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Senator asks Twitter about claim worker was paid to help with hack

FILE PHOTO: Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., asks a question during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing titled "Police Use of Force and Community Relations", in Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C., June 16, 2020. Tom Williams/Pool via REUTERS

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senator Josh Hawley, a Republican who closely follows tech issues, pressed Twitter Chief Executive Jack Dorsey on Friday on whether a company employee had been paid to assist with a hack of high-profile accounts this week aimed at scamming readers.

Twitter declined to comment.

Both Republicans and Democrats have urged Twitter to better explain how hackers managed to seize control of influential accounts and used them to solicit digital currency. The social influencers included U.S. presidential candidate Joe Biden, reality TV star Kim Kardashian, former U.S. President Barack Obama and billionaire Elon Musk.

Publicly available blockchain records show the apparent scammers received more than $100,000 worth of cryptocurrency.

Vice had reported that a Twitter insider was responsible for the takeovers of high profile accounts. Reuters has been unable to substantiate this report.

In his letter, Hawley asked Dorsey if there was evidence that a Twitter employee was involved in the hack. If so, Hawley asked if Dorsey was aware of this when he said the attack was carried out following a social engineering attack.

Hawley also asked if Twitter had taken steps to prevent employees from gaining improper access to accounts. “Has Twitter considered and decided against implementing more stringent access control measures in the past?” he asked.

Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Richard Chang

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