“This is not something that you can blame the Senate for not confirming someone, because I’m not hearing of any names being floated, so I think it’s a total lack of interest in having an IG at the State Department,” Brian added. “I think I would blame equally the White House for not pursuing it, and Secretary [of State] Clinton for not pushing for one, either.”
The Washington Post reported in April 2011 that the State Department opposed the appointment of a permanent IG.
But under Geisel’s leadership, the office was criticized in a report by the Government Accountability Office last year, which faulted some of the OIG’s activities — including inspections conducted by the Middle East Regional Office that were not “consistent with generally accepted government auditing standard.”
A spokesperson for GAO declined to comment on OIG’s current state, noting only that GAO conducted the 2011 report because Congress asked it to do so.
“That was testimony that was a direct result of work Congress asked us to do,” said Charles Young, managing director of public affairs at GAO, in an email to The DCNF.
The report’s author has since retired, he said.
Troubles with the OIG — and its Middle East office, in particular — are vexing, given that the Department of Defense is in the process of delegating greater control of the region to the State Department, Brian said.
“The State Department has such an important mission, given that it’s taken over responsibility for Iraq and in theory, in a couple of years, will be doing so in Afghanistan as well,” she said. “To have a vacant office for the entire first term of the Obama administration is inexplicable and totally unacceptable.”
The OIG announced an investigation into security measures in place at U.S. embassies earlier this year.
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