House subpoenas former HealthCare.gov official

The House Science Committee has issued a subpoena for former U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park over his role in developing HealthCare.gov.

Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) issued the subpoena for the Obama administration’s former top tech advisor, demanding that he testify about his oversight of the ObamaCare website, including its security protocols.

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The subpoena comes after Park’s previous refusals to testify and his recent cancellation of a meeting with House lawmakers after it became clear that the briefing would be public, the committee said.

“The Obama administration has failed to provide this committee with information about the security of the ObamaCare website,” Smith said in a statement on Tuesday. “What is the White House trying to hide?”

“The American people deserve to know their personal information on HealthCare.gov is absolutely secure," he added.

Park was brought in to help repair the website after its notorious launch last year, but has maintained that he did not have detailed knowledge of the site ahead of time.

A staff report issued by the Science Committee on Tuesday, however, asserted that he “communicated regularly” with government officials and contractors involved with the site’s development and co-chaired a steering committee for ObamaCare tech issues. 

“Given the emails provided to Congress by [the Department of Health and Human Services], it appears that Mr. Park purposefully and willfully misrepresented his role and responsibilities with the HealthCare.gov website,” the committee claimed in the report.

The subpoena requires Park to appear in an Oversight subcommittee on Nov. 19.

Though the committee claims that Park has refused to appear on five previous occasions, he offered to voluntarily testify just last month.

“[I]f the subcommittee desires additional information, there is no need to resort to subpoenas,” White house counsel Neil Eggleston wrote in the letter, after the committee voted to authorize a subpoena. “Mr. Park will be pleased to testify at a subcommittee hearing in November.”  

The subpoena comes weeks after news that a hacker broke into a HealthCare.gov test server in July and inserted software designed to attack other networks. No personal information was stolen and the ObamaCare website did not even seem to be targeted in the attack, officials said after disclosing the attack in September.

The incident raised alarms on Capitol Hill, where critics of the healthcare law have long been suspicious about the website’s security. Vulnerabilities in the site could expose the personal details of millions of Americans, critics have warned. 

Park left Washington earlier this year and has begun a new job attempting to bring top tech talent into the Obama administration from Silicon Valley.

 

— Updated with additional information on Oct. 29