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From 2000 to 2002, Subrata Ghoshroy served as technical advisor to two Government Accountability Office reports into allegations of fraud in the military’s missile defense system — allegations levied by a former engineer at the military contractor TRW, Nira Schwartz, and by an MIT professor, Theodore A. Postol ’67.

Last week, Ghoshroy, who now works with Postol as a research associate, publicly criticized the reports, saying GAO managers forced them to favor the military and its contractors in the face of compelling evidence of fraud.

In part of a scathing 41-page letter, Ghoshroy says that MIT should not have participated in a 1999 “independent review” of Schwartz’s allegations because the MIT Lincoln Laboratory, which led the investigation, had a conflict of interest.

That 1999 Lincoln Lab review, known as the POET report, is what Postol has asserted is fraudulent. After a three-year delay, MIT announced last month that it would call off its own investigation into Postol’s allegations and that a senior Air Force scientist would conduct his own investigation.

Here is an excerpt from Ghoshroy’s letter, which is available in full at

—Keith Winstein

“I also found evidence of what I believed to be a serious conflict of interest for the MIT Lincoln Laboratory, which led the POET panel. It was contained in a letter from TRW to the Department of Justice. TRW stated that its discrimination software, which was central to the allegations made by Dr. Schwartz, was actually based on concepts developed through many years of government-funded research by MIT Lincoln Laboratory, among others. We were told by Lincoln Laboratory that it was similarly helping Raytheon – the current EKV contractor.

“I believe TRW was developing its specific discrimination software called the Baseline Algorithm or BLA building on these concepts. It seems that they wanted to respond to Dr. Schwartz’s allegation that TRW’s software did not work by putting in a disclaimer that the software was not TRW’s original and that renowned organizations like the Lincoln Laboratory have been advocating such algorithmic approaches for a long time.

“In my opinion, it posed a serious conflict of interest for the POET. I pointed out that the POET team, which was led by Dr. Ming Tsai of the Lincoln Laboratory, could not make an objective evaluation of the software in question since the Lincoln Laboratory had actually helped develop and advocate the mathematical principles and algorithms underlying the TRW software.

“It called into question the independence and objectivity of the POET report, which was instrumental in the Department of Justice’s decision not to intervene in Dr. Schwartz’s lawsuit under the False Claims Act.”