GOP chairman blasts agencies for pulling out of briefing on data breaches

GOP chairman blasts agencies for pulling out of briefing on data breaches

The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee slammed three federal agencies for pulling out of a classified briefing Tuesday that was to focus on the massive government data breaches discovered earlier this year.

“It’s pretty remarkable to me that these agencies that are responsible for really the largest national security data breach that we’ve ever had, and probably anybody's ever had, refuse to come up and ask questions because we’re going to pay attention to what they say, we’re going to write it down," Rep. Mac ThornberryWilliam (Mac) McClellan ThornberryFurious Republicans prepare to rebuke Trump on Syria Five ways Trump's Syria decision spells trouble Cheney slated to introduce bill to place sanctions on Turkey MORE (R-Texas) said.

ADVERTISEMENT

Officials from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) decided not to testify an hour before they were scheduled to after they found out the briefing would be transcribed, Thornberry said.

Officials from the Defense Department and the Director of National Intelligence came as planned, and the committee was able to get much of the information it wanted, he added.

It’s routine to transcribe even classified briefings, Thornberry said, so that members who can’t come can see what was said or members can review the information again later.

If the agencies were worried about the classified information not being protected, Thornberry said, that would be “ironic.”

Earlier this year, it was discovered that two breaches led to 22 million people’s information being exposed. It is believe China orchestrated the digital theft.

In a joint statement, OPM, OMB and DHS said they “have engaged in more than a dozen classified briefings and open hearings to ensure our partners in Congress are supported with the most up-to-date information on this issue. Unfortunately, we were unable to accommodate a last-minute change in the request today. We look forward to working with our partners in Congress for a briefing in the future.”