Carly Fiorina joined me on todays show to discuss the OPM hack and the rising threat of jihadist terrorism reaching the U.S.:
HH: She joins me now. She of course is running for president, www.carlyforpresident.com. Hello, Carly, welcome back to the Hugh Hewitt Show.
CF: Thank you. Hello, Hugh, how are you doing?
HH: Well, I was a lot better at the start of the day than I am now. I’ve been reading about the OPM data breach, and this is really in your wheelhouse. I don’t know that anyone in the field understands data as well as you do, Carly Fiorina. And the story keeps getting worse and worse. Today, it’s announced maybe 18 million Social Security numbers as well as the security check clearances of millions of would-be and actual federal employees, including our spies, hacked by the Chinese. Do you think the President understands what has happened here?
CF: Well, I don’t know, but as you point out, the report is getting worse and worse, because I also read today that the White House, by describing this as two separate data breaches, sort of hid from us for a while how bad it really was. You may remember initially they came out and said oh, it’s only four million. Heh, only four, and no, it doesn’t include all the sensitive information. Look, this is yet another example of government ineptitude. I served, as you know, as the chair of the advisory board at the Central Intelligence Agency, have advised a couple of secretaries of defense. We have known affirmatively for at least 12 years that the Chinese government has had a strategy to hack into our federal government systems and databases. This is not a surprise. And the fact that on top of knowing, so therefore we should be prepared, we have the best technology in the world, we have the best people in the world. We could have and should have bene able to detect and repel this attack. But beyond that, we now know that the inspector general of OPM, Office of Personnel Management, told the director several months ago you have two systems that are highly vulnerable, you need to take them down. They refused to accept that recommendation. So yet again, this is a self-inflicted wound. We need not bureaucracy to deal with this. We need a concerted, consolidated command within the federal government that is focused solely on this, has responsibility and authority across the federal government, reports to the White House or to the Department of Defense or Department of National Intelligence, somewhere where it’s taken seriously. We need collaboration between the private and the public sector to detect these attack and repel them effectively. That will require a bill to be passed in Congress. It should be. But we should have been able to detect and repel this attack. It is shocking. It is disgraceful. And now, the Chinese have a set of information that is immensely valuable to them.
HH: Carly Fiorina, I served as the general counsel and the deputy director once, confirmed by the Senate, of the OPM under President Reagan. And he had Connie Horner lead it, and it was taken seriously. I have watched Katherine Archuleta. She has not impressed me. I do not believe she is adequate to this job. And I wonder would you fire her if you were the president?
CF: Well, of course. First, as I’ve said on your show many times, we have to get to a place where we can fire people. You know, in the VA, the Congress passed a bill after that scandal that we could fire the top 400 senior executive at the VA if they didn’t do their job. Of course, no one’s been fired, yet, really. But it’s the right precedent. And we need to change the system so that indeed we can fire people who do not do their jobs. Anywhere outside of the federal government, if you had presided over this kind of massive data breach, if you had refused to heed warnings from your own inspector general about what was necessary to prevent this data breach, you would be fired. Remember Target when they were breached? The CEO lost their job. There is such a lack of accountability in the federal government, it’s shocking. And it begins, as you suggest, with leadership – leadership in the White House, leadership in these agencies, and accountability for a lack of performance.
HH: Now I also have to bring this up. We’ve talked before that former Secretary of State Clinton appears not to understand the significance of the national security breach that occurred with her server. I don’t think the President gets this. I don’t think any of them get it, because it’s a highly-complex, technical issue, and I don’t think they get what matters when you get that much information, 18 million Social Security numbers, and all the Social Security files besides that, the security files on these people, Carly. You were at the CIA. What can a hostile country do with that kind of information?
CF: Oh, I mean, untold damage, untold damage. First of all, they now know who has security clearances. That’s a problem. There is information in there, presumably, that would allow them or someone else to hack into personal bank accounts, credit cards, a whole series of things. This is really terribly damaging. And of course, it is amazing that just recently, President Obama, I think less than a year ago, he gave a big speech, he talked about how important it is that we tackle these cybersecurity threats. I am quite sure, I am quite confident that President Obama has been given a series of recommendations over the years about how to ensure that this kind of thing doesn’t happen, and my guess is many of those recommendations have gone unheeded, just as the warning to the director of the Office of Personnel Management several months ago from the inspector general went unheeded.
HH: Now another warning was received yesterday in the form of a video, the latest atrocity video from the Islamic State, the drowning video. It’s a new level of depravity. And again, I hear nothing but crickets from the White House. I heard this from the White House today. The President was doing an LGTB event. Fine. A heckler pops up. Let’s play a little bit of the tape.
BO: …gathered to celebrate pride month, and I’ve told you that I’m so hopeful about what we can accomplish. I’ve told you that the civil rights of LGTB Americans is…
Heckler: President Obama…
BO: Yeah, hold on a second.
BO: Okay, you know what?
BO: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. Hey…
BO: Yeah, listen, you’re in my house.
HH: So Carly Fiorina, this goes on for two and a half minutes. You know, I’m amazed that the Secret Service was not close to whomever. I’m told it’s a trans-gendered illegal alien. I really am told that. I don’t know if it’s true, that was heckling the President and interrupting him. But it went on for two and a half minutes, sort of an emblematic moment. As ISIS releases its video, the President can’t bring order to the White House with a trans-gendered illegal alien.
CF: I know. Well, and by the way, here’s another question, another example of government ineptitude. How does an illegal get into the White House? And I mean, it’s stunning, really, when you think about it. And to your point, why wasn’t the Secret Service a little bit more agitated about this kind of behavior in the White House? And meanwhile, ISIS truly, they want to bring the world back to the Middle Ages. You know, I’ll tell you a crazy thing. You know that I studied Medieval History and Philosophy in college…
CF: And I wrote my thesis, my college thesis, on Trial By Ordeal: Medieval Judicial Systems. And in medieval judicial systems, people were routinely drowned. So let us not doubt for a moment that ISIS wants to bring the world back to the Middle Ages.
HH: Do you believe there is, because Devin Nunes was on Face the Nation sitting across from David Ignatius and I, said we are at the greatest level of risk that we have ever been. Have you heard the same thing, because again, you served as the chairman of that advisory panel at the CIA. You have lots of contacts in that world. What’s your level of concern about domestic security? We had terrorism of domestic violence, a racist kind, last week. But what about the jihad king?
CF: Oh, I think the level of risk is really quite serious now, and I think we keep hearing this over and over again. We hear it from the director of the FBI, who tells us on more than one occasion that he’s convinced that there are not tens of lone wolves out there, but hundreds if not thousands. I believe that was his phraseology. We now know as of today that the Supreme Leader of Iran, and it’s not an unrelated item, is continuing to push back against these negotiations, continuing to wreak havoc in the region. Now we hear they’re funding the Taliban, perhaps. In other words, there are forces in the world that want to destabilize the world, that want to send the world backwards into a far more depraved and brutal time. And leadership is missing from this President and from this White House. And so we see in real time the world, and our nation, is a more dangerous and in a more tragic place when the United States of America is not leading.
HH: Carly Fiorina, you’re talking on Saturday morning. Matt Lewis has a new column out and says you’re winning the viral video campaign. We have less than a minute left. What’s your message going to be on Saturday morning?
CF: My message is going to be that every wound we have is self-inflicted. Every problem we have can be solved. These are very serious times. And we have real wounds and real problems. But we actually do have everything we need. We have the potential of the American people. What is required now is leadership, which is what I will bring, and citizenship, which I hope all Americans will join in providing. With leadership and citizenship, we can turn this nation in the direction it needs to go.
HH: www.carlyforamerica.com. I’ll see you on Saturday morning, Carly Fiorina. Stay tuned.
End of interview.