Obama Administration Bent Rules to Avoid Disclosing Full Extent of OPM Attack

department of work and pensions
Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire URN:19967439/AP

Today’s installment in the ever-worsening saga of the Office of Personnel Management data breach comes from the Wall Street Journalwhich reveals the Obama Administration bent the rules to avoid disclosing the full extent of Cyber Pearl Harbor to the American people, including millions of potential identity-theft victims:

Obama administration officials avoided immediately disclosing the severity of the government employee data hack by defining it as two distinct breaches, according to people familiar with the matter, in an incident that underscores the tensions within the government over what officials have described as one of the worst breaches of U.S. data.

[…] The administration disclosed the breach of personnel files on June 4 but not the security clearance theft. The security theft was disclosed a week later, but investigators probing the theft already knew about it.

As a point of order, security analysts have been saying for some time the raid on OPM’s personnel files and the security-clearance database were two separate but related operations. That should be taken as evidence the Administration’s preparation and response for the hacker attack were even worse, because they got skunked by two separate cyber-warfare ops from the same invasive force, which just happens to originate from the same region of the Earth where the nation known as “China” is coincidentally located.

But instead, Team Obama’s tricksters saw a way to spin this straw into gold, by bending the rules to avoid disclosure of half of the disaster. This allowed them to keep the full extent of the catastrophe under wraps for a couple of news cycles, until public attention wandered – the news cycle is currently leaving tire tracks across the Confederate battle flag – and the truth could be dribbled out. Oh, did we say three or four million people were compromised by those hackers? We meant eighteen million, plus a lot of their friends and relatives, and our entire human intelligence apparatus has been compromised. Sorry for the confusion!

As the WSJ observes, this furtive Administration didn’t just casually forget to mention a big part of the data breach story – they aggressively lied about it:

Even before the OPM announced it had been hacked, officials at the office denied to The Wall Street Journal that security clearance forms were taken. A day after the public announcement, they denied it again, with an OPM spokesman saying there was “no evidence to suggest that information other than what is normally found in a personnel file has been exposed.’’

Yet by that time, the FBI already knew—and told OPM—security clearance forms had in fact been accessed, these officials said.

The same day as the OPM denial, Janet Napolitano, president of the University of California system, sent a letter to university officials saying anyone with a security clearance—including people who have never worked for the federal government—could be affected by the hack. Ms. Napolitano is a former head of the Department of Homeland Security.

That’s some classic Obama-style “governance” for you: connected insiders with plenty of political mojo get a heads-up from their old pals in the royal court, while everyone else is hung out to dry.

“Some officials defended the White House and OPM categorization of the breach, saying they were following the internal decision-making process, which culminated in a June 8 finding by the National Security Council that they had high confidence the security clearance forms had been accessed. Four days later, the administration announced security clearance forms had, in fact, been accessed by the hackers,” the Journal writes.

That’s not a “defense,” it’s an excuse as lame as OPM Director Katherine Archuleta babbling that the biggest cyber-security failure in history was nobody’s fault. Will we now be told the “internal decision-making process” that led the Administration to misrepresent this debacle to the public was also nobody’s fault, mysterious orders emanating from nowhere, a tornado of dishonesty spinning away from a storm of incompetence?

The Wall Street Journal had an editorial on Tuesday referring to the OPM fiasco as “Obama’s Cyber Meltdown,” and even a “cyber 9/11,” collecting much of what we’ve learned over the past week about the ineptitude that left federal systems open to these hackers, and the damage they can do with what they’ve stolen.

“This is a failure of extraordinary proportions, yet even Congress doesn’t know its extent,” the editors wrote. “The Administration is still refusing to say, even in classified briefings, which systems were compromised, which files were taken, or how much data was at risk.”

Well, now we know they’re not merely refusing to say what happened – they’re lying about it, and coming up with every excuse they can think of to keep the smokescreen in place. That strongly suggests the Administration knows we haven’t seen the worst of this story yet.


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