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September 08, 2005

Separation of Duties

Having worked and been educated in both accounting and IT, one of the first things you learn is the concept of separation of duties.

1. Start with a function that (a) is too valuable to dispense with,
and (b) to be performed, requires power that can be abused.

2. Divide the function into separate steps, each necessary for the function
to work or for the power that enables that function to be abused.

3. Assign each step to a different person or organization. The different
entities perform their particular roles in the cycle, and monitor and
constrain each other, using interparty integrity constraints, to perform
just their respective roles.

If you are the accountant, you don't get to be the auditor too. If you are the programmer, you aren't the one that does the final testing. It's really a very simple concept.

So, when our loonie Republican-lead Congress decides that the best way to investigate the Republican-lead government response to hurricane Katrina is the have the Republican-lead Congress do it, all you can do is laugh. Or cry. Or pull your hair out.

They rejected Democratic appeals to model the panel after the Sept. 11 commission, which was made up of non-lawmakers and was equally
balanced between Republicans and Democrats. That commission won wide
praise for assessing how the 2001 terrorist attacks occurred, and for
recommending changes in the government's anti-terrorism structure.

House and Senate GOP leaders announced the "Hurricane Katrina Joint
Review Committee," which will include only members of Congress, with
Republicans outnumbering Democrats by a yet-to-be-determined ratio. The
commission, which will have subpoena powers, will investigate the
actions of local, state and federal governments before and after the
storm that devastated New Orleans and other portions of the Gulf Coast.

Does anyone really think we're gonna get any useful information out of this, or will they just decided to give FEMA Chief, Michael Brown the Medal of Freedom for snoozing for five hours before he asked for help from Homeland Security and then giving them two days to respond?


  • At September 10, 2005, Blogger Sylvana said…

    Ugh! They must be very confident that the American people are either stupid or don't care!


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