Katie Porter plays oversight Jeopardy with the Department of Defense

Originally published at: Katie Porter plays oversight Jeopardy with the Department of Defense | Boing Boing


This was one of the best things I saw all week long… Just amazing that she got these guys to play along with her!

Kyle Mooney Snl GIF by Saturday Night Live


It was an amusing performance, but on the flip side letting her use the platform this way effectively meant that those men didn’t have to provide any meaningful answers to tough questions.


It did, however, illustrate, in a clear way to the American public what is happening with these systems that we tend to mindlessly fund. That matters, too, actually.



It does, but I can see why the witnesses would just sit there and take it. Much easier to sit quietly and let Porter do her thing than have to come up with an argument defending the waste she’s bringing up.


Point to another congress person who is bringing up these problems in such a clear way at all. Is she meant to do the work of all her colleagues, or should we maybe push the rest of our representatives to do this kind of work?


Porter is a good congressperson who would make a good Senator.

The witnesses in this hearing? Little more than background extras. And they know it.


Do you think they could have come up with a decent argument defending the waste? I don’t think there is one. And a few of her points aren’t even on them. One was against Trump, one was against McConnell, and one was against her own colleagues in Congress. It’s mind blowing to me that Congress gave the DOD more than they asked for.


they just go along with the whole thing, knowing how orchestrated their humiliation will be.

What they know is that it’s meaningless. She does her thing, they fit there and put up with it, and the waste continues.


Again, how is having specific forms of waste described and understood by the American public, pointless? :woman_shrugging: And why are we holding her to a higher standard, when she already does far more than most of her male colleagues?


not really like they ever answer the questions anyway. if a witness is there as a whistleblower, that’s one thing. mostly in these situations it’s deflect, deflect, deflect

1 Like

I’m not holding her to a higher standard. Or any standard, really. I wasn’t referring to the quality or perceptiveness of what she does. I’m glad she does what she does. But in the end, without systematic change, there will be no end to the waste. I was speaking to the hopelessness of it.

There is a whole system of training in place to prevent waste in purchasing. We still get it anyway. Because the American public may not like $1000 toilet seats. But they like extra submarines, unneeded aircraft, and unwanted construction. If it’s in their districts. And as someone upstream pointed out, much of the BS she’s calling out is on the heads of her fellow congresscritters, not the DoD.


I think people here are indeed doing that. While this is not changing the system of waste in itself, that change starts with understanding the facts on the ground. Few congress people tend to focus on that basic aspect of demanding social change. for many people, since the Cold War, the defense industry meant JOBS, good jobs, solid jobs that lifted people into the middle class. People see these issues from that perspective, more often than not, so laying out the waste that actually happens lets people understand the defense industry and it’s relationship to DOD from a different perspective that also impacts their lives in ways that they might not had thought about.

If we want change, we need to educate people about what’s happening, which of course, she’s coming in part from an education background, so this makes sense for her to do, as she’s probably pretty good at it. This is key, not just railing against the system without fully explicating what is happening.


I had to go back a few times and watch a portion of that to make sure I understood it.
Is Mr. Mansfield really saying that the DOD cannot account for 61% of its assets?
How is that even possible?
How is no one held accountable?
I mean Jesus Fuck!


From Wikipedia:

The annual cost of the United States Department of Defense black budget was estimated at $30 billion in 2008, but was increased to an estimated $50 billion in 2009.

The DoD literally cannot account for a huge amount of its assets because the Department has been funded in a way that is intended to make accounting impossible since 1947.


But even that $50 billion is just about 7% of the DOD fiscal year 2022 of $715.
That still leaves us with like about $386 BILLION they can’t account for?


Probably less “can’t” than “won’t, because they don’t have to.”


Imagine buying a residential building in 1947 using money that had no legal origin and then trying to account for it in 2023.

It’s not just that the building offically never existed, it’s that you’ve then re-spent the rent profit that you made in 1947-48 on a hundred other things that are also unaccountable. Keep repeating that process for seven-and-a-half decades.

Given that the known “other things” in this case include things like the Iran/Contra affair and pallets of missing cash in Iraq, I’m honestly surprised the DoD can account for any of it at all.


solid lol at

“I’m really counting on you here, Mr. Mansfield”


I just finished Rep Porter’s book I Swear. She somehow comes off as more smarterer and tougher than I expected. She’s a master of letting people walk themselves into rhetorical traps and she discusses in detail how she does it. Regarding @Brainspore’s first post; she is very conscious of the fact that her audience is the American people, she will get no useful answers from the people she’s interrogating and that letting them paint themselves into a corner is more illustrative than ranting at them for five minutes. I mean, the fact that Brett Mansfield, the Director of the Office of Inspector General knew the exact percentage of assets the DOD can’t account for is a whopping 61% and the implication that he can’t or won’t do a goddamn thing about it is incredibly effective.

And she very often gets direct and immediate results with this technique:

She is the sole reason we had free, government-paid COVID testing within weeks of lockdown. From the book (that I have not yet returned to the library):

“When I questioned the CDC director, only 3,498 Americans had been tested for COVID- 19. Just over two weeks later, by March 27, 2020, over 100,000 Americans were tested in a single week. In the months ahead, that number continued to grow.“

ETA: It’s also worth pointing out the she is one of the most junior congresspeople on some of the most “boring” committees and still manages to make massive waves. If it’s not already apparent, I adore Katie Porter.