Congressman Ron DeSantis: Internet data breach for federal employees cause for concern

Editor's Note: The following was written by Congressman Ron DeSantis, R-St. Augustine, whose 6th district of Florida includes greater Daytona Beach...

Congressman Ron DeSantis weekly message / Headline Surfer®WASHINGTON, DC -- The depth and scope of the data breach at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) continues to grow - records going as far back as 1985 and the information of any federal employee could have been compromised.

This means that the personnel records of millions of federal employees – including those in military and intelligence positions – have been exposed to Chinese hackers. This breach is an unmitigated disaster and could have major ramifications for U.S. national security.

This week, administration officials testified before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, raising more questions than they answered . Our adversaries now have access to copious amounts of personnel data that can be used to harm U.S. interests. As I mentioned in my questioning at the hearing, this information represents a veritable treasure trove of information for our enemies.

For nearly 10 years OPM ignored repeated warnings from the Inspector General regarding vulnerabilities to the OPM network from cyber attacks and failed to take precautionary measures such as encrypting Social Security numbers.

The administration seems to have no plan to either respond to or mitigate the damage from this cyberattack and already seems to be botching the notification process . While much of the information on this hack remains classified, I will do my best to keep you informed of new developments.

The administration seems to have no plan to either respond to or mitigate the damage from this cyberattack and already seems to be botching the notification process . While much of the information on this hack remains classified, I will do my best to keep you informed of new developments.

We've heard plenty of excuses from the IRS as Congress investigates the targeting scandal and Lois Lerner's role in that scandal. This week, the IRS revealed that they have recovered an additional 6,400 of Lerner's e-mails , but claim that they cannot hand them over because they first need to check for duplicates. Really?

The IRS should release the documents and let congressional investigators review them. The Treasury Department’s Inspector General for Tax Administration has already ensured that none of the emails were duplicates through the use of computer software.

The lengths that the IRS has gone to cover its tracks and stymie this investigation are mindboggling. The IRS is trying to stonewall Congress and drag this out as long as they can in hopes that the whole scandal is forgotten.

I believe that IRS Commissioner John Koskinen is obstructing justice and should be held to account for misleading Congress. We know that this would never fly if the average American tried to withhold information from the IRS. Why does the IRS believe it should be held to a different standard?

The arrogant attitude of the IRS is typical in Washington and is absolutely unacceptable. I am committed to getting to the bottom of this scandal and holding those responsible accountable for their actions.

As chairman of the subcommittee on National Security, I have called a hearing for next week to conduct oversight of Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) major lease procurement procedures. Major lease projects for replacement or new VA medical facilities have experienced significant delays at excessive costs to taxpayers, which is unacceptable.

As chairman of the subcommittee on National Security, I have called a hearing for next week to conduct oversight of Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) major lease procurement procedures. Major lease projects for replacement or new VA medical facilities have experienced significant delays at excessive costs to taxpayers, which is unacceptable.

When new or replacement VA facilities are held up due to mismanagement and bureaucratic delays, we are doing a disservice to the veterans who rely on the VA for vital health care services.

I have seen this on display first-hand in the VA’s difficulties in finding a permanent solution for the St. Augustine Community Based Outpatient Clinic, creating uncertainty for the more than 5,000 veterans it serves.

It is my hope that this hearing will shed much needed light on the VA’s problems so that the VA can successfully provide high quality and timely services to our nation’s veterans.

For more frequent updates on legislation and events, please follow me on Facebook and Twitter . I look forward to hearing from you; please do not hesitate to contact my Washington, Port Orange, or St. Augustine office should you need any assistance.

How to reach Congressman Ron DeSantis:
• Washington, D.C.: 308 Cannon House Office Building,  Washington, D.C. 20515 Tel: 202-225-2706 ; 
• Port Orange: 1000 City Center Circle,   Port Orange, FL 32129 Tel: 386-756-9798;
• St. Augustine:  3940 Lewis Speedway St. Augustine, 32084 Tel: 904-827-1101.
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Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com since 2008. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed close to a hundred award-winning byline stories nearly evenly split in print and digital platforms. Frederick earned his Master of Arts in New Media Journalism with academic honors from Full Sail University in Winter Park in February 2019. He was a metro reporter with the Daytona Beach News-Journal for nearly a decade and then served as a city editor for the Taunton Daily Gazette in Taunton, Mass, while maintaining a residence in Central Florida. Prior to moving to Florida, Frederick was a metro reporter for the Rockland Journal-News in West Nyack, NY, for seven years. Headline Surfer was named the Sunshine State's top internet news site by the Florida Press Club in 2018.