“Because of resource constraints, State did not perform financial internal controls reviews for more than two-thirds of its implementing partners during fiscal years 2010 through 2012,” the report noted.
“GAO is recommending that State take steps to improve its financial monitoring of implementing partners and provide clear guidance for approving subpartners,” it added. “State concurred … and cited steps they are taking to address them.”
The report made no mention of Gross, his work in Cuba or the broader debate over whether the democracy programs are effective in helping the country’s civil society or merely provoke the Cuban government.
But it notes that there is another version of the report that is “sensitive but unclassified.” USAID does not release the names of most of its partners and subpartners, for instance, to protect them from Cuban authorities.
“Although the information provided in this (public) report is more limited in scope, it addresses the same questions and uses the same overall methodology as the sensitive report,” it notes.
Cuba is “a Communist state that restricts nearly all political dissent on the island” it adds, and conditions on the island “pose security risks to the implementing partners — primarily NGOs — and subpartners that provide U.S. assistance.”
“Tactics for suppressing dissent … include surveillance, arbitrary arrests, detentions, travel restrictions, exile, criminal prosecutions, and loss of employment,” the report added.
GAO investigators worked on the report from September 2011 until last month, made at least one trip to Havana, interviewed scores of people and had access to tens of thousands of documents, said one knowledgeable U.S. government official. It was officially delivered to Kerry’s office Jan. 25.