(UPI)Under Secretary for Veterans Benefits (and now titular head of the VHA, too) Allison “In Wonderland” Hickey announced today that the VA’s highly-trained investigators at the Office of Inspector General have finally gotten to the bottom of the VA scheduling snafu down in Phoenix, Arkansas.
Said Hickey: ” After an in-depth review of all evidence available, our intrepid investigators discovered a heretofore invisible malware program had intruded into the VA’s VISTA medical computer system. Due to the advanced age of the system, which is powered by Windows XP, they were able to access our appointment calendars and effect changes that were purposefully designed to make VA’s Medical Centers look inept and uncaring of severely disabled Veterans. Fortunately, the OIG identified this weakness before an even more serious breach of the records could be accomplished. We have now installed firewalls to prevent this but will need to create a new system. We will be approaching Congress for funding of VISTAPLUS shortly and our IT administrators have endorsed a $1.4 Billion system designed by the Chinese company NORINCO as the best buy for the money.”
USB Hickey then turned the briefing over to VA Press Secretary Jay Carney. Carney opined that the computer virus might never have been discovered if the OIG had not made the surprise inspection. Carney further theorized that if the OIG investigators had not found the computer was unplugged back in the mechanical room, the problem would still be of immense proportions.
The virus, nicknamed VABONUS, is suspected of having contaminated at least two, and quite possibly three other nearby satellite computers outside Phoenix in Little Rock and several smaller Community Based Outpatient Clinics ( Fort Smith, Pine Bluff and Texarkana)). Carney at this time was not able to state with any assurance that the virus might also have hitchhiked on emails back to their Central Offices in Washington, DC. However, he did go on record as saying the possibility was there, nevertheless. ” We scrub all the emails every night and shred the evidence of it. Our IT guys are still reviewing the software doomoflotchies but they tell me the probability of VABONUS in DC is slim to none. We’ll have a new update when we accomplish the review in late January of 2016 after the inauguration. Oh, and one last update. Apparently I was in error. My assistant informs me that we do not scrub emails but preserve them for posterity off-site on old, repurposed IRS, er, VA computers. ”
USB Hickey also iterated her commitment to Veterans by pointing out she, too, is one. “Lot’s of people overlook the fact that I was a lifer. I worked hard for that star. You think flying a desk was fun? Try it for a decade or two and you’ll discover this VA gig is a vacation in comparison. Acting VA Secretary Gibson is now hard at work trying to sort out all the problems that prior administrations overlooked and he’s not getting a lot of cooperation. The media needs to cool off and give us time to ascertain the problems. We would also appreciate it if they would give us the names of all the whistleblowers that contacted them anonymously so we can interview them and get an accurate assessment from all stakeholders, not just the ones on record. Knowledge is power at the VA and the more we have, the better our decisional capabilities will be enhanced. The identities and any photographs of the whistleblowers will be scrupulously protected by the OIG.”
Onwards thru the Fog.