Originally published: June 16, 2010
Last updated: June 16, 2010 - 5:00pm
Lawmakers on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee appear confident their recently unveiled comprehensive cybersecurity legislation will pass the Senate this year, despite the Administration's refusal to endorse the bill at a hearing on June 15.
At a hearing to discuss the Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act of 2010 on Tuesday experts testified the bill would significantly upgrade the federal government's approach to protecting its networks. Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), who sponsored the bill with Sens. Susan Collins, (R-Maine) and Thomas Carper (D-Delaware) said he has scheduled the bill for a markup next week and he anticipates reporting it to the Senate floor before the July 4 recess. The hearing turned briefly contentious when Sen. John McCain, (R-AZ) questioned Philip Reitinger, deputy undersecretary of the National Protection and Programs Directorate at DHS, on the nature of denial of service attacks launched against the nations of Estonia and Georgia last year. Reitinger refused to attribute the attacks despite widespread media reports that they originated in Russia, causing McCain to shake his head in disbelief. Sen McCain also expressed doubt that DHS is the ideal choice to take the lead on civilian cybersecurity. "After DHS' handling of the Christmas bomber, I am not confident that DHS at this particular time is the proper bureaucracy to work in partnership, particularly with the Department of Defense," Sen McCain said.
House Homeland Security Intelligence Subcommittee Chairwoman Jane Harman (D-CA) and ranking member Peter King (R-NY) said Wednesday they plan to introduce legislation soon that mirrors a sweeping cybersecurity bill recently introduced in the Senate, which would give the government emergency authority to take critical information technology systems offline in dire situations when no other option is available.
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