CBS: White House Granted Itself Waiver to Launch ObamaCare Website With High Security Risk

As NewsBusters has been reporting, CBS News has been one of the press outlets totally willing to expose the disaster that is the ObamaCare rollout.

On Monday, Sharyl Attkisson did a fabulous report on the CBS Evening News revealing that “four days before the launch the government took an unusual step: it granted itself a waiver to launch the website with a level of uncertainty deemed as a high security risk” (video follows with transcript and commentary):

SCOTT PELLEY, HOST: Today the federal healthcare website went down again for about an hour and a half. No one is sure why. It's being taken offline on purpose every morning in the wee hours from 1:00 to 5:00 for repairs. Millions are still having trouble buying insurance on it, and it turns out that even when the website works it may not be secure enough to protect privacy. Sharyl Attkisson has been digging into this.

SHARYL ATTKISSON: As Healthcare.gov was being developed, crucial tests to ensure the security and privacy of customer information fell behind schedule. Our analysis found that the deadline for final security plans slipped three times from May 6 to July 16. Security assessments to be finished June 7 slid to August 16 then the 23rd. The final required top-to-bottom security tests never got done.

The House Oversight Committee released an Obama administration memo that shows four days before the launch the government took an unusual step: it granted itself a waiver to launch the website with a level of uncertainty deemed as a high security risk. Agency head Marilyn Tavenner accepted the risk and mitigation measures like frequent testing and a dedicated security team. But three other officials signed a statement saying "that does not reduce the risk of launching October 1."

Georgetown Law professor Lawrence Gostin is a big supporter of the Affordable Care Act. He helped Congress write the law to meet constitutional standards, but he's critical of the launch without proper security.

LAWRENCE GOSTIN, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: Nothing can undermine public confidence more than the fear of a security and privacy breach. You could have somebody hack into the system, get your Social Security number, get your financial information.


ATTKISSON: Healthcare.gov exchanges data through a massive hub that includes the IRS and Social Security Administration to verify income and identity, and Veterans Affairs for military personnel who receive special benefits. Last week at a Congressional hearing, Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius told Democrat G.K. Butterfield that Americans have no reason to worry.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CONGRESSMAN G.K. BUTTERFIELD (D-NORTH CAROLINA): Do you have confidence in these and other measures you are taking to protect the security of Americans’ personal information?

KATHLEEN SEBELIUS, SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: I do, sir.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ATTKISSON: While officials try to fix all the problems with the website, internal notes released today from a government meeting last week reflect a new concern: that the medium may begin to follow customer experiences and in some cases, CMS fears, there are fewer health insurance options than would be desired and quote "relatively high-cost plans."

PELLEY: Sharyl Attkisson in our Washington newsroom. Sharyl, thank you.

Absolutely fabulous report. Makes you wonder how many other news organizations will follow suit.

Stay tuned.

(HT WFB)

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.