Extending the GAO's Reach

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Monday, March 31, 2008

Lt. Gen. Michael D. Maples, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, is no doubt correct that the Government Accountability Office has not performed an audit of his agency for a decade [letters, March 28].

But The Post was also correct to report that the GAO "is already empowered to examine the finances" of the DIA ["GAO Seeks Review of Spy Agencies; The Outgoing Chief Auditor Makes a Pitch on Capitol Hill," news story, March 7]. Moreover, a Pentagon directive (DoD Instruction 7650.02) requires all defense agencies, including the DIA, "to cooperate fully with the GAO."

Inexplicably, the congressional intelligence committees have failed in recent years to take advantage of all of the oversight tools at their disposal, such as GAO audits.

Fortunately, this may be changing. On March 12, Reps. Silvestre Reyes (D-Tex.) and Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.) of the House intelligence committee asked the GAO to review security clearance processes in U.S. intelligence agencies.

STEVEN AFTERGOOD

Director, Project on Government Secrecy

Federation of American Scientists

Washington


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