White House Mum on Possible Bloomberg Terminal Snooping


The Obama Administration declined to comment on whether Bloomberg News reporters may have snooped on White House officials who use Bloomberg financial terminals and services.

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A review of several hundred federal government contracts with Bloomberg Finance LP and other Bloomberg entities shows them used in many government agencies, departments and offices—including The Executive Office of the President (EOP).

A government database of federal contracts shows 38 contracts alone between EOP and Bloomberg Finance from August 2008 to March 2013. They total more than $300,000. An annual subscription for a terminal is about $20,000.

Following subscriber complaints, Bloomberg News acknowledged last week that its journalists  used the company’s terminals to access personal information about customers, such as contact and log-in information. The company ended that access last month.

The Washington Post reported Monday that the Federal Reserve, U.S. Treasury Department and some of the nation’s largest financial firms are assessing whether their use of Bloomberg terminals exposed them to a potential privacy breach.

A White House spokesperson declined to comment Monday on Bloomberg terminals and services used by Administration officials or to disclose EOP offices the terminals are installed in. But a former Bush Administration official said they are used by the president’s economic advisors. His budget advisors likely use them as well.

The government database identified 332 contracts going back to 2007 between Bloomberg Finance and federal agencies, including 146 contracts with the Treasury, 34 at the Energy Department, 24 at the Securities and Exchange Commission and eight at the Commerce Department.

The database shows government contracts with other Bloomberg entities, including 216 with “Bloomberg Limited Partnership” and 136 contracts with “Bloomberg LP.” It does not add up the value of the contracts, but a review indicates they exceed millions of dollars.

A Bloomberg spokesperson declined to comment, referring FOX Business to statements on the matter from Bloomberg executives, including Editor-in-Chief Matthew Winkler.

“Our reporters should not have access to any data considered proprietary. I am sorry they did. The error is inexcusable,” Winkler wrote in an Op-Ed Monday. “The protection of important customer data has been essential at Bloomberg since our founding more than 30 years ago. We have never compromised the integrity of that data in our reporting. At no time did reporters have access to trading, portfolio, monitor, blotter or other related systems. Nor did they have access to clients’ messages to one another. They couldn’t see the stories that clients were reading or the securities clients might be looking at.”

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