internal report that harshly criticized the
Justice Department's diversity efforts was
edited so heavily when it was posted on the
department's Web site two weeks ago that half
of its 186 pages, including the summary, were
The deleted passages, electronically recovered
by a self-described "information archaeologist"
in Tucson, portrayed the department's record
on diversity as seriously flawed, specifically
in the hiring, promotion and retention of
The unedited report, completed in June 2002
by the consulting firm KPMG, found that minority
employees at the department, which is responsible
for enforcing the country's civil rights laws,
perceive their own workplace as biased and
department does face significant diversity
issues," the report said. "Whites and minorities
as well as men and women perceive differences
in many aspects of the work climate. For example,
minorities are significantly more likely than
whites to cite stereotyping, harassment and
racial tension as characteristics of the work
climate. Many of these differences are also
present between men and women, although to
a lesser extent."
Another deleted part said efforts to promote
diversity "will take extraordinarily strong
leadership" from the attorney general's office
and other Justice Department offices.
Even complimentary conclusions were deleted,
like one that said "attorneys across demographic
groups believe that the Department is a good
place to work" and another that said "private
industry cites DOJ as a trend-setter for diversity."
Beyond that, a recommendation that the department
should "increase public visibility of diversity
issues," was kept out of the public report.
The edited version gave a much narrower view
of the department's diversity problems.
Private lawyers who have sued federal agencies
for racial discrimination expressed dismay
at the heavy editing of the report and at
its conclusions that discrimination was perceived
by the minority lawyers who make up about
15 percent of the Justice Department's 9,200
Justice Department has sought to hide from
the public statistically significant findings
of discrimination against minorities within
its ranks," said David J. Shaffer, a lawyer
who has represented agents from federal agencies
in class-action discrimination lawsuits. "These
cases challenge the same type of discriminatory
practices found to exist at the Justice Department."
After the unedited document began circulating
in computer circles, and articles began appearing
earlier this month in publications like Computer
World and newspapers like Newsday, the Justice
Department pulled the edited report from its
Web site, later posting a different version
thought to be more resistant to electronic
The complaints about the Justice Department
come as it has shifted many resources to fighting
terrorism and critics have said it has allowed
the enforcement of civil rights to languish
and failed to aggressively pursue some accusations
of discrimination in housing, the workplace
and other critical areas.
Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts,
said the department's handling of the report
called into question its commitment to diversity
in its own workplace.
At a Senate hearing this week, Mr. Kennedy
told James B. Comey, nominated by President
Bush to succeed Larry Thompson as deputy attorney
general, that the episode "gives the distinct
impression that the department commissioned
the report, then left it on the shelf, ignoring
Mr. Comey, however, said the report and the
policy that grew out of it were "a point of
pride" for the Justice Department.
Mark Corallo, a Justice Department spokesman,
said that portions of the report, and even
its conclusions, were "deliberative and predecisional"
and so could be excluded from the public report
under provisions in the Freedom of Information
Act. Mr. Corallo said some of the consultants'
findings were inaccurate, but he said he could
not discuss deleted passages.
Mr. Corallo said career lawyers who routinely
decide how to censor material before public
release made the recommendations about what
to delete from the diversity report. He said
their recommendations were sent to the office
of the deputy attorney general, where it was
reviewed by political appointees who made
no further changes.
By the time the department posted the theoretically
more secure version of the report on its Web
site, it was too late. Russ Kick, a writer
and editor in Tucson, who operates a Web site,
thememoryhole.org, had had already electronically
stripped the edited version of the black lines
that hid the full text. Mr. Kick then posted
the unedited version of the report on his
Web site, where it has been copied more than
32,000 times, a near record for the site.
Justice Department officials said it was unlikely
that any action would be taken against Mr.
Some Justice Department lawyers said the editing
of the report had overshadowed the purpose
of the study. Stacey Plaskett Duffy, a senior
counsel to the deputy attorney general, said
the study, a self-evaluation, was part of
a program to improve the department's diversity
was a study that we commissioned of our own
volition to get a look at what our work force
looked like," Ms. Duffy said. "We didn't have
to let people know we were doing this."
She said the department had undertaken a number
of significant steps to improve the work environment
for minority members. Department officials
have begun a pilot $300,000 program to help
new lawyers pay off student loans, she said,
and have also started a mentoring program,
begun posting all job openings and are assessing
how to more fairly assign cases within each
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