Coburn wants details on WH cyber breach

The ranking Republican on the Senate Homeland Security Committee is expressing disappointment that the White House failed to notify Congress of a recent computer security breach.

Sen. Tom CoburnThomas (Tom) Allen CoburnThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by PhRMA — Worries grow about political violence as midterms approach President Trump’s war on federal waste American patients face too many hurdles in regard to health-care access MORE (R-Okla.) on Wednesday said he has pressed the administration for further details of the weeks-old attack that was publicly revealed Tuesday. 

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“I have yet to receive satisfactory answers," he said in a statement. "Let us seize this opportunity to work together to protect against this very serious threat to our national security and economy.”

Coburn said he and chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.) have worked closely with the Obama administration on cybersecurity legislation that would increase oversight of data breaches affecting the federal government. 

The Federal Information Security Modernization Act, which was reported out of committee earlier this year, would require agencies to notify Congress within a week of a security breach, among other reforms.  

“So I’m disappointed that the White House decided not to notify Congress of the breach, even as its officials debated with my staff the need for agencies to tell Congress when they’ve been hacked," Coburn said. 

The White House revealed on Tuesday that it found concerning activity on the unclassified network of the Executive Office of the President. 

The Washington Post reported that an ally alerted the White House to the breach and that hackers affiliated with the Russian government were suspected. 

The White House told staff in an email that the temporary outages they were experiencing are "solely the result of measures we have taken to defend our networks," according to The Huffington Post

White House press secretary Josh Earnest declined to offer more details but said individuals attempt to infiltrate the server daily. He said daily operations had been slightly inconvenienced by the incident. 

"We take these kinds of activities very seriously, and while we have been aware of these activities for some time, it has not affected the ability — aside from some inconveniences, it has not affected the ability of White House staffers and others who use the White House network to carry out the important work that's done here on a daily basis," he said Wednesday.