Tags: China | Emerging Threats | Homeland Security

Incompetence and Irresponsibility are Govt Hallmarks

Friday, 19 June 2015 01:04 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Whenever the nation is confronted by another failure of federal big government, the solution from the left is always more spending. Amtrak crash? Spend more on subsidies. Obamacare Web site disaster? Spend more on contractors. Illegal aliens streaming across the border? Spend more on social programs to make them comfortable.

There is simply no problem for which the left can’t deflect blame by demanding more spending. But even if the more spending solution was correct — and in most instances it isn’t — the new influx of money will be spent by the same idiots and deadwood that caused the problem in the first place.

The Office of Personnel Management is a spectacular case in point.

While leadership was dozing at the top, Chinese hackers penetrated OPM’s computer systems and made off with the complete personnel files of up to 14 million past and present federal employees, including members of the military.

The data trove included background investigations into security clearances, which are the largest repository of dirty laundry outside of a Bakken oilfield laundromat. The potential for blackmail alone from these files could be a significant contributor to our balance of payments deficit, but something tells me the Chinese will be content to take it out in trade.

The stolen payroll information is particularly useful for identifying U.S. secret agents because their cover backgrounds in the field can be double–checked with the stolen information for gaps and anomalies.

As Jonah Goldberg pointed out, this is the digital equivalent of the Pearl Harbor sneak attack, although for accuracy’s sake it would have been helpful if the Japanese had stolen the fleet instead of sinking it.

OPM functions as the human resources department for the feds and, as is often found in the private sector, federal HR is not a hotbed of ambition, initiative or creativity. The woman who presided over this digital disaster is a political hack and beneficiary of the ethnic spoils system that fills government with the right tribal affiliation rather than the right qualifications.

Director Katherine Archuleta’s OPM biography trumpets the fact she’s “the first Latina to head this federal agency.” In addition, she’s not a champion of the taxpayer, but rather: “As a long-time public servant, she is a champion of Federal (sic) employees.”

Meaning, the gigantic Chinese data breach was just Archuleta’s way of letting Peking identify exemplary federal employees without wading through a bunch of wordy LinkedIn profiles.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, confronted Archuleta in a House hearing and demanded she resign: “You failed utterly and totally . . . those two had an opportunity to right the ship . . . they did not get it done and there should be consequences.”

But in his own “Heck of a job Brownie” moment Obama announced he “continues to have confidence” in Archuleta. Other Democrats are less supportive. Rep. Jim Langevin, D-R.I., told The Washington Post, “I am deeply concerned by her refusal to acknowledge her culpability in the breach. Ms. Archuleta should tender her resignation immediately.”

For her part Archuleta took the view from 10,000 feet up where the air is clean and responsibility diffuse, “I am as distressed as you are about how long these systems have gone neglected. The whole of government is responsible and it will take all of us to solve the issue.”

Under her expert supervision, of course, and using more of our money.

Archuleta took over OPM about the same time Edward Snowden made his withdrawal from the national databank, but rather than focus on security, she set out to build “an innovative and inclusive workforce that reflects the diversity of America.” Now if she could only find a Redneck capable of hacking the system, too.

Last November Archuleta was warned some OPM networks were so vulnerable to breach they should be shut down immediately. She refused because doing so would “interfere with the agency’s mission,” which was evidently to assist Chinese espionage recruitment.

The Washington Post has done an excellent job with the story and reassures us the breach wasn’t due to some rag–tag group of hacking pirates, flying the Jolly Roger over half a rented duplex. “Investigators . . . using secret “beacons” . . . have been monitoring data transmissions . . . [and] none of the data has been credibly offered for sale on underground markets popular among professional identity thieves.”

So evidently the feds have a digital LoJack to track the data after it’s stolen, but lack a NoJack to prevent the data theft in the first place. Archuleta’s OPM didn’t even take the elementary precaution of encrypting sensitive data because intruders “can often decrypt data.” This is the same reason the director never locks her car door either, because thieves can often start a car without a key.

No competence, no accountability and no consequences, just another day in the federal behemoth we call a government.

Michael R. Shannon is a commentator, researcher (for the League of American Voters), and an award-winning political and advertising consultant with nationwide and international experience. He is author of "Conservative Christian’s Guidebook for Living in Secular Times (Now with added humor!)." Read more of Michael Shannon's reports — Go Here Now.

© Copyright 2015 Michael Shannon.


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While leadership was dozing at the top, Chinese hackers penetrated OPM’s computer systems and made off with the complete personnel files of up to 14 million past and present federal employees. Just another day in the federal behemoth we call a government.
China, Emerging Threats, Homeland Security
Friday, 19 June 2015 01:04 PM
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