Magazine article Security Management

GAO, Defense Trade Blows over Classified Data

Magazine article Security Management

GAO, Defense Trade Blows over Classified Data

Article excerpt

ACCUSED BY the Government Accountability Office (GAO) of not being able to ensure that its oversight of contractors under foreign ownership, control, or influence is adequate, the Department of Defense has responded by blasting the GAO for a "lack of understanding" of national policy on contractor access to classified data.

The report says that "DSS does not systematically ask for, collect, or analyze information on foreign business transactions in a manner that helps it properly oversee contractors entrusted with U.S. information."

Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Counterintelligence and Security) Carol A. Haave has fired back in DSS's official comments to the report, saying that "the report never made the nexus between collecting and analyzing data and protection of classified information or the effectiveness of DSS oversight."

The GAO's Ann CalvaresiBarr, who authored the report, faults DSS for not centrally collecting and analyzing information to determine what corrective actions are needed to improve oversight of contractors under foreign ownership, control, or influence (FOCI). DSS staff members, she continues, also "lack the research tools and training to fully understand the significance of corporate structures, legal ownership, and complex financial relationships when foreign entities are involved. …

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