The Justice Department has settled a turf war between two federal law enforcement agencies.
A recent audit by the Justice Department's Office of Inspector General found nationwide conflicts between the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives over which agency is in charge for federal explosives investigations.
Acting Deputy Attorney General Gary G. Grindler wrote a memo to FBI Director Robert Mueller and Ken Melson, currently the top-ranking official at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, laying out the new framework.
Grindler's eight-page memo calls for the FBI to be the lead agency for domestic terrorism explosives investigations as well as explosives probes with a link to international terrorism or weapons of mass destruction. ATF will be the lead agency for everything else in the explosives realm.
Grindler also ordered the two agencies to do a better job of coordinating their work on explosives investigations.
The new document says that the two agencies will develop a plan by Nov. 1 to consolidate explosives training, with the goal of starting joint training by early next February.
Effective immediately, the FBI will put all information relating to explosives incidents into the Bombing and Arson Tracking System, which ATF had designated as the consolidated database for tracking explosives investigations, Grindler ordered.
And a "Lab Board" of representatives from both agencies is to develop recommendations by Nov. 1 to integrate resources of explosives laboratories that each agency has and reduce turnaround times for forensic analysis.
The Associated Press obtained copies of Grindler's memo and accompanying documents. ABC News first reported on them Tuesday.
To underscore the point that the two agencies need to improve their relationship, Grindler attached a copy of a 6-year-old Justice Department memo that covers many of the same points Grindler covered in his Aug. 3 directive.
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