House Republicans open investigation into email breach at federal agencies

Republicans on the House Oversight and Accountability Committee launched an investigation Wednesday into recent data breaches of email systems at federal agencies, including at the State Department and the Department of Commerce. 

In letters to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, the Oversight Republicans requested a briefing within the next week from their respective departments “to understand the extent and ramifications of the breach by Chinese hackers.”

“According to recent reports, as part of a ‘suspected cyber-espionage campaign to access data in sensitive computer networks’ by China, the breaches reportedly occurred at over two dozen organizations, including some U.S. government agencies,” the lawmakers wrote, noting that Raimondo had her own email hacked. 

“To help the Subcommittees understand the discovery of the intrusion, impact of the intrusion at the Department, how the Department responded, and what the Department is doing to ensure the continued security of its email and overall information systems, we request a staff briefing as soon as possible but no later than August 9, 2023.”

The letters were sent by House Oversight Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) and by GOP Reps. Nancy Mace (S.C.) and Glenn Grothman (Wis.), who each chair related subcommittees. 

The lawmakers also stressed their concern that the recent cyber attacks “reflect a new level of skill and sophistication from China’s hackers.”

“China appears to be graduating from ‘smash and grab heists’ that used to be ‘noisy’ and ‘rudimentary’ to a level described by security experts as ‘among the most technically sophisticated and stealthy ever discovered.’ The incident even raises the possibility that Chinese hackers may be able to access high-level computer networks and remain undetected for months if not years,” they wrote. 

Tags Antony Blinken Chinese hackers Commerce Department Gina Raimondo Glenn Grothman James Comer Nancy Mace state department