« PreviousContinue »
Had you made similar requests for similar information prior to 1956?
Mr. POWERS. Prior to 1956 most of our audit effort on that particular program was confined to centralized audits of the financial transactions including vouchers, invoices, and other supporting information.
We did not make any comprehensive examinations or reviews of the operations except for one limited survey in connection with the obligating practices in the Department of Defense on this program at the site of operations. In the spring of 1956, when Mr. Joseph Campbell, the Comptroller General, directed us to expand our work in the defense area to the operating sites, we started to get into the inspec. tions, internal reviews, examinations, and other types of internal documentation.
Senator HRUSKA. And you got them how long, until when?
Mr. POWERS. Well, I would say this: When we made the announcement to the Army in the fall or in the late summer of 1956 15 that we were going to make an audit of the tank automotive area, we requested the assistance of the Department of the Army in making available all documents, records, and reports. We were advised that the Department of the Army felt that they should not make available to us their internal audit reports until after corrective action had been taken on their internal audits.
We were formally advised of the Army's position on that, as I recall, Senator, in December of 1956.16
We subsequently advised 17 the Secretary of the Army, Governor Brucker, that we could not accept such a determination; that information from their internal audits as well as any other internal reviews should be made available to us.
The Secretary of the Army directed then that the matter be given further consideration, and this was followed by a period of discussions with the Army representatives.
Later we were advised by the Army that the matter was under consideration by the Department of Defense.
After writing several times to the Secretary of Defense we subsequently received some correspondence from the Defense officials to the effect that they were going to get together with the Comptroller General to resolve it, but nothing happened.
In August 1957, we reported the problem to the Congress and, as I recall, to the Senate Government Operations Committee.18
The chairman of that committee immediately sent in August 1957, a letter to the Secretary of Defense asking for a report on the matter. I think within 2 or 3 days after the letter from Senator McClellan was received by the Secretary of Defense, representatives of Defense and Army came to our office and, as a result of just about 2 hours of meeting, the Army directive was not only prepared and agreed to, but on August 20 or 21, the Secretary of Defense advised Senator McClellan, Chairman of the Senate Government Operations Committee, that the matter had been satisfactorily settled by Defense, Army, and the Comptroller General. That resulted in the issuance of the Army guidelines.
15 See exhibit No. 25 at p. 325 of the appendix. 18 See exhibit No. 26 at p. 326 of the appendix. 17 See exhibit No. 27 at p. 327 of the appendix. 18 See exhibit No. 28 at p. 329 of the appendix.
Now we did have the problem there in the Army at that point in time on the tank automotive area which was resolved. We more recently had the case of the refusal of the Air Force to make available an Inspector General's report on the missile ballistic program.
Also, during the hearings before the House Government Operations Committee, the Subcommittee on Government Information, the chairman of which was Mr. Moss, the Air Force, as I recall, referred to an earlier request that representatives of GAO had made. I think in point of time it was in 1954, and it was in connection with our review of procurement practices in the Air Force 19
As I recall, that request was made in the early spring of 1954. About 3 or 4 months later a letter was sent back to Mr. Warren, who was then the Comptroller General, advising him that the Secretary of the Air Force did not feel that this particular report involving an inspection review of their procurement activities should be made available outside the Department of the Air Force.
Now, when we finally received that letter, the requirement for that report had completely disappeared since our work was completed. It is my understanding that it was not necessary for us to press that particular matter any further.
There is also one thing I would like to make clear, and that is this: More recently, since the spring of 1956, both in the Air Force and in the Navy, up until the problem over the Defense directive occurred in 1958, we had been going into various Air Force activities and Navy activities, and we only had limited problems. This is understandable as our site audits were new to some of the bureaus and commands. They had never seen GAO out at the site before except under an investigation as contrasted with our comprehensive audit.
We have had access to reports of internal reviews in both the Navy and the Air Force.
Generally, there was no issue made of this by the operating people or by the responsible commanders at the operating levels. There were numerous reports, documents, and records that we have had access to, and there has been no significant problem on it.
The net effect, in my opinion, of this directive at this point in time is that it has reached å level of complete impracticality and stupidity, because practically all of our requests now have to be fed up this tremendous channel of command for someone to make a determination as to whether information in various documents needed in our audit of defense activities constitutes privileged information.
The result is there is a tremendous amount of manpower and time being wasted on the part of the operating people and on the part of our own employees in GAO trying to get the job done.
Senator HRUSKA. Mr. Keller, may I ask you to refer to your statement at page 13. At that point the Department of the Navy is reported to have advised you that "He believed”—I am reading now subparagraph (2), the last five lines on the page
He believed, in any event, that if the Navy should release them outside the executive branch of the Government in the future it would be only natural for persons familiar with the facts to soften criticism, avoid doubtful matter, and generally be more restrained.
19 See exhibit No. 31 at p. 332 of the appendix.
Now, I should like to address some thinking on the merit of that position.
After all, anyone who speaks in any of those internal audits or inspection reports has already placed himself on record with his superiors and with his service, isn't that true, by criticizing or making any statement or evaluation of an operation or procedure! He has already placed himself on record with his own service and within the executive department?
Mr. KELLER. That is correct.
Senator HRUSKA. There is no way that he could be prejudiced therefore by having recriminations inflicted upon him by his superiors, by a refusal of promotion, or by refusal of preferment or anything of that kind which has not already occurred?
Mr. KELLER. Except for this one point, Senator: It is my understanding that in certain types of investigations, the inspector goes out and may talk to Lt. John Smith, and that information supposedly only goes to the inspector.
Now, Lieutenant Jones' commanding officer may not know about the information he gives.
Senator HRUSKA. On the same basis that a great deal of information is gained by the FBI on its investigations or it gets its information on the assurance that that information will be confined only to the FBI man and his superiors or his associates?
Mr. KELLER. There may be instances where individuals would operate that way, but I think there are a number on the other side who speak their opinions very freely and do not care who knew about those opinions.
Senator HRUSKA. We can probably get into that further if and when we get representatives of the Departments to state and maintain their positions.
Mr. KELLER. Senator, I would like to clarify one point or, perhaps, supplement it is a better word.
You asked me about the hearings before the Moss subcommittee and who testified for the military departments.
It was limited to the Air Force representatives. It was the Secretary of the Air Force, Mr. Douglas; the General Counsel, Mr. Golden, and also the Inspector General, Lt. Gen. E. J. Rogers, U.S.A.F., and the Deputy Inspector General for Inspections, Maj. Gen. Jack Wood, U.S.A.F.
As I recall the testimony, the Secretary of the Air Force took the position that he was following the directive which was issued by the Secretary of Defense.
Senator HRUSKA. Mr. Chairman, have you finished! ?
Senator HRUSKA. Mr. Chairman, I should like to ask leave to submit for inclusion in the record at this point the material found at pages 3885 to 3893, inclusive, which includes exhibit IX on page 3893 of the hearings of the subcommittee of the Committee on Government Operations held on November 12 and 13, 1958.
Senator O'MAHONEY. It is so ordered. (The pages referred to follow :)
COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES,
Washington, Hon. JOHN E. Moss,
Chairman, Special Government Information Subcommittee, Committee on
Government Operations, House of Representatives. DEAR VR. CHAIRMAN : During the hearings before your subcommittee on Yovember 13, 1958, Mr. Max Golden, Air Force General Counsel, testified that the Department of Defense very seriously disputes statements made in our presentation during hiearings on Yoreinber 12, that inspection reports of the Inspector General, Department of the Army, are available to the General Accounting Office.
We have prepared the attached report and supporting information which should clarify the matter. It is requested that this report and information be included in the record of hearings held by your subcommittee. Sincerely yours,
Comptroller General of the United States.
GAO ACCESS TO INSPECTION REPORTS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY INSPECTOR
Our dealings with the Department of the Army on this problem were initially formalized through an exchange of letters with the Honorable Frank Pace, Jr., Secretary of the Army, under dates of February 11, 1952 (appendix A), and February 27, 1952 (appendix B). Arrangements with the Department of the Army prior to directive of August 20,
1957 Under the liaison arrangement established in this exchange of letters, a channel was maintained for direct personal communications between the designated liaison officers for the purpose of exchanging timely information regarding deficiencies or suspicions in connection with procurement programs or other phases of Army activities. An informal working arrangement was developed whereby, on request, reports and underlying data relating to administrative inspection activities of the Inspector General were made available to the GAO liaison officer. Matters dealt with were primarily in the area of procurement because of the major concern of both the GAO and the Inspector General with deficiencies in that area. Material requested by the General Accounting Office was made available for examination in the Office of the Inspector General. This liaison operated in a generally satisfactory manner during our review of ordnance procurement activities, which was completed in 1955. Events leading up to issuance of Department of the Army directive of August
20, 1957 On October 9, 1956, we advised the Secretary of the Army of our intention to conduct a comprehensive audit of the Army Ordanance Tank-Automotive Com. mand and requested his cooperation in making available all documents, records, and reports, including those of all internal review organizations. On December 19, 1956, the Secretary of the Army refused us access to internal audit reports or any related working papers until responsible staff and operating officials had formulated plans for implementing recommendations or stated reasons why corrective action was not taken.
On February 7, 1957, we advised the Secretary of the Army that our responsibility by law to give due regard to internal audit and control and related administrative practices included all management evaluations and internal reviews, regardless of the organizational units responsible for their perform
Further, we indicated that we could not agree that audit reports and work papers, as well as other books, documents, papers, and records, should not be made available until after corrective action had been taken and clearance had been granted by the Secretary's Office. A copy of this letter was forwarded to the Secretary of Defense by letter dated February 18, 1957.
On February 28, 1957, the Secretary of the Army advised us of his desire to assist in every way possible to accomplish our mission, and suggested that we contact the Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army (Financial Management) to the end that procedures satisfactory to this Office could be incorporated in regulations of the Department of the Army.
After numerous meetings between representatives of this Office and repre. sentatives of the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of the Army during wbich satisfactory agreement could not be reached, we advised the chairman of the Senate Committee on Government Operations regarding the problem on August 13, 1957. On August 15, 1957, the chairman, Senate Committee on Gorernment Operations, wrote to the Secretary of Defense requesting advice regarding the matters raised by this Office in order to make a determination as to whether it would be necessary to hold hearings on the problem.
On August 19, 1957, we met again with officials of the Department of Defense and the Department of the Army to discuss a proposed directive to be issued by the Department of the Army on our access to records. This directive made provision for our accessibility to all documents, papers, records, and reports, including those prepared by internal review organizations on installations and activities of the Department of the Army with the exception of the provisions of paragraph 8 of the proposed guidelines, as follows:
“8. Budgets for any future fiscal year will not be released. Reports of nonArmy agencies (including FBI reports) should not be released unless the written consent of such agency has been obtained. Summaries of the facts set forth in investigation reports ? of Inspector General and of Criminal Investigative Division reports should, upon request, be prepared and furnished. If any question should arise concerning access to the reports themselves, the matter will be immediately referred to the Assistant Secretary of the Army (FM)."
Representatives of the Department of Defense and the Department of the Army assured us that all inspection, survey, and internal review types of reports, as distinguished from the investigative type, would be readily available to our representatives under the directive to be issued by the Department of the Army. It was further indicated that the Department of Defense would make this procedure uniform throughout the three military departments. On August 20, 1957, we received a letter from the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) transmitting a copy of memorandum for the Chief of Staff and guidelines relative to General Accounting Office comprehensive audits.
On August 21, 1957, we informed the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) that we were glad that the matter had been satisfactorily settled, and reiterated our understanding that the Department of Defense intended to issue an overall directive covering our access to records which would follow the pattern established in the case of the Department of the Army. Access to inspection reports after issuance of Department of the Army directive
of August 20, 1957 The directive was distributed throughout the Department of the Army by a cover letter (appendix C) dated September 11, 1957, signed by the Adjutant General. The covering letter of the Adjutant General pointed out specifically that as a matter of Department of the Army policy, upon request, GAO was to have access to (a) internal audit reports and related working papers and (6) records and data pertaining to installations or activities of the Department of the Army.
We have had no refusal of our requests for information or inspection reports since the issuance and distribution of the Department of the Army directive. Some of the Inspector General's inspection reports that we have had access to during the preceding year are as follows:
Title of report
Property Disposal at Frankford Arsenal, Phila- Ordnance Inspector
delphia, Pa., for fiscal years 1956 and 1957. General. Contracting and Purchasing at the Frankford ...do...
Maintenance Command, IG-333-1.
Transportation Supply and Maintenance spector General. Command, fiscal year 1958.
1 Italic supplied for emphasis.