The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is a taxpayer-funded branch of the Federal Government. OPM is overseen by Congress, run by political appointees, and has maliciously and irresponsibly allowed 22 million Americans’ lives and identities to be stolen from them in a data breach. The Department of Veteran Affairs continues to suffer from data breaches and HIPPA violations for not securing data, and identities of veterans are stolen regularly, current numbers are unknown, as these numbers are not reported anymore. A good timeline of the OPM event summarizing this fiasco can be viewed here to fact check and remain current on the OPM disaster!
Last Friday, I received the dreaded and expected news; my personal data was involved in the OPM breach; no explanation, no clarifying information about what was stolen, e.g. SF-60 information and fingerprints, just personal name and social security number, etc. As I have completed multiple SF-60’s for the Federal Government, had my fingerprints and my cheek swab completed, and my direct family members and friends listed, I remain very concerned for my family and friends as well as myself. Yet, what do we hear from the media on this information breach; nothing! Three class action lawsuits were filed to protect government union members, current federal employees, and past federal employees caught in the OPM data breach. Since I do not fit any of these categories, I am not included. Still, what do we hear from Capitol Hill; nothing! Where is the blue ribbon investigating panels, special prosecutors, and inspector generals? When will the OPM political appointee be “perp walked” from her retirement and led to jail in handcuffs for her felonious and reprehensible actions?
The VA and OPM data breaches are criminal negligence at the most egregious. They possess the ability to allow China, America’s enemy in all but name, to spy, sell identities, and ruin America’s citizens. Multiple online sources have spelled out the OPM hack disaster and used terms like “Cyber War,” prelude to future “War,” and my personal favorite “Cyber Face-Plant.” With this type of regular hacking of US Federal and State Government data centers currently underway and knowing that future attacks are ongoing or imminent, how can we trust the government with protecting American privacy? The simple answer is: we cannot. Yet, we, the citizenry, are compelled to remain in the “data give-away game” through hiring practices, laws, rules, and regulations, and the government agencies are convoluted enough to escape any type of accountability and responsibility.
I monitor the news from multiple sources, and the American Main Stream Media (MSM) remains fixated upon an election in November 2016 while Americans are having their lives stolen right now. Where is the MSM? Where are the investigative journalists; are they still trying to discredit the makers of the Planned Parenthood videos? Do they think we care about some Hollywood actor/actress acting stupid while an American enemy is interdicting our livelihoods? Does the MSM think we enjoy seeing them running smoke and mirrors for a president who knew, and knows, about the data breaches and refuses to act? Where are the protectors of American interests, who were elected to keep America safe from, “…ALL ENEMIES, foreign and domestic” [emphasis mine]? Where is the Senate holding public hearings and recommending charges for the inept and licentious actions taken by political appointees charged with protecting the public trust? Keeping America safe includes protecting the data you, the government, insist and claim you must have and have created laws to force compliance for us citizenry to provide. OPM, Department of Veteran Affairs, you have failed America.
My identity was first stolen by government negligence, and was used feloniously, due to the VA lost computer incident. The loss from this incident was more than $1,000, which would have cost considerably more had I not been able to close my bank account in a less timely manner. The day after closing my account in AZ, I realized I was right about my ID being stolen. After 6 months of complaining, the thief arrived in a local WI branch and asked for a $500.00 check to be cashed. The thief had my Social Security number and full identification papers; the bank refused to cash the check, called me, and yet did nothing to stop the thief or reimburse my lost funds and the many overdrawn bank fees under discussion caused by this ID theft incident. Since this incident, I have received three additional letters from the VA alerting me that my ID had been stolen and could be used. VA data breaches remain an ongoing problem for the Department of Veteran Affairs to this day.
I wonder how one says “Inexcusable” in Chinese and Russian. I wonder when the OPM and VA data security teams will be held accountable for the tremendous costs they are incurring for American Citizens. I am past annoyed at being “… offer[ed] 3 years of credit monitoring” by the lowest bidder, by federal agencies that are still losing my data. The loss of identities by the Federal Government remains an ongoing disaster for every veteran, active and reserve service member, and future military members. The data breach at OPM has the potential to create espionage and blackmail problems for current, past, and future Federal Employees.
Ronald Reagan said in the 1980’s, “…Government IS the Problem [emphasis mine].” Since this was true in the 1980’s, how much more true are these words today? As Americans, we need answers, we need flexible and responsive government, and we desperately need accountability and responsibility to the Rule of Law. We must have the Rule of Law reestablished as the ultimate rule all people serve under including government employees at all levels of government from the school board and dogcatcher to the president and all the little special interest groups in-between. America, we deserve better from our elected officials and those they appoint. It is past time we, the American Citizenry, elected better, demanded accountability and responsiveness from our elected officials, and held these officials legally liable for breaching the public trust when they fail. If we hold those elected to a higher standard, they will hold those they appoint to a higher standard as a shield from public ridicule, legal culpability, and voter angst. Our elected officials need to stop prostituting themselves on the altar of political ease and do the job elected to perform.
© 2015 M. Dave Salisbury
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