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Project on Government Oversight

Danielle Brian

Executive Director

danielle@pogo.org |

Year Started At POGO: 1983 as an Intern

Areas of expertise: National Security, Government Oversight, Wasteful Defense Spending, Ethics, Open Government, Whistleblower Issues

Since 1993, Danielle Brian has been the Executive Director of the Project On Government Oversight (POGO). She frequently testifies before Congress and regularly meets with Members of Congress and officials at the White House and federal agencies to discuss how to achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government.  Ms. Brian was appointed by the Secretary of the Interior to serve on the U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative Federal Advisory Committee in 2012. In 2013, she was elected chair of the civil society organizations on the Federal Advisory Committee. Ms. Brian was inducted into the Freedom of Information Act Hall of Fame, was ranked by Ethisphere magazine as one of the top 100 most influential people in business ethics, and received the Smith College Medal. Brian serves on the board of Taxpayers for Common Sense, and is the chair of the Steering Committee for OpenTheGovernment.org.

Under Ms. Brian’s direction, POGO has conducted numerous investigations that have resulted in major public policy reforms:

  •  Exposed wasteful spending, which led to the cancellation of some of the government’s largest contracts, including the Boeing tanker lease, the $13 billion Superconducting Super Collider, the $11 billion Army Crusader, and the Army’s Sergeant York DIVAD. POGO also was a leader in the fight to end production of the F-22 fighter.

  • Uncovered oil and gas industry fraud on public lands that led to the Justice Department’s recovery of nearly half a billion dollars, rule changes to prevent future fraud, and the dismantlement of the Minerals Management Service into separate bureaus with strengthened ethics rules.

  • Investigated lax nuclear power plant security, sparking improved training and working conditions for guards. POGO’s investigations into the U.S. nuclear weapons complex also increased security at the complex by reducing the number of vulnerable sites.

  • Filed and won a lawsuit against then-Attorney General John Ashcroft for retroactively classifying FBI documents.

  • Successfully pushed for reforms that bolstered both the independence and accountability of the federal Inspectors General system.

Reforming an Essential Open Government Law

September 30, 2014

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is in desperate need of reform, according to the Project On Government Oversight's Danielle Brian.

When Laws Are Created in Secret

September 30, 2014

POGO's Danielle Brian discusses the disturbing trend of laws being interpreted in secret away from public scrutiny.

One Group is Still Left Out of Whistleblower Protections

September 30, 2014

The Project On Government Oversight's Danielle Brian talks about the advances in whistleblower protections. Unfortunately, intelligence community contractors are still vulnerable.

It's Time for More Limits on Lobbying

September 30, 2014

POGO's Danielle Brian talks about the problems with lax regulations on former members of Congress becoming lobbyists.

POGO calls on President Obama to seek resignation of NRC Commissioner Magwood

July 21, 2014

We are writing to highlight Nuclear Regulatory Commission Commissioner William Magwood’s glaring conflict of interest and urge you to seek his immediate resignation.

POGO Letter to VA Secretary About VA Employees' Claims of Fear and Retaliation

July 21, 2014

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) employees told the Project On Government Oversight that they have faced retaliation for blowing the whistle on problems, and many said a toxic culture discourages VA employees from openly expressing dissent.

POGO's Response to VA Inspector General's Subpoena for Whistleblower Records

June 9, 2014

POGO received a subpoena for all records it has received related to the failures at the Department of Veterans Affairs. POGO will not comply with the VA's demand, arguing that it violates the Constitution and will harm the underlying mission of the organization.

POGO Asks Justice Dept. to Investigate Use of Confidentiality Agreements by Federal Fund Recipients

June 5, 2014

The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) requests that the Department of Justice investigate federal fund recipients using confidentiality or non-disclosure agreements that infringe current and former employees’ federal whistleblower rights in violation of the False Claims Act (31 U.S.C. §3730(h)), the Federal Acquisition Regulation (48 C.F.R. Subpart 3.9), and other federal whistleblower protection laws (e.g., 10 U.S.C. §2409, 41 U.S.C. §4712). POGO is concerned that companies are using these agreements to hinder governmental investigations into criminal, civil, and administrative violations on federal contracts, grants, and other federally funded programs.

POGO Calls on Senate to Keep Pentagon Testing Office Strong in NDAA

May 16, 2014

On May 7, the House Armed Services Committee released its version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2015.

POGO Calls for Acting Chief of Defense Nuclear Security to be Replaced

February 25, 2014

Steve Asher, is the Acting Chief of Defense Nuclear Security but his most recent job was as a Target manger in Spokane, WA. Before that he was the Group Commander at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana where cheating on launch readiness tests was extensive, a culture that the Energy Department should not reward or encourage by giving Asher a permanent position in charge of defense nuclear security.

What Obama Should Say at the State of the Union

January 28, 2014

At tonight's State of the Union address, President Obama should acknowledge that we have a broken system for intelligence community whistleblowers and vow to provide a meaningful path for law disclosures.

Peace Activists Deserve Leniency; Their Actions Exposed Dangerous Security Flaws

January 27, 2014

If justice is served Tuesday, a federal judge will exercise leniency when he sentences Sister Megan Rice, Greg Boertje-Obed, and Michael Walli for their non-violent protest at the Y-12 nuclear facility in Oak Ridge, Tenn., in July 2012.

Watching the Watchdogs: The Good, the Bad, and What We Need from the Inspectors General

January 14, 2014

Inspectors General are in place to hold their agencies accountable, yet a number lack the strength, independence, and integrity to effectively do so. Our report looks at some notable failures and successes by IGs and suggests places where the IG system can be reformed.

General Who Intimidated Whistleblowers Not Fit to Oversee Army’s Sexual Assault Policy, POGO Tells Secretary Hagel

November 15, 2013

Allegations that an Army general intimidated whistleblowers while on a NATO deployment in Afghanistan make him unfit for his current job of overseeing the Pentagon’s sexual assault policy, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) said Friday in a letter to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.

POGO Calls for the Removal of Army General Unfit to Oversee Sexual Assault Prevention

November 15, 2013

In a shocking twist to the military's treatment of sexual assault cases, an Army General officially found to have restricted the rights of whistleblowers has assumed command of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office. POGO raises concerns that his previous actions could seriously compromise this important program and urges Secretary Hagel to remove him from the position.

POGO Urges Air Force to Delay F-35 Basing Decision

November 6, 2013

As the civilian and military heads of the Air Force, you are in the process of selecting the first National Guard base at which to beddown the F-35A Lightning II, also known as the Joint Strike Fighter.

Nation’s Focus Should be on Broken Whistleblower System And Unchecked Growth of our National Security State

June 24, 2013

Where Mr. Snowden chooses asylum is a sideshow to critical matters facing our nation. What we should be focusing on are the important issues he has exposed—a broken system for whistleblowers and how secrecy is undermining our constitutional democracy.

Shielding the Whistleblowers

June 6, 2013

Seaman Kori Cioca, who was featured in “The Invisible War,” an Academy Award-nominated movie about sexual assault in the U.S. military, long dreamed of enlisting in the armed forces and dedicating her life to the service of her country. Her dreams were shattered — as was her jaw — when her supervising officer attacked and brutally raped her. Although she reported the rape up the chain of command, the military failed to take meaningful action against her attacker and retaliated against her instead.

How Money Rules Washington

May 17, 2013

Danielle Brian, executive director of the Project On Government Oversight, and Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, sat down with Bill Moyers to talk about how industry influence shapes laws, public policy and regulations.

POGO Asks Secretary Hagel to Stop Funding B61 Nuclear Bomb Program in Europe

April 17, 2013

The cost of maintaining the B61 nuclear bomb program in Europe has increased yet again while questions regarding security and military efficacy remain unanswered.

POGO and Taxpayers for Common Sense Ask President to Cut MOX

February 5, 2013

The Project On Government Oversight and Taxpayers for Common Sense wrote to President Obama urging him to cut funding to the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility (MOX) because it's a program that is over budget, over schedule, and lacking even a single customer.

POGO and Allies Warn Secretary of Energy of Dangerous Plutonium Plan

November 1, 2012

The Department of Energy's proposal to transport plutonium bomb cores from New Mexico to California is unnecessarily dangerous and potentially unlawful. Forty-six groups, including the Project On Government Oversight, believe safer alternatives exist and must be examined.

POGO's Picks for the Best of the House and Senate NDAAs

October 25, 2012

We understand your staff members are currently engaged in conversations about how to reconcile the House and Senate versions of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (NDAA, H.R. 4310 and S. 3254) in advance of the upcoming lame duck legislative session. To help inform your discussions, we have identified specific provisions we hope you will include in the final bill that reaches the President’s desk for signature.

POGO Challenges DoD's Disclosure of Budgeting and Spending Service Contract Data

October 24, 2012

It is clear that an increasing number of Senators and Representatives are concerned about the Department of Defense’s (DoD) inability to account for how it expends hundreds of billions of dollars each year to procure services from contractors. It is equally clear that DoD has not adequately addressed these concerns or rectified its inept accounting system and budgeting process.

POGO Speaks Out Against Congressional Attempts to Fund Unnecessary Nuclear Weapons Facility

August 30, 2012

Experts throughout the government say the proposed nuclear facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory is is neither affordable nor necessary. However, some Senators are still trying to fund this nuclear boondoggle. The Project On Government Oversight is speaking out to Energy Secretary Steven Chu against the Senators who are trying to undermine his decision to halt this wasteful, $6-billion project.

Clips from Danielle Brian's Lecture about Military Ethics

April 24, 2012

In March, POGO Executive Director Danielle Brian gave a speech to students and faculty from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces about the difficulties of applying ethics rules in the real world of the U.S. military. Here is a short clip from the lecture. To see the whole lecture go here - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdP3nGg9ctA

Project On Government Oversight on C-SPAN talking about GSA

April 23, 2012

Project On Government Oversight Executive Director Danielle Brian was on C-SPAN to talk about the cost of government oversight in light of the recent General Services Administration (GSA) scandal.

Excerpts from Danielle Brian's TEDxMidAtlantic Talk

April 9, 2012

Excerpts from Danielle Brian's talk at TEDxMidatlantic on October 29. 2011 in Washington, D.C..To watch the full talk, go here - http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/TEDxMidAtlantic-2011-Danielle-B

Testimony of POGO's Danielle Brian on Examination of The Department of the Interior’s Oversight of Offshore Oil Drilling

July 22, 2010

Since 1995, POGO has issued five reports about the Minerals Management Service’s inadequate oversight of the major oil and gas companies, primarily with a focus on the loss of royalty revenue.The Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf is another direct result of MMS’s failure to do its job.

Testimony of Danielle Brian before the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan Regarding Private Security Contractors

June 18, 2010

I want to thank the Commission for asking POGO to testify about the question of whether private security contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan are performing inherently governmental functions. We have studied inherently governmental functions for years, and we have examined this question and it is clear that the answer is yes.

Testimony of Danielle Brian before the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources

June 17, 2010

The Deepwater Horizon disaster is a direct result of Mineral Management Service’s failure to do its job. It is important that the Department of the Interior and Congress do what they can to learn from this catastrophe and make sure it never happens again.

POGO Letter to Congress Calling For Increased Oversight of Financial Self-Regulators

February 23, 2010

The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is writing to raise concerns that Congress’s efforts to reform the financial regulatory system have not adequately addressed the failures of the private self-regulatory organizations (SROs) that are tasked with protecting the investing public and maintaining the integrity of our financial markets.

Testimony of POGO's Danielle Brian before the House Committee on Natural Resources regarding "The Consolidated Land, Energy, and Aquatic Resources Act of 2009"

September 17, 2009

POGO applauds the House Natural Resources Committee for your vigilant oversight of royalty collections, and for writing the Consolidated Land, Energy, and Aquatic Resources (CLEAR) Act of 2009. This legislation will benefit taxpayers by implementing several key reforms that will help to ensure taxpayers are receiving their fair share from their natural resources.

Testimony of Danielle Brian before the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan

September 14, 2009

Practically from Day One, ArmorGroup North America knowingly underperformed in its mission in order to maximize its profits, endangering the diplomats and its own employees in the process—and the Department of State knew about it.

POGO Letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton regarding U.S. Embassy in Kabul

September 1, 2009

As you know, last month eight rockets were fired into Kabul, two landing near the U.S. Embassy.1 Not long after, at least seven people were killed and 91 wounded, including children, when a suicide bomber struck close to the Embassy. Following the second attack, a Taliban spokesman declared that the target had been the U.S. Embassy itself.

Testimony of POGO's Danielle Brian on S. 372: The Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2009

June 11, 2009

POGO believes H.R. 1507, the “Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2009,” does a much better job providing meaningful protections for federal employees who blow the whistle than Senate companion bill S. 372 because it allows access to jury trials extends meaningful protections to national security whistleblowers.

Testimony of POGO's Danielle Brian regarding the Accountability and Oversight of Funding Provided in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act)

May 5, 2009

Certain provisions of the Recovery Act provide a terrific opportunity to finally crack open the opaque world of government contracting, but some essential protections are missing including lack of funding for state and local auditors and investigators and a clear system for potential whistlebloweres.

Testimony of POGO's Danielle Brian on The Roles and Responsibilities of Inspectors General

March 25, 2009

Watching the watchdogs is an essential factor in keeping this vital system in balance, and holding Inspectors General accountable is a job that needs to be embraced more thoughtfully by Congress and accomplished more effectively by their peers through the Inspector General Council's Integrity Committee.

Written Testimony of POGO's Danielle Brian on "Getting Royalties Right: Recent Recommendations for Improving the Federal Oil & Gas Royalty System"

March 11, 2008

We applaud the Royalty Policy Committee’s report shedding light on the many problems inherent within the royalty collection systems at the Department of Interior’s Minerals Management Service (MMS) and encouraging reform, oversight, and transparency. However, much of what we know about the agency from its own Inspector’s General reports, press reports, Congressional oversight, state and tribal auditors, and whistleblowers leads us to believe that the Committee’s report does not go far enough.

Testimony of POGO's Danielle Brian before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on "Strengthening the Unique Role of the Nation's Inspectors General"

July 11, 2007

Inspector General (IG) offices play a tremendously important role in advancing good government practices, but only if they are led by independent and qualified IGs, and those IGs are allowed to do their job

Testimony of POGO's Danielle Brian before a joint Senate hearing regarding "Oversight Review of the Investigation of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Inspector General"

June 7, 2007

Testimony of Danielle Brian, Executive Director, Project On Government Oversight (POGO) before a joint hearing of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee’s Subcommittee on Space, Aeronautics and Related Sciences and the House Science Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations regarding “Oversight Review of the Investigation of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Inspector General.”

Remarks by POGO's Danielle Brian at the Center for American Progress conference, "A Return to Competitive Contracting"

May 14, 2007

We at POGO have, for some time, been raising our concerns about the current procurement laws. The current system is plagued by inadequate competition, a lack of accountability, little transparency and is full of contracting vehicles such as interagency contracts and indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contracts that put taxpayer dollars at risk.

Testimony of POGO's Danielle Brian, before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations

January 30, 2007

Testimony of Danielle Brian, Executive Director, Project On Government Oversight (POGO)before the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. “Continuing Security Concerns at the Los Alamos National Laboratory”

Testimony of POGO's Danielle Brian before the House Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations regarding Nuclear Security: Has the NRC Strengthened Facility Standards Since 9/11?

April 4, 2006

The GAO’s findings clearly reveal devastating discrepancies between current security standards at nuclear power plants and what is needed to repel a terrorist attack. It is clear that the public can not trust the combined efforts of the nuclear industry and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to protect the them.

Testimony of POGO's Danielle Brian on Government Contracting and the Negative Impact on Small Businesses

November 8, 2005

On May 17, 2005, POGO's General Counsel Scott Amey testified before OMB's Acquisition Advisory Panel, highlighting concerns in five areas that have been the target of contractor-driven "reforms." POGO recommended that the Panel strengthen federal government contracting laws and regulations.

POGO senior investigator Peter Stockton’s presentation to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission outlining the problems with guard fatigue

September 21, 2005

POGO has real problems with the current fatigue order for security officers – particularly group hours and self declaration

Testimony of POGO's Danielle Brian on a Review of Security Initiatives at DOE Nuclear Weapons Facilities before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations

March 18, 2005

The Department of Energy does not need new offices such as the NNSA’s new Office of Performance Assurance, new commissions, or new studies. The DOE needs to follow through on its existing commitments.

Written Testimony of POGO's Danielle Brian on DoD's Use of "Commercial" Acquisition and "Other Transaction Authority" before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Airland Subcommittee

March 15, 2005

This testimony combines our unique position in the defense and contract oversight program areas. In the recent past POGO has exposed problems with Department of Defense (DoD) weapons systems, problems with the revolving door between the federal government and its top contractors, and numerous problems by so-called procurement or acquisition "reforms," including lack of competition, reduced oversight, and the elimination of transparency. I would specifically like to highlight two reforms that are very problematic: "commercial item" acquisitions and "other transaction authority" (OTA) – two contracting vehicles that are highly favored by government contractors.

Testimony of POGO's Danielle Brian before the Senate Democratic Policy Committee on Misuse of Federal Funds to Promote a Political Agenda

January 28, 2005

This hearing concerns the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) use of appropriated taxpayer funds to lobby for President Bush’s proposals to reform Social Security. POGO concludes that, even strictly interpreting the laws, some of the SSA’s current actions violate the anti-lobbying laws.

Testimony of Danielle Brian, POGO's Executive Director, before the Senate Democratic Policy Committee

September 10, 2004

POGO has investigated and authored reports proposing solutions for problems in government contracting for over twenty years. Halliburton's irresponsible behavior presents the clearest case for suspension or debarment by the federal government that POGO has seen in years.

Testimony of POGO's Danielle Brian before the House Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security and Emerging Threats on Nuclear Security: Can DOE Meet Facility Security Requirements?

June 22, 2004

As we prepared this testimony, it was striking to hear Members of the 9/11 Commission last week come to the conclusion that no policymakers were aware that terrorists might hijack commercial aircraft and fly them into buildings. In fact, however, Project On Government Oversight (POGO) released to the public an internal NORAD email, which showed that NORAD had developed a scenario in April 2001 of a commercial airliner being hijacked and flown into the Pentagon - just five months before terrorists hijacked a commercial airplane and flew it into the Pentagon. This scenario was rejected at the time by the staff of the Joint Chiefs as being "unrealistic."

Testimony of POGO's Danielle Brian before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations

May 11, 2004

In October, 2001, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) issued our report, "U.S. Nuclear Weapons Complex: Security at Risk." In that report we presented extensive evidence and raised an overall alarm that the Department of Energy (DOE) was not taking security of the nations nuclear weapons facilities seriously. Since beginning our investigation, POGO has worked with over 100 insiders from the nuclear weapons complex, who are concerned at the state of security. During this time, we have been in virtual armed combat with the DOE bureaucracy. In light of the new terrorist threats our nation faces, it is extraordinary how hostile the DOE has been to suggestions that would increase security while significantly reducing costs.

Testimony of POGO's Danielle Brian, Executive Director on Nuclear Security: Can DOE Meet Facility Security Requirements Before the House Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations

April 27, 2004

Since then, however, POGO has become more guardedly optimistic. We had the opportunity to meet with Secretary Spencer Abraham, Deputy Secretary Kyle McSlarrow and Security and Safety Performance Assurance Office Director Glenn Podonsky in January 2004. We began, in that meeting, ongoing communication with Secretary Abraham regarding our concerns and recommendations. We have reason to believe that he is taking these issues seriously. Our best evidence of that is the recent announcement that Los Alamos' Technical Area -18 (TA-18) is finally going to be de-inventoried of its Special Nuclear Materials (SNM).

Testimony of Danielle Brian, POGO's Executive Director on Inadequate Security at the Department of Energy Nuclear Weapons Complex before the House Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations

June 24, 2003

In early 2001, POGO began its investigation into nuclear security at the Department Of Energy (DOE) after more than a dozen high-level departmental security experts came forward with concerns regarding inadequate security at the DOE's nuclear weapons facilities. Just prior to September 11, 2001, POGO completed that investigation, concluding that the nation's ten nuclear weapons facilities, which house nearly 1,000 tons of weapons-grade plutonium and highly-enriched uranium, and the transportation system for weapons and nuclear materials regularly fail to protect this material during mock terrorist attacks. The results of that investigation were issued in the POGO report, "U. S. Nuclear Weapons Complex: Security at Risk." Even though it is now two years old, I daresay the problems identified are still relevant today. I ask that it be included in the record.

POGO to Congress: Services Acquisition Reform Act (SARA) Would Fleece Taxpayer

April 30, 2003

We urge you to exercise caution in approving any of the provisions of SARA which may make significant changes to existing procurement statutes without full consideration of their effects. Some provisions of the newly drafted SARA would broadly affect all types of contracts including defense acquisitions, rather than just service contracts as the title of the bill implies.

Speech by POGO's Danielle Brian, before the Regulatory Information Conference of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission

April 16, 2003

The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is an investigative organization that works with inside sources to improve public policy. Founded in 1981, POGO is a politically-independent, non-profit watchdog that strives to promote a government that is accountable to the citizenry. In early 2001, POGO began its first investigation into nuclear security after more than a dozen high-level Department of Energy (DOE) security experts came forward with concerns regarding inadequate security at the DOE's nuclear weapons facilities. Just prior to September 11, 2001, POGO completed that investigation, concluding that the nation's ten nuclear weapons facilities, which house nearly 1,000 tons of weapons-grade plutonium and highly-enriched uranium, regularly fail to protect this material during mock terrorist attacks. The resultant report, "U.S. Nuclear Weapons Complex: Security at Risk," was released in October 2001. Since the report's release, Congress, the General Accounting Office, and several federal agencies have undertaken reviews of POGO's findings, which are still ongoing. In the meantime, the DOE has put into motion a plan to relocate tons of bomb-grade nuclear materials from one of three facilities POGO profiled for immediate attention. The DOE has also upgraded the security posture to "denial" at those facilities where an Improvised Nuclear Device could be detonated -- this means that they simply cannot allow terrorists to enter these facilities because terrorists could create a nuclear detonation in minutes.

Statement of Danielle Brian, POGO's Executive Director Minerals Management Service Workshop on Oil Valuation Regulations

March 6, 2003

In June 2000 the Department of Interior implemented a final oil valuation rule that collected $70 million more annually from companies drilling oil from federal and Indian lands. As a result, the oil industry's decades-long practice of cheating the taxpayers and Indians ended. The oil rule was finalized after a grueling 5-year rulemaking process that was held hostage at every turn by hostile industry interests and their friends in Congress.

Testimony of POGO's Danielle Brian at the Congressional Forum at Marymount, New York regarding nuclear power plant security and safety

March 3, 2003

I would first like to thank Representative Lowey for convening this important forum, and asking me to speak to the physical security inadequacies at Indian Point, which are legion. POGO is a non - partisan government watchdog group, which takes no position on nuclear power. Both Congresswoman Lowey and Senator Clinton took the important step of agreeing to have POGO facilitate a meeting between their staffs and members of the Indian Point guard force to hear first hand of their poor conditions and how ill-prepared they are for an attack. Policy makers urgently need to understand the vulnerabilities of nuclear power plants, in order to overcome the fog of misinformation promoted by the nuclear power industry, and its weak regulator the NRC.

Written Statements of Community Members Participating in the Citizens' Briefing on the EPA Ombudsman Issue

January 14, 2003

Citizens from communities with Superfund and other hazardous waste sites came to Washington, DC on January 14, 2003 to speak about their experiences with the EPA and the need for a strong and independent Ombudsman Office.

Economic Impacts of the National Security Build-up: Government Procurement Practices

November 8, 2002

The federal government is the biggest consumer of goods and services in the world and relies heavily on free-market forces to ensure fair prices. But a large portion of federal dollars buy goods and services that are not affected by these market forces. Because the government is often the only consumer of a particular product, and more importantly, because often times only one supplier exists, free market forces cannot always regulate prices. This scenario most often plays out in defense spending, where the federal government is, by necessity, the only buyer of weapons systems and military-unique services, and where, due in part to recent mega-mergers, there are very few companies able to provide these goods and services. Given that the defense budget comprises approximately 2/3 of federal procurement spending, it is the battleground over which federal procurement issues are being played out.

Testimony of Danielle Brian, POGO Executive Director : Preventing Nuclear Terrorism before the House Subcommittee on National Security, Veterans Affairs, and International Relations, Committee on Government Reform

September 24, 2002

The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) has spent the last 18 months investigating the adequacy of security at U.S. nuclear weapons production facilities, National Labs, and transportation of weapons and Special Nuclear Material, as well as most recently the security at U.S. nuclear power plants. POGO takes no position on nuclear power. In early 2001, POGO began its first investigation into nuclear security at the Department Of Energy (DOE) after more than a dozen high-level departmental security experts came forward with concerns regarding inadequate security at the DOE's nuclear weapons facilities.

Testimony of POGO's Danielle Brian, on the EPA National Ombudsman's Office before the Senate Committee Environment and Public Works

June 25, 2002

POGO first became aware of a problem when citizens from Lake Township,Ohio, brought the Industrial Excess Landfill (IEL) Superfund site to our attention more than five years ago. From the beginning, citizens, public officials, and independent scientists have raised legitimate questions about conflicts of interest, inappropriate testing methods, quality of site characterization, and adequacy of the methods of remediation selected by the EPA for the site clean-up. Because of these issues, citizens from the community had attempted to gain a National Ombudsman review of the IEL. Their request was denied - not by the National Ombudsman, but by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) itself. When we petitioned the EPA National Ombudsman's office to review the site, our request was also denied - again by Administrator Carol Browner, not by the Ombudsman. It took repeated requests from POGOand Representative Tom Sawyer over almost an entire year to get top EPA management to overturn their decision to prevent Ombudsman Robert Martin from reviewing the site. The mere fact that the Ombudsman was not allowed to decide for himself whether or not the case was worthy, but instead had to receive approval from both the head of the Superfund Office as well as the Administrator, made a mockery of the independence of the office.

Testimony of POGO's Danielle Brian, before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee

June 5, 2002

Just prior to September 11, we completed our report U.S. Nuclear Weapons Complex: Security at Risk, concluding that our nation's ten nuclear weapons facilities, which house nearly one thousand tons of weapons-grade plutonium and highly-enriched uranium, regularly fail to protect this material from mock terrorist attacks. Once security became a national priority, we briefed these alarming findings with the National Security Council, the Office of Homeland Security, the Pentagon Nuclear Command and Control staff, the staff of the Scowcroft End-to-End Review, the Office of Management and Budget, numerous Congressional Committees and Members, and at Rep. Chris Shays' request, the General Accounting Office.

Written Testimony of POGO's Danielle Brian, before the House Subcommittee on Government Efficiency, Financial Management, and Intergovernmental Affairs

March 13, 2002

Today we are talking about waste, fraud, and abuse at the Department of Defense - the agency that can't account for one in four dollars it spends. I know defenders of DOD accounting procedures claim that this is an unfair criticism - that the missing $1.1 trillion is only a paper transaction. In these days of Arthur Anderson accounting - a firm, I might add that continues to consult for nearly every federal agency - my response is "show me the money." We have found that federal agencies are loathe to admit they're making a mess of things. The Pentagon must be forced to account for its expenditures of taxpayer dollars.

Testimony of POGO's Danielle Brian for the House Government Reform Subcommittee on Technology and Procurement Policy Legislative Hearing on H.R. 3832, The Services Acquisition Reform Act of 2002 (SARA)

March 7, 2002

George Orwell would be proud of the Acquisition Reform community. It has created such Orwellian concepts for the acquisition of goods as "competitive" one-bid contracting; "commercial items" that are only bought by the government; information about cost and pricing that "need not be current, accurate, and complete;" and "indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity" contracts. Only those who have sipped from the acquisition reform well could believe that these "reforms" benefit the taxpayer.

Written Testimony of POGO's Danielle Brian, for the National Ombudsman Hearing, Hosted by Congressman Jarrold Nadler on Environmental Testing and Cleanup at Ground Zero

February 23, 2002

A week after the September 11th attacks, Christine Todd Whitman of the EPA announced that the environment was safe around the World Trade Center site. Yet, tens of thousands of people who live and work near Ground Zero are now suffering from respiratory ailments, including thousands of firefighters and police officers working at the site.

Testimony of POGO's Danielle Brian, before the House Government Reform Subcommittee on Technology and Procurement Policy Hearing on "Moving Forward with Services Acquisition Reform: A Legislative Approach to Utilizing Commercial Best Practices"

November 1, 2001

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to challenge the misconceptions held by those Members of the Subcommittee who believe that Acquisition Reform benefits more than just the private sector. The outline of the legislation before the Subcommittee, replete with notations from industry lobbyists, would allow industry to repeatedly reach into the taxpayer's pocket for treats for themselves while the rest of the country is focused on defending our homeland.

U.S. Nuclear Weapons Complex: Security At Risk

October 1, 2001

Few facts would do more to result in the launch of a nuclear strike than a terrorist detonation of a nuclear bomb on U.S. soil. Yet, POGO has found that the threat of nuclear terrorism occurring here in the United States is very serious. POGO is advocating for solutions to security problems at both the nuclear weapons complex and the nuclear power plants in order to end this vulnerability.

Written Statement of Danielle Brian, Executive Director, before the Senate Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on International Security, Proliferation, and Federal Services

July 25, 2001

For the past twenty years, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) has worked with whistleblowers to expose waste, fraud, and abuse in the federal government. We always advise potential whistleblowers that the safest course in exposing wrongdoing is to make their evidence public while remaining anonymous. Why? Because powerful interests and entrenched institutions always try to discredit the messenger, rather than acknowledge and correct the wrongdoing. To have an effective democracy, we must protect and reward those individuals who act honestly in exposing government waste and fraud. By protecting and encouraging these individuals, our government protects its own credibility and the American public.

POGO Public Comment on NRC Proposal to Limit Public Oversight in Nuclear Reactor Licensing Hearings

July 12, 2001

The Project on Government Oversight supports the Nuclear Information and Resource Service campaign to defend current reactor licensing procedures over proposed Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) changes to the adjudicatory process, and urges the NRC to reevaluate the need for public oversight in reactor licensing hearings.

Written Testimony of Danielle Brian, Royalty-in-Kind Provisions of the Energy Bill

July 10, 2001

Industry has claimed that royalty-in-kind programs will end disputes over the fees they owe for drilling oil and gas from federal and Indian lands. Under royalty-in-kind, companies pay in barrels of oil (or units of gas) rather than in dollars. The Department of Interior has completed two pilot programs to date in order the test whether royalty-in-kind programs will work.

Written Testimony of POGO's Danielle Brian before the House Subcommittee on Government Efficiency, Financial Management, and Intergovernmental Affairs

June 11, 2001

Today we are talking about waste, fraud, and abuse at the Department of Defense - the agency that can't account for one in four dollars it spends. I know defenders of DOD accounting procedures claim that this is an unfair criticism - that the missing $1.1 trillion is only a paper transaction. In these days of Arthur Anderson accounting - a firm, I might add that continues to consult for nearly every federal agency - my response is "show me the money." We have found that federal agencies are loathe to admit they're making a mess of things. The Pentagon must be forced to account for its expenditures of taxpayer dollars.

Discussion Meeting Critiquing Pentagon's Strategic Defense Review

May 14, 2001

I'd just like to give you a quick overview of the landscape that we're facing right now. President George W. Bush and new Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld have unleashed a massive exercise to review the breadth of U.S. defense policy and posture. This effort, which covers everything from the current nuclear arsenal to readiness and personnel, is being undertaken in a series of seemingly unrelated studies by at least 17 and, by some accounts, 21 different panels.

POGO's Letter in Response to Raised Questions about Air Force/Boeing deal to make the C-17 Cargo Aircraft "Commercial"

March 23, 2001

For the past several months, we have been closely examining a proposal to commercialize the C-17 cargo aircraft. We believe that implementation of the plan, known as the "BC-17X Public/Private Acquisition Strategy," would be ill-advised and leave the taxpayers vulnerable to a substantial financial risk.

Comments on the "Draft Guidance for the National Hazardous Waste and Superfund Ombudsman and Regional Superfund Ombudsmen Program"

January 3, 2001

These comments are respectfully submitted by the Project On Government Oversight (POGO). POGO is a non-partisan non-profit organization that, since 1981, has worked to investigate, expose, and remedy abuses of power, mismanagement, and subservience to special interests by the federal government. POGO's goal is to improve the way the government works by revealing examples of systemic problems, offering possible solutions, and initiating change.

Written Testimony For the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Hearing Regarding S. 1763, the Ombudsman Reauthorization Act of 1999

September 26, 2000

The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a non-partisan non-profit organization that, since 1981, has worked to investigate, expose, and remedy abuses of power, mismanagement, and subservience to special interests by the federal government. POGO's goal is to improve the way the government works by revealing examples of systemic problems, offering possible solutions, and initiating change.

Testimony of POGO's Danielle Brian, with EPA National Ombudsman Bob Martin and Senator Wayne Allard at a Hearing regarding the Shattuck Superfund Site and the EPA National Ombudsman Program

January 29, 2000

I am Danielle Brian, Executive Director of the Project On Government Oversight, or POGO, a Washington based, non-partisan non-profit organization that, since 1981, has worked to investigate, expose, and remedy abuses of power, mismanagement and subservience to special interests by the federal government. POGO's goal is to improve the way the government works by revealing examples of systemic problems, offering possible solutions, and initiating change.

Testimony of Danielle Brian, Executive Director of the Project on Government Oversight Regarding the Citigroup/Shattuck Superfund Site at the Public Hearing of the EPA National Ombudsman Robert Martin in Denver, Colorado

October 16, 1999

The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a non-partisan non-profit organization that, since 1981, has worked to investigate, expose, and remedy abuses of power, mismanagement, and subservience to special interests by the federal government. POGO's goal is to improve the way the government works by revealing examples of systemic problems, offering possible solutions, and initiating change.

Written Comments For The Public Record Regarding MMS' Proposed Oil Royalty Rule

April 27, 1999

The oil industry has behaved during this nearly four-year process as though MMS must draft a rulemaking that the industry likes. I believe strongly that this prolonged rulemaking process is policy-making at its worst, where political power can buy more time to influence regulations. I would suggest that by the time a rule is crafted that industry likes, MMS would have let down the interests it does represent - not the 40 companies affected by the rule - but the taxpayers, Native Americans, and public education, environmental and historic preservation funds.

POGO's Statement to The Cost Accounting Standards Board

December 2, 1998

As you may know, POGO testified this past June before the CAS Board Review Panel - a group that is trading on the General Accounting Office's (GAO's) good name, but which appears to be dominated by outside pro-defense industry personnel. Our testimony before that body, which is appended hereto, is the basis for our appearance before you today. In summary, POGO is very concerned that current "acquisition reform" initiatives are being used as a "stalking horse" by the defense industry and some Government contracting officials, in order to significantly weaken the applicability of the CAS, the Standards themselves, and the CAS Board more generally. Our testimony before the CAS Board Review Panel focused primarily on the generic issues related to the need for CAS and a call for CAS applicability not to be weakened.

Danielle Brian's Comments to the Supplementary Proposed Rule on Oil Royalty Valuation

July 21, 1998

I want to begin by protesting again the way this meeting was made necessary by Big Oil's ability to gain access through their campaign contributions. I am embarrassed that the interns who have come in to Washington this summer to see how their government works will see through this process who their government is really working for, and how public policy should not be made.

Testimony of POGO's Danielle Brian to the Cost Accounting Standards (CAS) Board Review Panel

June 18, 1998

Thank you for the opportunity to appear before the CAS Board Review Panel. POGO is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that has, for over 17 years, investigated, exposed and worked to remedy abuses of power, mismanagement, and subservience to special interests, by the federal government. I want to add that it is particularly symbolic that we should be meeting here in the Elmer Staats' Room of the General Accounting Office. General Staats served with distinction not only as Comptroller General, but as Chairman of the CAS Board for ten years. More recently, he served as Chairman of the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board. General Staats was a fearless and tireless advocate for the CAS Board, and the need for Cost Accounting Standards. I hope this Panel serves in the tradition and spirit that he established for the CAS Board, and more importantly for the general public interest.

Written Statement of POGO's Danielle Brian, before the Senate Energy Committee Hearings on the Department of Interior's Proposed Rule on Oil Valuation

June 11, 1998

The current discussion over the Department of Interior's rulemaking is clearly very important for all those directly affected. The oil companies have linked arms in opposition to the proposed Rule because it would require the majors to pay more in royalties than they have been paying. The Department of Interior, in representing the interests of the taxpayers, Native American nations, and State public school systems, entered into the rulemaking process precisely because it finally realized that the major oil companies were not paying royalties on the market value of the oil, as was required.

Testimony of POGO's Danielle Brian Regarding H.R. 2347 and the Pell Grant Program Before The Subcommittee on Government Management, Information, and Technology of the Committee on Government Reform and Oversight

March 2, 1998

The federal aid program known as the Pell Grant Program, administered by the Department of Education, makes higher education possible for thousands of students every year. Unfortunately, abuse of the Pell Grant Program has succeeded in funneling a large portion of these funds into the hands of ineligible students.

Testimony of POGO's Danielle Brian before the Department of Interior Minerals Management Service's Public Hearing Regarding the Proposed Oil Valuation Rule

February 1, 1998

I am Danielle Brian, Executive Director of the Project On Government Oversight. We are a non-profit, non-partisan government watchdog group which, for the past four years, has been investigating, exposing and remedying the oil industry's underpayment of royalties to the federal government.

Testimony of POGO's Danielle Brian Before the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Acquisition and Technology

April 15, 1997

We have always been supporters of a strong national defense. We also believe in a reasonable consolidation of the defense industry that takes great care in assisting displaced workers, and maintains an adequate level of competition in each sector. However, we believe that the new DOD practice of reimbursing defense contractors' merger-related restructuring costs is a clear example of the Pentagon's acquiescence to the defense industry's interests -- and is counter to the interests of the American public.

Lockheed's Response to NYT Editorial was Misleading

August 14, 2014

POGO's Danielle Brian and Winslow Wheeler joined Pierre Sprey, the co-designer of the F-16 and A-10, in writing a letter to the editor of the New York Times concerning a recent editorial about the troubles with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

Intel Bill Passage is Breakthrough for Whistleblower Protections

June 26, 2014

While the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014, which the House passed Tuesday, is not everything we sought, it goes a long way to putting into statute President Obama’s policies. This is a breakthrough for whistleblowers and accountability—a real anti-leaks measure.

We Won't Reveal Our Sources

June 13, 2014

You may have seen that the VA’s Inspector General has issued a subpoena to POGO demanding we turn over the names of all VA whistleblowers who have contacted us in the last month. Under no circumstances does POGO plan to release any information that would compromise whistleblowers.

House Passes Weak Tea; NSA Reform Lacks Transparency

May 22, 2014

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a weakened version of the USA FREEDOM Act. Unfortunately, it omits critical government reporting requirements included in the original USA FREEDOM Act.

Peace Activists Deserve Leniency; Their Actions Exposed Dangerous Security Flaws

January 27, 2014

If justice is served Tuesday, a federal judge will exercise leniency when he sentences Sister Megan Rice, Greg Boertje-Obed, and Michael Walli for their non-violent protest at the Y-12 nuclear facility in Oak Ridge, Tenn., in July 2012.

What the President Didn’t Say in His Speech on Surveillance Reform

January 17, 2014

Statement of Danielle Brian, Executive Director, Project On Government Oversight We’re encouraged that President Obama today acknowledged the dangers posed to our civil liberties by unchecked and overreaching intelligence gathering. His speech sets the stage for important reforms.

In Wake of Snowden Disclosures, Obama Must Strengthen U.S. Commitment to Openness, Accountability

November 1, 2013

Statement of Danielle Brian, Executive Director, Project On Government Oversight On Thursday, the White House released a preview of its second National Action Plan for the international Open Government Partnership, whose mission is to increase openness and accountability among its member countries.

Stop the Shutdown Now

October 10, 2013

No matter what party you belong to or what beliefs you hold dear, America cannot continue this losing strategy of “governing by crisis.”

Congress is Holding the Nation Hostage

September 30, 2013

Congress needs to do its job and end the government shutdown showdown which threatens America's prosperity and security.

Congress Must Have All Facts -- Including Any the Administration Would Rather Squelch

September 4, 2013

As members of the Obama Administration and Congress debate perhaps the gravest responsibility our Constitution entrusts to them – the vote whether or not to go to war – there is both a legal and moral imperative that their decision be based on the most accurate and complete information available.

Answer to Armed Services Chairmen Turned Industry Lobbyists

June 25, 2013

POGO responds to demands by two former chairmen of the powerful congressional armed services committees, Ike Skelton and John Warner, who now sit on the boards of and work for lobbying firms representing defense contractors.

Shielding the Whistleblowers

June 6, 2013

An amendment offered by Reps. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) and Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) that would go a long way to address the shortcomings of the current law to ensure that service members are protected from retaliation when they report sexual assaults and other unlawful behavior.

Are Chemical Safety Inspectors Being Blocked in West, TX?

May 29, 2013

The Chemical Safety Board was created to investigate chemical accidents, but it has been prevented from properly accessing the West, Texas, fertilizer plant explosion site, and from doing its job.

For Whistleblowers, Fraying Protection

May 6, 2013

Ten years ago, advocates, funders, journalists and citizens gathered in an effort to champion the rights of whistleblowers. We saw a brighter future for truth-tellers, but sadly, ten years later, we fear that we may have, in fact, lost ground.

Budget for MOX Program Cut By 75 Percent

February 11, 2013

The budget for the Mixed Oxide Fuel (MOX) program at the Savannah River Site, which is 300 percent over budget, a decade behind schedule, and has no potential customers, will be cut by 75 percent but is still scheduled to receive over $1 billion over the next five years.

Budget for MOX Program Cut By 75 Percent

February 11, 2013

The budget for the Mixed Oxide Fuel (MOX) program at the Savannah River Site, which is 300 percent over budget, a decade behind schedule, and has no potential customers, will be cut by 75 percent but is still scheduled to receive over $1 billion over the next five years.

Oversight Committee Makes Bipartisan Call for Appointment of State Department IG

January 24, 2013

As the Senate began confirmation hearings of John Kerry to become the next Secretary of State today, senior members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform made a bipartisan call to the President to nominate a State Department Inspector General.

5 Steps to Curing Election Dysfunction

November 2, 2012

Gridlock and paralysis are the new norm in Congress, and this attitude is mirrored by the American public. But it doesn't have to be. Learn what we have to do to get America moving again.

Robert MacLean: Homeland Security Whistleblower

August 10, 2011

At the end of July 2011, Robert MacLean learned the outcome of over a year of waiting. He was waiting on a second ruling from the relatively obscure and awkwardly named Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB, or the “Board”). The three-member Board in Washington, DC, is an administrative quasi-court that handles federal government whistleblower claims of retaliation, among other things. MacLean is a former federal air marshal who blew the whistle in July 2003 on his agency, the Transportation Security Administration, or TSA. After lengthy reviews by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and two by this Board, the first one in 2009, MacLean lost his claim that he was retaliated against.

Open Government Advocates Meet with POTUS: A Firsthand Account

March 29, 2011

Yesterday afternoon, POGO Executive Director Danielle Brian—along with OMB Watch Executive Director Gary Bass, OpenTheGovernment.org Director Patrice McDermott, National Security Archive Executive Director Tom Blanton, and Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press Executive Director Lucy Dalglish—met with President Obama about open government issues.

On Wikileaks: I Wish the Leaker Had Come to POGO

August 2, 2010

Over the past thirty years, POGO has wrangled with whistleblowers who want to disclose classified information—not 92,000 pieces of information, mind you—but I keep wondering what we would have done if the individuals who shared the classified raw field reports from Afghanistan and Pakistan had come to us.

Lessons Learned from Obama's Removal of CNCS Inspector General

June 15, 2009

On Friday, we blogged about the President's removal of Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) Inspector General Gerald Walpin. As I learn more about this case, I'm realizing there are a few "teachable moments."

Too Much on the SIGTARP's Plate?

December 8, 2008

Although we're still waiting for Neil Barofksy to be confirmed as the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP), he's already being loaded up with so many responsibilities that he may soon resemble a person walking out of an all-you-can-eat buffet.

Atomic Obfuscation

November 6, 2006

Oil Royalties and Ostriches

August 10, 2006

Welcome to our blog!

September 28, 2004

October 19, 2014

VA morale low, but actions by new boss could change things

The Washington Post | Federal Eye | By By Joe Davidson

March 19, 2014

EITI board approves US application for candidacy

Oil & Gas Journal | By Nick Snow

March 13, 2014

Report Documents Prosecutorial Misconduct

Corporate Crime Reporter |

February 23, 2014

Break-in at offices of government watchdog group

The Washington Post | Federal Eye | By Lisa Rein

February 21, 2014

Washington Whistleblowers Office Bolstering Security After Break-in

Newsweek | By Jeff Stein

January 23, 2014

Chuck Hagel: The Invisible Man

The American Conservative | By Kelley Vlahos

January 17, 2014

Fans say Snowden is vindicated, deserves amnesty for leaks

McClatchy Washington Bureau | By Hannah Allam

January 14, 2014

Admirers Join Forces to Save 'Warthog' Jet

Wall Street Journal | By Dion Nissenbaum

December 19, 2013

Final Report Confirms Misconduct at Bush-Era Office of Special Counsel

Government Executive | By Charles S. Clark

November 22, 2013

Pentagon’s bosses thwart accurate audit of DOD’s main accounting office

McClatchy Washington Bureau | By James Rosen and Marisa Taylor

July 22, 2013

Pentagon moves to reduce housing expenses for generals

CNN; Security Clearance | By Bryan Koenig

June 25, 2013

A voice for whistle-blowers

The Hill | By By Jeremy Herb

June 24, 2013

How do whistleblower advocates deal with Edward Snowden’s case?

The Washington Post | The Federal Diary | By Joe Davidson

April 24, 2013

For whistleblowers, fraying protection

MSNBC | By Joe Wilson, former Ambassador and Danielle Brian, POGO

January 9, 2012

The Yaz Men: Members of FDA panel reviewing the risks of popular Bayer contraceptive had industry ties

Ten Miles Square; The Washington Monthly (blog) | By Jeanne Lenzer and Keith Epstein