Given House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa’s (R-Calif.) track record, it’s tough to blame the Obama administration for having trust issues.
While Republicans continue to characterize HealthCare.gov as a brazen security hazard that could expose personal information to unnecessary risks, the Health and Human Services Department has its own concerns regarding a place of compromised security: the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
For months, congressional Republicans have pushed the “security” argument: the health care exchange marketplaces, the GOP insists, put Americans’ personal health information at risk. Have there been any successful security attacks? No. Have any consumers’ personal information been jeopardized? No. But the point to scare people into avoiding the system – if Americans believe there’s a risk, maybe they’ll be more reluctant to get covered, which would further Republicans’ sabotage goals.
In reality, however, there’s been extensive testing of healthcare.gov to ensure security measures are in place. Issa wants “unredacted copies” of these sensitive materials, and this has caused a problem.
These materials include information that, if leaked or misused, could cause catastrophic damage to the health care system. With that in mind, HHS has shared the information with Issa and his committee, and continue to make the documents available for committee review, but HHS won’t simply give the committee copies of dangerous information.
As Roll Call’s report added, “Oversight and Government Reform staff have been able to review the documents in a secure space, but they have not been given copies. While they’ve had ‘in camera’ sessions with the documents at HHS, they haven’t been able to leave the building with their notes.”
Issa isn’t satisfied. For now, HHS doesn’t care.
And while I’m all in favor of vigorous oversight, HHS has a point. Issa has a nasty habit of carelessly leaking sensitive information – usually in the most misleading way possible – to advance partisan goals. In this case, Issa wants to sabotage “Obamacare” and wants information that would make that sabotage possible.
Imagine if HHS had a vault. Issa, with oversight authority, can see the vault, examine its contents, and even review security testing of the vault, but HHS doesn’t want to give Issa a piece of paper with the combination to the vault, fearing he’d just leak it to his allies. Why would he do that? Because he’s already said he hopes the the vault gets robbed.
So, how does this end? Probably with a fight over a congressional subpoena, but whether Issa likes it or not, he brought this on himself with his career of reckless and irresponsible behavior.
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Obama admin has trust issues with Issa