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FBI translators, an important work

FBI lags on reviewing terror evidence

The FBI is still not reviewing reams of evidence collected in counterterrorism cases, and has fewer translators than it did a few years ago, an internal government watchdog said Monday.

Glenn Fine, the Justice Department's inspector general, issued a report finding flaws in the FBI's translation and evidence review efforts. FBI officials responded by saying the inspector general overstated the problem by double-counting wiretap recordings that are shared with more than one bureau office.

The report says that since 2003, the FBI has not reviewed about 47,000 hours of audio files in counterterrorism cases – the equivalent of a single recording running for 5½ years. The bureau says the real backlog is only about a tenth of that, or 4,770 hours – 200 days' worth.

In the most recent budget year, about 740 hours of recordings were not reviewed in the most important counterterrorism cases, the report said. FBI officials said the actual number is about 223 hours.

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