Department of Interior official faked transcripts, lied about education

Well, this whole government data breach seems to be getting worse by the minute.

The Department of the Interior’s computer systems played a major role in the breach of systems belonging to the Office of Personnel Management, and DOI officials were called before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Wednesday to answer questions about the over 3,000 vulnerabilities in agency systems discovered in a penetration test run by Interior’s Inspector General office. But there was one unexpected revelation during the hearing: a key Interior technology official who had access to sensitive systems for over five years had lied about his education, submitting falsified college transcripts produced by an online service.

The official, Faisal Ahmed, was assistant director of the Interior’s Office of Law Enforcement and Security from 2007 to 2013, heading its Technology division. He claimed to have a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, and a master’s degree in technology management from the University of Central Florida—but he never attended either of those schools. He resigned from his position at Interior when the fraudulent claim was exposed by a representative of the University of Central Florida’s alumni association, who discovered he had never attended the school after Ahmed accepted and then suddenly deleted a connection with her on LinkedIn.

Faisal did not leave government service, however—he took another government job at the Census Bureau, and is apparently still there, according to a report by the National Journal. While his name had been redacted from the official report, [mc_name name=’Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’L000571′ ] of Wyoming mentioned him by name multiple times during the committee hearing.


Let’s recap now:

  • The Office of Personnel Management outsourced key security operations to overseas contractors in China, the alleged country of origin of the “breach” (which doesn’t look so much like a breach as it does a welcome sign.
  • Employees weren’t really trained in information security.
  • A key official lied about his education, going so far as to fake transcripts, and had access to sensitive information for more than five years.
  • That official still works for the government.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is (best case scenario) a massive problem that nothing short of a full nuking from HR can only hope to fix. The scary thing about bureaucratic jobs is that it’s nearly impossible to get fired from one. At best, you get sent to another department and remain at your desk in order to receive a damn good pension. This particular fellow lied about seemingly everything in his life and got a job working in the Department of the Interior.

Everything is Awful. Forever.


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