IT lawmaker: Oversight Committee to stay tough on cyber

IT lawmaker: Oversight Committee to stay tough on cyber

Congressional oversight of federal cybersecurity is only going to get stiffer, Rep. Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdDemocrats go big on diversity with new House recruits Texas Democrats plan 7-figure ad buy to turn state blue Republicans face worsening outlook in battle for House MORE (R-TX) said on Wednesday.


The chairman of the new House Oversight Subcommittee on Information Technology told a Nextgov cybersecurity conference that ensuring a robust federal IT infrastructure is an area where he has “a lot of latitude” — and that he expects to be exercising that authority in the coming months.

“Congress is doing a better job of playing our oversight role and you’re going to be seeing that,” Hurd said.

He pointed to the massive Office of Personnel Management (OPM) hack as the impetus behind the Oversight Committee’s “new life” in Congress, praising the congressional pressure that lead to the resignation of former agency Director Katherine Archuleta in July.

The Oversight Committee — particularly Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) — has been aggressive in its demands for accountability in the wake of the OPM hack.

Hurd indicated that the next round of committee hearings addressing the hack will take a forward-looking approach.

“How is the new team working towards, one, making sure everyone has been notified, and two, what steps have been taken to ensure this doesn’t happen again?”

The freshman congressman’s comments come barely a week after the agency awarded a $133 million contract to provide identity theft protection services for those affected by the hack.

Hurd refrained from praising the contract, which will provide a suite of protection services for the 22.1 million federal employees, contractors and others whose personal information was compromised.

“I’ve gotten questions when I was crisscrossing the District in August about this,” Hurd told reporters. “We’ll be looking at that as well, that will be one of the major topics when we have this next hearing.”

The Oversight Committee continues to demand that beleaguered OPM officials explain how the hack was allowed to happen.

In August, Chaffetz requested that Acting Director Beth Cobert turn over documentation related to network security guides that the OPM says were compromised during the hack.

He continues to actively campaign for the removal of OPM Chief Information Officer Donna Seymour, sending a letter to Cobert earlier this month calling for Seymour to be fired.