THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
JANUARY FEBRUARY 2015
for USAID/IGRecent reports in e Washington Post and other media highlight allega
tions made by auditors working for
USAID’s inspector general that some
audit reports were altered by IG upper
management to omit certain ndings.
ese allegations have caused consider-
able dismay among former USAID IG
Federal inspectors general have
unique disclosure responsibilities under
the Inspector General Act of 1976.
report not only to their agency heads,
but also to those congressional com-
mittees that provide funding for agency
operations and exercise oversight.
While omission of inconvenient or
sensitive matters from audit reports
may well ingratiate inspectors with their
agency heads, the practice not only less-
ens the possibility that corrective actions
will be taken by cognizant program
managers, but corrodes the morale of
audit sta . More importantly, it denies
disclosure of such matters to the taxpay-
ers’ representatives in Congress.
Worse yet, perhaps, revelations of
this sort tend to transform the public’s
perception of inspectors general from
that of alert monitors of agency pro-
grams and operations (“junkyard dogs”
in the words of Edwin Meese, Ronald
Reagan’s attorney general) into lap dogs
of agency management.
In short, inspectors general have an
obligation to report their audit ndings
in a thoughtful, balanced and objec-
tive manner, letting the chips fall where
they may. Findings deemed so sensitive
that they might harm vital American
interests if shared are always subject to
classi cation and special handling in
consultation with agency and IG upper
management. In no case, however,
should signi cant ndings be omitted or
withheld from Congress.
ose USAID/IG o cials who alleg-
edly engaged in or condoned the unjus-
ti able suppression of important audit
ndings need to be held accountable for
USAID Senior FSO/supervisory
Sun City Center, Florida
How to Combat
Inadvertent Judicial Biase October FSJ article, “Child Cus- tody Issues in Foreign Service Divorces,”
o ers a well-rounded primer on the
lenges facing a
cases in Fairfax
County, Virginia, my sole critique is
that the article
sity often faced by an FS parent seeking
to take a child overseas. All else being
equal, family law judges tend to prefer
custody arrangements with the parent
who will remain in what has become
a child’s hometown—the “non-posted
Unconscious judicial preference for a
stationary lifestyle should be combated
by a competent legal advocate with the
help of a credible scienti c expert wit-
e applicable Virginia statute
(§ 20-124.3) does not expressly address
the impact of a custodial parent’s plans
to regularly relocate on the “best inter-
ests” of the child.
Furthermore, the Virginia Court of
Appeals has declined to presume that
moving will harm a child’s relationships,
even when moving a “far distance”( Goodhand v. Kildoo , 560 SE 2d 463, 2002).
Nonetheless, trial court judges can
be a conservative crowd, preferring
past acts and known circumstances to
unpredictable onward assignments and
promises of future good behavior.
For the parent who plans to remain
in the Foreign Service and seek custody
while living abroad, the importance of
hiring a credible child psychologist to
testify to the bene ts and advantages of
a mobile, international lifestyle cannot
e extra money
preparing for judicial education on the
advantages of growing up overseas will
be well spent.
Failing to do so may subject a Foreign
Service parent to the discretion of a
judge who has inadvertently equated a
static lifestyle with a stable one.
Sam Schmitt, Esq.
FS family member
Looking Back to the Fall
On Nov. 1, a group of now mostly
retired U.S. o cials celebrated the 25th
anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
is symbolic victory was clearly the
result of great teamwork conducted over
the years by those in the U.S. and Allied
military forces, their respective foreign
o ces, Western intelligence services,
and the underlying dogged, unrelenting
spirit of the German citizenry.
Much credit has already been given
to various individuals who played di er-
ent roles in the events leading up to that
historic day, with particular importance
attached to President Ronald Reagan’s
“Mr. Gorbachev, Tear Down