Officials know identity of woman who infiltrated GOP retreat
© Victoria Sarno Jordan

The nonprofit organization that ran last week’s joint House and Senate GOP retreat in Philadelphia has identified the woman who infiltrated and secretly recorded private discussions at the highly secure gathering.

House GOP Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris RodgersCathy McMorris RodgersOvernight Health Care: GOP chair blasts DEA over opioid enforcement | House passes bill to ease ObamaCare calorie rule | Patient groups oppose 'right to try' drug bill Overnight Regulation: EPA sued over water rule delay | House passes bill to ease ObamaCare calorie rule | Regulators talk bitcoin | Patient groups oppose FDA 'right to try' bill House passes bill to ease menu labeling rules under ObamaCare MORE (Wash.) told her colleagues during a closed-door meeting Tuesday that the Congressional Institute has identified the individual who impersonated a congressman’s wife, sneaked into the retreat and made digital recordings of lawmaker deliberations on national security and ObamaCare, as well as a speech by Vice President Pence.

The woman later emailed those recordings to several news outlets, including The Washington Post. The recordings shed light on broad disagreements within the GOP on how exactly to repeal and replace former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaGOP lawmaker: Dems not standing for Trump is 'un-American' Forget the Nunes memo — where's the transparency with Trump’s personal finances? Mark Levin: Clinton colluded with Russia, 'paid for a warrant' to surveil Carter Page MORE’s healthcare law.

Rumors have been circulating on Capitol Hill that the woman may be a liberal activist or blogger. But officials would not describe her or release her name.

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“There is an active criminal investigation going on, and police are doing the hard work of piecing together evidence,” McMorris Rodgers told lawmakers of the joint investigation between the Capitol Police and Congressional Institute, according to a source in the room.

House lawmakers both inside and outside Tuesday’s GOP conference meeting expressed alarm about the security breach — especially since the woman managed to gain access to the same room where President Trump, Pence, Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanMcConnell: 'Whoever gets to 60 wins' on immigration Overnight Defense: Latest on spending fight - House passes stopgap with defense money while Senate nears two-year budget deal | Pentagon planning military parade for Trump | Afghan war will cost B in 2018 House passes stopgap spending measure with defense money MORE (R-Wis.) and Senate President Pro Tem Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchOvernight Tech: Uber exec says 'no justification' for covering up hack | Apple considers battery rebates | Regulators talk bitcoin | SpaceX launches world's most powerful rocket Overnight Cybersecurity: Tillerson proposes new cyber bureau at State | Senate bill would clarify cross-border data rules | Uber exec says 'no justification' for covering up breach Hatch introduces bipartisan bill to clarify cross-border data policies MORE (R-Utah) appeared.

“Someone trespassed at an event where the president and the vice president were present. That’s certainly concerning,” Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.), who attended the retreat, told The Hill.

The room held “the president and the top three in the line of succession.”

Security was still tight. The hundreds of House and Senate lawmakers and spouses who attended speeches by Trump and Pence had to go through metal detectors, and Secret Service agents and Capitol Police officers were strewn throughout the room at Loews Hotel.

Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.), a Trump ally on Capitol Hill, made the point that the woman’s actions didn’t just constitute a security breach — it will discourage lawmakers from openly debating issues behind closed doors for fear of being recorded.

“It violates future opportunities to discuss policy candidly,” Reed told The Hill.

Over the weekend, Congressional Institute President Mark Strand emailed members of Congress to lay out details of the breach. The woman “infiltrated” the retreat last Thursday between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., “misrepresented herself on multiple occasions to retreat organizers as the spouse of an elected official,” and accessed the retreat using counterfeit credentials, Strand wrote.

“She was escorted from the event at about 6:30 p.m.,” he added.

It remained unclear why authorities did not arrest her when she was escorted from the retreat that same evening.

Strand told The Hill Tuesday he could not identify the woman or discuss the case because of the ongoing investigation. A Capitol Police spokesperson did not return an email seeking comment.