November 13, 2013
President Obama and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (Charles Dharapak/Associated Press)
President Obama and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (Charles Dharapak/Associated Press)

A report by CBS News reporter Sharyl Attkisson on security concerns related to HealthCare.gov, Obamacare’s pivotal portal, came under attack today at a House oversight committee hearing. The story, headlined “Memo warned of ‘limitless’ security risks for HealthCare.gov,” warned of the possibility of identity theft resulting from the site’s vulnerabilities. It stated that the site’s chief project manager, Henry Chao, was left unaware of an important Sept. 3 memo addressing the problems. “Those failures could lead to identity theft among [those] buying insurance,” read the story, which was posted Monday night. Attkisson’s report also aired on “CBS Evening News” that night.

The scoop was based on a “first look at a partial transcript” of testimony that Chao had given Nov. 1 in a session with the committee. Her story fully acknowledged not having a full transcript.

In a prolonged Q & A with Chao in today’s hearing, Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-Va.) attempted to debunk the story. The upshot was that the security issues identified in the document cited by CBS News could in no way facilitate identity theft.

Chao told Connolly, “I think there was some rearrangement of the words I used during the testimony and how it was portrayed.”

A spokeswoman for CBS News just told the Erik Wemple Blog, “We accurately quoted from his testimony.”

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.