Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.) blasted the House Oversight Committee’s Republican leadership on Wednesday, accusing them of selectively leaking documents that raised false security concerns about HealthCare.gov and amounted to a “smear” against CMS official Henry Chao.
Connolly questioned Chao about a CBS report about an internal CMS memo dated Sept. 3 that cited “limitless” risk as a result of two security issues with the federal health insurance Web site. According to the report, transcripts of Chao’s nine-hour interview with House Oversight investigators last week showed that Chao was unaware of the risks, and had actually been told the opposite about overall security on the site.
Under questioning by Connolly on Wednesday at a committee hearing on Obamacare, Chao indicated that the report was not correct. He suggested that the parts of the system that were affected by those security flaws did not handle private information about users of the site.
“There was some rearrangement of the words that I used,” Chao said.
Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) charged that Connolly has separately acknowledged that HealthCare.gov posed a security risk for users, which Connolly said was true but unrelated to the issue he raised with Chao.
“I’m trying to get the facts on the record to correct a deliberate smear against Mr. Chao…” Connolly said, adding later that he is concerned about the committee’s “pattern of calling people to give us testimony and cherry-picking their testimony to make a political point.”