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CNN: OPM Director Not Vetted Properly By…Republicans

ArchuletaFrom Evan Perez and Wesley Bruer at CNN comes a wonderfully funny article: “OPM Director Katherine Archuleta steps down.”

Washington (CNN) Office of Personnel Management Director Katherine Archuleta resigned Friday, a day after revealing the recent data breach of government computers was vastly larger than originally thought.

Which is also a day after she vowed to stay put.

Thought by whom? Do you mean, vastly larger than Archuleta claimed?

Archuleta confirmed her departure in an email to OPM staff.

“I write to you this afternoon to share that earlier today, I offered and the President accepted my resignation as the Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management,” she wrote. “Leading this agency and serving with all of you has been the highlight of my career.”

You have to really screw up to get shitcanned by this Administration.

Starting Saturday, Beth Cobert, currently the U.S. Chief Performance Officer and a deputy director at the Office of Management and Budget, will take over as acting director of OPM.

Interestingly, Ms. Cobert came to OMB from McKinsey & Company, which has “offered some of the worst advice in the annals of business.”

Archuleta acknowledged Thursday that her agency had discovered in April that hackers had breached sensitive personnel databases and had stolen the personal data of 22.1 million current, former and prospective U.S. government employees, and their family members.

What is that sentence trying to say? That Archuleta and OPM have been underestimating the extent of the hack since it was made public? The figure of 21 million was announced by OPM yesterday. OPM consistently low-balled its estimates: On June 4, “OPM publicly [announced a] data breach of personnel data systems affecting as many as 4.2 million current and former federal employees. Some officials [said] those estimates undercount[ed] the true scope of the attack.”

Support for Archuleta crumbled after her testimony. But she had never received a thorough vetting of her qualifications for the job.

Testimony? What testimony? Do the authors mean her June 25 testimony before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee? Then say so. Are we supposed to be mind-readers?

But the most interesting part of that paragraph is that it sets up the following narrative: No blame is assigned to the Obama Administration for nominating an unqualified, inexperienced political hack for OPM Director; the real issue, per the authors, is the failure of the Senate to knock down her nomination in general, and the failure of Senate Republicans to do so in particular. Hey you guys! Why didn’t you go after the Latina nominated by the Obama Administration!

Uh huh.

When she won Senate confirmation to lead the Office of Personnel Management, the chief objections from lawmakers who voted against her focused on Obamacare.

That was October, 2013, and the 62-35 vote reflected the political concerns at the time about how the agency, which serves as the federal government’s HR department, would implement parts of the health care law opposed by Republicans.

Read that as: Republicans were so obsessed with Obamacare that they failed to adequately vet Archuleta. Democratic Senators, and President Obama, get a pass.

Less attention focused on the agency’s role in handling government security clearances and how it safeguards some of the most sensitive U.S. government databases.

Damn Republicans. If only you would have done your job.

Even less was paid to why Archuleta — whose most recent job was as a national political director for Obama for America, the President’s reelection campaign — was the person to help fix what was an agency already struggling to deal with technology problems and serious data breaches.

Because there’s nothing Democrats love more than the optics of Republicans obstructing Presidential appointments when it can be made to seem that racial animus and/or sexism is the motivation.

So even less attention was paid, certainly by the authors, as to why the President nominated her in the first place.

Note the passive voice: “was the person to help fix….” Again, the President nominated her. The passive voice deliberately obfuscates where the responsibility lies.

Aides to Republican lawmakers who voted for her confirmation now acknowledge they didn’t pay enough attention to the importance of technology in the agency Archuleta was taking over.

Yep, you got us. We totally dropped the ball.

Seriously?

U.S. investigators believe Chinese government hackers are behind the breach, the worst ever against the U.S. government. Some of the most sensitive security background check data, including information on mental and drug histories of federal job applicants, is now in the hands of Chinese intelligence, according to U.S. authorities.

Who are these vague “investigators” and “authorities”? Are you people journalists?

Also, that information is likely already “in the wild,” so limiting it to “Chinese intelligence” is wildly incomplete.

Also, nothing about phishing.

House Speaker John Boehner on Thursday became the highest ranking lawmaker to call for Archuleta resignation. He was joined by Democratic Sen. Mark Warner, of Virginia. In recent weeks more than 20 other lawmakers had demanded she be fired.

Maybe this can be written in such a way as to blame Republicans for both her firing and her confirmation?

Critics now call her a political hack who shouldn’t have the job, even though she got the job with bipartisan support and her political past played little role in her Senate confirmation.

So basically, this is passing around the gun to make sure everybody’s fingerprints are on it.

Administration officials privately acknowledged Archuleta has performed poorly in hearings and briefings, and that she has made missteps to hurt her own cause. At a recent hearing she was asked if she had met with FBI Director James Comey to discuss the investigation, given the seriousness of the breach. No, was her answer.

Hold my beer. I got this.

Her briefings for lawmakers have come across as misleading, in part because she stuck by a public estimate that only 4 million people were affected by the breach, even as Comey had told lawmakers the number was nearly five times larger and cited OPM’s own internal data.

Then why did you write, earlier in the article, that “Archuleta acknowledged Thursday that her agency had discovered in April that hackers had breached sensitive personnel databases and had stolen the personal data of 22.1 million current, former and prospective U.S. government employees, and their family members”?

The White House was saying even Friday morning that President Barack Obama continued to have confidence in her.

I can’t even.

Even before Archuleta took the job, there were signs of trouble at OPM that demanded attention. Internal audits found the agency was woefully behind in meeting security standards for sensitive databases.

Signs of trouble? As Jeffrey Lebowski said, THE G**DAMN PLANE HAS CRASHED INTO THE MOUNTAIN!”

And more suchlike nonsense….

People get paid to write that sort of nonsense. ‘Murica.

#CLAHomeworkAssignment 6/30/15: Progressive Mass Hysteria

The brilliant Victor Davis Hanson never disappoints:

What started out just days ago as a reasonable move by the state of South Carolina, in the aftermath of the Charleston mass shootings, to remove the Confederate battle flag from public display on state property, within hours had descended into something like the mob’s frenzy over Mytilene. We have now gone well beyond removing state sanction from a flag that represented an apartheid society. Indeed, Americans of the new electronic mob are witch-hunting the past with a vengeance, as private, profit-driven companies seek to trump one another’s piety by banning the merchandising of Confederate insignia….

These outbursts of public frenzy at supposed enemies may reflect grassroots furor, but they are also orchestrated by progressive grandees who are inconsistent in their targeting of history’s villains — offering context and exemption for liberal fascist and racist thought, speech, and iconography, while connecting their present-day political rivals to the supposed sins of the country’s collective past. Manipulating the past, in other words, becomes a useful tool by which one can change the present….

Manipulating the past, in other words, becomes a useful tool by which one can change the present. In another analysis, Thucydides reminds us, in regard to the stasis at Corcyra, that in frenzied efforts to reconstruct both the past and present to fit ideological agendas, “Words had to change their ordinary meaning and to take that which was now given them.”

Be sure to read the whole thing.

#CLAHomeworkAssignment 6/28/15: Kevin Williamson re SCOTUS

Boy howdy, an epic short read from Kevin Williamson at NRO:

In the matter of the so-called Affordable Care Act, the Supreme Court ruled that the law must not say what it in fact does say because it would be better if it were not to say what it says and were to say something else instead. In the matter of same-sex marriage, the Supreme Court rules that the law must say what it does not say because it would be better if it were to say what it does not say instead of what it says. Which is to say, the Supreme Court has firmly established that it does not matter what the law says or does not say — what matters is what they want….

We can debate all day about how many Angels in America can have their first dance on the head of Anthony Kennedy’s pen, but we know that the Court’s liberals are going to vote one way, that some of its conservatives will probably vote another, and that John Roberts and Anthony Kennedy will, if the goblins in their heads are sufficiently insistent, ratify whatever Starbucks-customer consensus exists for 80 miles on either side of Interstate 95.

Ouch. Read the whole thing. You must.

International Talk Like the Rat Pack Day

You heard it here first.*

Now we just need a propitious date. Suggestions, Jack?

ratpack

(*i.e., Copyright By Publication)

Here’s a good start: http://www.angelfire.com/jazz/thecoparoom/ratpacklexicon.html

 

Fun with graphics (Hendrix)

hendrix2video

hendrix2video2

hendrix2video3

#CLAHomeworkAssignment 6/12/15: The OPM hack and why it matters

Today’s #CLAHomeworkAssignment will contain several sources, rather than just one; the importance of the subject calls for more detail than usual.

The hacking by China of in-depth personal information about U.S. Federal employees is an easy story to miss. Each week brings another round of cybersecurity stories, so the Chinese breach of Office of Personnel Management computers might seem like just another story from just another news cycle.

It’s not just another story.

First, an epic Twitter rant from @TheRickWilson:

There’ll be some DC whining, a Congressional hearing, an unread report and nothing. The Chinese have the greatest intel coup in history….

Frankly, despair is a rational emotion in this circumstance. This breach is so big, so shitty, so consequential.

Be sure to read the whole thing.

Likewise @EsotericCD–be sure to read his Twitter comments yesterday and today:

I know it smacks of narcissism to insist rest of Twitter share my priorities, but I can’t understand why ppl’s hair not on fire re OPM hack….

Good morning. Most impt story of day/week/month/year remains OPM hack. Yet now we’re consumed w/some dope who masqueraded as a black person.

Yep.

A great overview from John Schindler AKA @20committee:

The other day I explained in detail how the mega-hack of the Office of Personnel Management’s internal servers looks like a genuine disaster for the U.S. Government, a setback that will have long-lasting and painful counterintelligence consequences….

Armed with lists of Chinese citizens worldwide who are in “close and continuing contact” (to cite security clearance lingo) with American officials, Beijing can now seek to exploit those ties for espionage purposes.

Again, read the whole thing.

Jim Geraghty weighs in:

How did we reach the point where an event like this is something an administration can simply wait out until public interest moves on?

Good question.

Last but certainly not least, Ed Morrissey:

Some on Twitter now call this a “Pearl Harbor” in cyberspace, but that may actually undersell the damage that we now know the US took in the hack on the Office of Personnel Management. On one hand, no one’s been killed; the US lost 2,403 lives and another 1,178 wounded in that battle. Within months or even weeks, the US had repaired much of the damage and went on offense in the eastern Pacific. In this attack, the damage to more than 2 million federal employees is permanent and irreparable….

Meanwhile, the news cycle moves on, and this story has made barely a ripple.

#CLAHomeworkAssignment 6/11/15: ‘Too Much Information, Much of It Lies: Welcome to the Web’

Another great piece by one of the best conservative/libertarian writers out there, Charles C.W. Cooke at National Review: “Too Much ‘Information,’ Much of It Lies: Welcome to the Web”:

“Orwell,” Postman reflected, “feared those who would deprive us of information.” Huxley, by contrast, “feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism.” The likely consequences of these prognostications were, necessarily, divergent. “Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us,” Postman submitted. But “Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance.”….

But, as Huxley anticipated, man is flawed, his appetite for distraction is infinite, and his interest in discernment is limited by his lust for feeling. “An unexciting truth,” Huxley noted in Brave New World Revisited, “may be eclipsed by a thrilling falsehood,” especially in such circumstances as that truth’s being disseminated across a medium that is “concerned in the main neither with the true nor the false, but with the unreal, the more or less totally irrelevant.”

Read the rest here.

I’d like to thank all the little people…

…who made my inclusion on this list possible.

Fistbump for stout reading comprehension skills,

Unmatched Socks Tied To Racism

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Researchers at the prestigious Center For Studies Studies have concluded that unmatched socks are the result of racism.

HortonFrogbottomThe phenomenon of unmatched socks–the tendency, over time, of sock drawers to fill up with unpaired hosiery–has long baffled scientists, said Horton W. Frogbottom, spokesperson for the Center.

“We thought Erwin Schrödinger pretty much had this nailed down,” he said, referring to the famous Schrödinger’s Sock Drawer thought experiment. “It looks like we were over-thinking the whole problem.”

Indeed. Researchers discovered that, as with the overwhelming majority of unpleasant things in life, the underlying cause was the seemingly unrelated issue of the antipathy of white people toward non-whites.

“We missed the whole racism nexus because it just didn’t occur to us to make the connection. Probably because we really can’t stand non-white people,” Frogbottom said.

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