WASHINGTON Jan 30 A Target Corp
representative briefed Congressional investigators by telephone
on Thursday about the retail chain's recent massive data breach,
but offered few fresh details, citing continuing law enforcement
Isaac Reyes, an official with Target's government relations
department, spoke by phone to officials from the House of
Representatives Oversight Committee, two sources familiar with
the session told Reuters.
The oversight committee, chaired by California Republican
Darrell Issa, has broad jurisdiction to investigate the
activities of both government agencies and private business.
During the call, Reyes offered little fresh information
about how the breach occurred or who Target believed was behind
Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder told Reuters that during the
briefing the company provided as much information as it could
about the breach in which some 40 million credit and debit card
records plus personal information of 70 million customers were
"As we have briefed elected officials and their staffs over
the past few weeks, we have been providing them with updates on
the ongoing criminal and forensic investigation to the extent we
are able to share them," she told Reuters.
In the call, Reyes said that the U.S. Justice Department had
informed Target about the breach on Dec. 12 of last year. But he
declined to say if the retailer itself had learned of the
problem earlier, the sources said, who declined to be identified
because the briefing was closed to the public.
He also told investigators the company believed it had
complied with every one of the patchwork of requirements set out
in state laws and regulations regarding the disclosure of such
data breaches to authorities and consumers.
At present there is no federal law or regulation setting
nationwide rules for when consumers and law enforcement agencies
must be notified of serious data breaches, though Congress has
been considering related legislation for years.
Four Senate Democrats, led by Commerce Committee Chairman
Rockefeller and Select Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne
Feinstein, on Thursday introduced a bill aimed at better
protecting consumers from data breaches.
This is the third such bill introduced on Capitol Hill since
the Target data breach. The three bills are versions of
legislation which had been introduced in previous years but
failed to gain traction.
The sources familiar with the House committee briefing said
that Reyes indicated the company was willing to turn over
documents to Congressional investigators, and that it could
start doing so within a few days.
However, investigators expressed doubt that, given the
company's unwillingness to get into details of the breach during
Thursday's briefing, Target will turn over much revealing
Representatives of Target have held similar phone briefings
with state attorneys general, although details of these have not
been made public. Several states have banded together to probe
the Target data breach.
The briefings come as executives of Target and Neiman Marcus
, another retailer which recently suffered a major
data breach, prepare for personal appearances at Congressional
hearings next week.