At Axios, Jonathan Swan reports that “the person who leaked audio of the closed-door Republican congressional retreat in Philadelphia snuck in by claiming to be the spouse of an elected official. She was at the retreat for 11 hours before escorted out by Capitol Police. The Congressional Institute, which hosts the event, is trying to figure out who she is.” I should add that a local television report on the incident indicates that the GOP conference took place at the Loews Hotel across from Philadelphia’s City Hall.
Swan provides the text of the e-mail sent by institute president Mark Strand sent to members on the breach:
Dear Member of Congress:
As you are aware, digital recordings from the national security, health care, and Vice President Pence meetings were anonymously leaked to several media outlets, including The Washington Post. We believe these recordings were audio only, rather than video. The Congressional Institute is continuing to investigate this breach in order to fully understand how it happened and to ensure it does not happen again. While a number of unanswered questions remain, here is what we currently know:
* An unauthorized person infiltrated the congressional retreat on Thursday, between the hours of 7:30 am and 6:30 pm
* She misrepresented herself on multiple occasions to retreat organizers as the spouse of an elected official;
* She was able to gain access using counterfeit credentials;
* She entered the event through the same security checkpoints as every other attendee (i.e. magnetometers, police checkpoints, etc.);
* She was escorted from the event at about 6:30 pm. We are working closely with Capitol Police to ascertain the identity of the woman in question.
As we learn new information we will share it with you. In the meantime, we have already initiated efforts to develop new security protocols in order to better protect the internal-nature of these meetings moving forward.We are honored to host the annual retreat each year and apologize for this situation. Please do not hesitate to directly contact me if you have additional questions or need information.
Swan provides his own comment on why this matters along with a statement from House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers. Nowhere is the possible violation of Pennsylvania criminal law that I wrote about yesterday mentioned.