House Dems seek to probe Trump in cyber hearing


After years of playing defense on Obama administration email issues, a group of Science Committee Democrats now wants hearings on White House cyber vulnerabilities.

In a letter to House Committee on Science, Space and Technology Republican leaders, Democratic committee members cited past committee interest in private email servers and executive branch cybersecurity as a reason they might want to attend a hearing next week on the issue.

The Feb. 9 letter from ranking committee member Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas), Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) and Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) asked committee leadership to use a planned Feb. 14 hearing on strengthening U.S. cybersecurity to examine the computer hygiene of the new administration, including Twitter security, the use of commercial email accounts and cellphone vulnerabilities.

"In the past two Congresses, under your leadership, the Science Committee opened an investigation into the alleged use of personal email by the former Secretary of Energy and former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency," they said. The letter reminded the leaders that their committee along with the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs also opened an investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's private email server.

With recent reports of White House officials keeping active accounts on Republican National Convention servers, a hack on President Donald Trump's Twitter account, as well as the president's preference of an "outdated Android phone" at the expense of a Secret Service-provided encrypted wireless phone, the Democrats said the hearing was warranted.

"We hope that your commitment to ensuring federal cybersecurity standards are in place and that common sense cybersecurity practices are upheld does not stop at the White House lawn," they quipped.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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