Congress

Lawmakers probe FDIC response to cyber event

Shutterstock image (by deepadesigns): protection concept, shield icon.

Leaders on the House Science Committee want to know why the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation is seeking internal communications from its agency watchdog as part of a probe into ongoing information security weaknesses, and  to clarify what the agency is doing to protect whistleblowers.

In a sternly worded June 9 letter, committee Chairman Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Chairman for the Subcommittee on Oversight Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.) criticized the FDIC for incomplete responses to information requests, including a failure to search the central FDIC database for communications responsive to the congressional probe into the issue of former FDIC employees absconding with agency information.

"The agency's continued lack of transparency and responsiveness to the Committee raises serious concerns about whether the agency is attempting to skirt congressional oversight and avoid answering questions not only about its cybersecurity posture, but about its willingness to ensure that internal OIG communications, as well as communications by those within the agency that may communicate with the OIG are kept confidential," the letter read in part.

Smith and Loudermilk are also concerned that the agency might be tagging documents with watermarks to help identify the source of disclosures from whistleblowers. The members also alerted FDIC chairman Martin Gruenberg that the collection of  internal OIG materials by the agency runs "counter to the independence mandated by the IG Act."

The members want to see what the agency is doing to protect internal OIG communications, whistleblowers and the communication exchange between OIG officials and agency employees. They have requested a response by June 13.

About the Author

Aisha Chowdhry is a former staff writer for FCW.


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