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U.S. Senate turf war looms over Target hacking investigation

A Target logo is seen at a Target store in Sunnyvale, California on April 9, 2010. UPI/Mohammad Kheirkhah
A Target logo is seen at a Target store in Sunnyvale, California on April 9, 2010. UPI/Mohammad Kheirkhah | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- At least three Senate committees are fighting for the right to filet U.S. retailer Target for its massive security breach, aides to the various committees said.

Senators in charge of the Commerce, Banking and Judiciary committees have all staked a claim to hearings investigating Target, which admitted recently to a data breach that compromised financial data of as many as 110 million credit and debit cardholders.

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The hacking incident highlights the many problems surrounding financial data protection in the 21st century -- and the Senate turf war over who gets to investigate it is taking place in part because it offers lawmakers the coveted chance to play the good guy on a national stage, Politico reported.

"There's an awful lot of turf consciousness, which is really sad because it's such a profound safety subject for America," Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said in an interview.

RELATED Target runs full-page newspaper apology for data breach

He and Sen Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., who chairs the Commerce subcommittee on consumer protection, sent Target a letter last week seeking a briefing from Target leaders and asserting their panel "has jurisdiction over commercial data practices and data security."

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Similar requests have been made by Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Banking Committee Chair Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va.

Party leaders rebuffed the idea of a turf war, noting important policy issues frequently touch on multiple committee jurisdictions and that the Target data breach was no different.

RELATED Target reports hack may have affected another 110M account-holders

In the House, two committees, Oversight and Financial Services, have called for hearings. Generally, a subcommittee of Financial Services has handled data breach investigations in the past, Politico said.

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