Republicans Target Tech Official to Link Obama to HealthCare.gov Woes
Todd Park formally subpoenaed to testify Nov. 19.
House Republicans have formally subpoenaed the former federal chief technology officer, the latest step in a continued effort to link the White House directly to alleged security holes in the Obamacare website.
Arguing that former U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park misled Congress when he said last year that he didn’t have detailed knowledge of the development of HealthCare.gov before its failed launch, the House Science, Space and Technology Committee on Tuesday released a report -- including 40 pages of attachments -- on Park’s alleged "intimate" involvement with the site's cybersecurity standards and protocols.
The committee voted last month to subpoena Park but did not do so formally until Monday, when they compelled him to testify under oath Wednesday, Nov. 19. The committee said the subpoena would help "uncover the White House’s role in faulty HealthCare.gov security."
HealthCare.gov was essentially unusable when the health insurance marketplace went live Oct. 1, 2013. Park -- who last summer resigned as the country’s top technologist to work on tech recruiting for the White House from California -- helped lead the team that came in to fix the site within a few months of its failed launch.
He's been credited by Democrats with helping to save a mess of a situation.
But Republicans have for more than a year sought to tie him more closely to the run-up to the launch, implicating him -- and by extension the White House, where he worked -- in the site’s initial failure and alleged security shortcomings.
Park was compelled by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee last November to testify on the website, a move critics charged was based on politics and optics.
An unsuccessful campaign called Let Todd Work argued the country’s top technologist’s time would be better spent managing the troubled health insurance website than preparing for a congressional hearing.
Now, the science committee is arguing his claims then of limited knowledge of the site’s development were false.
Report: Leaked Emails Show Park Involved in Security Planning
The lawmakers say emails Park sent in the weeks and months leading up to October 2013 suggest he did have an insider view of HealthCare.gov security flaws that could have exposed consumer information if the site hadn't worked properly.
The new report includes a copy of an email in which Park requested a memo that, in his own words, “basically outlines the protection strategy, including threat assessment and response strategy. This will be a memo that we pass on to WH leadership as well, fyi.”
Although no personally identifiable information is known to have been compromised through HealthCare.gov, Republicans allege steps to secure the site were insufficient. A test server was hacked last summer, but no personal data was breached.
The science committee Republicans said they asked Park numerous times to testify before them voluntarily, but he would not cooperate, all but forcing them to issue the subpoena.
“What is the White House trying to hide?” committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, asked in a statement released Tuesday. “The American people deserve to know their personal information on HealthCare.gov is absolutely secure.”
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