President-elect Donald Trump arrives for his inauguration ceremony at the Capitol on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC.
PHOTO: Pool/Getty Images
President-elect Donald Trump arrives for his inauguration ceremony at the Capitol on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Now playing
02:07
Source: Employees terrified by EPA lockdown
This image was taken during the first drive of NASA's Perseverance rover on Mars on March 4, 2021. The team has spent the weeks since landing checking out the rover to prepare for surface operations.
PHOTO: JPL-Caltech/NASA
This image was taken during the first drive of NASA's Perseverance rover on Mars on March 4, 2021. The team has spent the weeks since landing checking out the rover to prepare for surface operations.
Now playing
02:17
NASA releases stunning new images from Mars
PHOTO: ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live!"
Now playing
02:09
Sacha Baron Cohen plays Covid vaccine dealer to the stars
PHOTO: CNN
Now playing
04:37
Keilar calls out Tucker Carlson's show: Partisan junk food
PHOTO: MyHeritage
Now playing
01:01
Watch old photos come to life using AI
PHOTO: CNN/Getty Images
Now playing
06:46
McEnany says she expected 'peaceful' rally on January 6. Keilar rolls the tape
Now playing
01:26
No, Tom Cruise isn't on TikTok. It's a deepfake
PHOTO: ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live
Now playing
02:02
Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall reunite in 'Coming 2 America'
PHOTO: Courtesy AirlingRatings.com
Now playing
03:06
Virgin Atlantic CEO: We support Covid vaccine passports
Now playing
01:19
Warren proposes wealth tax: 'It's time for them to pay a fair share'
Now playing
01:43
Marriott CEO: Vaccinations are 'the key' to travel recovery

Story highlights

Two GOP congressmen are claiming possible violations of the Freedom of Information Act

The EPA bureaucracy has been consistently butting heads with the new administration

(CNN) —  

Congressional Republicans are trying to clamp down on rank-and-file employees from the Environmental Protection Agency who have turned to secret messaging platforms to voice frustration with the new Trump administration.

Claiming possible violations of the Freedom of Information Act, two senior Republican congressman asked the EPA Tuesday to review the use of Signal, an encrypted messaging application, within the agency to conduct official business. Some at the EPA are reportedly turning to the app to speak out confidentially against current administration policy on the environment.

“The committee is concerned that EPA career officials’ decision to utilize encrypted messaging tools in fact circumvents federal record-keeping requirements and is an attempt to shield communications from production in response to (Freedom of Information Act) or congressional requests,” Reps. Lamar Smith, the chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, and Darin LaHood, the oversight subcommittee chair, wrote in a letter.

The committee’s Democrats said they could not verify the conduct alleged in the reports but said federal records laws must be followed.

“It is clear the new administration has created an environment where government scientists are feeling intimidated and fearful for their ability to continue to do their work without political interference,” said spokeswoman Kristin Kopshever. “That said, attempts to evade federal records requirements are unacceptable whether they take place at a federal agency or in the White House.”

The EPA bureaucracy has been consistently butting heads with the new administration: Trump’s team is examining the EPA website to determine which information will remain, underscoring concerns that climate change and other scientific data might be removed.

And EPA employees have also been instructed not to distribute news releases, publish blog posts or post anything on social media. It’s part of a crackdown by the new administration that seems to be especially felt at the EPA and the Interior Department, leaving some employees “terrified,” CNN reported last month.

CNN’s Rene Marsh and Dan Merica contributed to this report.