Quick Hits

*** A watchdog report released Aug. 28 revealed that Adm. William F. Moran, once President Donald Trump's nominee for the chief of naval operations post, violated Defense Department policies by using his personal Gmail account to conduct official business.

Moran told investigators at the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General that "convenience was the driver" for his use of his personal account. The messages spanned years of Moran's naval career including time as vice chief of naval operations. The OIG opened a probe into Moran on July 1 about a week after receiving emails from Navy officials and a referral for "potential senior official misconduct."

Moran notified the Navy that he was declining the nomination to serve as CNO on July 7 and put in for retirement on July 9.

Moran's use of personal email prompted Navy Undersecretary Thomas Modly to issue a sternly worded reminder of department policy on the use of personal accounts for official communications.

"Everyone knows this, but you know, sometimes people get lazy or forgetful or they're in exigent circumstances where they say, 'Well, I really need to make this communication and I don't have access to my government email,' so I just wanted to make it clear to people, so that they understood what the rules are regarding this," Modly told reporters on an Aug. 16 conference call.

*** Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) wants answers from Chris Krebs at the Cybersecurity and Information Security Agency and from Census Bureau head Steven Dillingham about the safety and security of census data in advance of the 2020 population count. In an Aug. 29 letter, Carper asks whether an outside auditor has validated encryption on bureau systems, whether census data will be stored on a dedicated network, what protections will be in place to manage data security risks and how the bureau will know of data is manipulated inappropriately.

"The 2020 Census is the first to be conducted electronically," Carper writes. "As such, measures must be taken to ensure the cybersecurity of personally identifiable information collected, stored and used by the Bureau. It is critical that the information systems and networks that hold this data be continuously monitored for vulnerabilities, and that any discovered vulnerabilities be quickly remediated."

Additionally, Carper wants information on how officials will deal with scammers looking to collect data by faking connections to the Census Bureau and whether other cyber-focused agencies including Cyber Command, the National Security Agency and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence will be taking a role in addressing cybersecurity threats to the census.

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