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House Democrats Briefed on ‘Electronic Watergate Break-In’

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee targeted

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee briefed House Democrats by phone Saturday evening on a cybersecurity attack that led to a breach of some of their personal information — much of which has been publicly posted online.

The call, hosted by DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján, comes a day after personal phone numbers and email addresses of House Democratic members and their staffs were posted online.

The House IT system was not compromised, the House Chief Administrative Officer said in a campus-wide email, according to a letter that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi sent to members earlier Saturday.

A DCCC spokeswoman did not return a request for comment on what was discussed in the call, but Pelosi said in the letter that a senior representative from the Sergeant-At-Arms office and cybersecurity experts involved in the investigation would provide an update and guidance.

Russians are suspected in the recent cyber attacks against Democrats that have targeted databases maintained by the DCCC and the Democratic National Committee.

“This is a sad course of events, not only for us, but more importantly for our country,” Pelosi wrote to her colleagues. She described the attacks as an “electronic Watergate break-in.”

The California Democrat, whose phone number was posted online as a result of the breach, said in the letter that she received “scores of mostly obscene and sick calls, voicemails and text messages” on Friday and was planning to change her phone number Saturday.

She advised members whose information was released to change their phone numbers as well — and in the interim not to allow their children or family members to answer their phones or read their text messages.

The House chief information security officer has provided guidance to people whose email addresses were made public and the DCCC executive director has provided additional guidance, Pelosi said. She said that the Capitol Police and the Sergeant-at-Arms are conducting an ongoing threat assessment.

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