Cambridge Analytica whistleblower briefs House Dems

Cambridge Analytica whistleblower briefs House Dems
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Christopher Wylie, the whistleblower behind revelations about Cambridge Analytica’s handling of Facebook user data, on Tuesday briefed a group of House Democrats behind closed doors.

Following the interview, Democrats from the House Judiciary and the Oversight and Government Reform committees warned about the prospect of election interference on social media and urged the panels’ chairs to hold full hearings on the data scandal.

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“We must do more to learn how foreign actors collect and weaponize our data against us, and what impact social media has on our democratic processes,” the members said in a joint statement. “Cambridge Analytica is not the first company to engage in these types of tactics, nor will they be last if we fail to conduct oversight and investigate this matter thoroughly.”

The Democrats said that Judiciary Republicans had refused an invitation to participate in the interview.

Members leaving the briefing said they were struck by how Cambridge Analytica, which is based in London, operated with the sophistication of a military unit and worried that the U.S. was vulnerable to such firms manipulating elections.

“A very disturbing testimony in my view, because it really shows how there was a coordinated effort to mislead and to use propaganda to influence an American presidential election,” Rep. David CicillineDavid Nicola CicillineDem lawmaker: Mueller report ‘belongs to the American people’ White House braces for Mueller report Ex-GOP congressional candidate charged with wire fraud, violating election law MORE (D-R.I.) told reporters.

Cambridge Analytica has denied using the improperly obtained data during its work for President TrumpDonald John TrumpAverage tax refunds down double-digits, IRS data shows White House warns Maduro as Venezuela orders partial closure of border with Colombia Trump administration directs 1,000 more troops to Mexican border MORE’s 2016 campaign.

Several called for testimony from others linked to the political consultancy, like former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon and Republican mega-donor Robert Mercer, two of the firm’s founders.

Wylie’s revelation that his former employer improperly obtained data on tens of millions of Facebook users prompted a massive outcry on Capitol Hill, with lawmakers from both parties lashing out at Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergPrivacy groups accuse Facebook of deceiving children into spending parents' money Pinterest blocks all vaccine-related searches in effort to combat anti-vax content Hillicon Valley: Kremlin seeks more control over Russian internet | Huawei CEO denies links to Chinese government | Facebook accused of exposing health data | Harris calls for paper ballots | Twitter updates ad rules ahead of EU election MORE when he appeared in a pair of back-to-back hearings earlier this month.

But Republicans have shown little interest in exploring the firm’s political work. Cambridge Analytica has served several GOP figures, including Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzInviting Kim Jong Un to Washington Trump endorses Cornyn for reelection as O'Rourke mulls challenge O’Rourke not ruling out being vice presidential candidate MORE (Texas), national security adviser John Bolton and Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisThe Hill's Morning Report — Emergency declaration to test GOP loyalty to Trump Don’t look for House GOP to defy Trump on border wall The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump escalates fight with NY Times MORE (N.C.).

The group of Democrats blasted Oversight Chairman Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyThe family secret Bruce Ohr told Rod Rosenstein about Russia case Trey Gowdy joins Fox News as a contributor Congress must take the next steps on federal criminal justice reforms MORE (R-S.C.) and Judiciary Chairman Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteIt’s time for Congress to pass an anti-cruelty statute DOJ opinion will help protect kids from dangers of online gambling House GOP probe into FBI, DOJ comes to an end MORE (R-Va.) for instead focusing on “repeated investigations of Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDem strategist says Clinton ‘absolutely’ has a role to play in 2020 Left-leaning journalist: Sanders would be 'formidable candidate' against Trump Clinton hits EPA for approval of pesticide dump: ‘We need bees!’ MORE’s emails and holding sham hearings centered on the theory that conservatives are unfairly censored on social media.”

Spokespeople for Gowdy and Goodlatte did not immediately respond when asked for comment.