AndersenÕs Contract to Audit FBI Unaffected by Mounting
Evidence of Criminal Activity
From The Wilderness Publications and Michael C. Ruppert,
rights reserved. May be reprinted, copied, distributed or
posted on the internet for non-profit purposes only.]
15, 2002 - In the exploding popcorn mix of new
Enron investigations, increasingly focusing on possible
criminal misconduct by accounting giant Arthur Andersen,
a Justice Department spokesperson has told FTW that a contract
for Andersen to review sensitive FBI management and recordkeeping
procedures has been unaffected.
by Senators Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) and Russ Feingold (D-WI)
indicating that investigations of Andersen may turn criminal,
and a January 14 commentary by CNNÕs Lou Dobbs indicating
that the scandal may put the company out of business, raise
serious questions about the Department of JusticeÕs contract
calling for Andersen to "review the FBIÕs management practices,
including recordkeeping, technology and human resources
issues," as described in an August 29, 2001 story by reporter
Kellie Lunney on the website www.GovExec.com.
This is especially relevant since FBI agents will themselves
be investigating Andersen in newly announced DoJ probes
related to Enron.
The Gov Exec story,
relying on documents from the Federal Register, detailed
that, "In July, Justice and FBI officials revealed that
more than 400 weapons and 180 laptop computers - including
some holding sensitive and classified information - were
missing from the agency. The FBI has faced harsh criticism
over the last few months, most notably for its failure to
turn over all documents to lawyers for Oklahoma
City bomber Timothy McVeigh, a controversy
that resulted in a temporary postponement of McVeighÕs execution."
In August, Attorney
General John Ashcroft authorized the creation of a special
commission to evaluate years of serious and well-documented
FBI lapses ranging from mishandling of key evidence in the
crime lab, as exposed by FBI whistleblower Fred Whitehurst,
to the loss of sensitive intelligence materials. Commission
members include former CIA Director William Webster, former
Secretary of Defense William Cohen, former House Speaker
Tom Foley and former HUD Secretary and U.S. Trade Rep Carla
According to the
GovExec story, "All of the commissionÕs meetings will be
closed to the public to protect sensitive informationÉ according
to a July 16 memo from the Justice Department." The key
question is, "Information sensitive to whom, that might
damage whose interests?"
DoJ spokesman Brian
Sierra indicated on January 14, that the issue of AndersenÕs
contract, which would give them access to many of the FBIÕs
most sensitive files, has not yet been raised in the wake
of the rapidly evolving Enron debacle. "As of this moment
the contract is still in effect," said Sierra. I canÕt speak
to the issue and I donÕt think the question has been brought
up at Justice."
Andersen, headquartered in Chicago, did not return an FTW
call asking for comment.
The obvious conflict
of interest could not come at a worse time for an Administration
that is frantically attempting to get ahead of the Enron
scandal. It also comes at a time when the impartiality of
other government agencies including the Securities and Exchange
Commission and the General Accounting office is called into
question because of the past relationships of the heads
of those two agencies with the embattled accounting firm.
Harvey Pitt at SEC once represented Andersen in his private
law practice. GAO chief David Walker is a former board member
at Andersen whose tenure there ended in late 1998, long
after the time period in which Andersen has been implicated
in the falsifications of EnronÕs financial statements which
began in 1997.
WalkerÕs former partners
may now become the subject of criminal probes by the FBI,
the SEC and the GAO. Unlike the SEC and the FBI, the GAO
is known as the investigative arm of Congress - the same
Congress which is now representing itself to be the champion
of the public interest. Headed by Walker in the Comptroller
General position, the GAO remains one of the last defensible
positions that the government - both the White House and
the Congress - can offer as a statement of government credibility
to an increasingly cynical population.
The notion that Andersen
could now be trusted to investigate the FBI and gain access
to information that would damage the FBIÕs credibility and
possibly be traded off for softer handling for its own actions
stretches the imagination to the breaking point and beyond.
Congress and the administration need to understand that
by failing to walk the most perfect of lines with Enron
and Andersen they risk the credibility of the entire government
and not just the Bush White House.
A previous FTW story
on unexplored conflicts of interest related to Enron is
located at:á http://www.fromthewilderness.com/members/