A redacted report released yesterday unveiled some troubling information – during Operation Iraqi Freedom, the U.S. Army mishandled classified information, putting American troops, trusted foreign officials and U.S. national security in danger.
The Office of the Inspector General at the Defense Department used a January 2010 audit — posted June 3, 2012 – to determine whether the internal controls over Deployable Disbursing System transactions were sufficient to guarantee the reliability of the data processed. Financial information processed by disbursing stations supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom and the recording of related obligations were included in the audit.
The audit found lack of Army internal controls allowed for the processing of 655 transactions containing classified information into DDS and the submission of at least 40 disbursement vouchers containing unmarked classified information for storage at a vulnerable Defense Finance and Accounting Service building in Rome, Italy.
Because the DDS is an unclassified system, classified information is not secure to be processed through it – making classified transactions processed through DDS susceptible to interception.
DDS provides automated accounting and disbursing documentation for mobile and remote military stations within contingency locations. Personally identifiable information is collected via DDS, including an individual’s name, Social Security number, electronic fund transfer data, financial payment information, military branch of service and military status.
Despite the troubling information contained in the 2010 audit, an OIG 2011 audit again found Army DDS controls inadequate, resulting in access control issues, payment certification deficiencies and improper payments.
In fiscal year 2011, the Army processed $13.1 billion worth of commercial and miscellaneous payments through DDS. Databases provided by DFAS were reported to be missing 13,795 payments for $801.3 million. In addition, the 2011 audit found “potential monetary benefits for duplicate payments, totaling $162,258, that, if collected, the government could put to better use.”