Quote of the Day: In Shocking Development, Media Org Gets Suckered By Darrell Issa Once Again


From ABC News:

This post has been updated to include an expanded response from CMS and a statement from the ranking member of the House Oversight Committee.

OK, I admit that doesn’t seem like much of a quote. But Steve Benen provides the backstory: ABC ran a story today about “two high findings of risk” in the Obamacare website. This came via a leak from Darrell Issa, who is practically infamous for leaking partial transcripts of hearings that are wildly misleading. But ABC ran with it anyway. So here’s what CMS said when they got a chance to respond:

In one case, what was initially flagged as a high finding was proven to be false,” the agency said in a statement. “In the other case, we identified a piece of software code that needed to be fixed and that fix is now in place. Since that time, the feature has been fully mitigated and verified by an independent security assessment, per standard practice.”

The administration maintains that no components of the website were allowed to go live after Oct. 1 with “open [unresolved] high findings.”

….The ranking Democrat on the committee, Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., has accused Issa of a “reckless pattern of leaking partial and misleading information” about the website operations.

“The very same witness interviewed by the Committee also said there have been absolutely no security breaches of the website and that she is satisfied with the current security testing,” Cummings said in a statement responding to the release of Fryer’s testimony. “This effort to leak cherry-picked information is part of a deliberate campaign to scare the American people and deny them the quality affordable health insurance to which they are entitled under the law.”

Naturally, Cummings’ statement was relegated to the very last paragraph of the piece. But that’s basically the whole story. One bug turned out to be trivial and the other has been fixed and never caused any problems. This is exactly what’s supposed to happen with bugs. For all practical purposes, the update undermines the entire story.

When will reporters learn not to trust Issa? Judging by current practice, never.

UPDATE: It turns out this is even worse than I thought. Michael Hiltzik has the full story here.

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