‘Suspicious cyber activity’ at the White House

Here’s a lovely companion piece to the story about how ObamaCare’s servers remain vulnerable to hacker attack: the White House itself appears to have been penetrated by online hooligans.  Reuters reports assurances from the Administration that no sensitive data was compromised:

Suspicious cyber activity has been detected on the computer network used by the White House and measures have been taken to address it, a White House official disclosed on Tuesday.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, would not say who might have been responsible for the activity on what was described as an unclassified computer network used by employees of the Executive Office of the President.

“In the course of assessing recent threats we identified activity of concern on the unclassified EOP network. Any such activity is something that we take very seriously. In this case we took immediate measures to evaluate and mitigate the activity,” the official said.

It was unclear when the activity took place. The official said the technical measures to address the activity had led to limited access to some EOP network services. Some of the issues have been resolved, but the work continues.

The crew at Powerline has been following this story for a week, long before the Administration officially admitted its security had been breached.  They observe that the Executive Office of the President system was actually down for quite a while, but “EOP employees were instructed to say nothing about it,” while the White House press office refused to answer questions about the situation.

The EOP system is not just the home network upon which President Obama uses his down time to lead from behind on “World of Warcraft” raids, carping at the other players about the importance of redistributing dragon hoards.  It’s a network that includes everything from the presidential and vice-presidential offices, to the Council of Economic Advisers and national security staff.

“Imagine the havoc that could result if a hostile foreign power accessed all of the computer files, including email, of all of those federal agencies,” writes John Hinderaker at Powerline.  “A large number of people work in the Executive Office of the President, and it seems hardly credible that no one in Washington learned of the massive computer outage described by our source. And yet, until today no news source other than Power Line had written a word about it.”  

He goes on to wonder how it’s possible no major news organization reported on the situation, until the White House decided it was ready to issue a statement:

Isn’t there a large group of reporters who are collectively referred to as the “White House press corps?” Isn’t covering the President and his Executive Office their full-time job? And aren’t there hundreds more reporters and editors in Washington who ostensibly are on the lookout for news? And did not a single one of these alleged news hounds get wind of the computer outage that our informant told us about?

It think it is almost certain that numerous Washington reporters knew about the cyber attack (if that is what it was) on the Executive Office of the President, and perhaps the State Department and other federal agencies, and chose not to report the story. Why? The only explanation I can think of is that an election is coming up next week. Most Americans have concluded that the Obama administration is incompetent, and President Obama’s unpopularity is dragging down the Democratic Party. Republicans likely will take over the Senate. If voters knew about the EOP computer fiasco, many would see it as another indication of the administration’s ineptitude, and of the fact that things are not going well for the United States of America.

Rest assured such calculations will be made, by both the Administration and its supporters in the media, if the ObamaCare server experiences any “suspicious cyber activity” during the next enrollment period.


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