There is a story making the rounds today that was originally reported by the New York Post. In the article, entitled “Tech meltdown cripples deportation cases,” an anonymous “insider” at the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement says a “computer meltdown” has led to an “overwhelming backlog of deportation cases” at U.S. immigration courts.
The problem began April 12, when five servers that help power a nationwide computer network failed and shut down the entire system, an insider at the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement revealed.
Without access to the electronic records, court proceedings have slowed to a crawl and officials are resorting to old-fashioned methods — including paper, pens and cassette recorders — to keep track of cases.
Read the entire report HERE.
When you consider how far technology has come and the current political climate surrounding immigration reform something about this report just doesn’t seem right. On radio this morning, Glenn read a note he received from a friend of his in Silicon Valley that excoriates the article’s claims.
“So I got this in from a guy who is at Silicon Valley” Glenn said. “The NSA knows who he is and, probably by now, the Obama Administration knows his name as well. But he wrote to me.”
Below is the letter Glenn read:
I don't know what the real story is here, but “the tech meltdown cripples deportation cases story,” that is not the story. Whomever wrote this story has no idea what they're everyone talking about or what questions to ask.
Let me take this article apart piece by piece for you. “Tech meltdown cripples deportation cases.” What exactly is a tech meltdown? I have been on computers nonstop since the TRS 80, and I have never seen a “tech meltdown.”
“A computer melt done is crippling the immigration courts.” Computers can't meltdown, Glenn. Nuclear reactors melt down. What exactly happened for the computers to fail? “Five servers that help power a nationwide computer network failed and shut down the entire system.” Okay, now we're talking. They were file servers, but what does “failed” mean? A file server permanently failing is incredibly uncommon. You might have some bad RAM, bad hard drives. That happens all the time, no problem. Maybe the power supply goes out. But file servers are modular and made to be fixed even without shutting them down. Servers SSS are redundant, and one failing wouldn't bring down the entire system. Multiple file servers failing is insanely improbable. In fact, more than two or three failing at the same time has got to be sabotage.
“Without access to the electronic records, court proceedings have slowed to a crawl.” Okay. Can someone please ask the Department of Homeland Security: Where is your off-site backup server? Everyone has a backup server. You get hit by a tornado, fire, hurricane, or your computer goes down. Don't you have a cloud storing all of that information? Where's your backup server?
“The parts needed to repair the busted servers — located in Falls Church, Virginia — aren’t expected to arrive for at least two weeks.” Okay, Glenn. First, “busted” isn't a computer term. That makes it sound like they are physically broken. How in the world could that happen? File servers – especially court records – are kept in wildly secure locations. Also, could someone tell me exactly what is broken that will take two weeks to get? Because I can get any computer part I need from Newegg and they have cheap shipping overnight.
“They predicted the glitch would help aliens.” A “glitch” is a transient fault that corrects itself and then everything keeps going. That's the definition of the word. This isn't a glitch.
“A statement posted on the Department of Justice Web site said, ‘A hardware failure has resulted in the agency’s inability to perform some functions related to its computer system.’” Oh, so now they're saying it’s hardware. What exactly happened? What progressive went in with a baseball bat and took out all of their functioning file servers? What are they doing to make sure this never happens again and again and again until some immigration reform passes, strangely, because it has to?
Since this is government data anyway, why doesn't the NSA have a copy of this huge database? Why can't they spark up a few virtual machines and put them back into business today?
There is far more to this story than is being disclosed, and somebody has to ask these questions.
As Glenn explained, we are living in a world that is increasingly high tech and people simply don’t have enough time or factual information to ask the right questions. As a result, it will become increasingly easier to con people.
“Things are getting so high tech,” Glenn said. This is the way most people are with their car. You go in and some mechanic will tell you, ‘It's the defibrillator 180. And it's a very hard part to get, very expensive.’ And you're like, ‘The defibrillator 180?’”
“So you can come out with a story and say ‘tech meltdown cripples deportation cases’… Unless there's someone like this guy who's like, ‘Wait a minute. You can fool a lot of people. You can't fool me. What are you talking about?’ We don't know what questions to even ask,” he continued. “We can be conned so quickly, and it's the way they got Obamacare through. You can be conned so quickly because you don't have all the facts.”
So is the government intentionally trying to slow down the deportation process as a stopgap measure before immigration reform is passed? There is no way to no for sure, but this might be a good time for journalists to stand up and start asking the right questions.
“Someone needs to ask these questions,” Glenn concluded.
“You know what this is about,” Pat added. “It's another way out on not enforcing the law, not deporting people, not taking illegal immigration seriously on insisting that there be comprehensive immigration reform.”