Deputy CIO at Homeland Security Department placed on leave
Congressmen claim Laura Callahan has questionable academic credentials
Computerworld - Laura Callahan, the deputy CIO of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), was placed on paid administrative leave last week after questions surfaced about her academic qualifications, a DHS spokeswoman confirmed.
The move came after members of Congress contacted department officials demanding answers to questions about her academic background, as well as about the department's policy on background checks.
On her resume, Callahan, who was appointed to the position on April 1, said she received her academic degrees, including a doctorate in computer information systems, from Hamilton University in Evanston, Wyo.
However, the congressmen, including Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), contend that according to published reports, Hamilton isn't licensed by that state, nor is the school accredited by the U.S. Department of Education. The congressmen said Hamilton is a "diploma mill."
"What is troubling to me is that a senior official in the Department of Homeland Security in the office of the CIO would have a questionable degree in computer information systems," Maloney said in a letter dated June 4 to Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge. "I would hope that checking credentials on a resume is a standard procedure in any background check."
DHS spokeswoman Michelle Petrovich said the department is investigating the allegations. She declined to comment on the department's procedures concerning background checks.
In 2001, Callahan was deputy CIO at the U.S. Department of Labor, and in 2002, she also became that department's IT center director.
A spokesman for the Labor Department referred Computerworld to the Office of Personnel Management. The Labor Department couldn't be reached for comment at deadline.
This isn't the first time Callahan has been embroiled in controversy.
In March 2000, she was one of two White House officials accused of threatening Northrop Grumman Corp. workers with jail unless they kept quiet about the disappearance of thousands of White House e-mails, according to press reports at the time. Callahan was the White House webmaster under the Clinton administration, and Los Angeles-based Northrop Grumman ran the White House computer system at the time.
The e-mails in question had been subpoenaed during congressional and judicial criminal inquiries that included investigations into campaign finance abuse during the 1996 presidential campaign. Callahan testified under oath at a congressional hearing that she never threatened anyone over the e-mails. The outcome of the investigation couldn't be determined.
Read more about Gov't Legislation/Regulation in Computerworld's Gov't Legislation/Regulation Topic Center.
Changing the Way Government Works: Four Technology Trends that Drive Down Costs and Increase Productivity
This paper discusses four technology-based approaches to improving processes and increasing
productivity while driving down department and agency costs.
- Path Selection Infographic Path Selection Infographic
- Hyperconvergence Infographic A wide range of observers agree that data centers are now entering an era of "hyperconvergence" that will raise network traffic levels faster...
- Preparing Your Infrastructure for the Hyperconvergence Era From cloud computing and virtualization to mobility and unified communications, an array of innovative technologies is transforming today's data centers.
- Cloud Knowledge Vault Learn how your organization can benefit from the scalability, flexibility, and performance that the cloud offers through the short videos and other resources...
- LIVE EVENT: 5/7, The End of Data Protection As We Know It. Introducing a Next Generation Data Protection Architecture. Traditional backup is going away, but where does this leave end-users? All Gov't Legislation/Regulation White Papers | Webcasts