November 4, 2015

Justice Department Puts Federal Watchdogs On Short Leash

Seventy-two federal government watchdogs’ ability to ferret out waste, fraud and abuse is “under attack,” Department of Homeland Security Inspector General John Roth told Congress Tuesday.
Roth, testifying before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, said the memorandum circulated by the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel earlier this year claiming IGs aren’t entitled to all records of the agency or department they oversee damages IGs’ ability to do their jobs.
The 1978 Inspector General Act explicitly grants IGs access to “all” agency or department records, but the OLC claimed in its memorandum that the law doesn’t include records like grand jury testimony or records concerning wiretapped communications.
“The Department of Justice apparently believes that it is up to those being audited to determine what information gets disclosed,” Roth said in a hearing on recent Transportation Security Administration security gaps.
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