The article didn't say what the OS was. There is always the Offline Windows Password reset floppy/CD if it's a 'doze system. Saved my butt more than once
;-). Or is the filesystem encrypted too?
Or being a government system, they probably went with a non-*nix, non-Windoze weird-ass proprietary system. Maybe the vender has a back-door. Obviously, they don't have admins that know what they are doing. That's why they pay them so much (government = illogic).