Heat wave: US administration tries to 'simulate' support for Senate cybersecurity bill

Nothing says 'comfort' like a lack of AC during a New York City blackout in August
Nothing says 'comfort' like a lack of AC during a New York City blackout in August

The Justice Department, the FBI, the National Security Agency, and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) conducted the simulation during a briefing with senators hosted by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), one of the sponsors of the administration-backed Cybersecurity Act introduced last month.

The demonstration was “intended to provide all senators with an appreciation for new legislative authorities that could help the U.S. government prevent and more quickly respond to cyber attacks”, Caitlin Hayden, a White House spokeswoman, told Bloomberg in an e-mail.

The mock attack was “very compelling. It illustrated the problem and why legislation is desperately needed”, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Me.), the sole Republican sponsor of the Cybersecurity Act, told Bloomberg as she left the briefing. Other sponsors of the legislation are senators Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).

A competing bill, which focuses more on information sharing than government regulation to improve US cybersecurity, was introduced last week by a group of Republican senators led by John McCain (R-Ariz.). Instead of giving the DHS the authority to oversee the cybersecurity of private sector critical infrastructure, the alternative bill would rely more on information sharing between the government and private industry and federal money for cybersecurity improvements.

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), one of the sponsors of the Republican alternative, told Bloomberg after the administration briefing that the Cybersecurity Act would create a “big new bureaucracy and regulatory scheme.”

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