A review of the protection of the judiciary and United States Attorneys, in a redacted version obtained by Security Magazine, states that threats against U.S. judges and federal prosecutors jumped 11.6 percent in fiscal 2008 and the U.S. Marshals Service assigned to protect them did not respond consistently to the threats.

The U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) district offices have primary security responsibility to protect more than 2,000 federal judges and about 5,250 federal court officials. Three DOJ components – the executive office for U.S. Attorneys, the U.S. Attorneys Offices and the FBI – are also involved in responding to threats.

And threats can quickly turn into incidents. Just days ago, there was a shooting in the lobby of a Las Vegas U.S. federal district court building in which a security officer was killed and a U.S. Deputy Marshal seriously injured during a foot chase before the shooter was killed.

According to the Inspector General in his December 2009 report, the USMS threat response program has deficiencies in several critical areas that affect the USMS’s ability to protect federal judges, U.S. Attorneys, and Assistant Attorneys from harm. “Our review found that (these federal officials) are not consistently reporting threats on a timely basis and in some instances are note reporting threats at all. When protectees do not report all threats, the USMS is unable to provide a comprehensive protective response.

“However, once a threat has been reported, the USMS does not consistently use risk levels in assessing threats or provide at least the minimum required protective measures. Moreover, the USMS cannot verify that it has notified the FBI of all known threats against federal judicial officers.

“The lack of coordination between the USMS and other law enforcement agencies also limits its ability to ensure the safety of its protectees.”

Security Magazine readers can obtain a redacted DOJ Inspector General’s report by going to