GOP chairmen ramp up Clinton server security probe

GOP chairmen ramp up Clinton server security probe
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Two GOP chairmen have escalated an investigation into the security of Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThree legal scholars say Trump should be impeached; one thinks otherwise Report: Barr attorney can't provide evidence Trump was set up by DOJ Jayapal pushes back on Gaetz's questioning of impeachment witness donations to Democrats MORE’s email server, despite pushback from Republican leadership earlier this year.

Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonSenators sound alarm on dangers of ransomware attacks after briefing Push to investigate Bidens sets up potential for Senate turf war Overnight Defense: Trump clashes with Macron at NATO summit | House impeachment report says Trump abused power | Top Dem scolds military leaders on Trump intervention in war crimes cases MORE (R-Wis.) is the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs chairman, and Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) is the House Science Committee chairman.

The two combined efforts to send letters Tuesday to three tech vendors that provided software and services to Clinton, doubling down on separate January requests for information on Clinton’s private email setup.


The companies — a network security firm, an email services provider and a data backup provider — refused to turn over some information, arguing they did not have Clinton’s consent.

And in February, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) suggested that the Science Committee probe had overstepped. He told reporters he believed those inquiries should have been under the purview of the House Select Committee on Benghazi.

“I have the same impression as you, that it would be [Rep. Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyFive landmark moments of testimony to Congress Conway spars with Wallace on whether White House will cooperate with impeachment inquiry after formal vote Gowdy: I '100 percent' still believe public congressional hearings are 'a circus' MORE's (R-S.C.)] jurisdiction,” McCarthy said, when asked whether Gowdy’s panel should be overseeing the investigation.

McCarthy also seemed to indicate that Smith hadn’t given the Republican leader a heads-up before sending the letters.

Smith and Johnson appeared to obliquely address the scolding in their Tuesday letters, arguing that both committees had jurisdiction over the issue — Science because it has jurisdiction over government cybersecurity standards, and Homeland Security because it has authority over “the effectiveness of present national security methods” across government.

“Because former Secretary Clinton chose to forego using State’s official government system, which is governed by strict federal cybersecurity guidelines, the Committees have questions about whether the level of security of Secretary Clinton’s private server and email account is comparable to the standards prescribed by the [National Institute of Standards and Technology] framework,” the lawmakers wrote, referring to a set of federal guidelines for digital security.

The ramped-up probe comes in the wake of FBI Director James Comey’s damning summary of his investigation into Clinton’s server. Although her behavior did not result in charges, Comey said it was “possible” her email was hacked by foreign adversaries.

Hostile actors were able to infiltrate the private commercial email accounts of people with whom Clinton was in regular contact from her personal account, Comey said. He also noted it was well-known that she used a personal domain and that she habitually used her personal email while “in the territory of sophisticated adversaries.”

Citing Comey, the two committees asked for “better insight into the security and data backup capabilities of Secretary Clinton’s private server and what potential vulnerabilities to federal records and sensitive information need to be mitigated.”

If the companies do not provide all of the requested materials by July 26, Smith and Johnson write, “the Committees will consider the use of the compulsory process.”