needed;’ “issues require attention;’ and “room for improvement” appear. \(“Oversight,” for example, often appears in Though the GAO organizes its reports by subject matter and agency, it also pinpoints “High Risk” areas, which it defines as activities with “greater vulnerabilities to fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement?’ In this area, Wheeler notes, “Rumsfeld’s DOD has earned itself more GAO High Risk reports on failed management than any other federal agency” This is particularly true for the Pentagon’s business operations. Though hardly as attention catching or viscerally provocative as Iraq, how the Pentagon spends and accounts for its money may be the most critical component of national defense. Such is GAO’s view, anyway. Alas, it’s not one Rumsfeld has cared much about. The result, according to GAO, has been ruinous, with “billions of dollars provided to DOD wasted each year because of ineffective performance and inadequate accountability.” Indeed, not one “military service or major defense component [can] pass the test of an independent financial audit because of pervasive weaknesses in financial management systems, operations, and controls:’ As David Walker, GAO’s chief, noted in recent congressional testimony, his organization has repeatedly suggested that Rumsfeld create a new Pentagon postthat of chief management officerto begin straightening all this out. Rumsfeld never obliged. Given what Walker’s investigators have found in recent years, that shouldn’t come as a shock. The sundry Iraq-related excesses \(price-gouging, abuse of no-bid contracts, botched and incomlarge contractors are now well knownbut just as much money in aggregate gets flushed down the DOD toilet at home in all manner of smaller, sub-rosa ways. For example, the Pentagon actually has joint responsibility with the Treasury for collecting the unpaid taxes of defense contractors. As Walker noted two years ago, “at least $100 million could be collected annually from DOD contractors through effective implementation of levy and debt collection programs?’ In fairness, this wasn’t exactly a high priority for Rumsfeld’s Democratic predecessors. But it was hardly something high atop Rumsfeld’s agenda either: Between 1998 and 2004, DOD collected a mere $687,000 worth of unpaid contractor taxes. GAO has also found that tens of millions of dollars aren’t collected each year from insurance companies that do business with DOD. On the policy front, Rumsfeld and his crony Stephen Cambone, the undersec retary of defense for intelligence, have presided over an unprecedented expansion of the Pentagon’s intelligence apparatus. For all the massive growth in programs and expenditures, the results have been dubious. Citing the need to be proactive in the name of counterterrorism and homeland security, the Rumsfeld Pentagon created the Counterintelligence Field Activity, a highly classified agency that, in the ostensible service of protecting DOD facilities, conducts intelligence collection and surveillance activities within the United States. Thus far, the CIFA’s chief accomplishment seems to have been acting to sluice federal money to private contractors; 70 percent of CIFA’s budget gets outsourced. In the process, it has become enmeshed in the earmarking-contracting scandal emanating from former Congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham. The agency has also distinguished itself by compiling secret databases on antiwar protestersthe type of activity that the CIA decades ago learned the hard way not to do. Meanwhile, the state of the actual security CIFA and other DOD elements are supposed to provide has been, charitably, underwhelming. According to a July GAO report, earlier this continued on page 26 Donald Rumsfeld illustrations by Mike Krone DECEMBER 1, 2006 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 7
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