Latest on VA Veteran Data Loss

Well, VA Secretary Nicholson is “mad as

hell” according to some reports and has made his big political move to deal

with the problem – he appointed a new advisor on information security!

Who is this paragon of
computer security?

Does he have a degree in
computer science?

Did he invent a new kind of

firewall or a new encryption scheme?

Did he used to work for

Symantec or another security firm?

Does he have a certificate

from SANS?

Well, to tell the truth, I

didn’t really check any of those things after I learned that Richard Romley is

an attorney with big political ambitions.

The only qualifications I have

seen mentioned for him focus on the fact that he is the former Maricopa County


I did locate a published report calling

for a grand jury audit and investigation of the Maricopy County Justice System

during Richard Romley’s tenure, one focusing on “on-going financial and ethical”

problems. Now I have no idea how accurate that is, but the charges are

something I thought you might be interested in.

Then there is the book “The

Rogue Federal Judge,” which claims:

“If one happened to

be a Hispanic or an African American, Richard M. Romley as the Maricopa County

Attorney made sure the person was taken off the streets and targeted for law

enforcement activities, claims author Anant Kumar Tripati. When Tripati

obtained in excess of 150,000 pieces of evidence to challenge the numerous

corrupt practices, Romley allegedly had Tripati arrested so as to make sure the

challenges against Maricopa County did not advance or


I don’t personally know about that either – I’m a technology reporter, not a court reporter – but when Tripati sued in Federal Court (Los

Angeles), Mr. Romley requested that the case be moved to Phoenix, Arizona and

this was done with some interesting consequences.

 “The Rogue Federal Judge” (ISBN: 141845141X ebook, or ISBN:

1418451401 paperback, published by AuthorHouse. See

for more information.

Now, as I say, I really don’t know anything about Mr. Romley that I didn’t

read and he may be a wonderful person. He might even be a real expert in IT security.

My real problem with appointing him to fix

security problems at the VA is that I haven’t been able to find a single scrap

of evidence that he is qualified in any way to analyze or fix data security


But I’m certain that all the veterans affected by the horrendous loss of personal information will get a warm fuzzy feeling of confidence in the VA when they learn that a big time political lawyer from Arizona has been appointed to make certain that nothing similar happens again.