OPM Breach: Suspicious Minds

There were two or three ideas floating around this morning that I could have written about. First we had Donald Trump saying, “I’m really rich” during his speech announcing that he was running for the Republican Presidential nomination. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a candidate say that. Trump is always worth a few lines. Then last night we had LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers losing for the fourth time in the NBA finals, which I cheered. This was after he proclaimed, “I’m the best player in the world.” One headline may have said it best, “LeBron James May Go Down As The Greatest Loser Ever.” Good for him.

I decided to hold off on those two wonderful issues and write a personal account about the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the federal employee data breach.

I know the excitement is building, so please read on…

It seems just about any time that personal data in the Federal Government is hacked, I make the list.

I received an official-looking letter from a “Secure Processing Center” in Livonia, Michigan, on Friday or Saturday informing me that the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) recently became aware of the “cybersecurity incident” affecting its systems that may have exposed my personal information.

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Freedom Is Not Free

“I think he obviously has a higher priority for his fundraising and political ambitions than for the security of the nation.” -Republican U.S. Senator John McCain talking about Republican U.S. Senator Rand Paul (Source).

McCain is absolutely correct. Last week I pointed out that on Rand Paul’s Presidential website, you can purchase a “Filibuster Starter Pack.”

There are a lot of people, many who are in the U.S. Senate and House, who do not understand national security. That’s been evident the past week or so – especially with the “Stand with Rand” crowd which includes my U.S. Senator, Steve Daines (R-MT).

With Paul and people in the Senate who support him leading the way, the United States is less safe this morning because Paul placed politics over our nation’s security. On an added note, the Republicans who have now been in control of the U.S. Senate for about six months are proving they have problems leading.

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CIA Torture Report

Every day on the USA Today website they list the “5 things you need to know” for that particular day. It is part of my morning read from around the web.

The number one thing they listed for today is “Angels strut for Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.” I actually appreciate the reminder.

The number two thing they listed for today is “Torture report: Is summary’s release a good or bad thing?”

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Fort Hood: More Guns?

Once again the good folks at Fort Hood, Texas, are hurting over another shooting incident on the installation. Let’s keep them in our prayers. A memorial service is planned for Wednesday.

U.S. Army Specialist Ivan Lopez killed three soldiers and wounded 16 others at Fort Hood last week. Then he killed himself.

It’s been reported that Lopez “had argued with the Army about leave benefits, including time off last year to attend his mother’s funeral in his native Puerto Rico. Just before the shooting, there was another argument with a soldier over paperwork for another leave request.”

Taking leave (vacation) that you have earned in the military is extremely important, but like most things in the military, there’s no guarantee that you can take leave when you want to because the mission comes first. The mission always comes first.

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ICBM Forces: Close the Door!

There seems to be an on-going problem in the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) world these days, and that problem can be described in military terms as failure to pay attention to detail.

It does not appear that a shiny new checklist will correct the problem, either (that’s military humor in case you were wondering).

On Tuesday, the Associated Press (AP) reported, “Twice this year alone, Air Force officers entrusted with the launch keys to nuclear-tipped missiles have been caught leaving open a blast door that is intended to help prevent a terrorist or other intruder from entering their underground command post.”

One incident happened at Minot Air Force Base (AFB) in North Dakota; the other happened at Malmstrom AFB in Montana.

Of course commanders and the public affairs personnel at these bases will tell the public and the media that all is safe, secure, and that we civilians shouldn’t worry because everything is under control.

With so many screw-ups recently, that song is starting to grow old. In August, Malmstrom failed a nuclear inspection. In April, Minot failed a nuclear inspection. Something needs to change and to change quickly. Continue reading

Where in the World is…Edward Snowden?

Over the weekend (and continuing today) the coverage of Edward Snowden reminds me of the old PBS show, “Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?”

He supposedly left Hong Kong for Russia and may be headed to Cuba or Ecuador for asylum.

In case you have not heard about Edward Snowden, he is a former National Security Agency contractor and CIA technician who is wanted by the United States for revealing classified secrets about our government’s surveillance program.

Snowden is also responsible for the newest round of jokes about the United States spying on its citizens…

Some people believe Snowden is a traitor and others believe he is a patriot. I have posted a poll at the end of this column asking that question – so let me hear from you.

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