Top Target executive to take the hot seat on Capitol Hill

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When did Target know about the massive holiday data breach, and when did the Minneapolis-based retailer report it?

That's certain to be one of the key questions that a top Target executive will face on Tuesday when he appears to face congressional questions for the first time. The Star Tribune reports John Mulligan, Target's chief financial officer will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. Both Minnesota senators Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar sit on the committee. A top executive from Neiman Marcus, which was also hacked over the holidays, is also expected to be called to testify.

On Wednesday, Mulligan will appear before before a subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

The breach is being investigated by the Secret Service, the Department of Justice and a forensics team. State attorneys general have joined to conduct their own probe of the theft. WCCO notes that the hearings began Monday, when lawmakers in a Senate banking subcommittee quizzed the Secret Service about when Target told the federal agency about the breach. The Secret Service has not yet arrested hackers accused in any of the incidents.

The hearing focused on whether retailers who experienced the breach delayed informing law enforcement and the public about the security lapse. One of the laws under consideration would require immediate reporting by companies to both consumers and law enforcement.

There were also questions about what kind of tougher laws could be enacted to protect consumers, and who exactly is at fault for the lax security.

The Associated Press reported that lawmakers may try to get to the bottom of what is currently a blame game. Bankers blame retailers for inadequate card security; retailers suggest that banks must upgrade the security technology for the credit and debit cards they issue.

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