Administration's computer safety A-team urges passage of Cybersecurity Act
August 1st, 2012
10:25 PM ET

Administration's computer safety A-team urges passage of Cybersecurity Act

By Suzanne Kelly

The White House rolled out its cybersecurity A-team Wednesday for an on-the-record telephone conference, with reporters hearing an appeal for the Senate to pass the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 now being debated on the Senate floor.

John Brennan, assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism, was joined by Keith Alexander, chief of U.S. Cyber Command and head of the National Security Agency, as well as Jane Holl Lute, deputy secretary at the Department of Homeland Security, and Eric Rosenbach, deputy assistant secretary of defense for cyberpolicy.

"The risks to our nation are real and immediate," Brennan said, adding that the White House doesn't see the legislation as a partisan issue, but rather a matter of national security.

Brennan said that if passed, the new legislation would give the government the three legislative elements it needs to fend off cyberattacks: new information sharing between the government and private industry, better protection of critical infrastructure like the power grid and water filtration facilities, and authority for the Department of Homeland Security to unite federal resources to lead the government's cybersecurity team.

"First and foremost, we see that the threat is real and we need to act now," said Alexander, who recently returned from a hacker convention in Las Vegas, where he urged the best and the brightest to put their skills to work for the government.

He stressed that the new legislation would enable the government to prevent an attack, not just respond to one, and said the FBI, DHS, Cyber Command and the NSA can unite as a team to do so. He said he believes the current legislation adequately addresses privacy and civil liberty concerns that critics have raised.

Lute added that the status quo is simply unacceptable and that the current DHS cyberteam receives a phone call every 90 seconds reporting a new intrusion.

Brennan said President Obama has received regular updates on the status of the legislation this week. The urgent appeal comes as Congress prepares to take its August recess Friday.

soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. info sehat

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    August 21, 2012 at 7:02 am | Reply
  2. electric-current

    If we don't beef up our network security, the consequences would be more than catastrophic. We might end up going backwards, and I mean back to the world of no computers which is not good for the global economy. In fact it could turn into anarchy, and no one will be happy nor peaceful about it.

    August 15, 2012 at 11:39 pm | Reply
  3. HJA

    Almost every aspect of our government has ties to the internet. To not lock down and protect our systems is not only stupid it's asking for an attack.

    August 2, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Reply
  4. Phunnie boy

    Please guys, do pass the Cyber Security Act. I'm shaking in my shoes and how!!!

    August 2, 2012 at 10:13 am | Reply

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