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Pentagon Watchdog Changed Files Ahead of GAO Audit

IG Seal off kilter via glitch processing

Today the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) and the Center for Defense Information (CDI) sent a letter to Glenn Fine, Acting Inspector General for the Department of Defense, raising serious concerns about the integrity of his office’s investigation of military reprisal complaints.

The letter lists deficiencies at the DoD IG identified by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), including incomplete and inaccurate case files. It also questions the integrity of Administrative Investigations managers who ordered investigators to “stand down” on investigations to back-fill case files that would be reviewed by the GAO.

In addition to these procedural failures, the letter raises concerns about the office’s narrow interpretation of whistleblower protections and conspicuously low rates of substantiating military whistleblowers’ complaints. From the letter:

We believe these systemic failures reflect a culture that cannot be ameliorated with organizational reforms, but instead can only be addressed through fundamental changes to DoD IG’s Administrative Investigations personnel.

The DoD IG’s systemic weaknesses and apparent cultural aversion to whistleblowers create a substantial barrier to DoD IG effectively performing its duties to protect whistleblowers, prevent abusive misspending of taxpayer dollars, and support the war fighter. Read the whole letter here.

Photograph of Mandy Smithberger

By: Mandy Smithberger, Director, CDI Straus Military Reform Project

Mandy Smithberger is the Director of the Straus Military Reform Project at the Center for Defense Information at the Project On Government Oversight.

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