GAO, Freind or Foe? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

GAO, Freind or Foe?

I'm directing this question to those of you out there who feel as I do, that is, that the Government in general has become dangerous to the populice it it there to serve.

As I read and watch the news unfold, it appears to me that the GAO is actually on our side. They regularly criticize other offices/departments etc. of the government for incompitancey (sp?) and the wasteing of money. When all the rest seem to be taking our rights away, they are looking out for us.

Am I way off?

Just one man's thought......

-- MidwestMike_ (, June 08, 1999


Mike...I agree with you completely; GAO is a no-bulls@#t straight ahead outfit.

-- doug (, June 08, 1999.

I think it has specifically been Joel Willemssen's leadership at GAO. Of course, we're also looking at a pissing contest between the White House and the Senate Committee. K-man is Clinton's guy; Willemssen is Bennett's guy.

-- Brooks (, June 08, 1999.

Not so fast, saying GAO is outside the emerging Orwellian framework. Look at this ABC news piece, which lumps "survivalists" in with "terrorist, drug dealers, and insane Detroit cop killers". Source: entirely from GAO reports, with GAO heavily quoted to boot. These reporters really sweat to get all the facts don't they:

.50 rifles

- Ignorance is Strength

-- Ct Vronsky (, June 08, 1999.

I think the GAO has been extremely helpful in calling bullshit on the Federal agencies. As far as the use of the term "survivalist", I'm not sure they were referring to the average family making Y2K preps. It was an unfortunate choice of words, however.

-- Doug (, June 08, 1999.

Washington D.C. has been hogging the market in "unfortunate choice of words". As for the motives of the GAO, I'm pressed to find fault and somewhat amazed!

-- Will continue (, June 08, 1999.

Joel Willemssen has called them as he see's them. From a Canadian point of view the GAO reports are some of the best information that you can get on the status of the US. The trouble with the GAO reports is often they are based on information that is months old.

In Canada the auditor general - Treasury would be our equvilent I believe. They do not have the same mandate in providing information to the public as the GAO does.

On the plus side the auditor general was the one that got everyone peaked in Canada saying the Quebec Icestorm would be like a picnic compared to Y2K. This now does not seem to be the case.

-- Brian (, June 08, 1999.

Yes, the GAO is a good source of information. Remember, GAO works for Congress, and Congress is the closest branch of the govt to the people. I think it is too far to say that GAO is "on our side." Think of it this way: how many joe sixpacks listen to GAO on a regular basis? Not many, I know. I think GAO is coverering their ass in case the SHTF. Look, if nothing happens, then nobody cares what GAO said, because nobody in the general population cares now. But, if Y2k is a 5+ or maybe even a 3+ they will be hailed as doing great work. Increase budgets, increased reputation, and a guranteed future (as long as US govt exists.) My 2 cents.

-- Jim the Window Washer (, June 08, 1999.

(1) As was entioned in the previous posting, the GAO is the audit agency paid for and reporting to Congress. They are independent of the Administration/Executive Branch and can tell it like it is!

(2) As a former EDP Auditor (and computer security consultant), I found GAO reports to consistently be truthful and complete.

(3) That is not to say that GAO auditors are superhuman. They, too, are mere mortals, with mortal limitations. But they are good, and absent PROOF to the contrary, I would believe them.

-- Mad Monk (, June 09, 1999.

Maybe the GAO is attepting to stop panic.The question is: will they be there to feed and hydrate us. Is this country built on trust or lies? I guess that would depend on who is in office. How can a president be candid without being too candid. It is like that bean spilling game or who can build the tallest tower in one sentence without it falling. This Y2k issue is the largest catch 22 ever experienced.

-- Feller (, June 09, 1999.

I work in an industry that is the topic of one of the GAO's reports. I was actively involved in the survey process, and I feel pretty qualified at knowing "the truth" and how the GAO reported it.

On the plus side, the information was pretty accurate. They came up with objective measures and applied them uniformly.

I have two complaints/observations.

The reports were still "spun" to reach the conclusion desired by the Congressman that requested the data. Perhaps it's because the auditors are only human, but there is a bias in the way the information is presented.

The second problem isn't really their fault...just the laziness of the American people and the press. They will often state "just the facts" and leave off what the data means. An example (fictional): "22% of airliners use the RTz234 part. The RTz234 part failed in 92.734% of realtime tests." Left out was the fact that the RTz234 part controls the fuel pump.

The conclusion "we're in deep doo-doo", is never mentioned. The reader is left to draw their own conclusions. It's almost like a code language for the industry being reviewed. In a way, it makes the GAO reports TOO OPTIMISTIC in that you may not be concerned about what they found. Re-read a few of those reports, and everytime there is a paragraph that you think is fluff or filler, or you go "So?", realize that there is meaning in the paragraph. There is a reason it is there.

I think that the GAO reports will be great evidence --- after the fact --- that "See, we told you all about it on page 32." I know in my industry there was way more concern within the industry than there was in the press. And that was a real shame.

-- Jim Smith (, June 09, 1999.

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