Group: Senate should scrutinize DNI choice
- By Alice Lipowicz
- Jan 09, 2009
The government watchdog group Project on Government Oversight (POGO) is
calling for careful scrutiny of president-elect Barack Obama’s
appointment of Dennis Blair as director of national intelligence
because of Blair’s past conflict-of-interest concerns related to two
Blair stepped down from his post as
president of the Institute for Defense Analyses two years ago after the
Defense Department's inspector general found that he had violated
conflict-of-interest rules. Blair owned stock and served on the board
of contractors EDO Corp. and Tyco International Ltd., both
subcontractors to the Air Force’s F-22 fighter jet, while the institute
was evaluating the F-22 procurement for DOD.
The IG said Blair
was aware of the potential conflict, but did not recuse himself from
that evaluation. The audit also said Blair did not alter the
conclusions of the evaluation or benefit personally from it. POGO
initiated the investigations of Blair.
“The basic obligations of
public service are undermined when an official has a financial interest
in the projects his organization is overseeing,” POGO Executive
Director Danielle Brian said Jan. 8. “Blair’s struggle to recognize
that what he did was wrong makes him a troubling selection, and we hope
that the Senate will carefully scrutinize [Blair’s] history and
attitude towards conflicts of interest during his confirmation hearing.”
Blair could not be reached immediately.
Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.