GOP leader suggests panel overstepped with Clinton email probe – The Hill
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Monday said a House panel had overstepped its jurisdiction with its probe into the security of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email server.
In mid-January, House Science, Space and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) sent letters to four companies that played roles in maintaining and protecting Clinton’s personal server.The letters have caught McCarthy’s attention, who told reporters he believed those inquiries should have been purview of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, chaired by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.)
“I have the same impression as you, that it would be Gowdy’s jurisdiction,” McCarthy said Monday afternoon, when asked whether Gowdy’s panel should be overseeing the investigation.
McCarthy then repeated his answer verbatim when pressed on whether Smith had given the Republican leader a heads up before sending the letters.
After Clinton’s email practices at the State Department were revealed, former Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) pushed for Gowdy’s committee to handle any future probes.
McCarthy later noted that the Benghazi panel was looking into Clinton’s emails related to the 2012 attack.
Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, has been knocked for her use of a private email server during her time as head of the State Department.
She used a private email address hosted on a server registered to her Chappaqua, N.Y., home instead of an official government account. The arrangement alarmed security experts and raised questions about whether sensitive information was exposed to foreign hackers and spies.
The State Department on Friday said that 22 emails on Clinton’s server have been classified as top secret, turning up the pressure on Clinton days before the Iowa caucuses.
A spokesman for Smith, Zachary Kurz, told The National Journal that the chairman was following up on a January hearing on cybersecurity.
“During the hearing, the chairman had an exchange with a private-sector witness who stated unequivocally that a federal official using a private server and email address as her official government email risked exposing classified data and that his company wouldn’t do it because of federal laws and cybersecurity guidelines,” Kurz said. “Based on that testimony, the chairman determined that further oversight was necessary.”
Smith’s investigation is running parallel with a similar inquiry led by Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.). The FBI is also conducting its own investigation.
“Understanding these companies’ roles in providing software and services to maintain former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email server is critical to improving government cybersecurity standards,” Smith said when launching his investigation.
“A high profile government official deviating from established information security requirements raises significant concerns,” he added.
— Scott Wong contributed.