Today's Washington Times piece about a Department of Homeland Security Inspector General investigation into TSA's accounting practices is taken largely out of context and fails to identify the aggressive measures TSA has taken to improve it's financial management process. A recent Inspector General report covering the period ending in September of 2007 noted TSA's considerable financial management progress and addressed challenges for the future.
In 2006 TSA developed a three-year plan to improve its financial statement reporting and accuracy. That approach was implemented by a series of corrective action plans for all areas of internal controls. These plans were reviewed and supported by the Department of Homeland Security, the Inspector General, and KPMG LLP, a private accounting firm, as aggressive and achievable. Issues in the report were not identified to be those of waste, abuse or fraud, but rather about accounting documentation or policy compliance. Within TSA there were no deficiencies with required background checks related to access to financial systems.
Issues related to TSA's financial services provider, the U.S. Coast Guard, have had steps taken to correct or resolve them. The U.S. Coast Guard developed corrective action plans for items that remain.
In 2007, TSA achieved its goal of a qualified audit opinion on its balance sheet -- its best performance in financial reporting to date. TSA reports quarterly results and will make further improvements in FY 2008 as it moves toward its goals of earning an unqualified audit opinion and eliminating material internal controls. Overall, the article failed to capture the financial reporting progress made by TSA and DHS outlined in the audit.