Privacy SOS

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Foreign Language Translation Program, Audit Report, 10-02, the FBI reviewed all of the 4.8 million foreign language text pages it collected between 2006 and 2008. However, it had not reviewed 14.2 million of the 46 million foreign language electronic files it collected, half of which related to counterterrorism and counterintelligence. And it had not listened to 1.2 million hours of the 4.8 million audio hours it had captured, including 47,000 hours of audio counterterrorism material and 1.1 million hours relating to counterintelligence.  

The report also found that the FBI had fewer linguists than it did in 2005, that it had failed to meet its hiring goals in 12 of 14 critical languages, and there was a problem with the quality control of translations.

“Not reviewing such material increases the risk that the FBI will not detect information in its possession that may be important to its counterterrorism and counterintelligence efforts. The FBI stated that it was not able to review all high-priority material requiring translation due in part to limited linguistic resources with proficiency in certain languages.”

Link to this and various other Inspector General reports.

© 2021 ACLU of Massachusetts.