Since 1949, for 68 of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)’s 70 years, the Agency has waged a war against the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and what CIA described as its “army of auditors.” Not even the discovery that “the foreign intelligence budget was three or four times larger than Congress had been told” was enough to push Congress into granting GAO the clear audit authority it needed. Not until 2010 was Congress ready to grant GAO that authority, though the provision was dropped under threat of a veto from President Obama. The end result is a hard line that meant the Agency would almost certainly refuse to cooperate at all with any probe that they felt was oversight related.
The twelve articles in the series prior to this timeline were originally supposed to be just one article describing the Agency’s relationship with the GAO. That one article soon turned into six, and then into twelve articles totaling more than 10,000 words because of the depth of CIA’s commitment to avoiding the accountability that the GAO’s audits would bring. The Agency’s dishonesty led it to contradict itself whenever convenient, to provide inaccurate numbers to the President, and to describe the construction of their legal arguments as having “really slung the B.S.”
This interactive timeline offers a blow-by-blow of the last seven decades, explaining how and why things got to where they are today.
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Image via WhiteHouse.gov