Smith Refers Platte River Networks CEO to the Department of Justice
WASHINGTON- U.S. House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions to refer Platte River Networks Chief Executive Officer Treve Suazo for prosecution pursuant to federal laws pertaining to failing to produce documents and information demanded in Aug. 23, 2016 and Sept. 16, 2016 subpoenas, making false statements regarding not having custody or control of responsive documents, and for obstructing the committee’s investigation.
Chairman Smith: “Failure to comply with duly issued subpoenas and obstruction of a congressional investigation will not be tolerated. As a result, the Committee is referring Mr. Treve Suazo, CEO of Platte River Networks, to the Department of Justice for prosecution under federal laws pertaining to failing to produce subpoenaed documents, making false statements to Congress regarding possession of documents, and obstructing Congress. Platte River Networks, a company hired by former Secretary Hillary Clinton, has deliberately withheld requested materials from the Committee and refused to comply with lawfully issued subpoenas. With a new administration in place, I am hopeful that the Department of Justice will appropriately respond to the referral. We cannot allow companies with valuable information to stonewall us in our oversight efforts.”
The referral letter can be found here.
On Jan. 8, 2016, the Committee held a hearing titled "Cybersecurity: What the Federal Government Can Learn from the Private Sector." At that hearing, industry experts raised concerns regarding the precautions taken to secure the Clinton private server and legality of such an email arrangement. The Science Committee has jurisdiction over the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which sets standards pursuant to the Federal Information Security Modernization Act of 2014 (FISMA). The materials subpoenaed by the Science Committee center exactly around the committee’s jurisdiction over cybersecurity standards in FISMA. Because former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton chose to forego using the Department of State’s official government computer systems, which are governed by strict FISMA compliant federal cybersecurity guidelines, the committee launched an investigation to determine whether the level of security of Secretary Clinton’s private server and email account was comparable to the cybersecurity standards prescribed by NIST and FISMA.
On Jan. 14, 2016, following this testimony, the Committee wrote Platte River Networks, Datto, and SECNAP, all companies that played a role in securing data stored on Secretary Clinton’s private server requesting their assistance in understanding the work each company performed to secure the server, and whether it was performed in accordance with the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Framework.
On July 12, 2016, Chairman Ron Johnson of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and the Science Committee, together, wrote to Platte River Network’s CEO reiterating the Science Committee’s Jan. 14, 2016, request for documents, and additionally requested transcribed interviews of seven Platte River Network employees.
On Aug. 23, 2016, Smith issued a subpoena duces tecum to Mr. Suazo compelling the production of documents. Mr. Suazo and his counsel deliberately misinterpreted the language of the committee’s subpoena. Following the Aug. 23, 2016 subpoena the committee began receiving responsive materials from Datto, showing that Datto and Platte River Networks employees communicated regularly regarding the status of backups of the Clinton server. These communications show that Platte River Network purposefully withheld documents and materials responsive to the subpoena.
On Sept. 16, 2016, Smith issued a second subpoena duces tecum to Mr. Suazo.
On Sept. 28, 2016, the committee wrote Mr. Suazo’s counsel reiterating the committee’s demand for subpoenaed documents.