Cyber attack puts ethics document in hands of reporter

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), who chairs the panel, and Rep. Jo Bonner (R-Ala.), its ranking member, suggested the document was the committee’s weekly report, which contains all the calls the panel has received from member offices that week. They also sought to allay the fears of members that the Washington Post has contacted. The mere appearance of a member’s name on the report should not be viewed as an indication that they are in any ethics trouble, they assured.

“I regret to report that there was a cyber hacking incident of a confidential document of the committee,” Lofgren said on the House floor Thursday evening. “A number of members have been contacted by the Washington Post that is in possession of the document.”

Lofgren also tried to assuage fears about what material the hacker gleaned, stating that the committee might have a newspaper article about a particular member in its possession but that does not mean the member is under investigation.

“We understand that the computer system of the committee is secure, that at any one time as the ranking member has said, dozens of members' names are on our weekly report and no inference should be made to any incorrect behavior on the part of those members, and we wanted to make sure that the body knew and public knew,” Lofgren added.

Bonner called the cyber attack an isolated incident that “to our knowledge has only occurred once.” He also emphasized that the security system for the committee had not been breached, and echoed Lofgren’s remarks a members name in the document hardly translates into an investigation.

“For instance, when a colleague calls and asks about whether they can take a trip, their name would appear on this weekly report that the chair and member receive,” he said.  “That doesn't mean they are doing anything other than following the rules of the house as to whether they should take that trip and if it's permissible.”