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 CicillineHillicon Valley: Manafort to cooperate with Mueller probe | North Korea blasts US over cyber complaint | Lawmakers grill Google over China censorship | Bezos to reveal HQ2 location by year's end Bipartisan House group presses Google over China censorship The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by Better Medicare Alliance — Facing major hurricane, Trump is tested MORE (D-R.I.) told reporters.

Cambridge Analytica has denied using the improperly obtained data during its work for President TrumpDonald John TrumpLondon terror suspect’s children told authorities he complained about Trump: inquiry The Memo: Tide turns on Kavanaugh Trump to nominate retiring lawmaker as head of trade agency 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 ZuckerbergFacebook teaming with nonprofits to fight fake election news China may be copying Facebook to build an intelligence weapon Facebook announces verification to images and video on platform 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 CruzSinger Leon Bridges to join Willie Nelson in performing at O’Rourke rally Election Countdown: Trump confident about midterms in Hill.TV interview | Kavanaugh controversy tests candidates | Sanders, Warren ponder if both can run | Super PACs spending big | Two states open general election voting Friday | Latest Senate polls Poll: Beto O'Rourke leads Cruz by 2 points in Texas Senate race MORE (Texas), national security adviser John Bolton and Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisTrump assures storm victims in Carolinas: 'We will be there 100 percent' North Carolina governor: We saw ‘significant damage’ in eastern part of state GOP senator on allegation against Kavanaugh: 'Why on Earth' wasn't it discussed earlier? MORE (N.C.).

The group of Democrats blasted Oversight Chairman Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyGowdy requests FEMA administrator’s travel records amid allegations Nunes: Russia probe documents should be released before election Gowdy: House Intel panel should release all transcripts from Russia probe MORE (R-S.C.) and Judiciary Chairman Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteVirginia reps urge Trump to declare federal emergency ahead of Hurricane Florence Republicans mull new punishments for dissident lawmakers Republicans ready to grill Bruce Ohr as Trump-DOJ feud escalates MORE (R-Va.) for instead focusing on “repeated investigations of Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHillicon Valley: Trump's exclusive interview with Hill.TV | Trump, intel officials clash over Russia docs | EU investigating Amazon | Military gets new cyber authority | Flynn sentencing sparks new questions about Mueller probe READ: President Trump’s exclusive interview with Hill.TV Keeping up with Michael Avenatti 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.