House oversight panel seeks documents on Target breach

Tue Feb 25, 2014 4:30pm EST
 
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By Mark Hosenball

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A House of Representatives committee with broad investigative jurisdiction has turned up the heat on Target Corp, demanding that the No. 3 U.S. retailer turn over internal documents and messages describing how and when it learned of a recent massive consumer data breach.

In a letter made available on Tuesday to Reuters, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform requested that Target turn over all documents or communications generated between November 1 and December 13, in which Target employees or "agents" discuss "any suspicion" that a data breach had occurred.

The committee set a deadline of March 10 for Target to turn over the materials. If the company does not comply, the committee's majority Republicans have the power to issue a subpoena forcing the company's compliance.

The news came a day before the company is expected to report fourth-quarter earnings and its leaders face Wall Street analysts for the first time since the breach.

Several analysts expect Target to slash its share buybacks as it copes with costs tied to the breach, which some estimate will cost the company $500 million to $1.1 billion.

The 19-day breach of Target's computer networks over the holiday shopping period resulted in the theft of an estimated 40 million credit and debit card records and 70 million other records with customer information, such as addresses and telephone numbers.

In the letter dated Monday, the House committee also requested any documents generated between November 1 and December 19 referring to discussions about notifying others about the data breach, and any documents generated since December 12 in which any federal agency advised the company to avoid providing information to Congress.

Congressional sources said that this is the first time the majority on the Republican-led committee had sent such a request to Target.   Continued...

 
The sign outside the Target store is seen in Arvada, Colorado January 10, 2014. REUTERS/Rick Wilking