Not that it should come as a surprise or anything? But in case you hadn’t already heard, it appears that some of the problems with the Obamacare website aren’t exactly due to that incompetence thing that Bob Woodward (the Acknowledged God of All Journalism Blessings Be Upon Him) likes to pin on the Obama administration. As a matter of fact, it seems that a certain faction of Republicans have been clocking in the overtime working to jam up the gears of the site in any way they can. Interestingly enough, this rather significant phenomenon doesn’t appear to be getting nearly as much media traction as it should. This is more than a sideline development; this is a major headline.
Or at least it should be.
Yesterday, the House Homeland Security Committee published a video on their Youtube page highlighting a portion of the committee questioning Roberta Stempfley, acting assistant secretary of the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Cyber-security and Communications, who confirmed at least 16 attacks on the Affordable Care Act‘s portal Healthcare.gov website in 2013.
Roberta Stempfley highlighted one successful attack that is designed to deny access to the website called a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack. A DDoS attack is designed to make a network unavailable to intended users, generally through a concerted effort to disrupt service such as repeatedly accessing the servers, saturating them with more traffic than the website is designed to handle.
Right wingers have been distributing the link to the necessary tools to perform the attacks on the Healthcare.gov website through social networking, as pointed out by Information Week, and other websites.
The name of the attack tool is called, “Destroy Obama Care!”
And from the Washington Post:
Although the statute provided plenty of money to help states build their own insurance exchanges, it included no money for the development of a federal exchange — and Republicans would block any funding attempts. According to one former administration official, [Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen] Sebelius simply could not scrounge together enough money to keep a group of people developing the exchanges working directly under her.
“So, the federal exchange that Republicans said wouldn’t work ended up not working because it was starved of the money needed to help make it work [and] because the GOP pressured Republican governors to not form their own state exchanges. This made the federal task more complex and difficult, thus ensuring its failure,” said the Post’s Jonathan Capehart. Capehart spared no punches when helping to pile on the blame, but at least he went to the trouble of pointing out the inherent difficulty of having a successful rollout when the Republican party is actively working feverishly to sabotage the President’s efforts to provide more Americans with affordable health care. Far too often and for far too long all that seems to get reported is that the website is flawed, without bothering to investigate why the Republicans are working so hard to kill Obamacare – and why they don’t mind playing dirty to do it. Heck, even Politico, not exactly known for it’s liberal leanings, acknowledges that the Republican seek-and-destroy mission is having its effect.
To the undisputed reasons for Obamacare’s rocky rollout — a balky website, muddied White House messaging and sudden sticker shock for individuals forced to buy more expensive health insurance — add a less acknowledged cause: calculated sabotage by Republicans at every step.
That may sound like a left-wing conspiracy theory — and the Obama administration itself is so busy defending the indefensible early failings of its signature program that it has barely tried to make this case. But there is a strong factual basis for such a charge.
Stay tuned, and stay ready. More right-wing hatred on the way.