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3/12/2009
02:38 PM
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FBI Raid Of D.C. IT Offices Is A Federal Headache

Even though the Washington, D.C. mayor's office and federal authorities say federal CIO Vivek Kundra isn't a target of an FBI raid of Kundra's former offices at the D.C. IT department this morning, this is one distraction I'd bet he didn't want to have to deal with.

Even though the Washington, D.C. mayor's office and federal authorities say federal CIO Vivek Kundra isn't a target of an FBI raid of Kundra's former offices at the D.C. IT department this morning, this is one distraction I'd bet he didn't want to have to deal with.In this case, the FBI raided the Washington, D.C., Office of the Chief Technology Officer -- Kundra's last job -- and arrested D.C.'s chief security officer, Yusuf Acar in a reported bribery sting. Though sources say Kundra is not a target of the ongoing investigation that ensnared Acar, Acar is likely a direct report of Kundra, and the buzz is already saying Kundra should have known what was going on in his offices or is somehow responsible by association.

I think it's too early to say. After all, the case is still reportedly under seal. It's not clear whether Kundra is participating at all in the investigation, or if his actions to snuff out corruption may have even led to the arrests. While working for D.C., Kundra set up analysis programs designed to track IT projects and presumably catch problems like this one. We just don't know whether he was successful in this case or not. Whatever the case, we should know more soon, since Acar and another man who was arrested -- a contractor -- are scheduled to appear in court later today.

Even if he's not implicated in any way -- whether by inaction, inexcusable ignorance or direct implication -- this has got to be a public relations nightmare because at the very least it could temporarily cloud his ambitious IT agenda. This is Kundra's first week on the job working at the Office of Management and Budget, and he hasn't even had a chance to put pictures up on the wall. He's still busy sifting through the federal IT budget and figuring out how he's going to wrangle the federal IT bureaucracy.

It's something the 34-year-old will have to learn to get used to in the fishbowl that is Washington, D.C., especially in an administration where information technology is fast taking such a high profile. People are going to be interested whenever there's a blip of a problem or even a hint of corruption, even if it's only somewhat related to the official in question. Still, it's surely a pain in the you-know-what and will continue to be until at least the full facts are out.

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