The Corner

Politics & Policy

The OPM Hack Is the Clearest Symbol of the Obama Era

From the Tuesday Morning Jolt:

The OPM Hack Is the Clearest Symbol of the Obama Era

Thank you, Michael Brendan Dougherty!

You might expect outrage, but so far this system-wide failure has been met with a shrug. The federal government zealously guards its powers to compile ziggurats of data on Americans when those powers are challenged by libertarians like Rand Paul. But the job the government is actually supposed to do with data — keep it safe and us safe with it — is entirely left undone. The zeal disappears once the data is stacked, somewhere. Wherever.

In a sense, the data breach reveals how far American government is from republicanism in character. Republics are flinty things. Men who govern republics are supposed to find it shameful when they waste the public’s money. They are supposed to think of their failures as a kind of betrayal of the public trust. But how many people are going to get fired for this? How many will lose contracts or suffer public and professional humiliation? None is my guess.

The story of the Obama era is the story of one colossal federal government train-wreck after another. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms shipped guns to Mexican drug cartels in Fast & Furious., allegedly designed to promote openness and accountability, ended up filled with bad data.

The stimulus “was riddled with a massive labor scheme that harmed workers and cheated unsuspecting American taxpayers.”

The president stood in front of the White House, urging the American public to use when it wasn’t working.

The U.S. Secret Service, which began the Obama presidency by allowing the Salahis into the White House and stumbled through one humiliating scandal of unprofessional behavior after another.

The Obama administration toppled the government of Libya – without any supporting act of Congress — then sent Americans there and ignored the security requests from our ambassador.

The NSA hired Ed Snowden and gave him the keys to the kingdom after a month.

Veterans died, waiting for care, while the branch offices of the VA assure Washington everything is fine.

We traded terrorists for a prisoner, sealing the deal with an assurance to the public that Bowe Bergdahl “served with honor and distinction.”

The IRS data breach. The postal service data breach. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration hack. The data breach at federal contractor US Investigations Services, which performs background checks on DHS, ICE and border patrol units.

And now, the epic OPM hack.

We are governed by progressives who have an infinite faith in the federal government’s ability to manage enormously complicated tasks and almost no interest in ensuring the government actually does those tasks well. 

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