UK politicians demand probe into Liz Truss phone hack claim
House to hear argument in House Committee on Monday morning
A House Subcommittee on Technology, Infrastructure, and Commerce will look at how the Department of Homeland Security conducted a phone hack in the UK last year to access private information about the lawmakers and their staff. Committee Chairman Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., said that Congress wants a “full, complete, and thorough investigation. And I think it needs to be looked at in terms of all of the agencies involved that conducted a very serious breach of the law.”
A Department of Homeland Security memo, obtained by The Associated Press last year from a whistleblower within the department in response to the hack, said the agency was aware of the risk of hacking “after reviewing the threat.” Officials were worried that the hack could have been a security breach, which could have exposed internal information.
Officials also cited concerns about the potential harm that such a campaign could pose to national security. The disclosure of sensitive information could cause embarrassment for Congress, the Department of Homeland Security memo said.
The memo said the agency notified Congress just days after the hack was uncovered in late December of last year that some lawmakers had received inappropriate phone calls, according to a congressional aide who reviewed the memo.
“We were alarmed by what we saw, but also a little bit surprised,” the aide, who is not authorized to discuss internal matters, said by phone, adding that the intelligence community did not want to be seen as a snitch. “We thought: ‘Well, why didn’t we see this before?'”
The whistleblower in question, who was one of the people subjected to the “outgoing calls,” had provided details that prompted a review — but before he went public with his concerns.
The House will hear arguments in a hearing that begins Monday in the House Committee on Technology, Infrastructure, and the Internet. Rohrabacher, a California Republican, said earlier this week that the FBI and the DHS’s inspector general should investigate whether there was any “overview” of the operation, such as using multiple people for the “mission.”
He wrote to Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday asking the FBI to assess whether the DHS had engaged in any wrongdoing.
“While not an excuse or a defense, we will ask that the