Fed IT Run By Enron's Corrupt Accountant, IT Incompetent Accenture
By Duane Thresher, Ph.D. October 24, 2018
I am investigating the General Services Administration (GSA) for my IT Incompetents Hall of Shame (ITIHOS). The GSA notoriously does procurement, including IT services, for the U.S. Government. As usual this investigation yielded IT incompetents responsible for GSA's IT. But I also discovered another connection to IT incompetence -- and corruption -- as so often happens while investigating for the ITIHOS. The GSA's longtime but retiring Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), Kurt Garbars, who knows far more about drinking wine than cybersecurity, is essentially having his job outsourced to IT incompetent Accenture (CISO Nicole Dean), which has taken over much of federal IT, including the GSA's. Accenture used to be part of Arthur Andersen, Enron's top-five accounting firm that was dissolved after its criminal complicity in Enron's massive fraud. Suzette Kent, the Federal Chief Information Officer (CIO), who I wrote about in You're Fired! Trump's Worst Hire Ever: IT Incompetent Fed CIO Suzie Kent, worked for Accenture, in Financial Services, for almost 15 years before becoming Fed CIO, including during the Enron scandal. She will be making decisions about federal IT infrastructure. With GSA IT run by Accenture and with the Fed CIO a longtime Accenture employee -- and probably a future Accenture executive -- there is no question what corporation will be running federal IT, no matter how IT incompetent it is.
The GSA does procurement, including IT services, for the U.S. Government. The GSA costs taxpayers $21 billion to oversee $66 billion in procurement. If a business had overhead that high it would be out of business and if a charity had overhead that high it would be indicted. This overhead is understandable given GSA's history of lavish spending on itself (parties, etc.) and the handing out of contracts to cronies.
Kurt Garbars is the GSA's longtime, but recently retired, CISO. He has no real IT education, only a BS in chemical engineering, an MBA (Master of Business Administration), a 1-year(!) Bachelor of Electrical Engineering (1-year so can't be real) from the University of Dayton, and a Master's in viticulture and oenology. He retired to Adelaide Australia to teach about drinking wine. The Government ITIHOS photo of him drinking wine is from his own LinkedIn page, where many government and business personnel advertise themselves (usually by exaggerating their qualifications, like educational background; it's always less than they imply). If Garbars is comfortable with a photo of himself drinking on his LinkedIn page, there must really be a party atmosphere at the GSA.
Like the rest of its IT, the GSA essentially outsourced its CISO to Accenture, specifically Accenture Federal Services's CISO Nicole Dean. Dean has a fake IT education. She has only a 1-year(!) MSM (Master of Science in Management) in information systems security from Colorado Technical University. Colorado Tech is not affiliated with the State of Colorado, it is a for-profit online university under scrutiny by the U.S. Department of Education, much like the shuttered student-loan-scam ITT Technical Institute, where the CIA's CIO John Edwards got his only IT (and college) education.
Accenture Federal Services is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Accenture. Accenture used to be part of Arthur Andersen. Arthur Andersen was a top-five accounting firm that worked for Enron. Enron was the electricity supply corporation (when electricity was deregulated, it was sold as a commodity) that turned out to be a massive fraud and did things like causing blackouts for millions of Californians in order to drive up the price of electricity. Despite obvious indications, Enron was finally exposed by a single business journalist, tipped off by a single expert, who questioned the nonsense Enron was saying about itself. The rest of the media, like those in the Media ITIHOS, were busy declaring Enron to be an amazingly great company, i.e., just publishing Enron's press releases.
Arthur Andersen was dissolved after it was found criminally complicit in Enron's massive fraud, just after it spun off Accenture. Spinning off a company does not usually change the corporate culture, which is the hardest thing to change about a corporation (like GSA's culture of lavish spending on itself and its cronies). Accenture thus has a corporate culture of incompetence and corruption, which as described often go together. For example, Nicole Dean pretending she is qualified for her job is fraud. With Accenture running federal IT, incompetence and corruption is what the taxpayers will have for federal IT.
Like .edu domain names, .gov domain names are restricted as to who can get them. This is to prevent fraud since a .gov web (or email) address is a form of authentication (for example, my contact address is Dr.Duane.Thresher@alum.MIT.edu). The GSA controls who gets .gov domains, so Accenture now does. As yet there is no accenture.gov, but Enron, with Arthur Andersen's help, was discovered to have used many seemingly-authentic front companies to hide their fraud; websites are often used to lend credibility to fake companies.
As mentioned, I wrote about Suzette Kent, the Federal CIO, in You're Fired! Trump's Worst Hire Ever: IT Incompetent Fed CIO Suzie Kent. I pointed out that she has no IT education, only a BA in journalism or advertising and marketing, depending on whether you believe Louisiana State University or her LinkedIn page, respectively (did she lie on her resume?). However, I concentrate on IT education, not experience, since experience without foundational education is meaningless; having worked unqualified for years is not itself a qualification, just a condemnation of the employer. I thus didn't notice until investigating GSA IT that Kent worked for Accenture, in Financial Services, for almost 15 years, including during the Enron scandal (to hide her corrupt past, on her LinkedIn page she lists working for "Accenture" even though it was Arthur Andersen at the time; more lying on her resume, like the fraud she commits in pretending she is qualified to be Fed CIO).
Working for the government and then getting hired by a corporation providing services to the government, or vice versa, and then maybe back and forth again -- always to increasingly lucrative positions -- is standard procedure in corrupt government. It's called the "revolving door". Suzie Kent will be the Fed CIO for a few years and make sure her former longtime employer Accenture, even as IT incompetent as it is, gets most or all of the contracts to supply the U.S. Government with IT services. Then later she will leave the government and go back to a very lucrative executive position at Accenture. There will be no provable quid pro quo but it will be obvious to anyone who is not an idiot that there was one. Taxpayers, and their children and grandchildren, will be left with the bill for billions of dollars and an IT incompetent government that can't and won't help and protect them. This will inevitably lead to the collapse of the government. If you think it can't happen to the U.S. Government then you are delusionally ignorant of history.