Chaffetz, Cummings question WH on digital records – The Hill
The leaders of the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday raised concerns that President Trump may be violating federal law by deleting his tweets.
In a letter addressed to White House counsel Donald McGahn, committee Chairman Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzOvernight Tech: Lawmakers push Trump on digital records | Wikileaks offers to help tech counter CIA hacks | Uber to stop using controversial software Ethics watchdog slams White House for not disciplining Conway Chaffetz, Cummings question WH on digital records MORE (R-Utah) and ranking member Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) expressed concern over the White Houseâs digital record-keeping practices.âMany of the messages sent from [Trumpâs] Twitter account are likely to be presidential records and therefore must be preserved,â the two wrote. âIt has been reported, however, that president Trump has deleted tweets, and if those tweets were not archived it could pose a violation of the Presidential Records Act.â
Trumpâs penchant for deleting tweets hasÂ caused consternationÂ among archivists, with some questioning its legality.
Chaffetz and Cummings also noted their unease with encrypted apps White House staffers have been using, which the lawmakers believe may pose a risk to record keeping and transparency.
âRecent news reports suggest federal employees may increasingly be turning to new forms of electronic communication, including encrypted messaging applications like Signal, Confide and WhatsApp that could result in the creation of presidential or federal records that would be unlikely or impossible to preserve,â the letter read.
The two noted the risk that undetermined security of the apps posed,Â citingÂ a BuzzFeed article which quoted security experts who criticized Confideâs cybersecurity vulnerabilities.
âIt always worries me when someone starts by saying they use âmilitary-grade encryption.â That immediately makes me start to look for the snake oil,â Alan Woodward, a professor at the University of SurreyÂ toldÂ CyberScoop. âIt sounds like sales puff over substance.â
Woodward criticized Confide’s reliance the software library Open SSL. Certain versions of the library are vulnerable to malware.
In their letter, the lawmakers put forward a set of requests to clarify the White Houseâs potential violations of the Presidential Records Acts, including a list of senior officials who have used alias email accounts since starting work in the White House, and details on training White House personnel may have received in regard to the Presidential Records Act.