Steve Aftergood: US IC Cannot Investigate NSA

Ethics, Government
Steven Aftergood
Steven Aftergood


The latest report from the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community provides an updated (and largely redacted) snapshot of the IG's investigative agenda.

During the nine-month period from July 2012 to March 2013, the IC IG internal hotline received 70 contacts or complaints from intelligence agency personnel, as well as 77 contacts from the general public.

Investigators conducted 75 investigations revealing some occasionally creative forms of misconduct. In one case, an ODNI employee “was operating a personal website on Government time using Government systems through which he solicited and received donations.” Another ODNI employee “attempted to improperly obtain a security clearance for a private citizen through the use of a no-cost contract.”

Three cases of suspected unauthorized disclosures were closed when they were found to be unsubstantiated. Two investigations of unauthorized disclosures remained open as of March 31.

Last month, IC Inspector General I. Charles McCullough III told Congress that his office could not perform an investigation of NSA surveillance programs because it lacked the resources to do so.

“While my office has the jurisdiction to conduct an IC-wide review of all IC elements using these authorities,” Mr. McCullough wrote in a November 5 letter to Senator Leahy and others, “such a review will implicate ongoing oversight efforts. Therefore, I have been conferring with several IC Inspectors General Forum members in order to consider how such a review might be accomplished given the potential impact to IG resources and ongoing projects.”

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