The Norman Transcript


December 30, 2013

Rep. Issa fools the gullible



See what he did there? He suggested that CMS was pressured by the White House to launch a website with security holes.

But there’s absolutely no basis in Fryer’s transcript — zero — to support that. What she said was that it’s standard operating procedure to place security assessments like hers in a broader context. In fact, the process is set forth by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which is the government’s technology assessment agency. And of course that makes sense: You weigh the security aspects of a technical system against numerous other factors, including the importance of the program, and decide from the totality whether to launch.

There’s nothing in Fryer’s words even remotely hinting at an effort to spare the president “embarrassment.” Issa appears to have made that up out of whole cloth.

But he didn’t stop there. He suggested to CBS that the website exposed virtually the entire government to hacking. “Remember, Sharyl, this is not about your application being compromised. This is a system, exchange and portal, that lets me go into the Department of Homeland Security, lets me go into the IRS ... Social Security. Think about what’s at Social Security, what’s at IRS, what’s at Department of Homeland Security.”

Is that so? A flaw in a healthcare enrollment website that could let hackers in on our most precious government secrets? Let’s agree that if this were true, it would be huge. But once again, Issa has absolutely no evidence that it’s remotely true. If he had it, he would shout it from the rooftops, and he’d be right to do so. He wouldn’t slink around in the dark to a news show and slip it into the conversation with a credulous reporter.

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