Politics

Tech Panel Chief Asks If Clinton Used Protection

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Ethan Barton Managing Editor

A Republican congressional committee chairman wants to know what if anything was done by any of the four tech firms involved with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email server to protect classified information stored on the equipment from hackers.

House Committee on Science, Space and Technology Chairman Lamar Smith sent letters Thursday to four firms involved with the Democratic presidential frontrunner’s private server requesting documents and communications regarding topics such as security breaches and federal cybersecurity regulations, including those from the National Institute of Technology.

“A high profile government official deviating from established information security requirements raises significant concerns,” the Texas Republican said in a statement. “The sensitive nature of the information stored on Secretary Clinton’s private server created a unique challenge to ensure all of the information was properly safeguarded. The committee takes seriously its duty to ensure the NIST Cybersecurity Framework is properly equipped to safeguard our nation’s information.”

The four firms are Datto Inc, which backed up Clinton’s private emails on an off-site cloud, Platte River Networks, which maintained the server, SECNAP Network Security Corp., which provided cybersecurity software, and Fortinet Inc, which provided encryption software.

SECNAP installed CloudJacket – a cybersecurity software – on Clinton’s private server, which already “identified several attempted intrusion attacks originating from China, Germany and the Republic of Korea,” Smith wrote.

Telos Corporation CEO and Chairman John Wood told Smith’s committee in a hearing that his cybersecurity company would have declined a role in a scenario identical to that of Clinton’s private server, calling it “illegal” and that it exposed “classified data in the open.”

Smith is concerned that Clinton’s use of the private server located at her New York residence consequently violated the Federal Information Security Act.

“As a technology expert, Mr. Wood’s testimony confirms the committee’s concerns with deviating from government information security requirements,” Smith wrote. “This exchange raises significant concerns because it flagged a potential violation of FISMA and it exposed an information security network vulnerability of a high profile government official.”

Clinton sent or received at least 1,319 emails that are now considered officially classified. Clinton’s defense is that the emails weren’t marked as classified at the time they were sent, but national security experts say experienced senior officials are responsible for recognizing such information no matter if it is marked or not.

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