President Obama's team has spent more than a half trillion dollars on information technology but some departments, notably the IRS, still run on DOS and old Windows, which isn't serviced anymore, according to House chairman.
"Since President Obama has taken office, the federal government has spent in excess of $525 billion dollars on IT. And it doesn't work," said Rep. Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
In an address to the centrist Ripon Society, Chaffetz suggested that the slow change of the federal government's IT led to the recent and historic hack of personal data of millions of current and former federal workers, including CIA and other clandestine employees.
Discussing the hack into some 32 million personnel files, he also said that the suspects are not likely snoops looking for credit card or Social Security information but instead a fishing expedition for national security details and people.
"My sense of it is that this was not some hacker who was trying to figure out how to do a credit card scam so they could go down to Best Buy and steal a few computers. This is a national intelligence problem that we will be dealing with for decades to come," said the Utah lawmaker.
He said his committee is planning a deep probe into IT spending and why so many systems are still not updated.
"It's not the biggest, sexiest headline, but I don't know how you can spend a half trillion dollars and literally have" departments on out-of-date operating systems, he told Ripon according to a transcript and video provided to Secrets.
"The IRS still uses the DOS operating system. You have a Patent office that just got Windows 97. They don't even service Windows 97 anymore. And yet they just got it. So the procurement process is really, really broken in this regard," he added.
Chaffetz also offered to praise for Obama's pick to head the Office of Personnel Management, home to the massive computer hack.
"I do appreciate the president's initial appointment of Beth Cobert as the acting director. She has 15 or so years at McKinsey & Co. and Nokia. She's a much more serious player. Unfortunately, the president had put in someone in Katherine Archuleta, who was his political director on Obama for President. She had absolutely no business running what is really the largest human resources operation on the face of the planet. She had no technical background whatsoever, no experience dealing with these major computer issues," he said.
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at email@example.com.