Audit: DOJ Isn't Spending All Its Anti-Terrorism Money On Anti-Terrorism
The Justice Department diverted funds that Congress designated for terrorism prosecutions to the prosecution of other crimes, according to an audit (pdf) by Justice Department Inspector General Glenn Fine. From 2003 to 2007, Congress funded positions for 250 to 293 prosecutors to focus on terrorism. During that time, the Justice Department never assigned more than 204 prosecutors to terrorism cases. U.S. Attorneys used some of the funding to prosecute other crimes, including health care fraud and drug distribution. The audit also concluded that the U.S. Attorneys underutilized available resources.
While this AP story contends that the audit "raises questions about how prosecutors around the country allocate their time among top crime-fighting priorities," U.S. Attorneys aren't to blame for using their prosecutors where they're needed. No matter how much money Congress wants to allocate to terrorism prosecution, there just aren't many credible terrorist threats to prosecute. Prosecutors can convene grand jury investigations and prepare search warrant applications and otherwise assist federal agents with their investigations, but if those investigations go nowhere (as they so often have), the prosecutors are wasting their time and our money. U.S. Attorneys can assign prosecutors to chat with each other about the unproductive terrorism investigations they're leading, or they can assign those prosecutors to useful work.
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