JULY 22, 2013
In yet another example of how government wastes our tax dollars, an agency that most Americans have probably never even heard of “mistakenly” destroyed nearly $3 million in technology because it thought the equipment had been hacked.
Turns out it was all a false alarm, the computer network at the obscure Economic Development Administration (EDA), which operates under the U.S. Department of Commerce, was never violated. Nevertheless, the agency got rid of the equipment old fashioned style. Employees destroyed their computers and keyboards with a hammer!
You can’t make this stuff up. It’s all documented in a scathing 33-page report published this month by the U.S. Department of Commerce Inspector General. The image of federal employees barbarically smashing government computers with a hammer is dumbfounding, especially because nothing was wrong with them. It was all a misunderstanding created by a Homeland Security unit that thought it detected a “potential malware infection” in the EDA’s computer system.
So the agency panicked and spent $823,000 to hire a “cybersecurity” specialist, according to the audit. It also doled out $1.06 million to build a “temporary infrastructure” pending a long-term information technology solution and an additional $688,000 on “contractor assistance for a long-term recovery solution.” Additionally, the EDA blew $4,300 to destroy $170,000 worth of tech equipment. In all, $2.7 million worth of equipment—including printers, computers, cameras, keyboards and TVs—was destroyed.
As it turns out the initial findings of corrupt software were eventually confirmed to be false positives, the inspector general reveals, diplomatically stating in its report that the agency “based its critical cyber-incident response decisions on inaccurate information.” The findings further state that “deficiencies” impeded the response and “misdirected efforts” hindered the EDA’s information technology system recover.
Now that we know the details of how this agency burned millions of dollars, let’s take a closer look at what it actually does. We already know it operates within the Department of Commerce, but it’s unclear what its duties are. Here is the answer; the EDA leads the federal economic development agenda by promoting innovation and competitiveness, preparing American regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. Does anyone know what this really means?
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