Thursday, July 24, 2008

Pentagon Audit Intimidation Under Dov Zakheim's Tenure

The Washington Post reported on a General Accounting Office (GAO) study of Pentagon contract auditing. It stated:

Auditors at a Pentagon oversight agency were pressured by supervisors to skew their reports on major defense contractors to make them look more favorable instead of exposing wrongdoing and charges of overbilling.

The Defense Contract Audit Agency, which oversees contractors for the Defense Department, "improperly influenced the audit scope, conclusions and opinions" of reviews of contractor performance, the GAO said, creating a "serious independence issue."

The International Herald Tribune reported on the same story:

In 2002, DCAA auditors allegedly made an upfront agreement with a "major aerospace company" to limit the scope of a review of the contractor's estimate system. When the audit still uncovered problems, the contractor complained, prompting the removal of one auditor working on the case and job threats against another. A final report was then drafted labeling the contractor's work as adequate, the GAO found.

Guess who oversaw all aspects of Pentagon auditing for part of the period in question? It would be President Bush's recent appointment to the Wartime Contracting Commission, Dov S. Zakheim. Consider what Dov says in his bio about his former Pentagon responsibilities:

From 2001 to April 2004 he served as the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) and Chief Financial Officer for the Department of Defense, acting as the Secretary of Defense’s principal advisor on financial and budgetary matters, developing and managing the world’s largest budgets, overseeing all aspects of the Department’s accounting and auditing systems, and negotiating five major defense agreements with US allies and partners.

Dov currently works for huge government consultant, Booz, Allen & Hamilton. He specializes in the defense arena. Which skill does he display more frequently, using his connections to get clients highly profitable business from Uncle Sam or stifling investigations of any potential wrongdoing? Clearly, Dov is talented in both arenas. The Carlyle Group, equally mendacious, will find out soon. The closing date for Carlyle's purchase of Booz, Allen's government division can't be that far away. Might it hinge on a credible investigation? Nah!!!