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Chaffetz, Cummings Fight Over Russia at House Hearing

Chaffetz, Cummings Fight Over Russia at House Hearing

Oh snap!

House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and ranking Democrat Elijah Cummings (MD) erupted into a fight at a hearing on Thursday over possible Russian interference in our election.

The fight started when the two sides discussed a possible Oversight investigation into the phishing schemes against the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Democrats argued it must happen:

“It’s clear that politics have prevented this committee from being willing or able to do the necessary objective and nonpartisan oversight on the Russian attack,” said Rep. Robin Kelly (D-Ill.).

The chairman, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), argued that studying sources and methods used to draw an intelligence conclusion is the jurisdiction of the Intelligence Committee and, further, that it would be “inappropriate” for Oversight to “dive into the private systems of a political party.”

The Democrats did not buy Chaffetz’s argument. Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA) told Chaffetz that an investigation belongs to this committee.

Tempers continued to rise and Chaffetz asked Cummings, “who has introduced legislation to establish an independent commission on the matter,” if he supported the probe:

“I think the thing that I’m most concerned about is that we cannot just turn a blind eye when we have 17 intelligence agencies who unanimously agree [that Russia interfered in the U.S. elections],” Cummings said. “You and I know what happened with the Benghazi Committee — it became a partisan fight.”

“The gentleman’s time is expired here. You’re going well outside the scope of this discussion—” an impatient Chaffetz cut in.

“I’m not. No, I’m not. I would pray that you not — don’t do that,” Cummings shot back.

The committee’s two leading members continued to talk over one another.

“I just want an answer to a simple question—” Chaffetz said.

“I’ve answered it. I’ve told you, yes,” Cummings said.

“I’m gonna ask one more time—”

“I just answered you—” a visibly annoyed Cummings snapped. “I just answered you. You’re not listening!”

Meow!!!!! Hissssssss!

You can feel the discomfort in the room. The officials from the Office of Personnel Management, the National Background Investigations Bureau, and the Defense Department sat in silence drinking their coffee as the congressmen bickering.


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Both positions are entirely tenable.

Chaffetz ir right procedurally.

But it is also right to look into Russian hacking.

    Crawford in reply to Ragspierre. | February 2, 2017 at 8:32 pm

    Why? The supposed “hacking” was into a private organization. At most it’s a criminal matter.

    Sanddog in reply to Ragspierre. | February 2, 2017 at 8:58 pm

    Russia hacking a private political party isn’t the same as Russia hacking the election. They had crappy, insufficient security and if Russia hacked them, China and every other country on earth probably has their dirt as well.

    clintack in reply to Ragspierre. | February 2, 2017 at 9:53 pm

    Sure. It should be looked into. By the Intelligence Committee — or an independent committee spun off by the Intelligence Committee. Also by the relevant agencies — like the FBI and the NSA.

    This is the House Oversight Committee. They look into things like wasteful government spending. They don’t have the experience, expertise, or jurisdiction for this investigation.

    “Oversight” is a vague enough word that this isn’t obvious — so pretend this debate happened at a meeting of the Agriculture Committee, and see if you’d still think both positions were tenable.

      Paul In Sweden in reply to clintack. | February 3, 2017 at 5:11 am

      If nothing else, an investigation into the Phishing attack on John Podesta may reveal how someone as ignorant of digital security and so painfully devoid of common sense as John Podesta was ever permitted to be within a city block of classified documents from the get go.

        Tom Servo in reply to Paul In Sweden. | February 3, 2017 at 9:49 am

        He reminds me of the President in Spaceballs (played by Mel Brooks) who reveals that his personal private password is 1-2-3-4-5-6.

        Dark Helmet – “That’s the kind of thing an Idiot puts on his luggage!!”

The Benghazi committee was a failure, hillary should have been fired.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to dunce1239. | February 2, 2017 at 8:54 pm

    “fired” you mean like out of a cannon? She should have been tried and hanged.

    Paul In Sweden in reply to dunce1239. | February 3, 2017 at 5:28 am

    Yes, the Benghazi committee was a failure, the Republicans although poignant at times did not know how to draw blood. On the flip side, the minority Dems with a simple phone call were able to initiate a Homeland Security Inspector General Investigation of Trump’s recent EO on immigration restrictions. The immediate result was the issuance of a Document Preservation Order and the beginnings of an investigation that might actually have teeth and draw blood. This however may very well backfire as this investigation will certainly uncover the actions and inactions of past administrations regarding immigration enforcement which have resulted in the disastrous national security concerns our nation now faces.

I propose another investigation:

Everybody knows that “the internets” is a dangerous world. There are hackers, viruses, spyware, ransomware, phishing, DoS attacks. EVERYBODY knows that.
EVERYBODY has to deal with that ALL THE TIME.

How about we investigate the ciber-security practices and protocols put in place by the DNC and their IT department or consultants?
How about we look into their hiring practices? How did sensible information was put under the care of (now) obviously incompetent people?

We don’t even know if it was the Russians! It could have been anyone, and the FACT is that they were hacked, easily.

So, SOMEBODY has to be to blame for Clinton’s loss. And, apparently, it ain’t gonna be the Democrats. This is like a major marijuana cultivator saying, “So what if I had a whole back yard full of weed? I wouldn’t be going to jail if that guy in the helicopter hadn’t been flying so low.”

Any investigation of exactly who hacked the DNC servers should be done by our intelligence and law enforcement agencies. Once they have positively identified the perpetrator(s) and who they were working for, then we will KNOW whether any other state actor was responsible. To date, we have a vague idea who probably penetrated the server. But, we do not know if they were working for anyone else, let alone a state agency.

So, any Congressional “investigation” will be nothing more than an opportunity for the Democrats to point a finger at Russia and lay off the blame for their loss on a foreign state. Nothing more.

    Crawford in reply to Mac45. | February 2, 2017 at 8:35 pm

    The investigation has to start with why they didn’t take basic security precautions. Then move onto the poor discipline shown in falling for phishing attempts.

    Supposed Russian involvement is WAY down the list of things to investigate.

      Mac45 in reply to Crawford. | February 2, 2017 at 10:00 pm

      No, the investigation starts and ends with who illegally entered a server of email account and removed files. That is the question.

      If you leave your front door unlocked and someone enters and steals your television set, this is still a crime [burglary] and it is illegal. That you left the front door open is not a defense for the criminal act. It is a mea culpa and you should be upset with YOURSELF for your carelessness, but the burglar is the criminal. But, make no mistake, the identity of the persons responsible for the breaches IS something that the government of the US needs to know.

      Given enough time, our intelligence and law enforcement agencies will identify those responsible for the breach and release of the information. Then we will take appropriate action; though the public may never know what actions were taken, if it is another state. Members of both parties, who serve on the Intelligence Committees of the US Congress, may be advised as to what those actions were. If they are so advised, one would hope that they were smart enough to keep that information secret.

        gibbie in reply to Mac45. | February 3, 2017 at 12:26 am

        I suppose it would be futile to inform you that 99% of the time it’s impossible to identify the perpetrator of an attack. IT security folk don’t even bother to try.

          Mac45 in reply to gibbie. | February 3, 2017 at 11:40 am

          There is a difference between being able to identify a hacker, or at least the hacker’s location, and not trying to do so.

          In this case, you have a chain which has two ends. One is the point of attack, the server. From here, there is a traceable chain leading to the location of the hacker at the time of the attack. On the other end of the chain is the point of release of the information. Again, there is a workable chain leading back to the hacker. The POA chain is worked electronically. The POR chain is worked both electronically and physically. So, given enough time and determination, it is possible to identify the hacker, in this case. Whether anyone wants to, is another story entirely.

          gibbie in reply to gibbie. | February 3, 2017 at 12:42 pm

          The first link in the chain which obtains its internet access from a service provider which refuses to cooperate, or which provides you altered data, destroys your ability to reliably go farther up the chain. Although you don’t seem aware of this, hackers are.

        In this case, you have a house that was broken into multiple times, with lots of muddy footprints and a bunch of stuff missing. (and since it’s data, it can be stolen multiple times and still be there, which adds to the complexity)

        As far as I understand, an internal Dem staffer ‘supposedly’ stripped the emails off several accounts and sent them to Wikileaks, while around the same time several external attempts were made to gain access to the server, some of which had Russian ‘thumbprints’ (which may or may not mean diddly squat, since the hacker tools are passed around like peanuts). AFAIK attempts were made on both the Dem and Republican servers, but the Republicans actually contacted the FBI and got serious about securing their server holes while the Dems fiddled around, delayed, and eventually hired somebody to look kinda at what was done and guess about what went wrong.

        Sound about right?

          Paul In Sweden in reply to georgfelis. | February 3, 2017 at 7:33 am

          As I understand it, the Russian connection is that IP addresses were traced to locations in the Ukraine and remnants of commonly used hacking software tool which was developed by the Russian hacking community. If the Russian government did hack Hillary’s server(probably did) I very much doubt it would have been detected, especially as nobody knowledgeable on a serious level was monitoring, countering and investigating attacks during the operation of the mail server, firewall and routers. Hillary and the DNC also refused FBI assistance. The local mom and pop computer techs Clinton used just are not up to snuff for a target like the email server of the Sec. of State.

          It is pitiful that this was allowed to occur. In the Early ’80s my first part of my introduction to computer security at one of the top banks was if in the morning you found your desk draws all pulled open it meant it was observed by audit that you forgot to lock them, empty your personal items and security will be there in moments to escort you out of the building. Security is taken very seriously in Banking, Securities industries and as I found out latter in life also with our utilities & the DOD.

          There is no way of knowing whether those IP addresses in Russia belong to machines which were hacked by the Chinese, Norks, Iranians, et al. But I’m sure Democrat politicians and the fine reporters at CNN know.

I hope the coffee was good.

Chaffetz needs to stop letting this big mouth idiot get to him. Cummings only claim to fame is that he is good at screaming and making ridiculous accusations.

Leftists see dead Soviets under their bed. Scary!

Did the Russian “annexation” occur before or after the Western-backed coup that forced Ukrainians to seek refuge in the Crimea?

That said, have they identified Deep Plunger of [Clinton] Water Closet fame?

Have they identified the team of Nigerian Phishers who hooked and filleted the DNC?

Russians have replaced Jews as the canaries in reactive minds.

If none of our intelligence agencies was allowed to inspect that actual DNC computers how could they state, uncategorically, that they were 1) hacked (not phised) and 2) it was done by Russians, 3)done by the Russian government.

The voting system here in GA was hacked 10 times by Jey Johnson’s DHS. Where is cumming’s outrage at that? The system in DC is a lot like the traffic laws we have in this nation. Once the people involved stop obeying them then the whole things falls apart. This is what is happening now. Our founding fathers never envisioned children representing one of the two parties and so they wrote rules and laws for adults. This is an incredibly dangerous time for all of us because of the actions of a small number of partisans. I hope that someone brings them to their senses soon.

Chaffetz is entirely correct. The Intel committee can and should look into the hacks, but there is absolutely no way the Oversight committee should go look into the (shouts) DCCC!!

Are the Dems completely and totally insane? How in the world do they think an investigation into the DCCC will >not< unearth a pile of worms? They are proposing digging through email that even the DCCC doesn't want to see the light of day, and they are proposing that their political rivals do the digging!

I'll admit, when your political rival has dug themselves into a hole, normally you just keep encouraging them, but at this depth, I'm a little worried they'll hit lava.

    ooddballz in reply to georgfelis. | February 3, 2017 at 4:18 am

    I’ll admit, when your political rival has dug themselves into a hole, normally you just keep encouraging them, but at this depth, I’m a little worried they’ll hit lava.

    In that case, I would start a go fund to buy them a back hoe.

G. de La Hoya | February 3, 2017 at 7:31 am

Ever notice that even when Chicago Jesus was in charge, most Dems had the “I soiled myself in public” looks upon their faces? They don’t smile at all. Their lives must suck and they want to drag us into their miserable quagmire of liberal utopian unhappiness. 🙂

How can they even propose an investigation into this “hacking” when the Democrats won’t even allow the intelligence agencies or anyone else to analyze the hacked computer?

ScottTheEngineer | February 4, 2017 at 12:26 pm

If Democrats were really interested in election integrity they’d be looking at how you can register to vote absentee in the state of California with No I.D. and no address (A free P.O. box can be used). Check out the Cal secstate website. You need only click a couple check box’s that says I have no I.D.’s, Mail your ballot to the free P.O. box using the Safe at home program. And have the mail forwarded to your address in russia, Crackistan or whatever other shithole in which you live.
I went to look at their website when I heard about it. I didn’t complete the process because I don’t want to go to jail to prove a point, but then If I was a foreigner I wouldn’t need to worry about that. It’s Not like I’d be extradited for illegally voting; besides, no-one is checking.