Dear Association Members and Friends,
“A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” (Mark Twain)
Anyone who has spent any time in the Inspector General business knows what it is like to see a false narrative catch fire and spread, like a match to dry leaves. Many times this will occur before we have had a chance to gather any facts. Sometimes it will happen when we are not in a position to correct the record because an investigation is still ongoing. Over the years, I have learned through personal experience and observing the world around me that the truth has become an increasingly rare commodity. In 1996, Richard Jewell was falsely accused of the Atlanta Olympic Park bombing. We all remember the Duke Lacrosse case in 2006. More recently, most of you know about the article published in Rolling Stone last November alleging that a gang rape occurred at a University of Virginia fraternity house. Rolling Stone retracted that story after numerous media outlets and an independent review by the Columbia School of Journalism demonstrated it to be unreliable. One person who was interviewed about the story said the following:
“The thing is, it doesn’t matter,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s true or not, because whether this one incident is true, there’s still a huge problem with sexual assault in the United States.”
I have to admit, folks … that one left my jaw on the floor. With a straight face and apparent sincerity, this person said that the truth didn’t matter. God help us all if the day ever comes when the truth doesn’t matter to us in the IG community. The truth has to matter. In fact, I submit that it’s the only thing that matters. It is the highest duty we have, and it’s never been more important. We should all ponder that as we go about our jobs each day.
To update everybody on the latest AIG business, our Summer Institutes in Jacksonville are officially sold out. This continues a great pattern of success for the institutes. Thanks again to Phil Zisman and his staff for handling the significant administrative details, and to Bob Clift, Howard Schwartz and Hector Collazo for holding down the fort with course management, admissions, instructors and curriculum.
The Fall Conference in Detroit will be here before we know it, and a fantastic lineup of speakers is falling into place. Among the confirmed speakers are US DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz, Eastern District of Michigan US Attorney Barbara McQuade, and former Eastern District of Louisiana US Attorney Jim Letten. Registration for the conference is now open on the AIG website, and we hope to have the full agenda posted there soon. Thanks to IG James Heath and Deputy IG Kamau Marable of the Detroit OIG for handling details on the ground for us. We are all looking forward to visiting Detroit in October.
In the meantime, let’s all keep standing up for the truth. It matters a great deal.
Stephen B. Street, Jr., AIG National President