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1998-02-27 09:55:23


White House Computers Are in Chaos Now -- Pre-2000



The White House computer network is under attack from hackers. It is breaking down.

It is so messed up that they don't have time (they say) to determine if it's 2000-compliant.

It isn't. As another White House expert once said, "Trust me."

If they can't fix their own internal network, how can the computer experts in this Administration -- self-publicized for its commitment to the "information highway" -- get the nation ready for y2k?

When they came into office back in 1993, they ridiculed George Bush's communications system. It wasn't high tech. Now it's high tech.

This report by Brock Meeks is on the MSNBC site.

* * * * * * * * *

Some $966,700 in funds needed to maintain the computer system for the Executive Office of the President, which serves the entire executive branch of government, are currently restricted from use. The White House requested an additional $2 million as part of its capital plan for 1998. But those funds are held up because of a two-year spat between the White House and a congressional committee that holds the purse strings for such expenses. . . .

        In written testimony submitted earlier this year in response to several pointed questions from the committee, Ada Posey, acting director of the White House Office of Administration, said the information systems “are in dire need of replacement of outdated and inoperative equipment.”

       If the systems aren’t upgraded in fiscal year 1998, Posey said the White House will experience “increasing network outages, increasing loss of productivity… and interruptions in electronic communications to and from other government agencies and the public.”

       The White House computer system feeds some 2,000 desktop computers and 60 servers, according to Posey’s testimony. . . .

       Because the White House doesn’t have the ability to maintain its computer systems when something breaks, it remains broken or staffers are forced to “cannibalize other systems,” Posey wrote. Staffers are often left without a functioning computer and some have “been required to scan the government surplus list looking for systems that can be cannibalized to keep EOP systems operational.” . . .

       The White House hasn’t even been able to determine what systems are vulnerable to the infamous “Year 2000” problem, because of the unavailability of funds, Posey noted. The White House analysis is “incomplete at this time.”

       However, the office has begun an analysis of the Financial Management System, she noted.

       It will take $600,000 to correct the Year 2000 problem for the Financial Management System alone, Posey noted. “To ensure the continuity of operations and to correct the Year 2000 problem, it is crucial to being this critical step,” Posey wrote.


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