So, by now, we all know the US federal government got hacked. It wasn’t just some agency or another, but, the Office of Personnel Management, which keeps records of all former, potential, and current federal employees. Nice, right?
Here’s one of the many stories about this issue ….
WASHINGTON (AP) — The agency that allowed hackers linked to China to steal private information about nearly every federal employee — and detailed personal histories of millions with security clearances — failed for years to take basic steps to secure its computer networks, officials acknowledged to Congress on Tuesday.
Democrats and Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee spoke in unison to describe their outrage over what they called gross negligence by the Office of Personnel Management. The agency’s data was breached last year in two massive cyberattacks only recently revealed.
The criticism came from within, as well. Michael Esser, the agency’s assistant inspector general for audit, detailed a yearslong failure by OPM to adhere to reasonable cybersecurity practices, and he said that that for a long time, the people running the agency’s information technology had no expertise.
Last year, he said, an inspector general’s audit recommended that the agency shut down some of its networks because they were so vulnerable. The director, Katherine Archuleta, declined, saying it would interfere with the agency’s mission.
The hackers were already inside her networks, she later acknowledged.
“You failed utterly and totally,” said committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, a Utah Republican. “They recommended it was so bad that you shut it down and you didn’t.”
Archuleta, stumbling occasionally under withering questions from lawmakers, sought to defend her tenure and portray the agency’s problems as decades in the making as its equipment aged. She appeared to cast blame on her recent predecessors, one of whom, John Berry, is the U.S. ambassador to Australia.
Offered chances to apologize and resign, she declined to do either. ……
Look, this is entirely predictable, because of the scope and size of our government, and the nature of government, itself. There’s more to read in the story, and it contains a few jewels.
The OPM, apparently, was the weakest link in our cyber security for our government. Why? How did this happen? The office with the most need of cyber security was the office which had the least!!! (hopefully) The article, later, writes about an incompetent CIO. I can nearly guarantee the CIO can’t distinguish an internet from an intranet. You see, these are plum positions, and they go to the least competent of the cronies. It’s the Office of Personnel Management. So, if you’re in a position to reward friends for their support, where do you place your more competent friends? In a low profile position or a high profile position? Prior to this story, no one knew or cared who was heading the OPM. They certainly had no idea who the CIO was.
But, this is big government. It’s so monstrous, no one can herd all of the cats! With an incompetent boob at the helm, like Obama, is there, can there be, any expectation of competence at the lower profile level of people who work for him? And, yes, I wrote that as I meant it. Yes, they’re suppose to work for us, but, let’s not pretend.
For those with any doubt that Archuleta was a political crony and which competence in personnel management had nothing to do with her appointment ….
She needs to go, and be gone. She has utterly failed the American people. The CIO, as well. But, if that does happen, they will only be replaced by some people who are as incompetent as they are. This is because it’s a low profile job, usually. Our government is so huge people can’t afford to care about who is where. Sure, we worry about who is president, Sec. of State, Treasury, etc ….
This is what big government does for you. It creates such an expanse you can’t keep track of it all. And, when there is no accountability or real oversight, you will have complete and total failure such as we see in this story.
An open note to the Obama administration …..
I’m an experienced IT administrator. AFAIK, I’ve never had a company I was working for hacked. While I can’t do it all, I know people, who, put together, can make the OPM net as secure as possible. While I deplore Obama, his administration, and big government, I would set aside our differences and work for president Obama in order to keep Americans safe. I could do the job of the current director and the CIO, all at the same time. I would probably work for less than what you pay one of them. Heck, I’d do it for free if I had the personal wealth which would allow it. It’s about the people, you bastards, not about the people who supported you.