back to article Former US Homeland Security Inspector General accused of stealing govt code and trying to resell it to... the US govt

A former acting Inspector General at the US Department of Homeland Security was today indicted for allegedly stealing internal software and data and attempting to sell it all back to his then-employer. A 16-count grand jury indictment charges that Charles Edwards, 59, and an accomplice, oversaw a scheme to copy Homeland …

  1. elvisimprsntr

    I'll give you one guess which administration appointed this a $ $ h a t.

    1. Imhotep

      The years cited were during Obama's terms. But: do we really believe any single president is involved to a large degree in these types of appointments?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Double standards much?

        While I take your point - the un-elected have far too much power and they last way too long...

        We also know how it would go had he been appointed by someone in the other party, especially the current president. If you let one off - how about some fairness (which used to be the left's mantra)?

        Imagine if Fast and Furious happened under Trump's watch....or weaponization of the IRS, or FISA or...

        We impeach the guy over a phone call that turns out to have been doing his job.

        1. Imhotep

          We may see this in action this election.

          What everyone knows or should know at this point is: Coronavirus is or is going to be a pandemic. There is no effective way at this point to quarantine or control its spread. By the time the world outside of China knew about it, it was already too late to take those measures. I am unaware of any effective treatment for the disease.

          I don't hear anyone in the media or any politician addressing this honestly.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "I don't hear anyone in the media or any politician addressing this honestly."

            Coronavirus, at present, amounts to the equivalent of a long incubation Influenza. While we have statistics coming out of various countries, it is difficult to provide accurate information at this point in time - the situation is changing too rapidly. In my opinion, the statistics in China likely represent the 20% of total cases that are severe enough to report - staying home and recovering brings less social stigma or disruption to your life than reporting it unless it is a serious case.

            At the moment, controls globally are limiting the spread and preventing it overwhelming hospitals - whether this will last or be possible in every country is yet to be seen.

            What does this mean? Those managing the outbreak have probably prevented a killer pandemic BUT we are still managing something that has the potential to bring economies to a near standstill and our "just in time" logistics systems do not cope well with that. The effect on economic impact in 2020 is likely to be high single digit GDP reductuins if Europe and North America fail to contain it.

            However, it does allow more accurate modelling of just how much our economies need to change to address global warming... Now that is something politicians and media aren't willing to discuss sensibly - they avoid having serious conversations around air travel for holidays, suggest hybrid vehicles will meet transport targets and pretend a little insulation and better build standards will reduce heating requirements in under 30 years.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Know anybody above the age of 60? Or do you consider those wasters the enemy and so expendable? Think globally, act lethally.

              1. Imhotep

                I'm coming up on 69. I don't think anyone is suggesting we are expendable, but the situation is what it is: the older and unhealthier are generally the ones that succumb.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Yes, I do know people over the age of 60 - I'm uncomfortably close to that number as it is.

                The global population is 7.7 billion and >50 million people die globally each year. Based on current estimates, COVID-19 is likely to result in a 0.01% increase in the death rate. Factor in improved air quality from lower pollution, and it might even cause a drop in global deaths.

                "Think globally, act lethally."

                Life is a terminal condition....

                1. veti Silver badge

                  So your projection is that only 5000 people will die of COVID-19?

                  Bearing in mind that the total is already over 3800, people are currently dying at the rate of (around, give or take, on average) 100 per day, and the virus is still spreading - what is that projection based on, exactly?

                  1. jmch Silver badge

                    "the total is already over 3800"

                    How many of those people were already ill enough that they would have died anyway in the coming year?

                    Yes, estimate from OP is quite too low, but it's also early days to project any numbers sensibly. If prevention continues to be half-assed until things are really serious, it's going to to be much worse.

                    In that respect a bit like climate change... Some are playing it down because countermeasures would disrupt their business, and business has to go on, to hell with the cost. The difference is that when people are dying directly on monthly timescale rather than indirectly on decade/century timescale it brings it into sharp focus

            2. Imhotep

              "have probably prevented a killer pandemic"

              I think it's probably too late to say it has been prevented. The question now is more along the lines of: How bad will it be and how well can we manage it, with the limited number of doctors and hospital beds available? The current numbers of staff and and beds are what is needed to support the current situation. It takes years to train doctors and nurses. As we've seen in China, if the numbers go too high, too quickly, the systems are overwhelmed.

              What is interesting also is how different the impact is different places. I suspect - and hope - that the fatality rate will remain low in the US and most other western nations. But really, at this point we just don't know.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                "I think it's probably too late to say it has been prevented. "

                Pandemic - a disease prevalent over a whole country or globally.

                The statistics would suggest it is being largely contained and that it is not prevalent in any country at this point in time. Even China. While I agree that it is interesting to see different countries responses and some western countries appear to have been under prepared, I've been amazed at how well we have coped globally given the amount of people travelling with minimal disruption so far outside of the immediately affected areas.

                Over time COVID-19 is likely to become more widespread - containing it to a few areas for the next 2-3 months reduces the impact on health services in the short term and allows a vaccine to be produced which is likely to reduce the longer term impact as globally more people recover and develop resistance naturally. While I'm not suggesting that a vaccine will be a 100% solution - it removes the impact of the virus by reducing those that can fall ill or spread the disease. Managing coronavirus when it has similar characteristics to influenza will still but severe strain on health systems during flu season and result in more deaths but otherwise result in life as we know it returning to normal.

                1. Cederic Silver badge

                  Largely contained? It's still growing in China and it's on an exponential growth curve in the rest of the world.

                  Exponential growth is not remotely contained, let alone 'largely'.

                  1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

                    Exponential from zero to small number doesn't really tell you anything.

                    1. teknopaul Silver badge

                      Accuracy is based on number of data points not on how large or small y is.

                      China was very open about its stats. People saying there has never been better data as fast as his before.

                      We are past the "we just dont know" argument. We are now at, "look at the numbers" or "keep your head in the sand".

        2. MichaelValidationPleaseStop

          Govt Employees are honorable and patriotic.

          Post-Vietnam and Watergate, it takes alot of patriotism to work for the government. "Unelected" employees get pushed around like servants by a two-party monopoly that is bent on destroying it's other half regardless the cost to all of us. Two-party politics turns everything and everyone to shit.

          Yeah, these guys suck, but who in our whole society actually has a responsibility to care about you besides the government? Who else swears an actual oath to serve you?

          1. rcxb Bronze badge

            Re: Govt Employees are honorable and patriotic.

            a two-party monopoly that is bent on destroying it's other half regardless the cost to all of us.

            Don't worry... The US will be a one-party system soon enough.

    2. Archtech Silver badge

      Nothing to see here... move along...

      Everything, without exception, is for sale in Washington - and always has been (since it was built, ironically in a swamp).

      This guy just broke the Eleventh Commandment.

    3. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      All administrations have appointed corrupt individuals unintentionally to various high ranking positions. Also with the growth of the administrative state aka Trump's swamp this is more a problem because of the numbers involved making it harder to properly vet everyone.

      Corrupt scum no matter who appointed them damage the credibility (or whatever is left) of the government.

  2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Par for the Course? Some would say, ... "Of course, it is a natural human weakness"

    In short, Edwards and Venkata wanted to steal one US government agency's software, tweak it slightly, then sell it back to another US agency, it is claimed.

    In essence, is that not a version of what all state intelligence service chiefs and agents do whenever they leave public office to work and set up their own operations in the private sector, although it isn't/wouldn't be called stealing then?

    Or do you expect them to unlearn all of the juicy secrets they have been privy too and allow others to exclusively benefit handsomely from that which is made known to them or made known by them?

    1. Imhotep

      Re: Par for the Course? Some would say, ... "Of course, it is a natural human weakness"

      I suppose anyone can justify anything, but the key point is that this has nothing to do with what the culprit "knew".

      He was stealing software and classified data, with the help of an inside accomplice, after he left his position.

    2. Cliff Thorburn

      Re: Par for the Course? Some would say, ... "Of course, it is a natural human weakness"

      Have to ponder what actions should the recipient and unwilling test subject on the receiving end of such state secret great games playing exploits choose for future paths, having trodden a decade of east and western tug of wars, and left wondering if the future can ever be bright again? ...

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: Par for the Course? Some would say, ... "Of course, it is a natural human weakness"

        Well, ..... here is one future path long ago chosen which is much brighter than any of late but which many will never even imagine possible, CT.

        amanfromMars 1 Sun 8 Mar 09:52 [2003080952] ........ having another moment of reflection and refraction on https://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2020/03/07/devops_machine_learning_mlops/

        C42 Quantum Communication Control Systems .... AI@ITsWork

        Machine learning models make predictions for new data based on the data they have been trained on.

        Oh? That is bound to be retarded.

        Surely the likes of SMARTR* Machine Learning Models make predictions with new data based on the metadata/intelligence and information they are discovering and training on/uncovering and deploying ....... should making predictions be one of their things rather than just a human trait and confection?

        * .... Systems Monitoring Analysis Reports Tracking Resources.

        As the field evolves we’ll likely see greater standardisation,...

        And, of course, ever greater Alien Specialisations too ..... to ensure guaranteed overwhelming advantage in established fields venturing forth deeper and darker into a whole host of novel environments ..... is always a current solution to abiding problems which can also be a current problem to abiding solutions too and therefore something else altogether quite different to deal with and macro micromanage.

        Such is quite normal though and just the nature of the beast unleashed. And there be some surely, who may or may not be more than just a few, who can and do recognise and enjoy and employ it, IT and AI in Operations which Attack Human Achilles Heels.

        Things aint like they are used to being nowadays in the future.

  3. Claverhouse Silver badge
    Pirate

    Quite Right

    52 years jail is the least punishment for such a heinous crime, which menaced...[ INSERT HERE ].

    He could have got life.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: Quite Right

      Well, at his age, that's basically what he's going to get.

      1. Someone Else Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: Quite Right

        Puh-LEEZE! This wanker is a gub'mint offishul! (Well, at least a former offishul). And, this is white collar crime, committed by a white guy. If he gets a year at Club Fed, it will be noteworthy. But don't hold yer breath.

        1. Brandon 2

          Re: Quite Right

          What does the color of his or his accomplice's skin have to do with anything?

  4. Danny 2 Silver badge

    When force is gone, there's always Mom. Hi Mom!

    O Superman.

    O judge.

    O Mom and Dad.

    Mom and Dad.

    Hi. I'm not home right now.

    But if you want to leave a message, just start talking at the sound of the tone.

    Hello? This is your mother. Are you there? Are you coming home? Hello? Is anybody home?

    Well, you don't know me, but I know you and I've got a message to give to you.

    Here come the planes.

    So you better get ready. Ready to go.

    You can come as you are, but pay as you go.

    Pay as you go.

    And I said: OK. Who is this really?

    And the voice said:

    This is the hand, the hand that takes.

    Here come the planes.

    They're American planes. Made in America. Smoking or non-smoking?

    And the voice said:

    Neither snow nor rain nor gloom of night shall stay these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.

    'Cause when love is gone, there's always justice, and when justice is gone, there's always force.

    And when force is gone, there's always Mom.

    Hi Mom!

    So hold me, Mom, in your long arms.

    So hold me, Mom, in your long arms.

    In your automatic arms. Your electronic arms.

    In your arms.

    So hold me, Mom, in your long arms.

    Your petrochemical arms. Your military arms.

    In your electronic arms.

    1. John Geek

      Re: When force is gone, there's always Mom. Hi Mom!

      +1 for Laurie Andersen.

    2. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: When force is gone, there's always Mom. Hi Mom!

      whoa

      That brings back memories.

  5. ecofeco Silver badge

    American capitalism and security

    Summed up quite neatly...

    ...it's all bullshit.

  6. A.P. Veening Silver badge

    Prison terms

    If convicted, Edwards and Venkata face a maximum of five years for the conspiracy to commit theft charge, 10 years for theft of government property, 20 years for wire fraud, and a minimum of two years for the aggravated identity theft count. Venkata also faces another 20 years for destruction of records.

    Are those terms consecutively or concurrently?

    1. MJB7 Silver badge

      Re: Prison terms

      Each individual offence has its own maximum term. Those terms *may* be imposed consecutively or concurrently. Journalists always tend to add the terms together as if they were served consecutively because that gives a bigger number.

      In England and Wales, it is rare for maximum sentences to be imposed, and even rarer for them to be anything other than concurrent. My impression is that US jurisdictions tend to be rather keener on both maximum sentences and consecutive sentences.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sounds like this guy can get it done. His punishment should be to finish upgrading all the software until EVERY USER IS SATISFIED.

  8. Marty McFly
    FAIL

    2011

    Anyone else here concerned that he crimes took place in the early 2010's and they are just now finding out about it in 2020? Talk about government at its finest....

  9. Blackjack

    Left hand, right hand and middle finger...

    I am amazed they took so long to figure things out.

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