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TMCNet:  D.C. Report: IT insecurity [Tulsa World, Okla.]

[December 09, 2013]

D.C. Report: IT insecurity [Tulsa World, Okla.]

(Tulsa World (OK) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Dec. 08--An inspector general's report critical of the Department of Homeland Security's information systems seemed to affirm previous criticism by U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn.

"This report shows major gaps in DHS's own cybersecurity," Coburn, the ranking member of the committee overseeing the massive agency, said after the report was released.

Coburn said DHS has failed to use "some of the most basic protections that would be obvious to any 13-year-old with a laptop. DHS doesn't use strong authentication. It relies on antiquated software that's full of holes. Its components don't report security incidents when they should. They don't keep track of weaknesses when they're found, and they don't fix them in time to make a difference.

"The federal government's classified and unclassified networks are dangerously insecure," Coburn said, "putting at risk not only U.S. national security, but the nation's critical infrastructure and vast amounts of our citizens' personally identifiable information." Koch machine: Nonprofit political organizations associated with Wichita's Koch Brothers raised more than $300 million in 2012, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. By contributing to the nonprofits instead of directly to campaigns or political action committees, donors are able to remain anonymous.

The Koch network includes such nonprofits as Americans for Prosperity, the Center to Protect Patients Rights, Freedom Partners and Americans for Responsible Leadership.

The best-known of those, Americans for Prosperity, received more than one-third of its $115 million from three other entities in the Koch network.

The largest of the liberal-leaning nonprofits appears to be Priorities USA, which raised $8.4 million, mostly from just five unnamed donors. About $5 million was paid out as grants to other nonprofits, including $2.2 million to Planned Parenthood.

Dots and dashes: Fourth District Rep. Tom Cole sparred with Obama surrogate Zeke Emanuel on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." Cole said the Affordable Care Act will create "millions of winners" but "tens of millions of losers." ... 5th District Rep. James Lankford also trashed the ACA on MSNBC. Under questioning from Chris Jansing, Lankford said some aspects of the law would be good if they weren't outweighed by the costs. ... Cole told Salon he sees little chance House Republicans will go along with an extension of long-term unemployment benefits. "The Republican position all along has been 'we need to get back to normal at some point.' " ... Cole, a member of the Chickasaw Nation, will be among the featured speakers at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Native American Enterprise Initiative on Tuesday in Washington, D.C. ... The Los Angeles Times criticized "60 Minutes" and the segment it aired based on Coburn's report on disability fraud. Citing a Social Security Administration study, the Times said an aging population and the higher percentage of women in the workforce account for almost all of the increase in the size of the program.

___ (c)2013 Tulsa World (Tulsa, Okla.) Visit Tulsa World (Tulsa, Okla.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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