Seizure Of Election Agency’s Computer Protested As ‘Major Security Breach’ – Hartford Courant

The head of the state’s new government accountability office in recent days ordered the seizure of a computer from the state’s elections enforcement agency — a move that a top election enforcement official calls a “major security breach” because the computer might “contain sensitive and confidential investigatory data.”

The episode reawakens a controversy over Gov. Dannel P. Malloy‘s creation three years ago (with approval by the Democrat-controlled legislature) of the Office of Governmental Accountability. The OGA absorbed nine watchdog agencies under an administrative structure headed by a gubernatorial appointee.

The OGA’s creation was protested by representatives of the three main watchdogs that previously had operated independently of the governor’s office — the Freedom of Information Commission, the Office of State Ethics and the State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC). Their representatives, and Republican legislators, argued that the governor should have no authority over agencies whose job involves being watchdogs over him and members of his administration.

Malloy administration officials dismissed those claims, saying that the OGA would save money by consolidating “back-office” operations, and would not interfere in, or conflict with, the watchdog agencies’ operations.

But now such a conflict is being alleged. The controversy is laid out in communications among state officials — emails and a letter — that were obtained by The Courant under the Freedom of Information Act. According to those documents, here’s what happened:

Shelby J. Brown, executive administrator for the governmental accountability office, ordered one or more of her staff employees to enter the State Elections Enforcement Commission office Tuesday and remove a computer from the desk of a former SEEC employee. The reason, she told the SEEC afterward, was that the device was found to contain 17 commercial movies and software for viewing them.The employee had left the SEEC last year to take a job outside government service, but now has reapplied to the agency and has been in the process of being rehired by the SEEC’s executive director, Michael Brandi.

No information is available yet as to who downloaded the movies or when it happened.

“During a routine post-employment process, we discovered an unusual number of very large files” on the computer, Brown wrote to Brandi on Tuesday. “Taking a closer look, we learned that those files were seventeen commercial movies and a software application for viewing the movies. None of which appear to be relevant to the performance of his job.”Brown named the former employee in the letter — and sent copies of it to the state Auditors of Public Accounts, the state comptroller and a top personnel official at the Department of Administrative Services.

Brandi responded sharply later Tuesday. In an email to an OGA subordinate who Brown recommended that he contact, Brandi wrote that the computer was confiscated “without my knowledge and consent,” and that he, as the head of a law enforcement agency, was responsible for its custody and security.

Brandi wrote: “I understand the HR issue based upon Ms. Brown’s correspondence of March 3, 2015, however, that unit may also contain sensitive and confidential investigatory data which are privileged and belong to SEEC.” He said he had received no request for “permission to remove this property from SEEC offices and this activity constitutes a major security breach.”

Brandi asked that “the unit be returned to my office immediately so that I can secure it under lock and key pending any investigation. As I am sure you are aware, the unauthorized access to the unit and improper removal from SEEC offices has already created a chain of custody and spoliation of evidence problem for any investigation or legal action contemplated” by the SEEC on a potential enforcement matter.

“If you are not in possession of the equipment, please inform me immediately so that I can contact the State Police and report it as stolen property as I am required to do under law.”

Brandi also emailed Anthony Castagno, chairman of the SEEC, saying: “There are many issues I have with the OGA in the manner in which they are handling this situation, notably that they have no conclusive proof of any wrongdoing, just allegations. Also, when did they access [the former employee’s] computer in his office without anyone at SEEC knowing?”

Brown responded, still later on Tuesday: “Michael – Under my direction, my staff took possession of the computer in question, as I notified you that we are obligated to do. The computer has been preserved under lock and key. We intend to retain it as such until we receive further direction from the State Auditors who have been copied on the letter. If you need to expedite their process, please feel free to contact either of the auditors addressed in the carbon copy section of my letter. – Shelby.”

Sources said that after further back-and-forth, it was agreed Thursday that the computer would be turned over to the office of the state’s top prosecutor, Chief State’s Attorney Kevin Kane. Kane confirmed Friday that “we are holding it in the interest of preserving the chain of custody.”Late Friday, Brown offered a detailed explanation for her actions in an email to The Courant. She said that under the 2011 law that established the OGA, the superagency provides “human resources … and associated information technology services” to the watchdog agencies that now are its “divisions.”

She said that ordinarily her office “does not get involved in information technology” inside the SEEC. “However,” she said, “we do provide support to them upon request. It was a request for support that resulted in the current case.”

On Dec. 24, an information technology analyst at the SEEC asked for help from Brown’s office “with imaging the computers of three employees who had separated from the division.” She sent a copy of the “Help Desk ticket” to The Courant.

Brown said that her office considered this “to be a routine post-employment action” and performed the requested work. During that process, “the unusual files were found on the computer of an information technology employee who had separated from Elections Enforcement in September 2014. We discovered the unauthorized files on January 13, 2015; no action was taken at that time.”

She added that the computer in question “was located by my staff in an unlocked (open) office accessible to anyone who entered the office suite. So far as I can determine, the computer has been in that unsecured location for the several months between the employee’s separation and [Brown’s office’s] retrieval of it. It is not discernible whether the computer has been accessed in that period of time.

“If the Executive Director of SEEC suspected that the computer ‘may also contain sensitive and confidential investigatory data which are privileged and belong to SEEC’, why would he not have taken measures to lock the computer away before now? Why would ‘sensitive and confidential investigatory data’ reside on the hard drive of a computer not assigned to someone in the investigatory process? State IT policy and best practice direct that employees not store data on the local hard drive of a computer when a network drive is available, although SEEC’s practice may be different.”

She said that “contrary to his report, Mr. Brandi was notified that the computer appeared to contain extensive unauthorized material.” She said her office “has an obligation to advise him in making sound business decisions, as he considers staffing his division and using the resources allocated to his division. I would hope that he would be interested in knowing the extent of any potential misuse of state property, and that he would view any misuse as a relevant consideration in evaluating a former employee’s wish to return to State employment. I would also hope that he would seek to collaborate with his human resources business partners.”

The OGA has not achieved significant cost savings so far — not, at least, in the context of a $20 million-plus annual state budget. What it has produced is continual conflict over the powers of the executive administrator. The office’s first administrator, David Guay, fought against the efforts of the Governmental Accountability Commission — an oversight board that includes representatives of each of the nine watchdog agencies — to evaluate his performance.

He left the job more than a year ago, and was replaced in January 2014 by Brown, who had been an administrator within the state’s higher education agency. She was ranked first of five finalists by the Governmental Accountability Commission, which screened and interviewed candidates and sent the names to the governor. Malloy could have appointed any of the five and chose Brown for the $124,000-a-year job.

South Windsor Police Chief Matthew Reed was the second-ranked finalist on the list.

Documents show that Brown’s relations with the Governmental Accountability Commission have sometimes been difficult.

Castagno, the chairman of the SEEC, also serves as chairman of the Government Accountability Commission. Reached by The Courant, Castagno said, “Now that the appropriate state authorities have become involved, I am looking forward to a resolution.”

Copyright © 2015, Hartford Courant

310 Replies to “Seizure Of Election Agency’s Computer Protested As ‘Major Security Breach’ – Hartford Courant”

  1. I appreciate, result in I discovered exactly what I was having
    a look for. You’ve ended my four day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man. Have a nice day.

    Bye

  2. Hey there would you mind letting me know which webhost you’re using?
    I’ve loaded your blog in 3 completely different internet browsers and I must say this blog
    loads a lot quicker then most. Can you suggest a good internet hosting provider at a
    honest price? Kudos, I appreciate it!

  3. I am really impressed along with your writing abilities as neatly as with the structure to your blog.
    Is this a paid topic or did you customize it yourself?
    Either way stay up the excellent quality writing, it is uncommon to look a
    nice weblog like this one these days..

  4. Hmm it looks like your blog ate my first comment (it was super
    long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I wrote and say,
    I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I as well am an aspiring blog
    writer but I’m still new to everything. Do you have any tips and hints for novice blog writers?
    I’d certainly appreciate it.

  5. I simply want to tell you that I am beginner to weblog and honestly loved you’re web page. More than likely I’m want to bookmark your blog post . You really have exceptional posts. Thank you for sharing your webpage.

  6. Youre so amazing! I do not mean Ive check out anything like this prior to. So wonderful to discover somebody with some initial thoughts on this subject. realy thank you for starting this up. this web site is something that is required on the web, somebody with a little originality. useful job for bringing something brand-new to the net!

  7. I was suggested this website by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my trouble. You are wonderful! Thanks!Nice blog here! Also your web site loads up fast! What web host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host? I wish my website loaded up as quickly as yours lol

  8. Aw, this was a really wonderful post. In concept I wish to put in creating like this in addition? taking some time and real initiative to make an excellent post? yet what can I state? I hesitate alot and never appear to obtain something done.

  9. This is the right blog site for anybody that wants to discover this subject. You recognize so much its nearly tough to say with you (not that I in fact would want?HaHa). You certainly put a new spin on a topic thats been blogged about for several years. Great stuff, simply excellent!

  10. Youre so amazing! I do not intend Ive check out anything such as this prior to. So wonderful to locate someone with some initial ideas on this subject. realy thank you for starting this up. this website is something that is required on the internet, somebody with a little creativity. valuable work for bringing something brand-new to the internet!

  11. Aw, this was a truly good blog post. In suggestion I would love to put in composing such as this in addition? taking some time and real initiative to make a great write-up? yet what can I claim? I postpone alot as well as never seem to get something done.

  12. When I initially commented I clicked the -Alert me when new remarks are included- checkbox as well as now each time a comment is included I get 4 e-mails with the very same comment. Is there any way you can eliminate me from that solution? Thanks!

  13. I am typically to blogging and i truly value your content. The write-up has actually peaks my rate of interest. I am going to bookmark your website and keep checking for new information.

  14. The following time I review a blog site, I wish that it does not dissatisfy me as much as this one. I mean, I recognize it was my selection to read, but I really believed youd have something interesting to claim. All I listen to is a number of whimpering regarding something that you might fix if you werent too busy looking for interest.

  15. Can I just say what an alleviation to locate a person that actually knows what theyre talking about on the internet. You definitely understand how to bring a problem to light as well as make it vital. Even more people need to read this as well as comprehend this side of the story. I cant believe youre not more prominent since you absolutely have the gift.

  16. Aw, this was a truly nice article. In idea I would like to place in creating such as this in addition? taking some time and also actual initiative to make a great post? however what can I state? I hesitate alot and also by no means appear to obtain something done.

  17. This is really fascinating, You are a very professional blogger.
    I’ve joined your rss feed and stay up for looking for extra of your magnificent post.
    Also, I have shared your website in my social networks

  18. There are certainly a lot of information like that to take into consideration. That is a fantastic indicate bring up. I use the ideas over as basic motivation but plainly there are concerns like the one you bring up where one of the most essential thing will certainly be operating in sincere good faith. I don?t understand if best practices have actually arised around points like that, but I make certain that your job is plainly identified as a fair game. Both kids and women really feel the impact of simply a moment?s satisfaction, for the rest of their lives.

  19. After research study a few of the article on your site now, and also I truly like your way of blog writing. I bookmarked it to my book mark site checklist as well as will certainly be inspecting back quickly. Pls check out my web site also and also let me recognize what you assume.

  20. I have to thank you for the efforts you have put in penning this website. I really hope to see the same high-grade blog posts by you later on as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my own, personal blog now 😉

  21. hi!,I really like your writing so so much! proportion we keep in touch extra about your article on AOL?

    I need an expert on this area to resolve my problem.
    Maybe that is you! Taking a look forward
    to peer you.

  22. Youre so cool! I do not expect Ive read anything such as this before. So great to find somebody with some initial ideas on this subject. realy thank you for beginning this up. this internet site is something that is required on the internet, somebody with a little originality. valuable work for bringing something new to the net!

  23. Hi! I could have sworn I’ve been to this site before but after going through some of the articles I realized it’s new to me. Anyhow, I’m definitely happy I came across it and I’ll be bookmarking it and checking back often!

  24. Today, I went to the beachfront with my children. I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is completely off topic but I had to tell someone!

  25. I am extremely impressed with your writing skills
    and also with the layout on your weblog. Is this a paid theme or did you
    customize it yourself? Either way keep up the excellent quality writing, it is rare to
    see a great blog like this one these days.

  26. Good day! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my good old room mate! He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this write-up to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. Thank you for sharing!

  27. An outstanding share, I just given this onto an associate who was doing a little evaluation on this. And also he in fact purchased me morning meal because I found it for him. smile. So let me rephrase that: Thnx for the reward! But yeah Thnkx for spending the moment to discuss this, I feel strongly concerning it and also love reading more on this topic. Preferably, as you become knowledge, would certainly you mind upgrading your blog with more information? It is highly handy for me. Huge thumb up for this post!

  28. I’m not sure why but this site is loading extremely slow
    for me. Is anyone else having this issue or is it a issue on my
    end? I’ll check back later on and see if the problem still exists.

  29. Whats up very cool web site!! Guy .. Excellent .. Wonderful ..
    I’ll bookmark your website and take the feeds also?
    I’m satisfied to search out numerous helpful information right here
    within the post, we need work out extra techniques on this regard, thank you for
    sharing. . . . . .

  30. Having read this I thought it was really informative.
    I appreciate you taking the time and energy to put this
    short article together. I once again find myself spending a lot of
    time both reading and commenting. But so what,
    it was still worth it!

  31. Oh my goodness! an impressive post guy. Thanks Nevertheless I am experiencing concern with ur rss. Don?t know why Unable to sign up for it. Exists anyone getting the same rss trouble? Anybody who understands kindly respond. Thnkx

  32. I blog quite often and I genuinely thank you for your content. The article has truly peaked my interest. I will take a note of your site and keep checking for new information about once a week. I subscribed to your Feed as well.

  33. hello!,I really like your writing so so much!
    percentage we keep up a correspondence extra approximately
    your post on AOL? I require an expert on this area to unravel my problem.
    Maybe that’s you! Having a look forward to peer you. cheap flights 32hvAj4

  34. With havin so much content and articles do you ever run into any problems of plagorism or copyright infringement? My blog has a lot of completely unique content I’ve either authored myself or outsourced but it looks like a lot of it is popping it up all over the internet without my permission. Do you know any techniques to help prevent content from being ripped off? I’d definitely appreciate it.

  35. This is really attention-grabbing, You are an excessively skilled blogger.
    I have joined your rss feed and look ahead to in search of extra of your
    excellent post. Additionally, I have shared your
    site in my social networks

  36. Pingback: Yeezy

  37. Great post. I was checking continuously this blog and I’m impressed!
    Extremely helpful information specifically the last part 🙂 I care for such information much.
    I was seeking this particular info for a very long time.
    Thank you and best of luck.

  38. Pingback: Yeezy

  39. Pingback: Timberland UK

  40. Pingback: UGGS Outlet

  41. Hi, I do believe this is a great web site. I stumbledupon it 😉
    I will revisit once again since I saved as a favorite it.
    Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to guide other people.

  42. Thank you for every other wonderful article. Where else may
    anybody get that kind of info in such a perfect means of writing?
    I’ve a presentation subsequent week, and I’m on the look for such information.

  43. Hey! I know this is kinda off topic however I’d figured I’d ask. Would you be interested in trading links or maybe guest authoring a blog article or vice-versa? My site covers a lot of the same topics as yours and I think we could greatly benefit from each other. If you happen to be interested feel free to shoot me an e-mail. I look forward to hearing from you! Superb blog by the way!

  44. Greetings from Los angeles! I’m bored to death at work so I decided to check out your blog on my iphone during lunch break. I love the info you present here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home. I’m surprised at how quick your blog loaded on my phone .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyways, superb blog!

  45. I am really loving the theme/design of your weblog.
    Do you ever run into any web browser compatibility issues?

    A small number of my blog audience have complained about my website not operating
    correctly in Explorer but looks great in Firefox.
    Do you have any suggestions to help fix this problem?

  46. Greetings from Ohio! I’m bored to death at work so I decided to browse your site on my iphone during lunch break. I really like the information you provide here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home. I’m surprised at how quick your blog loaded on my mobile .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyhow, fantastic site!

  47. I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own blog and was wondering what all is required to get set up? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny? I’m not very internet savvy so I’m not 100 positive. Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated. Kudos

  48. Do you mind if I quote a few of your articles as long as I provide credit and sources back to your weblog? My blog site is in the exact same niche as yours and my users would really benefit from some of the information you provide here. Please let me know if this alright with you. Cheers!

  49. Hey would you mind stating which blog platform you’re working with? I’m looking to start my own blog in the near future but I’m having a difficult time deciding between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your design seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something completely unique. P.S Apologies for being off-topic but I had to ask!

  50. I do not know whether it’s just me or if everybody else encountering problems with your website. It appears as though some of the text in your posts are running off the screen. Can somebody else please comment and let me know if this is happening to them as well? This might be a issue with my internet browser because I’ve had this happen before. Thank you

  51. I am usually to blogging and i also truly appreciate your posts. The content has truly peaks my interest. I am about to bookmark your web blog and maintain checking for brand spanking new info.

  52. Pingback: Nike Shoes

  53. Pingback: Nike UK

  54. Pingback: Adidas Yeezy

  55. Pingback: Yeezy Sneaker

  56. Pingback: Yeezy Shoes

  57. Pingback: NBA Store

  58. Pingback: Kobe Bryant Jersey

  59. Pingback: Adidas yeezy

  60. Hey there! I know this is kinda off topic however
    I’d figured I’d ask. Would you be interested in exchanging links or maybe guest writing
    a blog article or vice-versa? My website covers a lot of the same
    topics as yours and I believe we could greatly benefit from each other.

    If you are interested feel free to shoot me an email.
    I look forward to hearing from you! Fantastic blog by the way!

  61. Thank you for another great article. Where else could anybody get that kind of information in such an ideal method of writing?
    I’ve a presentation subsequent week, and I’m on the search for such information.

  62. Pingback: UGGS Official Site

  63. Pingback: Air Max 97

  64. Pingback: Adidas yeezy

  65. Woah! I’m really loving the template/theme of this website.
    It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s very difficult to
    get that “perfect balance” between user friendliness and visual appeal.
    I must say you have done a great job with this. Also, the blog loads super quick for
    me on Safari. Superb Blog!

  66. Pingback: Kobe Bryant Jersey 24

  67. Do you have a spam issue on this site; I also am a blogger, and I was wondering your situation; we have developed some nice methods and we
    are looking to exchange techniques with others, be sure to
    shoot me an e-mail if interested.

  68. I was curious if you ever considered changing the page layout
    of your blog? Its very well written; I love what youve got to
    say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect
    with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having 1 or
    two pictures. Maybe you could space it out better?

  69. Hi! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I
    could find a captcha plugin for my comment form? I’m using
    the same blog platform as yours and I’m having difficulty finding one?
    Thanks a lot!

  70. Pingback: Yeezy 350

  71. Pingback: Yeezy Supply

  72. Greate post. Keep posting such kind of info on your site.
    Im really impressed by your blog.
    Hello there, You’ve done an incredible job. I will definitely digg it and in my view
    recommend to my friends. I am sure they’ll be benefited from this site.

  73. Pingback: Jordan 1

  74. Hi, I think your blog might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your website in Opera, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, awesome blog!

  75. Pingback: NBA Jerseys

  76. We absolutely love your blog and find almost all of your post’s to be exactly what I’m looking for. Do you offer guest writers to write content in your case? I wouldn’t mind writing a post or elaborating on many of the subjects you write with regards to here. Again, awesome web log!

  77. Pingback: Yeezy

  78. Hi there! This is kind of off topic but I need some help from an established blog. Is it hard to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty quick. I’m thinking about making my own but I’m not sure where to begin. Do you have any points or suggestions? Appreciate it

  79. Pingback: NFL Jerseys

  80. Pingback: NFL Shop Official Online Store

  81. Pingback: Kobe Bryant Website Official

  82. Pingback: Yeezy

  83. Pingback: Kobe Bryant Jerseys For Sale

  84. Pingback: Nike Shoes

  85. Pingback: Human Race Shoes

  86. Pingback: Timberland

  87. Pingback: Nike 270

  88. Pingback: Yeezy 350

  89. Pingback: Air Max Clearance Sale

  90. Pingback: Air Jordan 1

  91. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video to make your point. You clearly know what youre talking about, why waste your intelligence on just posting videos to your site when you could be giving us something enlightening to read?

  92. Pingback: Nike Outlet

  93. Pingback: Human Races

  94. Pingback: Nike Air Max 270 React

  95. Pingback: UGG UK

  96. Pingback: Yeezy 350

  97. Pingback: Nike Jordan 1

  98. Pingback: Yeezy

  99. Pingback: UGG Outlet

  100. Pingback: Nike Outlet

  101. Pingback: NBA Jerseys

  102. Pingback: Jordans Shoes

  103. Pingback: Cheap NBA Jerseys

  104. Pingback: Nike Air Max 270

  105. Pingback: Basketball Jerseys

  106. Hey! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and tell you I really enjoy reading through your posts. Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that go over the same topics? Thanks a ton!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*