Justice inspector general announces retirement

Glenn Fine, highly visible for the past 10 years as the Justice Department's inspector general, announced his retirement in Nov. 29 letters to President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder, citing his desire to "pursue new professional challenges."

"I am proud of the OIG's significant contributions to the Department of Justice," Fine wrote. "Through our audits, investigations, inspections and special reviews, we have sought to improve the department's performance; promote economy and efficiency in its programs; and detect and deter waste, fraud and abuse in its operations."

Fine was noted for probing the allegedly political firing of U.S. attorneys during the George W. Bush administration, and issued stern reports blasting the FBI for "serious misuse" of national security letters, one of the Bush administration's most controversial anti-terrorism tools. A 2007 report alleged the bureau might be responsible for up to 3,000 cases of abuse of the letters' expedited subpoena process, through which agents can gain access, without court approval, to bank, phone and credit card records of individuals suspected of ties to terrorists.

In September, Fine announced the IG's office would probe whether the Obama administration's Justice Department displayed bias in prosecuting voting rights violations, a move that grew out of a political controversy over the department's voting section investigation of whether Philadelphia voters in November 2008 were intimidated by members of the New Black Panther Party.

Departing at a time when Congress is considering giving subpoena powers to federal inspectors general to better expose wasteful spending, Fine said he was "fortunate to work in a department that I believe understands and appreciates the OIG's crucial mission of independent oversight."

President Clinton named Fine IG in 2000, after Fine spent five years in the office as a top attorney. Holder issued a statement saying Fine, who will leave at the end of January 2011, "embodied the Justice Department's highest ideals and greatest traditions of service" and that the IG's office has "never been stronger."

Fine's office declined comment on the question of expanding IG subpoena power.

The Justice watchdog's departure "is a big loss to the IG community," said Danielle Brian, executive director of the Project on Government Oversight, which favors enhanced IG powers. "In addition to tackling difficult and important issues, Fine has set a model both for independence from the agency, as well as a strong working relationship with Congress."

Brian noted the idea for subpoena power came from the IG community and argued existing procedures rely too heavily on documents rather than testimonial evidence.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.