Due to the unprecedented usage of encrypted chats by EPA officials, House Republicans are calling for an investigation into lawful misconduct.
Earlier this week roused allegations of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials using the secured chatting app known as Signal to covertly discuss policies incited by the Trump administration. The implementation of this type of communication within federal agents raises concern as to whether it fully complies with the Freedom of Information Act, which entails the right any person has “to request access to federal agency records or information except to the extent the records are protected from disclosure by any of nine exemptions contained in the law or by one of three special law enforcement record exclusions.”
Operating these apps while debating the environmental policies at hand, or alternatively, discussing the prospect of the Trump administration’s authenticity when adhering to federal regulations, as proposed by Politico, there appears to be a direct violation of lawful constraints placed on federal agents to preserve federal records. The need to retain and review these documents is effectively eliminated through the encrypted app Signal, which erases a conversation indefinitely.
However, this is not the first encounter that the Trump administration has had with technical faux pas—recall earlier accounts of President Trump’s favor for an unsecured Samsung Galaxy S3. Aware of the extremity of the situation, California Congressman Ted Lieu has proposed an investigation into the President’s Android phone—a motion backed by 14 other members of Congress.
Between the legitimate concern that both of these situations evoke, the Oversight House Committee—which ensures “the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of the federal government and all its agencies”—inevitably has their work cut out for them.
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