I guess if you make sure your contractors can't reveal what they've done in your name, it becomes harder for others to discover what it is that you, personally, have done. But not impossible. The IT companies for the White House are denying that their the company that missed 5 million missing emails in their daily audits.
When Congress asked about 5 million executive branch e-mails that went missing, a White House lawyer pointed the finger at an outside IT contractor.
The only problem? No such IT contractor exists, according to sources close to the investigation of a possible violation of the Federal Records and Presidential Records acts.
Contrary to Roberts' statement to the Oversight Committee, several sources, including an IT company currently doing contractual work for the Executive Office of the President, have told ChannelWeb that no outside company had a managed services contract to audit the Executive Office of the President's e-mail archiving system daily during the period when the e-mails went missing.
"There are many contractors working for the [Information Assurance] Directorate and no single one provided audit and archive functions," said a spokesperson for Unisys, an IT security and hardware firm which has provided the Executive Office of the President "with a variety of IT services that support the Office of Administration."
"We don't believe that Unisys is the Information Assurance Directorate contractor to which Deputy Attorney General Keith Roberts referred when he briefed Rep. Waxman's committee in May," said Lisa Meyer, director of public relations for the Blue Bell, Penn.-based company.
For the record, we might want to distrust Unisys on this point. After all, they're the company supposedly in charge of monitoring Homeland Security's computer system. And they seemed to have missed basic things--like installing security devices on Homeland Security's networks.
As part of the contract, Unisys, based in Blue Bell, Pa., was to install network-intrusion detection devices on the unclassified computer systems for the TSA and DHS headquarters and monitor the networks. But according to evidence gathered by the House Homeland Security Committee, Unisys's failure to properly install and monitor the devices meant that DHS was not aware for at least three months of cyber-intrusions that began in June 2006. Through October of that year, Thompson said, 150 DHS computers -- including one in the Office of Procurement Operations, which handles contract data -- were compromised by hackers, who sent an unknown quantity of information to a Chinese-language Web site that appeared to host hacking tools.
The contractor also allegedly falsely certified that the network had been protected to cover up its lax oversight, according to the committee.
So the loss of 5 million emails might be all in a day's work.
But for the moment, it looks like the White House is claiming the Contractors ate their homework. For their next lame excuse, perhaps they'll just claim Unisys allowed Chinese hackers in to take it.