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GAO: Gaps Plague U.S. Oversight of Foreign 'Risks'

Titled Enforcement Agencies Should Better Leverage Information to Target Efforts Involving U.S. Universities, the June 14 report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) focuses on inappropriate foreign influences or lack of disclosures from the perspective of potential violations of export control laws.

In tandem, the report reviews enforcement actions by FBI and the Departments of Homeland Security (DHS), including its Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office, and Commerce, including its Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) and Export Enforcement (EE) office.[1]

The report joins another recently issued by the HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) and comes on the heels of a one-year prison sentence imposed on a former University of Arkansas engineering professor for making a false statement related to patents he received in China.[2]

Three Republican members of Congress requested the GAO report: Sens. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, John Cornyn of Texas and Rep. Ralph Norman of South Carolina. According to GAO, the three “asked us to review how U.S. agencies identify and address the potential risks associated with foreign students and scholars at U.S. universities who may seek to evade U.S. export controls.” GAO said a version of the report completed in March contained information considered sensitive by the government, which was removed from the public document.

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