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 it.
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 stolen.
"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 December 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.
[to top of second column]
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
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 material.
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
The briefings come as executives of Target and Neiman Marcus <NMRCUS.UL>,
another retailer which recently suffered a major data breach,
prepare for personal appearances at Congressional hearings next
(Additional reporting by Alina Selyukh
in Washington and Jim Finkle in Boston; editing by Ros Krasny)
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