ObamaCare: From Belarus with love, and maybe sabotage
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, because the government certainly isn’t going to issue this crucial warning: if you have used the ObamaCare website, you’re at risk of identity theft and hacker attack. Barack Obama didn’t just blow hundreds of millions of dollars building a monument to Big Government failure; he created a massive security vulnerability, not just for individuals but also for the U.S. government, since so many sensitive databases are plugged into the train-wreck Healthcare.gov site. Launching this site was one of the most irresponsible things an American president has ever done.
Among the worst aspects of the ObamaCare security crisis is that the program’s administrators are not obliged to disclose hacking attacks to the public, and you may rest comfortably assured they will not, at least not until a breach grows so severe that it can’t possibly be concealed. The Obama Administration lies constantly and shamelessly about every aspect of ObamaCare. It’s not going to be unexpectedly candid about situations that could easily become public-relations nightmares which almost completely choke off the flow of Affordable Care Act applications, especially from tech-savvy young people. There are a trillion reasons for them to keep such problems hidden, and absolutely no incentive for transparency.
The latest alarming news comes from Bill Gertz at the Washington Free Beacon, who delivers the latest snag in President Obama’s program to outsource as much big-ticket government work as possible to foreign companies, while simultaneously lecturing the American private sector on the urgent need to bring jobs home:
U.S. intelligence agencies last week urged the Obama administration to check its new healthcare network for malicious software after learning that developers linked to the Belarus government helped produce the website, raising fresh concerns that private data posted by millions of Americans will be compromised.
The intelligence agencies notified the Department of Health and Human Services, the agency in charge of the Healthcare.gov network, about their concerns last week. Specifically, officials warned that programmers in Belarus, a former Soviet republic closely allied with Russia, were suspected of inserting malicious code that could be used for cyber attacks, according to U.S. officials familiar with the concerns.
ObamaCare is like something that would have been dreamed up for a sequel to “Dr. Strangelove.” The intelligence community seems to be at odds with the Department of Health and Human Services, which I’m sure we can all trust implicitly after its dazzling display of competence and sound management over the past four months:
The report has prompted HHS to conduct a review to determine if software related to the Affordable Care Act “was written by Belarusian software developers,” she said.
“So far HHS has found no indications that any software was developed in Belarus,” Hayden said. “However, as a matter of due diligence, they will continue to review the supply chain. Supply chain risk is real and it is one of our top concerns in the area of cyber-security.”
A senior administration official questioned whether suspect software mentioned in the report would be valuable to a nation state.
“Nation states are generally not interested in [personal identification information] for its own sake,” the official said. “Given that, we would be surprised to see a nation-state capability applied in this matter. But we are doing a thorough review anyway.”
HSS spokeswoman Dori Salcido referred questions about the matter to Richard A. Olague, spokesman for the HHS’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Olague declined to discuss the software vulnerability.
He also would not say if CMS is conducting a search for malicious software emanating from Belarus.
So some HHS officials assure us that a thorough review is under way, while others refuse to even discuss it. Swell. I’ll sleep better knowing the creators of a system that doesn’t even allow administrators to correct obvious errors are all over this. They can look for code from Belarus while they’re frantically working to patch in huge missing chunks of the system with only six weeks to go before the deadline that can’t be rescheduled. The guy who can’t understand why hackers would be interested in stealing personal information, or how hostile foreigners might be interested in using software bombs to crash a system that reaches into every corner of American medicine, doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence… especially since a large-scale hijack of U.S. internet traffic was pulled off from Belarus just last year.
The intel community’s warning to CMS refers to statements made by a government technology minister from Belarus to Russian media, in which he claimed “our programmers wrote the program that appears on the monitors in all hospitals and all insurance companies – they will see the full profile of the given patient.” The official in question, Valery Tsepkalo, is not just some random goofball with delusions of grandeur; he’s a former ambassador to the United States with solid Russian connections.
Evidently some folks in Congress saw that interview, too:
House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers (R., Mich) said he was surprised by media reports from Belarus indicating “some parts of Healthcare.gov or systems connected to it may have in fact been written overseas.” He called for an independent security review of the Obamacare website.
Rogers said he was especially concerned by the potential software vulnerability because a CGI executive, Vice President Cheryl Campbell, testified to Congress that all software work for the network had been done in the United States.
“We need an independent, thorough security evaluation of this site, and we need the commitment from the administration that the findings will be acknowledged and promptly addressed,” Rogers told the Free Beacon.
“I continue to call on HHS to shut down and properly stress test the site to ensure that consumers are protected from potential security risks from across the globe.”
Fat chance. The “white hat” hackers who warned about Healthcare.gov’s ridiculous level of vulnerability in November returned to Congress a couple of weeks ago and said the problems are only getting worse, and they personally wouldn’t trust the site with their personal data. But nobody’s going to slam on the brakes now. They won’t do anything that would generate bad press and make ObamaCare even less appealing than it already is, or reduce the public’s already badly shaken faith in the Administration by bringing in third-party auditors who might find all sorts of embarrassing problems. The Obama Administration has been rolling the dice with your health care ever since the early days of this misbegotten scheme. They’ve crapped out a dozen times already. They’re not going to do anything except double down and roll again.