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Smith Demands Documents on Kaspersky Lab, Threatens Use of Compulsory Process Against DHS

Feb 1, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON – U.S. House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) demanding a complete response to the committee’s December 5 request and threatening the use of compulsory process to obtain documents related to the DHS Binding Operational Directive (BOD) 17-01. The BOD required all government agencies to identify and remove Kaspersky Lab software from their computer systems.

Today’s letter responds to the department’s failure to provide a full response to the chairman’s request for information regarding government-wide compliance with the directive. Smith requested a list of agencies that have not submitted the required reports to DHS, a list of agencies that have identified Kaspersky software on their systems, and communications related to the Office of Management and Budget’s role in ensuring compliance with the BOD.

The letter reads in part:

[Following the Department’s initial partial production in response to the Committee’s December 5 letter], the Department indicated that no further production would be forthcoming due to the pending litigation [by Kaspersky Lab against the Department]. Pending litigation is not a basis for declining to fully comply with the December 5, 2017, request for documents and information.

The federal government must leverage all available resources to ensure that Kaspersky products have been completely removed from federal systems. This includes identifying all actions needed to eliminate or mitigate the risk, even beyond the risk to federal systems. As you know, Congress requires full and uninhibited access to information to ensure that it can effectively carry out its duty to identify shortcomings and areas for improvement within the federal government. 

Given the serious nature of these concerns related to the Committee’s broader goal of uncovering all risks associated with Kaspersky, the Committee expects a full and complete response from the Department, including the requested briefing and production of the requested documents and communications, so that the Committee can fulfill its oversight responsibilities.

If the Department does not provide all of the requested materials, the Committee will consider use of the compulsory process to obtain the information.

The letter can be found here.

Background

  • On December 5, Chairman Smith sent a letter to DHS requesting additional documents from DHS related to BOD 17-01.
  • On November 14, the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee held the second in a series of hearings examining the government’s use of Kaspersky Lab software. This hearing examined the implementation of DHS BOD 17-01 and included witnesses from DHS and the Department of Defense.
  • On October 25, the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee held the first in a series of hearings examining the government’s use of Kaspersky Lab software. This hearing examined the risks associated with the use of Kaspersky Lab software and the inclusion of Kaspersky Lab on the federal purchasing schedules produced by the General Services Administration.
  • On September 13, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued Binding Operational Directive (BOD) 17-01 directing all federal entities to identify and remove Kaspersky Lab software from their systems.
  • On July 27, Chairman Smith sent a letter to 22 federal agencies requesting documents and information regarding their use of Kaspersky Lab software.
Issues: 
115th Congress