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Trump Administration Won’t Let Congress See Secret Cyber Weapons Directive: Lawmakers

Leaders of the House Armed Services Committee are not happy that the Trump administration has not let them see a secret 2018 cyber weapons directive and related documents, and a committee spokeswoman said a letter they sent in February was ignored, according to The Wall Street Journal Wednesday.

It is unknown if any members of Congress have seen National Security Presidential Memorandum 13, which national security adviser John Bolton described as “very different” than Obama administration guidelines, which gave the Defense Department less power. The White House confirmed the directive’s existence in September 2018.

“To delay release of these important documents limits our ability to make informed decisions as we consider the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020,” the committee leaders wrote in a Feb. 28 letter.

Committee chair Democratic Washington Rep. Adam Smith and ranking member Republican Texas Rep. Mac Thornberry signed the letter. Emerging-threats subcommittee heads Democratic Rhode Island Rep. Jim Langevin and Republican New York Rep. Elise Stefanik also signed the letter.

“Congress has a vital role to play in ensuring any offensive cyber operations do not inadvertently undermine that stability and reflect our commitments to responsible state behavior in this new domain. Unfortunately, the White House has continually stymied our attempts to conduct this Constitutionally protected oversight, refusing to provide important policy documents that took effect nearly a year ago,” Langevin said in a statement Wednesday.

The House could vote as soon as this week on an amendment in the yearly defense authorization bill that would make the administration share the classified directive with Congress, the committee spokeswoman told The WSJ.

“[T]he administration keeps Congress appropriately informed of cyber operations, including by providing briefings and documents,” a senior administration official said according to The WSJ.

Cyber attacks have been in the news recently with reports about U.S. cyber action against Iran’s missile launch system in June.

Smith, Thornberry and Stefanik’s offices and the White House did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s requests for comment at the time of publication.

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