GAO not releasing details on collection agency with financial ties to Betsy DeVos’ contested bid with the Department of Education
If a company is going to be reimbursed for fees associated with filing bid protests against an agency headed up by a person with whom they’ve done business in the past, both the process by which the protests came to be sustained and any reimbursements paid to the company ought to be a matter of public record. In the case of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and Performant Financial Corporation, that isn’t the case.
To accomplish its mission, the Central Intelligence Agency will undertake missions utilizing assets, agents, and officers under official and nonofficial covers. When these missions require the use of an organization, the Agency will resort to the use of proprietary companies and organizations as a means of maintaining cover or accomplishing goals that the U.S. Government isn’t able to openly support. Eventually, the Agency has to terminate these proprietaries. The story of how that happens is where things get interesting.
For years, accusations of KGB penetration of the Government Accountability Office helped further the Central Intelligence Agency’s ‘s efforts to pit the Congressional committees against GAO. In the early 1980s, an opportunity presented itself that would deepen these divides without any action from CIA - a conspiracy against President Reagan involving a Soviet diplomat with a penchant for ten gallon hats.
Since 1949, for 68 of Central Intelligence Agency’s 70 years, the Agency has waged a war against the Government Accountability Office and what CIA described as its “army of auditors.” 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. This interactive timeline offers a blow-by-blow of the last seven decades, explaining how and why things got to where they are today.
As a result of the failure by the Senate Intelligence Committee to restore the GAO’s authority to audit or review the Central Intelligence Agency, by the next year that immunity had spread to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which had assumed some of the Agency’s responsibilities in coordinating the Intelligence Community. Like CIA, the ODNI cited a legally dubious position in a 1988 letter from the DOJ Office of Legal Counsel stating that the GAO had no authority to look at anything relating to “intelligence activities.” Also like CIA, the ODNI used a such a broad definition of intelligence activities so that “by definition” they were categorically exempt.