YouTube Whistleblower Vindicated By Homeland Security IG
The Navy Times reports that DHS Inspector General Richard Skinner has "delivered a scathing assessment of the Coast Guard's management over its Deepwater information technology systems." "Deepwater" was the code name of the $24 billion budget project to refurbish and upgrade U.S. Coast Guard patrol boats, awarded to Lockheed Martin. Michael De Kort, one of the company's lead engineers on the project, was fired from the military contractor after airing concerns about significant security flaws and deficiencies with the boats on YouTube. Lockheed Martin said there was no connection between the two events. The IG's primary report does not delve into De Kort's specific examples of faulty quality-control issues, but does endorse his claims that the decision-making and review process is inherently flawed. In his report, Skinner charges that the Coast Guard has "limited influence over the decision the contractor makes toward meeting information technology requirement." Since the contractors control much of the decision-making process, the Coast Guard is often "forced to accept plans and equipment because it cannot review contract documents before the contractor moves ahead with its plans." A spokesperson for the DHS says that a report on De Kort's concerns about the program's physical shortfalls will likely be released by the end of the month. In the YouTube video, De Kort claims that the upgraded patrol boats' security cameras still have blind spots, its communications network is insecure, and cold weather will cause some of its equipment to shut down.