Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), chairman of the Judiciary Terrorism and Homeland Security Subcommittee, at an oversight hearing for the Department of Homeland Security today, called on DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano to elevate combating cybersecurity to a higher priority within her department and the Administration. Senator Cardin also urged Secretary Napolitano to encourage the President to expedite nominations to the reconstituted Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board.
“Cyber attacks can threaten our critical infrastructure and wreak havoc in financial sectors, as well as travel and public utilities. But currently, the U.S. Government and private sector can only stop about 80% of the attacks. I commend Secretary Napolitano for making cybersecurity one of the five core homeland security missions as part of the first-ever Quadrennial Homeland Security Review. DHS is in an ideal position to help end the long-term neglect that cybersecurity has suffered in terms of agency coordination.”
Senator Cardin also expressed his support for two recent Administration actions on cybersecurity: (1) the appointment of a White House Cybersecurity Coordinator, and (2) the creation of a new DOD Cybercommand. He also noted continuing vulnerabilities in the private sector.
During today’s hearing, Senator Cardin also urged Secretary Napolitano to use her position and voice to encourage President Obama to submit nominees to the Senate for the reconstituted Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board as quickly as possible. The 9/11 Commission recommended a privacy and civil liberties board because it would serve a critical function in the government.
“Our highest priority is the safety and security of the American people, but we must do so without jeopardizing the basic civil liberties and civil rights of all Americans. One of the purposes of the reconstituted Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, according to the 9/11 Commission, is to ‘ensure that liberty concerns are appropriately considered in the implementation of laws, regulations, and executive branch policies related to efforts to protect the Nation against terrorism.’ President Obama has requested funding for the board in his annual budget but he has yet to nominate anyone to fill the vacant positions. This must change soon.”