Cybersecurity

House Intel chairman upbeat on cyber legislation

Shutterstock image.

The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee says he is "extremely optimistic" that Congress can pass an information-sharing bill for cybersecurity this year.

Michigan Republican Mike Rogers said June 12 that his meeting the day before with Intel ranking Democrat Dutch Ruppersberger of Maryland and their Senate Intelligence Committee counterparts, Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), was the "most productive" of the year related to the information-sharing legislation.

Though some members of Congress have raised privacy concerns over information sharing between the private and public sector, the legislation now enjoys bipartisan support in part because intelligence officials have briefed lawmakers on the full scope of cyber issues, Rogers said at an American Enterprise Institute conference.

Chambliss expressed similar optimism last week about the compatibility of the House and Senate bills.

The House passed its version in April 2013 with two-thirds support; the Senate has yet to bring a bill to the floor in this Congress.

The House bill would establish response centers for threat information in the departments of Homeland Security and Justice, with DOJ focusing on cybercrime.

Rogers said that public misconceptions of intelligence agencies after the leaks of former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden have made passing information-sharing legislation significantly harder.

"Every day there’s a new article that isn't exactly right in the newspaper about leaks that are coming out from the NSA," he said at the AEI event in Washington, D.C.

A January poll from the Associated Press and GfK found that more than 60 percent of Americans surveyed said it was more important for the government to safeguard their civil rights than protect them against terrorism.

Rogers called that a false choice.

"We're caught in these series of debates that you have to have either privacy or security. I believe you have to have both, and you can have both," he said.

In the debate over the virtues of information sharing, cybersecurity experts have said it might take a high-profile cyberattack for the public to grasp the seriousness of the threat. But that public realization has yet to come, Rogers said.

"I really did hope that the Target example would kind of shock Americans to understanding as great as an opportunity as the Internet is, it also presents a whole new level of danger that we need to try to deal with," he said, referring to the hacking of 40 million payment accounts at the retail giant. "I don’t think our psyche has gotten there yet."

Former NSA Director Gen. Michael Hayden also vigorously defended the agency's bulk collection of data at the AEI event, and agreed with Rogers that cyberspace is largely new policy territory for the government and public. Americans "have not yet determined what it is we want the government to do to keep us safe in this new domain, and we certainly haven’t decided what it is we are going to let the government do to keep us safe in this domain," he said.

About the Author

Sean Lyngaas is an FCW staff writer covering defense, cybersecurity and intelligence issues. Prior to joining FCW, he was a reporter and editor at Smart Grid Today, where he covered everything from cyber vulnerabilities in the U.S. electric grid to the national energy policies of Britain and Mexico. His reporting on a range of global issues has appeared in publications such as The Atlantic, The Economist, The Washington Diplomat and The Washington Post.

Lyngaas is an active member of the National Press Club, where he served as chairman of the Young Members Committee. He earned his M.A. in international affairs from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and his B.A. in public policy from Duke University.

Click here for previous articles by Lyngaas, or connect with him on Twitter: @snlyngaas.


The Fed 100

Save the date for 28th annual Federal 100 Awards Gala.

Featured

  • computer network

    How Einstein changes the way government does business

    The Department of Commerce is revising its confidentiality agreement for statistical data survey respondents to reflect the fact that the Department of Homeland Security could see some of that data if it is captured by the Einstein system.

  • Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Army photo by Monica King. Jan. 26, 2017.

    Mattis mulls consolidation in IT, cyber

    In a Feb. 17 memo, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told senior leadership to establish teams to look for duplication across the armed services in business operations, including in IT and cybersecurity.

  • Image from Shutterstock.com

    DHS vague on rules for election aid, say states

    State election officials had more questions than answers after a Department of Homeland Security presentation on the designation of election systems as critical U.S. infrastructure.

  • Org Chart Stock Art - Shutterstock

    How the hiring freeze targets millennials

    The government desperately needs younger talent to replace an aging workforce, and experts say that a freeze on hiring doesn't help.

  • Shutterstock image: healthcare digital interface.

    VA moves ahead with homegrown scheduling IT

    The Department of Veterans Affairs will test an internally developed scheduling module at primary care sites nationwide to see if it's ready to service the entire agency.

  • Shutterstock images (honglouwawa & 0beron): Bitcoin image overlay replaced with a dollar sign on a hardware circuit.

    MGT Act poised for a comeback

    After missing in the last Congress, drafters of a bill to encourage cloud adoption are looking for a new plan.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group