MSNBC’s Witt Dismisses Legit Concern About ObamaCare Website Security

MSNBC weekend anchor Alex Witt once again showed that she is a big fan of ObamaCare on Sunday’s edition of her eponymous program. Witt’s guest, Dafna Linzer of msnbc.com, had just criticized one of Rep. Mike Rogers’ (R-Mich.) comments on that morning’s Meet the Press, in which Rogers was critical of ObamaCare.

Witt recalled another problem with the rollout that Rogers talked about in that interview:

 

"Although Mike Rogers did bring up the issue of security and whether that has been addressed properly.”

However, Witt added this caveat: “But you have to wonder if he's just kind of throwing something out there to see if it sticks, considering things are going decently well since midnight."

How can Witt casually dismiss Rogers’ concerns about the security of healthcare.gov? The website’s security problems have been well-documented. Just two weeks ago, the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology held a hearing on the security of the ObamaCare website. All four IT experts who testified said that Americans should not use the site in light of the security flaws that existed at the time.

The witnesses said Americans’ personal information was at risk due to numerous security flaws that resulted partially from the sheer complexity of the website. One witness, David Kennedy, estimated that it would take four to six months to fix the site.

In fact, Kennedy appeared on CNBC last Monday to dissect the site’s security problems. In that interview, he claimed that no security was ever built into healthcare.gov and added that it could take up to a year to make personal information on the site secure. You would think that Witt would at least be aware of that exchange that happened on MSNBC’s sister network.

However, Witt was willing to toss those security concerns out the window because things had been going “decently well” for the first 12 hours or so after the Obama administration’s November 30 deadline to fix the site.

But have the security problems really been resolved? The administration’s fixes, after all, were aimed more at increasing website speed and capacity than at repairing security flaws. Kennedy doesn’t believe the site has been repaired; he resurfaced again yesterday to tell The Washington Free Beacon that healthcare.gov is even more vulnerable to security threats now that the administration has “fixed” the website.

The bottom line is that nobody can assume the ObamaCare website is safe from security breaches at this point. There have been serious problems that will require months or even a year to fix, according to IT experts. Rep. Rogers was not “throwing something out there to see if it sticks,” as Witt stated. He was raising a crucial, and under-reported, ObamaCare concern.

Below is Witt's comment in context:

ALEX WITT: You know Dafna, though, at the same time, this midnight deadline comes and goes, but the companion sites for the small businesses delayed by one year, also Spanish speakers, that website angle has been delayed. What are some of the challenges going forward for this administration dealing with those two things and other things, trying to reconcile it all?



DAFNA LINZER, Msnbc.com: Right, and you know, and also just getting doctors prepared for an influx of new patients, community centers who are going to be providing health care to millions of new Americans who haven't had it. I think there's going to be a lot of messaging involved here, a lot of helping people to get online and to figure out when is the best time for them to do that and how to get health care. But I think, you know, beyond that, beyond the politics, you know, what I think matters here is that in ten years we're going to have a much healthier nation. You know, I know that Mike Rogers was on Meet the Press today and talked about creating a system to help just a few, except those few are 40 million Americans. And so I think, you know, looking at the long game, I think that's what really matters here going forward. And I think that's what the White House sees, and they know that that’s really the critical goal.

WITT: Yeah. Although Mike Rogers did bring up the issue of security and whether that has been addressed properly. But you have to wonder if he's just kind of throwing something out there to see if it sticks, considering things are going decently well since midnight.

Paul Bremmer
Paul Bremmer is a Media Research Center News Analysis Division intern.