Washington is a city full of people with strong opinions. Some of the beliefs are genuinely held. Others are for rent.
Any D.C. lobbyist worth his (her) salt can argue effectively that the bald eagle must be saved from extinction. Or represent a food chain that plans to get rich via a chain of restaurants serving tasty Eagle McNuggets.
There are some people here who really believe what they say. Others who go with the political winds.
In defense of D.C., I would point out that 535 of the most- opinionated, arrogant, frequently-in-error-seldom-in-doubt people here were sent by you. The people that give D.C. such a bad rap nationally — Congress — are all from somewhere else. People in California, New York, Utah, Illinois and South Carolina vote for them and pay them — with our tax dollars — to move here. We get it. We know why you want them here with us, not there with you!
When there is a problem in government, many members of the House and Senate immediately look for a way to benefit from it. Or blame the other side. Latest example:
Two weeks ago, most Americans had never heard of the Office of Personnel Management. Outside of government, the letters OPM meant nothing. If they had to identify top government officials, Katherine Archuleta, would have been near the bottom of the list. Not any more.
Since the infamous OPM Breach was announced/acknowledged earlier this month, she and OPM have been Page One stuff. Sometimes OPM has led the nightly news … (if Caitlin Jenner is unavailable or Justin Bieber hasn’t sprouted a new tattoo).
Newspaper editorials and columnists from the left and right have demanded that Archuleta be drawn and quartered. Or at least fired. And then what?
What happened it terrible.
The data should have been better protected. We all know that.
We still don’t know the extent of the breach. Or what’s next. Will feds have credit problems for years? Will retirees be compromised? Will people in the intelligence community be targeted because the bad guys know their names, birthdays, addresses and some of their darkest — from background check data — secrets?
What happened is bad. Maybe inexcusable. But it happened. And the question is what next?
Would firing Archuleta fix the problem? Can we hit the famous “reset” button on this one? Will the Chinese, Russians, Israelis and Bolivians suddenly stop gathering intel on us?
Marc Harris, a retired fed and transplant to Florida said:
“So let’s see. Cut the (insert the name of any non-defense agency) so it cannot function properly, and then when there is a problem, blame the folks in charge of the agency and ask for their resignations. Sure … makes a lot of sense?”
Many would agree that Pearl Harbor (Dec. 7, 1941) was a much bigger deal than the OPM hack. Did we fire FDR (who, according to some, knew it was coming)? Or did we reelect him four years later?
Mary Barra, the CEO of General Motors is still on the job, despite the belated, massive, safety announcement and recalls. They were finally made public on her watch, but happened long before she took over. (As a Chevy Cobalt owner I had skin (literally) in that game). It’s probably true that lots of people at GM should be fired. But not necessarily her.
If we fire everybody at the top each time there is a major mistake it could do two things: First, open the promotion pipeline. Second, maybe ensure that fewer mistakes are “discovered” or made public in future. CYA could become the code of the land.
OPM data breach starkly reminds CIOs to tighten up cyber “There but for the grace of God go I.” Every federal chief information officer could have said that adage Tuesday as House lawmakers grilled Donna Seymour about the cyber breach sustained by the Office of Personnel Management.