The Norman Transcript

Columns

December 30, 2013

Rep. Issa fools the gullible

NORMAN — The sun has risen in the east, so there must be a news report somewhere quoting a partial transcript leaked by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., purporting to show the shortcomings of Obamacare.

Bingo! We have not one but two “investigative” news reports, from CBS and ABC, based on the same partial transcript. And both, consequently, have the same level of credibility: none. CBS News even offers a dividend — a thoroughly dishonest and discreditable interview with Issa himself. We’ll get to that in a moment.

The topic of the latest leak is the purported security flaws in HealthCare.gov, the federal health enrollment website. The raw meat is a partial transcript of an interview conducted by the staff of Issa’s House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform with Teresa Fryer, chief information security officer at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Cue Sharyl Attkisson of CBS: “A top HealthCare.gov security officer told Congress there have been two serious high-risk findings since the website’s launch, including one on Monday of this week.”

Not exactly. Fryer said more, which you’d know if you read the parts of the transcript left out of the Issa leak but distributed by the committee’s Democratic minority. There you discover Fryer also said that the system’s security measures exceed industry standards, there haven’t been any security breaches of the website, and that the parts of the system affected by the high-risk findings were promptly shut down and quarantined.

That brings us to Issa, who went before the CBS cameras to charge that Fryer’s recommendation that the website launch be delayed was overruled by mysterious “individuals” who, he said, “were looking at a broader array of risk.” His tone of voice put air quotes around that “broader.” He continued, “I took that to mean the risks such as risk to the president of embarrassment, the risk to people who were counting on being able to sign up for these plans.”

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