Archive for the ‘GAO’ Category

Resort Property May Be Available Soon

December 2, 2012

Resort Property May Be Available

Senator Dianne Feinstein, chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, asked the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to look for alternative USA housing for the uncharged inmates our government has been holding for over a decade at Guantanamo Bay. The GAO found 104 sites, 98 Justice Department and 6 military prisons suitable for holding terrorism convicts. Mind you, those guys haven’t been convicted of anything, but you get the idea.


GAO: Beef Up Foreign Food Inspection

May 19, 2010

GAO: Beef Up FDA Foreign Food Inspection

Barry Estabrook points out that Senate legislation mandating more regulation and inspection of US food growers and processors ignores the globalization of our nation’s food supply:

“There are about 190,000 registered foreign facilities that produce food for export to the United States. Of those, only 200 (roughly 1 out of every 1,000) were inspected by the FDA.”

See the Government Accountability Office report on this issue: “FDA Could Strengthen Oversight of Imported Food by Improving Enforcement and Seeking Additional Authorities,” Statement of Lisa Shames, Director, Natural Resources and Environment, GAO, May 6, 2010.

Hat tip:


Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

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The Wrecking Crew Digs In

November 23, 2008

The Wrecking Crew Digs In

As bears den at the approach of winter, Bush appointees are burrowing into the federal bureaucracy as the transition nears, assuming the protective coloration of real public servants. The outgoing president’s political appointees are converting over to the “career” side of executive agencies and going to ground.

Washington’s keen-eyed naturalists have observed this after previous elections, but there is a great difference today.  In prior administrations, many political appointees were actually capable of doing the work they were paid for, so absorption into the merit system civil service made sense.  The prime (and often sole) qualification of Bush bureaucrats was ideological purity; Job One was destruction of the agencies in which they were posted, so the actual work could be farmed out to the corporations of plutocrat pals.



September 26, 2007

On the night shift . . . and in court from 7:30AM to Noon

In the District of Columbia, after officers of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) arrest someone and complete their paperwork, they must submit those papers to the courts and meet with prosecutors at 7:30 AM the next morning. Being arrested and spending a night in jail may be unpleasant, but a short late-night nap sitting up in a patrol car is the officer’s reward for apprehending the suspect. 

The cumulative physical and psychological cost to officers cannot be over-emphasized. Alertness, the primary requirement of patrol work, is blunted by current practice, and the family life of officers suffers as well. I spoke to a number of 1st District officers during the last mayoral transition and “night papering” – the ability to turn in arrest papers while working evening and night shifts — was the one thing they wanted during the new administration.  

The financial cost of the current practice is staggering – about $4.7 million in police overtime each year. This is enough to put more than 50 additional officers on street patrol each year. Clearly this makes no sense. 


Iraqi Police Failure: APB for CPA

September 7, 2007

The Policeman is your friend, insha'Allah . . . .

The independent commission led by retired Marine Corps General James Jones will recommend the disbanding of the Iraqi National Police, the branch directly under Iraq’s Ministry of the Interior. It is too riddled with Militia members to be effective. How could the Militias infiltrate the Iraqi National Police? CPA Order 91, June 2004. 

The young Americans running the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) developed a “transition and reintegration strategy for disbanding or controlling Militias,” issued as CPA Order 91 in June 2004. The strategy:  recruit Militia members into Iraqi security forces, retire some Militia members with veterans’ benefits, and reintegrate others “through education, training, and job placement . . . . “ 

The CPA estimated that 60,000 Militia members would “transition” into Iraqi security services—the Iraqi Armed Forces, Iraqi Police Service, or the Kurdistan Internal Security Forces — by October 2005 (Page 66 GAO-04-902R Rebuilding Iraq). Nice work, folks.

Iraqi Police Failure

September 6, 2007

You think cops is cops? Wrong!

In a report released today, The Independent Commission on the Security Forces of Iraq calls for Iraqi police units to be dissolved.  The current force is a creature of American and British planning, and therein lies a fundamental weakness.


Iraq has had a criminal justice system on the French pattern since it was ruled by the Ottoman Turks. The role of police, as in most places in Europe and the rest of the world, differs from that of our Anglo-American tradition. There are several kinds of police, some responsible for civil matters and governed by administrative law, others directed by judges in criminal investigations, and a national police, directed by the central bureaucracy, for security matters.


American and English police procedure and law are quite different, but Iraq’s police were re-organized and trained by US and UK officers and consultants. The inevitable misunderstandings may be responsible in part for the absolute failure of current Iraqi policing noted by the GAO committee. Any rebuilding effort should involve administrators and trainers familiar with the appropriate traditions of criminal justice.


More on this in future posts.