Nikki Haley Calls SC Data Breach “Her Hurricane Hugo”


On September 9, 1989, a tropical wave formed off the coast of Africa and was shortly thereafter given the designation Tropical Depression 11.  After two days of strengthening and organization, the system was christened “Tropical Storm Hugo.”  Two days later – roughly 1,200 miles east of the Leeward Islands – Hugo became a hurricane.

After a completing a devastating journey through Guadalupe, St. Croix, St. Thomas and Puerto Rico, Hugo slammed into the South Carolina coastline just north of Charleston, S.C. on September 21 packing maximum sustained winds of 140 miles per hour, a storm surge of 20 feet and an estimated 3,000 embedded tornadoes.

The results were catastrophic.  In South Carolina alone, Hugo did $8 billion of damage (after adjusting for inflation) and killed 27 people.

And guess what …

There wasn’t anything where anyone in state government could have done anything to avoid it.

(We’ll return to those words momentarily).

So … why  was there nothing to be done?  Because Hugo was an act of God – or a phenomenon of nature, if you’re not theologically inclined.  Either way – it was a deadly and destructive force that humankind was powerless to stop.

Of course South Carolina was fortunate at the time to have a leader as its chief executive.  The late Gov. Carroll A. Campbell, Jr.,  who also happened to be a champion for government reform, guided South Carolina through every step of the crisis – carefully and efficiently managing preparation, evacuation and recovery efforts with a calm poise and a stoic sense of purpose.

He led, in other words.

Today, Hugo – the last major hurricane to make direct landfall in the Palmetto State (knock on wood) – finds itself back in the news.

Why?  It’s not because of Hurricane Sandy, believe it or not.  It’s because current S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley compared the storm to the recent security breach that took place under her watch at the S.C. Department of Revenue (SCDOR).  For those of you unfamiliar with this story, Haley’s cabinet coughed up 3.8 million Social Security numbers, nearly 400,000 credit and debit card numbers and tax info for as many as 650,000 businesses earlier this year – an unprecedented state-level cyber security breach that the governor has yet to accept responsibility for.

The cost to taxpayers?  Lowball estimates are starting at $340 million.

Of course in addition to permitting the breach and completely failing to detect it (the federal government notified South Carolina that it had been hacked 44 days after the fact – 16 days before Haley alerted the public) – Haley has been busted telling all sorts of lies in its aftermath.

Including this one …

There wasn’t anything where anyone in state government could have done anything to avoid it.

Yeah … and then came the comparison.

“If you think back to Hugo, it wasn’t until Hugo that we brought in an EMD and emergency situations on how to deal with it,” Haley said at a press conference earlier this week.  “This is my way of dealing with my Hugo. Once it happens, it’s an eye-opener that this could happen, but our job is ‘what are you going to do to make sure that my successor is – has more involved than I did.”


“You know I came in and you assume everything is okay and then when something goes wrong that’s when you notice it,” Haley continued.

Wow.  For the moment let’s forget Haley’s grammatical bumbling … or her totally inexcusable “hands off” approach to the security of sensitive taxpayer data … but did we hear her correctly?  Did this idiot really just compare her incomprehensibly stupid and patently dishonest handling of a completely preventable clusterfuck to Hurricane Hugo?

And beyond that … is Haley sufficiently delusional so as to think there’s really some connection that can be made between her botched handling of this self-inflicted disaster and Campbell’s steady leadership in the wake of that much larger, much more serious crisis?

Apparently so … which can only mean that Haley is even crazier than we thought she was.

Hurricane Hugo was a larger-than-life natural disaster that no one could have prevented – but the crisis surrounding it was expertly and courageously managed by the late Gov. Campbell and his administration.  On the other hand the SCDOR breach was a totally preventable bureaucrat-made disaster – one that can be directly attributed to Haley’s asinine “assume everything is okay” policy.  Oh, and the crisis that this incompetence has produced has been colossally mismanaged by Haley and her cabinet officials – all of whom were rewarded a few days ago with seven percent pay raises.

Somewhere, the ghost of Carroll Campbell is stirring.  And our bet is he’s pissed off something fierce.

After all remember that in addition to his leadership during the Hugo crisis, Campbell spent his political career pushing for the consolidation of executive authority in South Carolina – the same authority that Haley is currently refusing to accept.

Sadly … that’s likely to be the real legacy of this latest (and possibly greatest) Haley scandal: The death knell it sounds for any further restructuring of our splintered and unaccountable state government.


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johnb November 15, 2012 at 2:32 pm

I think she is ready to retire ‘coz the media won’t leave her alone and she can start a reality show.
Bizzare woman

@BozMartin November 15, 2012 at 6:16 pm

I lived through Hugo, in a house on the Intra-coastal Waterway, and though I had weathered many hurricanes before that, it was just shit-you-pants scary. So I’m deeply offended by the comparison.

She is absolutely full of shit. When the hell will she ever take real responsibility for anything? This is the kind of a statement you would expect from a narcissist or a sociopath. Which is she? Maybe both.

Why does the media, and I mean the “liberal” media as much as FOXNews, love this dishonest self-serving fraud of a Governor? Couild it be because she is such a relentless self-promoter, who is marginally attractive and also a “double minority” with a great line about how “the man”, or as she puts it “the good old boys” made her life a living hell until she rose above it all because of being so brilliant and wonderful, and bla bla bla fuckitty bla?

God, I nearly puked writing that last paragraph.

How many more days, again, ’til we can send this bitch packing?

Sammy November 15, 2012 at 10:33 pm


You ask how many more days till we send this bitch packing…..answer…..too many!!!!!!!

Todd November 15, 2012 at 2:35 pm

So Gov Campell caused hurricane Hugo? Horrible metaphor Gov Haley. That Clemson edumacation is really shining through.

ohnonotagain November 15, 2012 at 2:36 pm

How’s that endorsement looking now, Wil?

Smirks November 15, 2012 at 2:45 pm

About the same as his book release I imagine.

Sammy November 15, 2012 at 10:31 pm

There’s no damn book. He likes to tease y’all.

TR jr November 15, 2012 at 2:42 pm

If you think the Hugo evacuation was anywhere near effecient, come on down here and I will give you a great deal on my half ownership of the Cooper River bridge. And overall Gov. Campbell did do a great job.

notagain November 15, 2012 at 2:50 pm

I find the comparison with Hugo a very far-fetched analogy. Now if you want to compare it to Jim Hodges handling of his hurricane (remember he stranded thousands by not opening up I-26 to one way traffic) which ultimately led to his loss in his second term attempt, well, maybe you have a good analogy. Hodges wrung his hands and refused to make decisions (even with the model of Campbell and Hugo in front of him) for so long that when he finally did make the decisions, the threat had passed. He looked incompetent because he was. He consulted nobody who had helped guide us through Hugo though many were still around. This sounds more like what Haley is doing–bumbling through like Hodges and will have the same result. Can we really re-elect somebody who allowed our identities to be compromised in the biggest such hack in history and who sold out our chances at dominating trade and jobs with the Savannah River Sellout? These have to be two of the biggest SNAFUs ever experienced by a SC governor. Comparison to Campbell, NO; to Hodges, YES. The four best arguments NOT to give our governors more power: Beasley, Hodges, Sanford, Haley.

sweepin November 15, 2012 at 7:59 pm

“The four best arguments NOT to give our governors more power: Beasley, Hodges, Sanford, Haley.”

So true. We have defied the odds. No state, not even SC could have four in a row so inept and derelict.

notagain November 15, 2012 at 3:11 pm

We used to be able to attract adults to run for Governor. McNair, West, Edwards, Riley, Campbell. Different people with different approaches and agendas but, overall, they were capable educated people who had some good experience and the best interests of SC at heart. Campbell seemed to mark the end of that generation. Since then, we have had inexperienced, narrow visioned, near-incompetent people we have elected. We have only ourselves to blame. Everybody knew Beasley was a fraternity boy womanizer. We elected him anyway and got what we deserved. Everybody thought Hodges would be an improvement but we should have looked at the company he kept–the video poker boys. Six months into his administration the single focus approach he took ignored most of the rest of government. Well, enough of that. Let’s elect Mark Sanford. All we had to do was look at his antics in the US House of Representatives to know how he would govern. But we didn’t and we elected him and ended up on the Appalachian Trail. Now we have Haley. Nobody can trust a thing she says. She is so egocentric and narcissistic that even she can’t tell the truth from what she makes up. And the screw-ups! My identity, my bank accounts, my credit cards, my social security number, etc. have been compromised for the rest of my life on her watch. So have those of all the rest of the taxpayers in SC. And she won’t even order the Department of Revenue to send out a hard copy letter to notify those affected and tell them what is being done. My, My. Let’s do better in 2014. Let’s hope we have a decent alternative–a mature, educated, experienced, humble, competent person who will offer him/herself to lead us out of this morass. We can’t stand much more of this.

vicupstate November 15, 2012 at 5:13 pm

Bullseye. I couldn’t agree more.

Tunes'n'news November 15, 2012 at 7:39 pm

Best post ever.

@BozMartin November 15, 2012 at 7:45 pm

Yeah, it really said all that needs to be said.

sweepin November 15, 2012 at 7:55 pm

Well said.

jed November 15, 2012 at 3:15 pm

Look up Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Everything in the world revolves around her. Everything.

toyota kawaski November 15, 2012 at 4:12 pm

you will find her pic and will folks

Thomas November 15, 2012 at 3:17 pm

I suppose you interpret your Bible literally, too. Big mistake. There can be many layers of meaning when one speaks in language even the least educated in SC can understand….like with pictures and without a teleprompter. This woman has more smarts and common sense that Obamas Cabinet put together.

“Her Hugo”-Translation, a crisis that was unpreventable. This hack can be and should be labeled a terrorist attack. How else can you justify the Fed’s to play possum trying to catch the crooks? Stolen identity, off shore IP address, cyber attack, Federal intervention equals terrorist cyber attack.

Someone sleeping at the switch? You bet, the IT guys at SCDOR without Computer Science degrees and evidently unaware of credit card info hacked domestically and PCI standards even this lowly website entrepreneur knows about. No blame to the Governor. We wait with bated breath for the report.

Hugo….uhhh my power was off for two weeks in NE Columbia. Look, you are making shit up, dripping with hatred that she is in the history books, pissed that Sanford screwed up his career and yours, get off this kicking the can down the street.

You have a web site….monetize it, put up a paywall, and be fucking happy…

as for the rest of you Haley Haters, I for one enjoy her presence as the first non white female in the Governors Mansion. She caught a wave of political upheaval and she is the result of a protest vote in 2010. There will be more protest votes in two years.

What credentials did they use to get into our computers????

Thomas November 15, 2012 at 3:24 pm

BTW, I think Carrol was a very good Governor. It is a fact that the PEOPLE of South Carolina deserve credit for handling the crisis, getting South Carolina back on her feet, no looting, no complaining…even Gov Campbell would say that, God rest his soul.

Granny McCall's Nephew November 15, 2012 at 3:33 pm

“This woman has more smarts and common sense that Obamas Cabinet put together.”

That’s really not saying very much….

The list of compepent governors (ending in Campbell) is very accurate, and very telling. After Campbell finished his term, many career state employees, who had the experience and the wherewithall to do things RIGHT, were systematically fired, forced to retire, or chose voluntarily to quit because the juice was not worth the squeeze. The “politicians” then took over, and placed their toadies in positions of power, and proceeded to run off many more honorable state employees who had planned to stay until “regular” retirement.

All one has to do is compare the quality of the output of DHEC, DOR (Tax Commission), Insurance Commission, the professional licensing agencies before DoLLaR (Dept of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation) were formed, SCDEW, and others now and after Campbell’s completion of his term. The results speak for themselves.

@BozMartin November 15, 2012 at 6:26 pm

What a bunch of dumb shit. He HAS monetized it. You think he gives all those ads away for free? Pay wall, shamay wall, nobody wants to pay to read newspapers, magazines or blogs. Would anyone pay for a piece of ass if there were a thousands of women willing to give it to them for free? Besides Martin Sheen, I mean?

Looks like you’ve climbed up Nikki’s ass and set up light housekeeping. Probably can’t smell the stink, though, I guess you just get just used to it after a while.

toyota Kawaski November 15, 2012 at 7:49 pm

Thomas get you azz back to cutting the grass at the mansion and washing the 1st dog

sweepin November 15, 2012 at 7:57 pm

Count me in agreement with the cheap Nipponese manufacturer on this one.

Andy November 15, 2012 at 3:19 pm

I remember her campaign in 2010 quite well and did not get the impression that she was running on a platform of “I assume everything is okay”.

toyota kawaski November 15, 2012 at 4:13 pm

wish i still had my T-shirt made famous after Hugo
Hugo 8Billion Dollar Blowjob

short memory November 15, 2012 at 4:31 pm

CC – drug runner, dicky, r. cobb, J Rogers, the list goes on and on.
remember the testimony – suitcases of cash, LE escorts,

The beauty of politics – you stupid fucks have a short memory, maybe it’s because you were in diapers when it was going on.

She is no worse (sure a dumb twat) than any of the others we’ve had.

The dots are everywhere, anyone with an ounce of street smarts can connect them.

The bigger the swagger the larger the swag.

Moofy November 15, 2012 at 5:17 pm

Well Written.

Moe, Larry & Curley November 15, 2012 at 5:26 pm

Our girlfriends are just now asking us for the special website they go to in order to protect themselves from the data breach at SCDOR. That data breach happened two weeks ago.

And so POP (plain ‘ole people) are just now taking notice. And they are telling their friends, and so on and so on. Like a whirling dervish.

I don’t know the special website or the special code to get free credit watching — or whatever — and just say, “Call the governor’s office. She caused this.”

So this screwup has grown legs.

Sort of like the “Tylenol” scare, except nobody’s died.

The Fonz November 15, 2012 at 6:59 pm

I can see where she is coming. Most Republicans think the government they help run should just be done away with.
Until something blows up in their face and their inept government is the only thing that can fix it.

Bizjock November 15, 2012 at 8:00 pm

Wow, what an insulting comment by a very insensitive, self-serving, egotistical bitch. Hugo was an act of God and the DOR data breech was a result of incompetance. Why she has’nt been asked to resign is beyond me.

junior justice November 15, 2012 at 8:17 pm

Nikki has been sucking on those funny gumballs again!

Sammy November 15, 2012 at 10:35 pm

Can you send her to Afghanistan instead her dump truck First cuckoo?

shifty henry November 16, 2012 at 8:55 am

…… do not worry:

Jakie is planning to run against Nikki. He discussed this with me last night (in an undisclosed location for security reasons). My response to this news was that if he can bring me a petition with 25,000 signatures of registered voters, I will commit to donating $ 500,000 to his campaign.

Remember this – you heard it hear first!

Frank Wilson November 16, 2012 at 9:52 am

Thomas aka Timmy…fuck off

junior justice November 16, 2012 at 10:19 am

Thomas – you are really Michael Haley, aren’t you – CONFESS!

anonymous October 26, 2013 at 12:44 am

Law firm (Nelson Mullins) tries to clear up confusion about how Experian deal reached

November 27, 2012

COLUMBIA — Thad Westbrook of Nelson Mullins, a law firm representing the state in the aftermath of a massive cyber breach now says NO competitors were contacted before the state reached a $12 million no-bid contract with Experian.

Attorney Jon Neiditz of Columbia firm Nelson Mullins said the confusion over whether the firm had contacted other credit monitoring companies resulted from an unclear statement made by another attorney, Thad Westbrook.

The Revenue Department reached an initial agreement with Experian just before the breach affecting millions of current and former S.C. taxpayers was first announced publicly on Oct. 26.

The confusion over whether Thad Westbrook of Nelson Mullins ever reached out to Experian competitors began at an Oct. 30 Senate Finance Committee hearing from comments from Nelson Mullins attorney Thad Wetbrook.

Revenue Department Director James Etter, who is resigning effective at the end of this year, correctly told senators that no other companies were contacted besides Experian.

But Nelson Mullins attorney Thad Westbrook immediately followed up and told senators that pricing was obtained from two other firms but Experian had the ability to scale up quickly in an emergency situation.

Weeks after the hearing, Revenue Department spokeswoman Samantha Cheek named the other two companies that Nelson Mullins had obtained estimates from as Citreas and Identity Force.

Obtaining pricing information from Experian competitors and examination did not include reaching out to them.

Neiditz said he had pre-existing pricing information from various cyber security companies and knew Experian could offer the best deal. The leaders of other firms have disputed that assessment.

Neiditz said Monday that Thad Westbrook’s statement during the hearing caused confusion.

“It wasn’t clear,” Neiditz said. “It led to the impression that other companies had been contacted….I mentioned those vendors to him.”

Some senators have expressed concerns about the state’s NO-BID contract with Experian.

Anderson GOP Sen. Kevin Bryant said it’s worrisome that no other companies were approached following the breach.

“This snowball just keeps getting bigger and bigger as time goes by,” Bryant is co-chairman of a new oversight panel tasked with looking into the cyber attack.

Normally, state contracts are struck following a request for proposals from various companies.

The law states “competition as is practicable SHALL be obtained.”

Neiditz recommended Experian to his firm, which then recommended Experian to the state. Nelson Mullins and their attorneys are being paid an estimated $100,000 for its work assisting the state.

…EXPERIAN and two competitors as Thad Westbrook and Cheek said, but NEVER contacted any of them before deciding on Experian.

Neiditz said he first contacted Experian on Oct. 23, three days before the breach was announced.

Etter had told senators during the hearing that Experian was first contacted on Oct. 25.

The Secret Service alerted state officials to the breach on Oct. 10.

“As a result, I don’t think that those business models received full consideration. Neither did other companies.”

The CEOs of Citreas and Identity Force said that their pricing would have been competitive with Experian and their services would have been superior in some ways.

Vendors likely would have been beating down the state’s doors and possibly could have provided a better deal…

Nelson Mullins and their attorneys are being paid an estimated $100,000.00


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