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LIVE: Top IT officials testify on rollout

LIVE: Top IT officials testify on rollout

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is holding a hearing Wednesday morning at 9:30am with top administration Information Technology officials to examine the rollout of You can watch below.

Among the issues likely to be addressed at the hearing are security and testing of the website, as well as IT best practices. From the committee’s prior statement on the hearing:

“When launched on October 1, testing was incomplete, the system had not yet been fully tested for security concerns, and new problems kept appearing. This was President Obama’s signature legislative achievement. His administration had hundreds of millions of dollars and total control to complete the project.

“Most Americans tossed off their insurance plans haven’t yet had the opportunity to experience online sticker shock.  This hearing will ask top Administration technology officials what went wrong, what they’re doing to fix it, and whether recognized IT best practices were really followed.”

Those expected to testify are Frank Baitman, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Information Technology at HHS; Henry Chao, Deputy Chief Information Officer, Deputy Director of the Office of Information Services at Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; Steve VanRoekel, U.S. Chief Information Officer, Administrator, Office of Electronic Government, Office of Management and Budget; and David Powner, Director, Information Technology Management Issues at the Government Accountability Office.

The administration initially refused to make Todd Park, the White House Chief Technology Officer, available for the hearing because he is actively involved in leading the effort to fix the troubled website and the administration felt it would be disruptive to his work.  Park’s office offered to have him testify in early December instead.  But Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa subpoenaed Park, and he is now expected to testify at Wednesday’s hearing.

On Monday, the committee released a statement and documents related to an earlier closed door interview with Henry Chao, in which it was revealed that Chao had not been made aware of several potentially significant security issues before he’d signed off on the recommendation for the website’s launch.  Other related documents are also available from the committee’s website:

  • Click here for the September 3 memo from [CMS Chief Information Officer] Tony Trenkle.
  • Click here for a September 17 memo noting two high findings.
  • Click here for the September 27 memo authorizing the operation of
  • Click here for Henry Chao’s testimony about security vulnerabilities.

The committee also previously released pages of “War Room” notes from meetings with various administration officials and contractors involved in the project.

Homeland Security Committee Hearing

There is also a separate hearing occurring during the same timeframe Wednesday before the Committee on Homeland Security, titled Cyber Side-Effects: How Secure is the Personal Information Entered into the Flawed  That hearing will focus on security threats to the website and can be viewed here.


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