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 CicillineTrump, GOP go all-in on anti-China strategy Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers demand answers on Chinese COVID hacks | Biden re-ups criticism of Amazon | House Dem bill seeks to limit microtargeting House Democrat to introduce bill cracking down on ad targeting MORE (D-R.I.) told reporters.

Cambridge Analytica has denied using the improperly obtained data during its work for President TrumpDonald John TrumpFauci says his meetings with Trump have 'dramatically decreased' McEnany criticizes DC mayor for not imposing earlier curfew amid protests Stopping Israel's annexation is a US national security interest 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 ZuckerbergZuckerberg expressed concern to Trump over rhetoric amid protests: Axios Hillicon Valley: Trump signs order targeting social media legal protections | House requests conference with Senate after FISA vote canceled | Minneapolis systems temporarily brought down by hackers Twitter adds fact-checking labels to hundreds of tweets despite Trump attacks 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 CruzThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump tweets as tensions escalate across US AIPAC cancels 2021 policy conference due to COVID-19 GOP deeply divided over Trump's social media crackdown MORE (Texas), national security adviser John Bolton and Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump administration gives renewables more time to take advantage of tax credits | House Republicans introduce bill to speed mining projects for critical minerals | Watchdog faults EPA communications in contamination of NC river Trump administration gives renewables more time to take advantage of tax credits Tillis campaign releases first general election TV ad emphasizing 'humble' roots MORE (N.C.).

The group of Democrats blasted Oversight Chairman Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyMore than two dozen former prosecutors, judges, active trial lawyers support DOJ decision to dismiss Michael Flynn case Sunday shows preview: As states loosen social distancing restrictions, lawmakers address dwindling state budgets John Ratcliffe is the right choice for director of national intelligence — and for America MORE (R-S.C.) and Judiciary Chairman Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteUSCIS chief Cuccinelli blames Paul Ryan for immigration inaction Immigrant advocacy groups shouldn't be opposing Trump's raids Top Republican releases full transcript of Bruce Ohr interview MORE (R-Va.) for instead focusing on “repeated investigations of Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonJuan Williams: Bush could strike blow for Biden Zuckerberg expressed concern to Trump over rhetoric amid protests: Axios Montana barrels toward blockbuster Senate fight 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.