Senators 'troubled' by intelligence data inconsistencies

Senators on the Senate Homeland Security Committee said Thursday that a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report shows the intelligence community isn’t getting accurate information about and from contractors.

The agency reviewed the Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s annual inventory of contractors who perform “core” functions, those who provide direct support to intelligence mission areas such as collection, operations, analysis, management and research and development.

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Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.) said he was “troubled” that the GAO report found vulnerabilities in the intelligence community’s inventory of its core contractor personnel and inconsistencies in data provided to Congress that could affect policy decision.

“The men and women who work at our nation’s intelligence agencies, whether federal employee or contractor, are entrusted with analyzing and protecting our most sensitive information,” Carper said. “Given the nature of their work and all that’s at stake, it’s critical that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) is able to account for core intelligence contractors and provide that information to Congress so we know exactly who is managing our nation’s secrets and why.”

Officials have been taking a close look at the nation's intelligence work since former government contractor Edward Snowden leaked classified information about the National Security Agency's (NSA) data collection program last year.

“In the wake Edward Snowden’s damaging leaks of classified information, the intelligence community must demonstrate that it can rigorously vet, hire, manage, and oversee the contractor workforce it relies upon to help perform its mission,” said Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who serves on the committee.

Carper said he would work with the intelligence community to develop the necessary reforms to remedy the issue.

“ODNI needs to review its policies and make the necessary changes to ensure that it can account for its use of all contractors,” Carper said. “I will work closely with my colleagues here in Congress and members of the intelligence community to ensure that these important reforms are made in a thoughtful and timely manner.”

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