Why do bad things happen to good bureaucrats?

The director of the OPM says no one is responsible for the catastrophic OPM hack:

“Fox News has learned that the number of victims of a pair of massive cyberattacks on U.S. government personnel files has soared to at least 18 million — but the head of the hacked Office of Personnel Management refuses to blame anyone in her agency.

“I don’t believe anyone is personally responsible,” OPM Director Katherine Archuleta said Tuesday. . .

Grilled on whether anyone takes responsibility, Archuleta said only the perpetrators should be blamed. . .

Only the perpetrators should be blamed; the government has no responsibility to secure its data!

One good person to blame would be whoever thought it would be a good idea to give root access to the Chinese, but Archuleta’s remarks prove that the idiocy started at the top. Take a look at the White House announcement of her appointment. It contains not one word on any actual qualification that Archuleta had for the job. Let’s go through each paragraph:

  1. (The title) First Latina appointment
  2. First latina appointment; diversity and inclusion
  3. Workforce that reflects the population
  4. Diversity
  5. Political connections
  6. Political connections
  7. Trite meaningless praise, plus diversity

It’s clear what happened here: It’s only the Office of Personnel Management; what difference does it make who the director is? It’s the perfect place to appoint a minority with political connections.

Except that it did matter. Oops.

UPDATE: It occurs to me that the title isn’t really fair to bureaucrats. A typical bureaucrat at least has experience with bureaucracy, but there’s no evidence Archuleta even had that. A little slavish devotion to procedure might actually have helped here.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Charlie Martin writes about how this kind of disaster goes about happening.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: More on Archuleta’s complete lack of any qualifications for the job.

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One Response to Why do bad things happen to good bureaucrats?

  1. Thanks for the link!

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