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Democrats ask for hearings on Trump White House cyber issues

Democrats ask for hearings on Trump White House cyber issues
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Democrats on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology are asking for hearings about the executive branches’ cyber vulnerabilities.

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas), the committee’s ranking member, and two other Democrats wrote a letter to Republican committee leaders on Thursday asking to probe cyber issues in President Trump’s White House. 

They cited the massive amount of media and congressional scrutiny of former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonObama slams Trump in Miami: 'Florida Man wouldn't even do this stuff' Ballot initiatives in Colorado, Louisiana could restrict abortion access Trump mocks Joe Biden's drive-in rallies at North Carolina event MORE’s use of a private email server as a precedent for their request. 

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“We are writing to inform the Committee of further opportunities to investigate Executive Branch cybersecurity issues that have been of intense interest to you in the past,” Reps. Johnson, Don Beyer (D-Va.), and Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) wrote in the letter.

They accused the new administration of showing a “shocking disregard for cybersecurity practices,” pointing to news reports that senior Trump administrative staffers had active accounts on a Republican National Committee server and revelations that President Trump’s @POTUS Twitter account was linked to an unsecured Gmail account. 

They also expressed concern over Trump’s use of an unsecured “outdated Android phone,” which he is reportedly still using.

“Foreign intelligence services, or even an unsophisticated hacker, could easily exploit either of these phones,” they wrote. 

“Given your previous investigations of cybersecurity practices at multiple Federal agencies, including the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and Federal Reserve Board, and with respect to former Secretary Clinton’s private email server, we trust you will be equally concerned with any and all careless cybersecurity practices of the Trump Administration,” the Democrats wrote. 

The letter was sent to Reps. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), the committee’s chairman, and subcommittee chairs Darin Lahood (R-Ill.), and Barbara Comstock (R-Va.).

The request comes amid heightened concern about cyber vulnerabilities in the wake of Russia’s alleged hacking of systems used by the Democratic National Committee and John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s former presidential campaign chair. The subcommittee led by Comstock has scheduled a hearing next Tuesday on strengthening U.S. cyber capabilities.