White House Expressed Fear Of Media Firestorm Days Before Obamacare Site Launch

Todd Park, Chief Technology Officer of the United States, expressed the White House's concerns about the potential media firestorm that might result during any extended downtime of the Obamacare federal website, healthcare.gov, just days before the October 1st launch date. Park supposedly checked back in with the Obamacare development team on September 30, the day before the launch, to see if website errors, which had shown up in Park's previous visits, had been fixed. 
Noting that the Obamacare website, healthcare.gov, was crashing, Todd Park, the Chief Technology Officer of the United States, expressed concern about the possible media reaction to any website problems just days before the October 1st launch.

In emails released tonight by Darrell Issa’s House Oversight Committee, Henry Chao, an information officer working at CMMS and a chief Obamacare official, who was coordinating communication between the White House, HHS, and the various contractors, including CGI, on the Obamacare site launch, noted the following (in an email dated September 25, 2013):
“When Todd Park and Marilyn [T]avenner [head of CMMS] was here yesterday one of the things Todd conveyed was this fear the W[hite]H[house] has about hc.gov [i.e., healthcare.gov] being unavailable…[Todd] will come back again and ask on 9/30 because after knowing him for the past 3+ years I can tell when he will hang on to something for a long time. Todd does have a good point and I think we should have a more comprehensive answer as to how we will ensure high availability. I think this discussion includes the shared services as well.”
By “high availability”, Chao explained, he meant “99.99% uptime on HC.gov”.

Then Chao expressed a specific concern about how the media was going to process any extended downtime on healthcare.gov:
“I am picturing in my mind all the major print and online publications taking screenshots of what is below and just ramping up the hyperbole about hc.gov not functional.”
What Chao meant by “what is below” is a screenshot of healthcare.gov’s website, showing the message “The System is down at the moment”.

It did not take long after the launch of healthcare.gov, for screenshots of the broken website’s error messages to be flooded all over the internet.

In the weeks that have followed, Barack Obama has attempted to paint a picture of himself as being poorly served by officials who simply never told him the site was in danger of a much lower uptime rate than Chao wanted.

However, increasingly, it has become apparent that Obama had been briefed for months on problems at healthcare.gov, and clearly the White House was concerned about the very problems (and the media reaction to them) that eventually overwhelmed the website and Barack Obama’s presidency just days before the launch of the site.

A majority of Americans now report they do not find Barack Obama honest and trustworthy.

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