrorism yet saw big reductions in investigations include the Postal Service and Internal Revenue Service with decreases of 45% and 36% respectively.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which does investigate terrorism, had a %51 reduction in criminal cases sent to federal prosecutors in the last two decades. The agency claims its new anti-terrorism emphasis was a necessary national security mission that has been extremely effective. The study reveals, however, that the decline began prior to the 2001 terrorist attacks.
On the upside, federal immigration investigations have skyrocketed and currently account for more than one fourth of all Justice Department criminal referrals. Last year alone more than 40,000 immigration cases went to the Justice Department, more than double the figure from 2001.
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