The ineffective Inspector General (IG) Corps is in serious need of being inspected themselves. Their stated purpose in life is to conduct inspections within different elements of their respective federal agencies with a view to find irregularities and to initiate corrective actions up to and including referral to appropriate law enforcement agencies for criminal prosecutions.
All Inspectors General are insiders coming from within the ranks of the government agency that they are responsible for inspecting. They are career members of their agencies and look forward to continuing and rising higher in their careers after they spend their time as IGs. If, during their ‘inspections’, they fault someone or gore someone’s fat calf, their careers are essentially forfeited. Given those parameters, some IGs have little motivation to closely pursue their duties which are to be corrective, or even ferret out instances of waste, fraud, and mismanagement or other criminal activities. They are often inclined to whitewash problems. When such is encountered, they, being so-called resident professionals or experts, can (but too often don’t) recommend corrective or remedial action such as procedures or reporting corrections or more, including criminal referral. In doing their jobs, they risk offending someone who could be their next boss. This affects their ability to be neutral or unbiased unless they are in line to retire.
Federal Inspectors General are therefore ineffective at times, useless at other times, or rarely, even good. Some are or even have been involved in unethical or criminal activities themselves which incentivizes them to ignore or cover up. Not good for we taxpayers.
The entire corps of Inspectors General needs to be removed from within their agencies and consolidated outside of the Executive Branch within or under the purview of the House of Representatives who can inspect the inspectors. They need to be untarnished experts, senior or mid-level officers or staffers perhaps at or near the end of their careers, in positions that can assure a lack of bias and be neutral. They would continue receiving their pay and benefits provided by their respective agencies but report and be directly responsible to the Congress.
The Inspectors General corps needs independent subject matter experts along with expert auditors (not just simple bean counters) with expertise in examining all aspects of their assigned project. They must be responsible professionals engaged in detailed desk or work audits of all elements within agencies such as the DOD, National Security agencies such as the FBI, NSA, CIA, DOJ, etc.
When IG teams are sent out, they must contain copies of whistle blower complaints, reports of Waste Frud, and Mismanagement, criminal activities information, etc. Agency (present or past) employees who have blown the proverbial whistle may be included on the inspection team.
Completed IG reports should not merely be pigeonholed as most are today. IG reports containing data on treason, malfeasance and corruption, or other criminal activities should be sent forward to Congressional watchdogs, the respective agency security departments, and appropriate federal, state, or local law enforcement investigative and criminal entities. By IG reports being blanket routed around, sweeping such issues under the rug would fail.
Whistle blowers provide an invaluable service to the public. Current Whistle Blower protection statutes are unfunny jokes that do little to nothing to protect whistle blowers (Yes, they can file complaints after they have been damaged, but that is often too little, too late). Younger employees don’t dare blow a whistle because they know for a certainty that there will be a harsh backlash which can range from bullying, physical intimidation or even beatings, career killing bad performance reports, dead end assignments, firing, etc.
Other retaliation against whistle blowers can be deadly as with the unsolved and minimally investigated murders of DNC employee Seth Rich, and DHS employee Philip Haney. Famous political figures stand accused and not investigated regarding dozens of current or former employee deaths including death by bullet (deemed to be suicides). The FBI stands accused of being a perpetrator with some of these deaths.
[This writer blew the proverbial whistle while stationed at American Embassies overseas and suffered consequences including being compelled (coerced) into an early retirement with a minimal pension.]