One of the problems with the investigations into the Inslaw affair, and many other government scandals, is that the agencies involved have too much control over the records that are searched and the questions that are asked and answered. In some cases, like the Warren Commission and the House Select Committee on Assassinations, those investigating are denied the proper context that they need to know what’s relevant and what questions to ask. In other cases, like Debategate, the Congressional investigators are denied the ability to search the records at all; instead they are only given what the people being investigated decide to turn over. In cases like Inslaw, the agencies’ responses are full of non-denial denials and the searches performed are woefully, and often deliberately inadequate.
One CIA memo in particular highlights some of the problems with the investigations into the Inslaw affair and the stolen PROMIS software. The memo shows that the Agency was offered a government copy of PROMIS as early as 1981. Details from the memo also confirm that this PROMIS software is the “wholly unrelated” Project Management Integrated System distributed by Strategic Software Planning Corporation and Digital Planning, Inc. that CIA claims is the only PROMIS software they have used. Unlike the Project Management Integrated System software and the PROMIS software used by NSA (which the NSA claims is also unrelated to Inslaw’s software), this software is listed as being used for criminal justice, general tracking and information processing.