Obama Administration’s Epic Tech Fails

 Obama Administrations Epic Tech Fails

THE PR VERDICT: “F” (Full Fiasco) to the Obama administration’s technical advisors. (Pictured: NSA leaker Edward Snowden)

Earlier this week, President Obama had to call French President Francois Hollande and explain, if he could, why the US was spying on the phone records of over 70 million French citizens. The issue was brought to light by former US National Security Administration contractor Edward Snowden, who revealed NSA secrets to several news agencies months ago. Now more than ever, it is imperative that President Obama’s technical administration locate the fugitive tech expert. Not just to save face; they could actually use his help.

Aside from being unable to locate Snowden, a man of Bourne-movie level abilities to erase every trace of his movements, the Obama administration has lost credibility over the technical glitches on Healthcare.gov, the main portal to signing up for mandatory Obamacare. Yesterday, another gaffe: a Twitter feed that has been revealing embarrassing inside information about foreign policy for the past two years was traced back to Jofi Joseph, an official in the White House’s National Security Staff. #howembarrassing.

Americans have grown uncomfortably accustomed to government failures. A lack of regulations allowed the collapse of the economy. Bipartisanship led to a shutdown. Now the website to register for healthcare doesn’t work, prompting the president to record a video encouraging people to sign up “the old fashioned way,” via phone or in person. Presumably, this video was made around the time of the  call to the French president about the tech guy the CIA can’t find, and before the Twitter revelation.

THE PR VERDICT: “F” (Full Fiasco) to the Obama administration’s technical advisors.

THE PR TAKEAWAY: If you want to do your best, surround yourself with the best. America is not exactly short on technical excellence, yet the president’s cabinet signed off on using ten-year-old technology for Healthcare.gov. The military stands by the accuracy of its drones, yet the US can’t find one guy who’s talked to several major international newspapers, or another guy dissing the White House from inside the White House. The PR solution would be obtaining the best and the brightest to fix the glitches and increase security. Maybe Snowden could provide a reference.

Agent Provocateur, Michelle Obama and her lingerie

michelleobama Agent Provocateur, Michelle Obama and her lingerie

THE PR VERDICT: "D" for any PR people involved in dreaming up this story.

The mystery deepens over news reports that Michelle Obama was in the New York store of Agent Provocateur, purveyor of racy lingerie. Three UK papers actually ran the story with details of  the First Lady closing the store down in a spending spree that allegedly totaled over $50,000.

Michelle Obama’s staff denied the reports saying they are “100% incorrect” while yesterday a Whitehouse spokesman angrily denied the story.

What was the story’s genesis? If it wasn’t Michelle Obama’s team and the articles didn’t refer to unconnected eyewitnesses present in the store, then fingers inevitably start pointing to Agent Provocateur’s own PR.

The PR Verdict: “D” for any PR people involved in dreaming up this story.

One unequivocal denial from the White House and the story is dead.

Agent Provocateur’s CEO told the UK’s Telegraph that by summer the label plans to increase its presence in the US to eleven retail stores and the label had garnered several ‘unexpected famous names’ in the U.S. Only later did the organization deny this included Michelle Obama. Burning bridges with key newspapers for short-term gains in publicity is a risky business. Save these ideas for April Fools.

To see the White House denial click here.