A key Democrat in Congress who is black excoriated a group of far-left, highly-paid, largely white technologists in the Biden administration for jeopardizing cybersecurity and potentially enabling fraud in the government while they justified their misconduct by citing racial “equity.”
On Wednesday, Kweisi Mfume (D-MD), the ranking member of a House Oversight Committee subpanel, called the equity-justified lies a “very, very serious issue.”
The criticism of the General Services Administration’s (GSA) Technology Transformation Service (TTS) came following an inspector general report that found that the group tasked with creating Login.gov declined to implement facial recognition despite being required for certain high-security accounts. Officials decided that facial recognition was racist and lied to agencies that the service was compliant anyway. That misrepresentation put one million accounts at risk.
It also came on the heels of a four-part Daily Wire series that found that TTS lost millions of dollars, repeatedly lied, and put the security of sensitive data at risk with wanton noncompliance with basic security rules, while being consumed instead with far-left politics. Employees included a self-proclaimed Marxist organizer and a man who identifies as transgender who raised money from colleagues to “void their gender warranty,” and the group spent its time on projects like creating a social justice robot.
“This is a very damning report against GSA, the one agency we trust to do the sort of oversight of other agencies and the government’s money. It’s very disconcerting. The GSA clearly has tarnished its own name here, and the question is how do they get out of that hole,” Mfume said.
“Login.gov has never met” the security standard that it for years claimed that it did. “It did not then and for many of us it still does not. Yet it continued to mislead until January of last year when the agency released its equity action plan” that it used to retroactively justify its actions, Mfume said.
Sonny Hasmi, the commissioner of GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service who oversees TTS and appeared before the panel, acknowledged that “certain members of the Login.gov team did indeed misrepresent intentionally.”
“These misrepresentations represent the worst in how government should operate,” he said.
Rep. Maxwell Frost of Florida, another committee Democrat who is black, also slammed the culture of TTS, which The Daily Wire found was comprised of highly-paid, uniformly leftist Silicon Valley-type technologists who skirted government rules. “Why didn’t y’all do more sooner?” he asked, calling “the breach of trust so upsetting.”
Republican Andy Biggs of Arizona suggested that the “equity”-inspired liars should face criminal punishment. “This is criminal fraud,” Biggs said. “It’s a deliberate scheme to obtain financial gain through concealment or misrepresentation. That’s the classic elements of fraud.”
TTS brought in $187 million for Login.gov after falsely representing that it was compliant with NIST security standards known as IAL2, and another $10 million from agencies that were billed for IAL2 service, but got something significantly less secure.
But committee members said the true cost of the scandal could be much higher, since people can use Login.gov to apply for government services, and if the government had used photo recognition for coronavirus payments and other programs instead of bureaucrats deciding that it was racist, billions of dollars could have been saved. The government has acknowledged sky-high rates of people pretending to be someone else to draw unemployment checks, particularly during the coronavirus bailouts.
“We rely on Login.gov to help us root out potential fraudsters. There’s a lot of bad guys out there. For this to go on, we don’t know if they were out there siphoning out money,” Mfume said. “Has anyone worked with the DOJ to see whether there was criminal activity that denied the right of taxpayers to have the money used as it should?”
While the highly-paid computer programmers virtue-signaled leftist politics by creating a bot to police language for “gendered” and “colonialist” references, their equity-inspired lack of security meant that government money could be paid out wrongfully. That, Mfume said, could mean less money available for actual impoverished people who need money like food stamp benefits.
Despite Mfume expressing concerns that employees’ names were redacted from the IG report, Hashmi declined to provide them.
Even so, on Twitter, Noah Kunin, previously the group’s Director of Infrastructure who quit over his hatred of Donald Trump and who the IG suggested made false statements and circumvented rules, lashed out that the IG had not sufficiently hidden the names of employees, complaining that people could still decipher their names based on the character lengths. The GSA itself acknowledged the unit was plagued by “gross mismanagement.”
Hashmi said that no one who made false representations still works for TTS — though some key former TTS employees have since been appointed to higher roles by President Joe Biden.
Hashmi also touted that he has brought in new leadership—though the newly named director of the TTS previously worked at MoveOn.org, the Democrat fundraising group.
Dave Shive remains the GSA’s Chief Information Officer, despite leading a collective meltdown of TTS staffers the day after Donald Trump’s election that one participant described as “the most partisan meeting I’ve ever attended in government.”
Pete Sessions (R-Texas), chairman of the House Subcommittee on Government Operations and the Federal Workforce, told The Daily Wire that “equity concerns stemming from selfie-checks are not a legitimate reason for Login.gov, 18F, TTS, or any agency to disregard a requirement, and it certainly does not excuse them for lying about it.”
“Identity theft remains a key component in massive fraud in COVID-relief and other federal programs,” he said. “We want to know what Login.gov and GSA are doing to correct their lack of a biometric comparison as well as examine rumors the Biden Administration may do away with the biometric comparison requirement altogether, due to erroneous equity concerns.
“TTS’s pattern of dishonesty is unacceptable,” he added. “This is a public black eye for all of GSA, but also the Biden Administration – a key component of their anti-fraud efforts has shown itself to be a fraud.”
Part 1: Feds Jeopardized Security Of 1M Americans’ Online Accounts, Citing ‘Equity’
Part 2: Federal Tech Arm Had Pattern Of ‘Gross Mismanagement’ Before ‘Equity’-Induced Cybersecurity Fiasco
Part 3: Federal Agency Focused On Leftist Politics And Pronouns As ‘Gross Mismanagement’ Put Cybersecurity At Risk
Part 4: Chat Records Reveal Epic Meltdown In Federal Agency After Trump Win