Tuesday, February 14th. ¦ Despite strident calls from the Democratic members of the Research and Technology Subcommittee, there will be no investigation into the Trump administration’s “shocking disregard for cybersecurity practices.” In a five-page letter, Representatives Eddie B. Johnson, (D-TX), Daniel Lipinski (D-IL) and Don Beyer (D-VA) first set forth the Subcommittee’s history of investigating the previous administration for alleged security lapses. The letter went on to detail open questions regarding several aspects of the Trump administration’s senior staff use of a private email server, lack of safeguards on Trump’s Twitter account, and continued use of an unsecured Android device. The letter ended with an invitation for all the Committee members to collaborate on investigating these new security lapses in the current administration.
Shortly after this clarion call for a bipartisan Committee investigation was delivered to Subcommittee Chairwoman Barbara Comstock, an anonymous Republican committee staffer posted an accusation in The Hill, accusing the Democrats of being unwilling to examine recent data hacks of the Office of Personnel Management and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
At a cybersecurity hearing five days after delivering the letter to Chairwoman Barbara Comstock, the House Science Committee’s ranking member, Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas, voiced her objections to this accusation and submitted the original letter into the record.
Rep. Don Beyer, D-Virginia, utilized his minutes at the same hearing to highlight a troubling incident at Mar-a-Lago that happened after the letter was sent, where Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe were reportedly seen and overheard in the club’s restaurant, discussing the North Korean missile test. Surrounded by patrons, wait-staff and government aides, they discussed and viewed documents while being photographed by diners. Rep Beyer stated that, at the time, staff were illuminating documents with the built-in flashlights on their cell phones, which meant that their phone cameras were also being pointed directly at the documents. Relevant comments start at 1:36:00
He also presented a compelling rebuttal of the Republicans’ accusations that the Democrats lack investigative zeal when the targets belong to their own party by citing his previous statements in support of specific investigations (including the OPM) and by pointing out that Hillary Clinton’s email server was already being investigated by half a dozen other committees in addition to the FBI, which was why he didn’t support an additional Committee investigation.
Despite being handed a copy of the letter along with supporting historical documents that demonstrated the Democrats’ arguments, Chairman Comstock jeered, “I’m sure [full committee chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas] welcomes your newfound interest in oversight.”
Ms. Comstock runs the risk of further angering her constituents, who have been outspoken in calling for an investigation into the serious security breaches in Mr. Trump’s administration. Comstock attempted to punish her opponent, LuAnn Bennett, in last year’s race when she felt that Bennett was too quiet on Sec. Clinton’s emails:
Who’s the silent one, now, Ms. Comstock?
Happy Valentine’s Day, Mr. President!