Senate Bill Would Enable GAO to Aid Intelligence Oversight

10.05.06 | 1 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

A bill introduced by Congressional Democrats would empower the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to perform financial audits and other oversight of U.S. intelligence agencies, a function that those agencies have long resisted.

“Since 9/11, effective [intelligence] oversight is needed now more than ever,” said Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI) in a September 28 floor statement.

“However, now the Congress cannot do its job properly, in part, because its key investigative arm, the Government Accountability Office, is not given adequate access to the intelligence community.”

“Unfortunately, the intelligence community stonewalls the GAO when committees of jurisdiction request that GAO investigate problems,” Sen. Akaka said.

“If the GAO had been able to conduct basic auditing functions of the CIA, perhaps some of the problems that were so clearly exposed following the terrorist attacks in September 2001 would have been resolved. And yet, it is extraordinary that five years after 9-11 the same problems persist,” he said.

He introduced two related Congressional Research Service memoranda into the Congressional Record: one on “Congressional Oversight of Intelligence” and another on “Overview of ‘Classified’ and ‘Sensitive But Unclassified’ Information.”

See Sen. Akaka’s full September 28 statement on “The Intelligence Community Audit Act of 2006.”

If nothing else, the Akaka bill may provide a clue as to the direction of intelligence oversight in the future, if Democrats take control of Congress.

Under current leadership, intelligence oversight has fractured and decayed. For the second year in a row, Congress failed to pass an intelligence authorization bill this year.

See all publications
Nuclear Weapons
New Voices on Nuclear Weapons Fellowship: Creative Perspectives on Rethinking Nuclear Deterrence 

To empower new voices to start their career in nuclear weapons studies, the Federation of American Scientists launched the New Voices on Nuclear Weapons Fellowship. Here’s what our inaugural cohort accomplished.

11.28.23 | 3 min read
read more
Science Policy
Expected Utility Forecasting for Science Funding

Common frameworks for evaluating proposals leave this utility function implicit, often evaluating aspects of risk, uncertainty, and potential value independently and qualitatively.

11.20.23 | 11 min read
read more
Nuclear Weapons
Nuclear Notebook: Nuclear Weapons Sharing, 2023

The FAS Nuclear Notebook is one of the most widely sourced reference materials worldwide for reliable information about the status of nuclear weapons and has been published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists since 1987. The Nuclear Notebook is researched and written by the staff of the Federation of American Scientists’ Nuclear Information Project: Director Hans […]

11.17.23 | 1 min read
read more
Social Innovation
Community School Approach Reaches High of 60%, Reports Latest Pulse Panel

According to the National Center for Education Statistics’ August 2023 pulse panel, 60% of public schools were utilizing a “community school” or “wraparound services model” at the start of this school year—up from 45% last year.

11.17.23 | 4 min read
read more