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Government Your Rights Online

$2,000 Bribe Bought Password To DC P.O. System 187

Posted by timothy
from the but-what-harm-could-that-do? dept.
theodp writes "While the Administration is counting on new Federal CIO Vivek Kundra to simplify and speed the federal IT procurement process, it's doubtful he'll be able to reduce red tape to the extent that a former minion of his did at the scandal-rocked D.C. Office of the CTO. Exhibiting some truly out-of-the-box thinking, project manager Tawanna Sellmon not only processed phony invoices for the contractor at the center of the D.C. bribery and kickback scandal, she also gave him the password to the city's computerized database used to track purchase orders. Sellmon pleaded guilty last week for her role in the scam, which netted her an envelope containing $2,000 in cash, as well as an undisclosed number of $25-$100 gift cards."
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$2,000 Bribe Bought Password To DC P.O. System

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  • I bet... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MyLongNickName (822545) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @08:44AM (#29503195) Journal

    I bet she kept the secret for 47 hours.

  • Makes one think. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ACMENEWSLLC (940904) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @08:51AM (#29503273) Homepage

    Do you have remote access capabilities onto your Network? VPN, Citrix, not blocking GotomyPC? Has anyone at your company done the same thing, offering the competition direct access to your systems?

  • by amplt1337 (707922) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @09:05AM (#29503419) Journal

    ...is just how laughably cheap people can be bought for. Two grand and some gift cards? SERIOUSLY? You'd go to jail for that? When you're a project manager at a government job with great benefits, probably making more than that every WEEK?

    It's like the Abramoff scandal. People will sell out their country for Capitals tickets. It's not even the Bulls or something!!

  • Nice SEO slander (Score:5, Insightful)

    by foniksonik (573572) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @09:21AM (#29503637) Homepage Journal

    If TFA isn't a Troll I'll eat my shorts.

    What's the best way to SEO slander someone.... without getting hit by a lawsuit? Just put them in the same article with a dubious individual - make a virtual connection even if no real connection exist... then people will start discussing them together and voila - they must be close friends!

    Shameless and disgusting.

    What's worse is that the reference to Kundra was obviously added after the story was initially posted on the linked site... that text with Kundra's name isn't even in a p tag, it appears styled differently in the rendered version as well, almost like an editor went in and added it after the author had published - "Hmm we need more hits on this story, let's put Kundra's name in it... that will get hits".

  • by Kozz (7764) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @09:24AM (#29503667)

    ...is just how laughably cheap people can be bought for. Two grand and some gift cards? SERIOUSLY? You'd go to jail for that?

    On the contrary... they would not go to jail for that. It's their own ignorance and stupidity which cause them to be so easily bought -- and to believe that they won't go to jail because they won't get caught. Criminals are not exactly known for their brains.

  • Let's treat this (Score:3, Insightful)

    by grolaw (670747) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @09:26AM (#29503679) Journal

    as if it were what it is: treason. This, cheaply bought bureaucrat, has sold her nation down the tubes for a pittance. Sushil Bansal, the owner of Advanced Integrated Technologies, made millions. Execute all three. Especially Advanced Integrated Technologies; it's high time for corporate death penalties that leave shareholders with worthless paper. Then we may see some responsibility at the top - not just profits.

    I'm for stoning them at the base of the Washington Monument.

  • by jonpublic (676412) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @09:36AM (#29503825)

    It's a fact in public life that if the people around you are dirty, some of that dirt will rub off on you, whether or not you are involved.

    Once the public's trust is broken, it's very hard to earn it back.

  • by amplt1337 (707922) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @09:37AM (#29503847) Journal

    Enough to get herself a responsible management position at an important technology office. I understand your meaning, but to be qualified for this job she absolutely had a college education, possibly master's degree, and at least five years of tech-related work experience, so she's at least come to money even if she hasn't come from it.

  • by Lord Ender (156273) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @09:38AM (#29503867) Homepage

    The executives should go to jail, and the company should pay compensation (hurting shareholders out of necessity), but the shareholders themselves (retirement funds and the like) had nothing to do with the decision.

  • by j00r0m4nc3r (959816) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @09:42AM (#29503911)
    But then you have to pay taxes on your $1,000,000,000. Raffle winnings are treated the same as lottery winnings, which are all treated as gambling winnings and probably taxable in the 30-40% range. In this case the irony would be that 1/3 to 1/2 of the bribery money would go back to the govt, and eventually be used to hire even more corrupt and inept people...
  • by IgnoramusMaximus (692000) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @09:55AM (#29504101)

    Still beats the hell out of a $25 gift-card, if you ask me ... but then again neither the bribers or the bribees in these two-bit, amateur-hour shows were known for competence or ambition.

    For some perspective, consider the Iraq invasion: $3 trillion (and that is just the latest estimate) in cash down the drain, all to private concerns, multiple billions of which are not only unaccounted for, but were actually delivered in form of mountains of $100, $50 and $20 bills on shipping pallets....

    And then there is the "too big to fail" multi-hundred billion cash bailout for the destitute and starving Wall Street, the specifics of which are so sensitive as to constitute a "national security" concern ...

    In short, what is on display here is the difference between professionals and hobbyists.

  • by rotide (1015173) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @10:10AM (#29504335)

    Like it or not, money is pretty much _everything_ in this world. You need it to simply live. You need even more of it to live somewhat comfortably. You need even more of it to get decent health care. You need a bunch more to hold a job in most places as you'll need transportation. After you make some you'll want to make more so you can retire some day. All the while, most people enjoy consuming "stuff". Clothes, games, pictures, movies, etc, etc. All that takes even more money.

    My Point? Basically, put a person in the position of making what appears to be quick easy money and they will probably be tempted if not fully accepting.

    It's not even greed as much as it is a simple need to hoard cash. One day, you _will_ need that cash and turning down an easy sum of it is, to most people, stupid.

    Although, in the case of doing something that will easily get you a jail sentence for what amounts to a week or two of pay, is stupid.

    But we all need money and if someone offers you some and you weigh out the potential risks.. Hell, if it looks good, who needs rationalization. It's money and you accept the risk of taking it.

  • Social Engineering (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DrWho520 (655973) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @10:14AM (#29504399) Journal
    No manner of technology can defeat good, social engineering. An intelligent attack is made upon the weakest link in the system. In this case, an unscrupulous user with privileges.
  • by BenEnglishAtHome (449670) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @10:26AM (#29504585)

    This is what happens when a fed gets caught doing something that seriously compromises security. They get fired, prosecuted, and punished. We can argue about the degree of punishment later.

    What happens in private industry? I'm sure people get fired but do they get publicly prosecuted? Or is there a huge motivation to cover up the story so that stock prices/reputation/business in general doesn't take a hit?

    Say what you will about government corruption and incompetence but I firmly believe that U.S. federal employees who exhibit this level of stupidity and/or corruption are distinctly more likely to be punished appropriately than are the employees of non-government business entities.

    It's a mistake to think that the government is always wrong, always incompetent, and always crooked. It happens too often but such is not the default state of the government. I like seeing cases like this that show the government will catch and prosecute wrong-doers from among its own ranks.

  • by radish (98371) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @10:41AM (#29504829) Homepage

    There's a difference between investing in companies which publically take part in activities you personally don't agree with (such as weapons manufacture) and investing in outwardly innocent companies which are secretly breaking the law. Of course, once the illegal activity is revealed, what you do next as a shareholder is squarely on your head/conscience.

  • by Mikkeles (698461) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @11:26AM (#29505453)

    'Criminals are not exactly known for their brains.'

    Well, at least the ones of whom you've heard.

Economists state their GNP growth projections to the nearest tenth of a percentage point to prove they have a sense of humor. -- Edgar R. Fiedler

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