The role of an Inspector General (IG) office in a federal agency or department is to root out waste, fraud, and abuse, and where necessary refer criminal conduct to the Justice Department for prosecution. But what happens when the IG itself is corrupt, especially in a national security context where secrecy can be used to conceal malfeasance?
Austrian filmmaker Fritz Moser’s documentary, “A Good American,” released in February 2017, explores a real-world case of IG corruption and misconduct before and after the September 11, 2001 attacks. The film tells the tale of a small group of National Security Agency employees who, prior to 9/11 developed a revolutionary intelligence collection and analysis capability, code-named THINTHREAD. Had THINTHREAD been fully operationally deployed even a few months before the attacks, it likely would have detected most or all of the would-be hijackers before they had a chance to act, as the THINTHREAD team lays out in the movie.

The documentary poses and answers another major, relevant question. What happens when conscientious government employees in the national security establishment report wrongdoing that costs American lives and billions in taxpayer dollars?
More often than not, their careers are destroyed by senior bureaucrats who will seemingly stop at nothing to bury the truth.