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Project on Government Oversight




GAO Intel Oversight Provision Goes Missing

July 20, 2010 


POGO is disappointed that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) provision has disappeared in the revised version of the Intelligence Authorization Act (S. 3361). Removing this language, which clarifies the GAO’s authority to audit the intelligence community, is a major step backward in terms of improving congressional oversight of the intelligence community.

Even worse, this news comes on the heels of The Washington Post’s revelations of runaway spending, organizational redundancy, and breakdowns in oversight in the intelligence community. It’s hard to imagine more compelling evidence for Congress’ need for the independent expertise of the GAO in conducting oversight of the largess of intelligence operations.  

Perhaps the objections of the Obama administration and a veto threat had something to do with the disappearance of this vital oversight measure?

Fortunately, this is not the end of the story. The GAO provision still exists in the House version of the Defense Authorization Bill, thanks to Rep. Eshoo (D-CA). POGO hopes it also will be included in the Senate bill.

The CATO Institute has also come out in support of the idea of increasing oversight of the intelligence community, saying “What’s needed is the kind of steady “patrolling” that could be provided by greater scope for investigation by the Government Accountability Office or a well-staffed umbrella Inspector General for whole of the intel community.”

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Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that champions good government reforms. POGO's investigations into corruption, misconduct, and conflicts of interest achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government.

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