The Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) is the criminal investigative arm of the Inspector General of the United States Department of Defense (OIG-DoD). Its main objective is to investigate criminal activities involving terrorism, procurement fraud, computer crimes, illegal technology transfers, and public corruption within the department of defense.
The Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) was established in 1981 as the criminal investigative arm of the Office of Inspector General, Department of Defense. The Inspector General Act of 1978 was the foundation of the Office of Inspector General and was created to oversee the entire Department of Defense. The Office of the Inspector General and, with it, the DCIS was actually created by the DOD Authorization Act in 1983.
The stated mission of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) is to protect American warfighters by uncovering fraud and corruption within the Department of Defense. The agency focuses on illegal activities critical to the country’s defensive readiness, and follows a policy that 80% of the investigations it initiates must be in its priority areas of criminal activity. In addition, the DCIS serves on Antiterrorism Task Forces sponsored by the Department of Justice. The goal here is to develop strategies to support investigations of suspected terrorists and prosecutions of known terrorists.
The following is a sampling of recent investigations (pdf – pages 32-38) that the DCIS has completed:
Some of the agency’s major fraud investigations have included cases against such companies as Allergan ($561.2 million recovery), GlaxoSmithKline ($494.9 million recovery), Capital Consortium Group ($82 million recovery), Louis Berger Group ($69.3 million recovery), and the Crowley Maritime Corp ($45 million recovery). The agency reported that in FY 2011, its investigations resulted in 273 criminal indictments and charges, 268 convictions, and approximately $1.850 billion in criminal, civil, and administrative recoveries. The DCIS also claims that, since its inception through September 2011, it has participated in cases that have resulted in over $19.76 billion in criminal, civil, and administrative recoveries.
In FY 2013, agency’s Office of Inspector General expects to undertake 625 investigations of senior DoD officials and 700 investigations of whistleblower reprisals, all based on anticipated complaint filings.
From the Web Site of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service
Audit Plan (pdf)
Strategic Plan – OIG (pdf)
The DCIS spent more than $5 million on 22 contractor transactions between FY 2002 and FY 2012, according to USASpending.org. The five main areas of spending were for building construction ($4,165,598), management services ($949,957), systems engineering services ($800,791), other management support ($616,042), and program management/support services ($221,340).
The top five recipients of contractor spending, and the amount that each was paid during that 10-year period, were:
1. Lakeshore Engineering Services Inc. $4,165,598
2. Bearingpoint, Inc. $949,957
3. Computer Sciences Corporation $800,791
4. Mantech International Corporation $616,042
5. Analytic Services Inc. $221,340
When it comes to Halliburton, headed by Dick Cheney from 1995 to 2000, and Halliburton’s former subsidiary KBR Inc., there have been plenty of controversies, but not a lot of investigations by the Defense Criminal Investigative Service.
Pentagon auditors have found alleged accounting malpractice, suspicious payments to officials and overcharging within Halliburton and its former subsidiary KBR. It has been accused of breaching United States sanctions that prohibit companies from operating in places such as Iran and was also blamed for damaging the historic Iraqi site of Babylon, where it helped establish a U.S. base. Yet the DoD continues to grant Halliburton contracts in Iraq and other locations. One may wonder why the DCIS celebrates the conviction of travel voucher fraud though it has not seen the conviction of larger-scale criminal activity involved in Halliburton and other such agencies.
“The evidence shows that Halliburton has billed taxpayers for over $1 billion in costs that the Pentagon's own auditors have questioned or called unreasonable,” said Byron Dorgan, Chairman of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee, in 2006. “American soldiers in harm's way bathed and brushed their teeth in water that we now know to have been contaminated by dangerous bacteria. Good people who spoke up and tried to stop these outrages were fired for doing so.”
The Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) recommended to the DoD that it refuse to pay Halliburton’s KBR (Kellogg, Brown & Root) subsidiary for $159.5 million in meal overcharges. The DCAA said the subsidiary charged the government for thousands of meals in and around Iraq that were never served to the troops. The DCAA continues to audit bills submitted by KBR for feeding soldiers in Iraq and Kuwait.
The Inspector General’s office of DCIS launched a criminal investigation of Kellogg, Brown & Root on January 29, 2004. Defense Department auditors found the unit may have overcharged as much as $61 million for fuel shipped into Iraq from Kuwait. The subcontractor is Altanmia Commercial Marketing Co.
In 2009, Halliburton agreed to pay $559 million to settle charges that one of its former units bribed Nigerian officials between 1994 and 2004 during the construction of a gas plant. The penalty represented the largest paid by a U.S. company in a bribery investigation.
In addition to the money, a former top Halliburton executive, Albert “Jack” Stanley, plead guilty to orchestrating the bribes. He was sentenced to 2.5 years in federal prison, and was ordered to pay a fine of $10.8 million.
In 2011, Halliburton and KBR were sued by Jamie Leigh Jones, a former female employee who said she was raped by coworkers in Iraq during the war. The 20-year-old IT technician at the time of the alleged attack in 2005, said she had only been in country 72 hours when she was drugged at a bar and gang raped by several men.
That same year, a Halliburton subcontractor made the news for allegedly trafficking foreign workers in Iraq. As many as 1,000 of migrant workers from South Asia were confined in a windowless warehouse and subjected to poor living conditions.
The subcontractor, Najlaa, reportedly “suffered no repercussions” for its actions from the Defense Department. The episode brought up earlier allegations of labor trafficking by KBR subcontractors, two of which were referred to DCIS for investigation.
Finally, in 2012, KBR was at the center of controversy again over its use of toxic chemicals to restore a water treatment plant in Iraq during the war. American soldiers guarding the plant fell ill due to exposure to the toxins, and later sued KBR seeking economic damages.
The Project on Government Oversight reported that KBR’s contract with the Army gave it immunity from prosecution for any wrongful actions it committed while fixing the plant.
Halliburton to Pay $559 Million To Settle Bribery Investigation (by Russell Gold, Wall Street Journal)
Albert Stanley, Former Halliburton Exec, Sentenced In Bribery Scheme (by John Rudolf, Huffington Post)
Jury Selection Begins in KBR, Halliburton Gang Rape Lawsuit (by Lisa Chavarria and Kevin Reese, Ms Sparky)
Complaint Says KBR Knew of Toxins in Iraq (by Nigel Duara, Associated Press)
KBR May Have Knowingly Poisoned U.S. Soldiers in Iraq, But It Won't Pay a Penny (by Dana Liebelson, Project on Government Oversight)
Documents Reveal Details of Alleged Labor Trafficking by KBR Subcontractor (by David Isenberg and Nick Schwellenbach, Project on Government Oversight)
Defense Contractor Imprisoned for Bribing Congressman (by Jim Kouri, Post Chronicle)
Halliburton criminal probe opened (CBS Marketwatch)
When war becomes big business (by Deborah Fink, Ames Tribune)
Is Anyone at DCIS Minding the Store?
During the first year of the Obama administration, the DCIS was faulted for probing fewer contracting fraud and corruption cases under President George W. Bush.
In comparing DCIS’ performance under Bush and President Bill Clinton, the Center for Public Integrity found the agency experienced a 76% drop in contracting fraud and corruption cases.
This decline was viewed as alarming, especially since defense contracting doubled from $200 billion to $400 billion between 1993 and 2008.
The revelation about the DCIS prompted one of its former directors, William G. Dupree, to remark: “No one is minding the store.” Dupree added that the Obama administration needed to address the problem.
One reason the DCIS was conducting fewer investigations was attributed to a drop in manpower. From the mid-1990s to 2003, the number of DCIS agents declined, before increasing slightly. But the total was still less than what the agency had in 1995.
Defense Contract Fraud Cases Declined Under Bush (by Jaime L. Hartman, OhMyGov)
Fraud Cases Fell While Pentagon Contracts Surged (by Nick Schwellenbach, The Center for Public Integrity)
Straying from Its Mission
A Senate committee criticized the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) in 2010 as part of a larger negative critique of the Pentagon’s inspector general’s office.
The committee report accused the IG of straying from its core mission of detecting waste, fraud and abuse. During 2009 the inspector general did not investigate a single weapons contractor, much to the surprise of Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), whose office issued the report.
Grassley’s staffers also faulted the DCIS, noting that of the nine cases the IG referred to DCIS that year, no criminal prosecutions took place.
Lawmaker Finds Defense IG Is Doing Less With More (by Robert Brodsky, Government Executive)
DCIS Fails to Follow Up on Employees Who Purchased Child Porn
In 2006, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) probed federal offices for evidence of employees who had accessed the Internet for child pornography. ICE uncovered the names of 5,200 Department of Defense employees suspected of viewing child pornography, at which point ICE turned the matter over to the DCIS.
The DCIS later came under criticism for failing to investigate all 5,200 Pentagon workers—some with the highest security clearances—who may have viewed porn on office computers. It was revealed the DCIS checked only two-thirds of the names, leaving 1,700 unaccounted for.
Some 264 Pentagon employees were suspected of actually purchasing child porn, and only 52 were actually investigated by the DCIS. Of those, only 10 people were indicted on charges.
Pentagon Lagged on Pursuing Porn Cases (by Bryan Bender, Boston Globe)
Problems at one Pentagon office in 2009 exposed a bad habit of investigators at the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, raising the issue of bureaucratic reforms.
During an examination of audit procedures at the Defense Contract Audit Agency, officials with the DCAA complained that they sometimes didn’t refer possible fraud cases to DCIS due to that agency’s high standard of evidence.
A senior DCAA official said some DCIS criminal investigators “did not want a referral unless the DCAA referral demonstrated it was clearly fraud… We have had to educate our people that we do not need to prove fraud; that is the job of the investigator.”
Another DCAA official noted their agency was not required “to prove the existence of fraud or other contractor irregularities,” further reinforcing a complaint that DCIS needed to do its job of investigating potential fraud.
Pentagon Contract Fraud Policy May Not Match Reality (by Nick Schwellenbach, The Center for Public Integrity)