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GOP lawmakers demand Twitter brief Congress on hack

GOP lawmakers demand Twitter brief Congress on hack
© David Becker/Getty Images

The Senate Commerce Committee chairman and the top Republican on the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Thursday demanded Twitter brief lawmakers on the unprecedented hack that compromised the accounts of prominent celebrities and politicians, including presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenMilitary must better understand sexual assaults to combat them The Hill's Equilibrium — Presented by NextEra Energy — Tasmanian devil wipes out penguin population On The Money: Democrats make full-court press on expanded child tax credit | White House confident Congress will raise debt ceiling MORE and former President Obama.

In separate letters to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, the lawmakers said the breach represented a “failure” of the company’s internal controls. Sen. Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerSen. Manchin paves way for a telehealth revolution Senate confirms Radhika Fox to lead EPA's water office Overnight Defense: Pentagon details military construction projects getting .2B restored from wall funds | Biden chooses former commander to lead Navy | Bill seeks to boost visa program for Afghans who helped US MORE (R-Miss.), chairman of the Senate commerce panel, called on Twitter to brief the committee staff by July 23 about the incident and the company's response.

Rep. James ComerJames (Jamie) R. ComerOvernight Health Care: Fauci urges vaccination to protect against Delta variant | White House: 'Small fraction' of COVID-19 vaccine doses will be unused Tlaib, Democrats slam GOP calls for border oversight to fight opioid crisis Republicans seek vindication amid reemergence of Wuhan lab theory MORE (R-Ky.), the ranking member of the House Oversight panel, said in his letter that Wednesday's breach of the social media platform had the "potential to jeopardize national and economic security and disrupt the lives of millions of Americans." He urged Dorsey to brief members of the House committee by July 24 and provide a list of answers providing clarity on what the hackers accomplished. 

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Wednesday's attack is likely the largest ever on Twitter's security system. In a matter of minutes, the Twitter accounts of Biden, Obama, Tesla CEO Elon MuskElon Reeve MuskNASA's sudden interest in Venus is all about climate change Press: Even Jeff Bezos should pay income taxes Democrats face new pressure to raise taxes MORE, Amazon CEO Jeff BezosJeffrey (Jeff) Preston BezosCivil rights groups urge lawmakers to crack down on Amazon's 'dangerous' worker surveillance The tax code's Achilles' heel is surprisingly popular — and that's a problem for taxing the rich Overnight Energy: Lake Mead's decline points to scary water future in West | White House leads opposition to raising gas tax | Biden taps ex-New Mexico lawmaker for USDA post MORE and Microsoft founder Bill Gates had been breached as part of an apparent bitcoin scheme. Those who infiltrated the accounts shared similar messages asking people to transfer bitcoin payments to a certain bitcoin wallet. 

Twitter said late Wednesday that the perpetrators likely launched a "coordinated social engineering attack" that successfully targeted some employees who have access to internal systems and tools. 

"We know they used this access to take control of many highly-visible (including verified) accounts and Tweet on their behalf," the company said. "We’re looking into what other malicious activity they may have conducted or information they may have accessed and will share more here as we have it."

The breach of the social network raised alarms in Washington, given the widespread use of the network in the U.S. Wicker argued it isn't difficult to imagine similar attacks being deployed to spread disinformation and sow discord. Comer also cited President TrumpDonald TrumpWhat blue wave? A close look at Texas today tells of a different story Democrats go down to the wire with Manchin Trump's former bodyguard investigated in NY prosectors' probe: report MORE's frequent Twitter use in his letter to Dorsey to emphasize how consequential breaches of the platform could be. Trump's account was not visibly compromised Wednesday.

Comer asked Dorsey to brief lawmakers on how many employees were targeted in the hack and to provide answers on what type of training staffers receive when it comes to cyber attacks. He also requested information on whether the hacking was committed by a foreign adversary or a private entity. 

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Several lawmakers have echoed Comer and Wicker's concerns since the breach occurred. Sen. Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleySenate Republicans: Newly proposed ATF rules could pave way for national gun registry Eliminate family and child poverty: Richard Nixon may help in today's debate GOP divided over bills targeting tech giants MORE (R-Mo.), an outspoken critic of Big Tech, said that a "successful attack on [Twitter] system’s servers represents a threat to all of your users’ privacy and data security.”

Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenThe Hill's Equilibrium — Presented by NextEra Energy — Tasmanian devil wipes out penguin population Wyden warns: 'Today's fires are not your grandfather's wildfires' Hillicon Valley: Cyber agency says SolarWinds hack could have been deterred | Civil rights groups urge lawmakers to crack down on Amazon's 'dangerous' worker surveillance | Manchin-led committee puts forth sprawling energy infrastructure proposal MORE (D-Ore.) voiced fears about if hackers gained access to Twitter direct messages, saying that if that was the case, "this breach could have a breathtaking impact for years to come."

The FBI is reportedly leading a federal inquiry into the incident. New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoFoo Fighters, Dave Chapelle cover 'Creep' at first MSG show since pandemic Katie Hill says 'it would take a lot' to convince her to run again for House New York City moving thousands of people from hotels back to shelters MORE (D) has also directed state agencies to launch a probe into the matter. 

Updated: 2:35 p.m.