We are quite 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). We hope 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.”
-- Ingrid Drake
- White House Threatens Veto Over GAO Role in Intel Oversight
- POGO Urges House to Support GAO Audits of Intel Community
- Podcast: Congressional Oversight of the Intelligence Community: an Overview and Update, with Steven Aftergood of Secrecy News and the Federation of American Scientists.