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2014-09-18

Subpoena sought for info on WH role in Healthcare.gov security

Special to the Courier

Washington, DC - As chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, Rep. Lamar Smith has scheduled a meeting of the Oversight Subcommittee for Wednesday, Sept. 17. At this meeting, Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Paul Broun, a Republican from Georgia, will issue a subpoena to former United States Chief Technology Officer Todd Park, a top Assistant to President Obama during the launch of HealthCare.gov last November.
After refusing to testify before the Science Committee on multiple occasions without a subpoena, John Holdren, science advisor to President Barak Obama, offered for Park to brief the Oversight Subcommittee. Accordingly, Park scheduled a briefing for members of the Oversight Subcommittee on Wednesday, Sept. 10, to discuss his management and oversight of the HealthCare.gov website - including security protocols. However, less than 24 hours in advance, the White House cancelled the briefing because they did not want any official transcript of the discussion.
As Smith said, "The White House has failed to provide this committee with information about the security of the Obamacare website. This week, the administration cancelled a briefing less than 24 hours in advance because they did not want it to be on-the-record. What is the White House trying to hide? The Obama administration has a responsibility to ensure that the personal and financial data collected by the government is secure.
He continued, "Last week, news reports revealed that a hacker successfully breached the Obamacare website in July. And we don't know how many other security breaches have gone unreported. The American people deserve transparency and accountability for the security of their personal information on HealthCare.gov. That is why the Oversight Subcommittee next week will vote to subpoena this information, compelling Mr. Park to testify under oath."
Broun added, "Since Oct. 31 of last year, the committee has invited Todd Park on five occasions to testify at a hearing about his knowledge of the website HealthCare.gov. The Committee also made a comprehensive request of OSTP (Office of Science and Technology Policy at the White House) for relevant records.
"To date, OSTP has failed to comply with the committee's requests as members have yet to question Mr. Park about HealthCare.gov, nor have we received all responsive documents from OSTP as evidenced by those in the Committee's possession from sources other than OSTP."
Calling OSTP's response to the committee as "intolerable," Broun said that it made him question what other documents might have been withheld from not only "this committee, but from other congressional committees, as well."
"I appreciate Chairman Smith's willingness to enable the Oversight Subcommittee to move forward with a subpoena, and I look forward to finally getting some answers from Mr. Park about HealthCare.gov," Broun concluded.
Emails obtained by the Science Committee between Park and his colleagues appear to contradict his previous congressional testimony. The subpoena would require the White House to provide all documents and emails pertaining to Todd Park's involvement in development of the website. It will also require Park to appear before the Oversight Subcommittee to provide testimony under oath.
Park, who recently stepped down as chief technology officer, served as co-chairman of the White House's Affordable Care Act Information Technology Exchanges Steering Committee, a body responsible for overseeing security protocols during development of the HealthCare.gov website.