Let the Roasting of Sebelius Begin!
Today, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius will go to Capitol Hill and attempt to avoid lying under oath with one simple message: “It’s all CGI’s fault.”
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius plans to tell the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday that the private contractors who built HealthCare.gov are at fault for the site’s many problems.
Tuesday night, CGI pre-empted her testimony with a simple, well-timed release:
The Obama administration was given stark warnings just one month before that the federal healthcare site was not ready to go live, according to a confidential report obtained by CNN.
The caution, from the main contractor CGI, warned of a number of open risks and issues for the HealthCare.gov web site even as company executives were testifying publicly that the project had achieved key milestones.
But the CGI document, which describes “top risks currently open” and “outstanding issues currently being mitigated” says the testing timeframes are “not adequate to complete full functional, system, and integration testing activities” and lists the impact of the problems as “significant.”
Another element is listed as ” not enough time in schedule to conduct adequate performance testing” and given the highest priority.
One concern, listed as “severe,” warned, “CGI does not have access to necessary tools to manage envs in test, imp, and prod. Specifically (1) we don’t have access to central log collection / view (2) we don’t have access to monitoring tools. We have repeatedly asked CMS and URS but have not been granted this access.”
As CNN helpfully notes, “the warnings run counter to Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ stated optimism to CNN’s Sanjay Gupta that when she woke up October 1, things would go smoothly.”
The confidential memo might as well have been titled, “Our Warning to You Idiots for the Record, to Be Cited When This Blows Up In Your Faces.”
In Sebelius’s reaction to her biggest and most important responsibility’s blowing up like the Hindenburg crashing into the Titanic, we get another key lesson in how the administration operates. When bad news pops up, they never confront it directly. They insist it isn’t as bad as it looks. They attack the messenger. They insist it isn’t their fault. They lie, and say that the law required them to take certain actions that it didn’t.
You can argue that the old Washington tradition of cabinet secretaries falling on their swords for the boss after a massive mistake was cynical, or not genuine accountability. But I think the simulation of accountability was better than the current situation of absolutely no accountability. Imagine how differently Obama would be perceived if at any point during the past five years, we had heard . . .
“Mr. President, I understand it is absolutely unacceptable that an agency under me was sending guns to Mexican drug cartels, including one used to kill an American border patrol agent. My resignation letter is on your desk.”
“I’m sorry I have to accept this, Eric.”
. . .
“Mr. President, on my watch, the Internal Revenue Service behaved in an out-of-control manner, unacceptably targeting Americans based upon their political beliefs, abusing its power and violating the trust the American people. My resignation letter is on your desk.”
“I’m sorry I have to accept this, Tim.”
. . .
“Mr. President, by allowing Snowden in the door, and failing to keep an eye on him, we’ve allowed one of the biggest intelligence disasters in American history. My resignation letter is on your desk.”
“I’m sorry I have to accept this, Keith.”
. . .
“Mr. President, my department made awful, inexcusable decisions about the security for our people in Benghazi. There’s no excuse. My resignation letter is on your desk.”
“I accept your resignation, Hillary.”
. . .
But they did fire the guy who made fun of his co-workers on Twitter.