Brendan Bordelon

House Oversight Chairman Previews New Report on Federal ‘Stingrays’

House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) said that his panel will soon issue a report on the federal government’s use of simulated cell phone towers, also known as “stingrays.” “You’d be shocked — shocked — at what your federal government is doing to gather your personal information,” Chairman Chaffetz told an audience at the American Enterprise Institute. Chairman Chaffetz was at AEI to discuss his committee’s latest report on a series of wide-ranging cyberattacks against the Office of Personnel Management from 2012 to 2015, which saw the personal information of 22.1 million Americans with ties to the federal government stolen by hackers. The probe found that the hacks occurred because of OPM leaders’ repeated failures to heed inspector general warnings that its cybersecurity infrastructure was lacking. The committee report also found that OPM leaders failed to implement basic, required security controls and deploy high tech anti-hacking tools once it became evident that hackers had penetrated their databases.

Chairman Chaffetz said that his committee’s upcoming report on the federal collection of personal information through “stingrays” has even more outrageous findings. “They can’t keep it secure. That’s the point,” he said. “I don’t trust them, they’re not doing the basics, and they want to collect more data.”

FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn Makes the Most of Her ‘Outsider’ Status

Federal Communications Commissioner Mignon Clyburn really wants you to know she’s not one of those “inside the Beltway” types. That may seem hard to believe coming from the daughter of Rep Jim Clyburn (D-SC), a congressman since 1993 and the No.3 Democrat in the House. But until she took the FCC job in 2009, Commissioner Clyburn never left her home state for more than a few weeks at a time. “I did not come up to DC to be like a lot of others (respectfully, this sounds a little tough) that I see in DC, who always want to be picture perfect, wrapped up in a bow, and ready for presentation,” Commissioner Clyburn says. “I am very different if you to compare me to my colleagues,” she said. Referring several times to her “Southern accent,” she said, “I am very much outside of the Beltway.” Commissioner Clyburn’s quiet and poised demeanor strikes a sharp contrast to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, the physically imposing FCC Chairman who exudes a larger-than-life political presence. Yet for nearly six months in 2013, Commissioenr Clyburn sat in Chairman Wheeler’s chair. She was acting FCC Chairwoman while Congress deliberated over Wheeler’s confirmation. There was a historic nature to her chairmanship.