Robert Cobb, NASA’s tame Inspector General since 2002, tipped off former NASA head Sean O’Keefe to audits he would be performing and search warrants the FBI would be executing. O’Keefe, primarily known for his forceful dealing with the 1991 Tailhook scandal, was an accountant by training without a scientific or engineering background whose tenure at NASA was marked by drift. He got the top NASA job in December 2002 through his connection with Dick Cheney and, while still NASA administrator, campaigned for Bush in 2004 as a "private citizen". He left in February 2005. The inappropriate contact between NASA administrators and the NASA Inspector General continues as well as its coverup. The NASA General Counsel Mike Wholley illegally destroyed a tape of a meeting (between the current NASA head Michael Griffin and Cobb and his staff) to avoid it ever becoming public under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
In keeping with the ineffectiveness of the NASA Inspector General, a January 9, 2009 story reports that the GAO found that the NASA IG recovered only 36 cents for every dollar it spent on audits to prevent waste, compared with an average of $9.49 for other IGs. The NASA IG came in second to last among the IGs.