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Sen. Ron Wyden Cites Need for Top Security Clearances for FTC Officials

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Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, on Tuesday wrote a letter to the heads of the Federal Trade Commission and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence highlighting the need for top-level security clearances for FTC officials, specifically those who perform investigations into data privacy and security cases.

Wyden noted in the letter that his office learned that only four FTC personnel have Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information clearance and that the commission has not taken part in classified discussions on cyber threats.

The FTC should promptly request TS/SCI clearances for its Chair and the other Commissioners, other senior leadership, and some of the staff in the FTC’s Division of Privacy and Identity Protection,” the lawmaker wrote in the letter.

“The DNI should expand its cooperation with the FTC and invite FTC staff to classified briefings. The DNI should also identify for the FTC the kinds of datasets that are being or are likely to be targeted by foreign hackers,” Wyden added.

According to the legislator, China and other foreign governments have been involved in efforts to gain access to personal data of U.S. citizens through legal and illegal approaches and giving the FTC with visibility into security threats could help counter foreign hacking efforts.

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