Mr. Werfel at Hearing by House Ways and Means Committee is licensed under U.S Congress

IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel does not like to provide direct answers to questions.

Werfel testified to the House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday and was questioned by Congressman David Kustoff (R-Tenn.) about the data security vulnerabilities of IRS agents who work from home. Such agents frequently handle the most sensitive, private tax information.

Werfel said only 50% of IRS employees go to the office for work. He also said in-person attendance in the IRS headquarters building itself was likely less than 50%.

Kustoff explored the security environment of an agent working from home — with family members and roommates looming nearby and phones and laptops accessible — vs. working in a secure office.

Also consider that many IRS agents are for some reason allowed to use their personal phones and laptops to access, handle, store, and transmit the most sensitive taxpayer information. This is referred to as “Bring Your Own Device” — as opposed to accepting a government-issued device. The official IRS watchdog — the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration — has raised significant concerns about the data security risks of such devices.

If housemates, significant others and kids have access to these personal devices at home, common sense indicates there are more opportunities for sensitive data breaches.

But Werfel did not want to acknowledge the contrasting security environments of home vs. official office. He even tried to compare a home environment with Bring Your Daughter to Work Day: “What if someone has a take your daughter to work day?”

After multiple attempts to get a straight answer, Kustoff said: “Let the record show that you are nonresponsive.” Werfel replied, “Fair enough.”

Video of the exchange is here and below: