Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Clarke Looks at Cyber Security

There is an interesting interview of Rep. Yvette Clarke (D, NY) over at FCW.com. She chairs the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats, Cybersecurity, and Science and Technology of the House Homeland Security Committee. This makes her an important player in the consideration of cyber security legislation in the House, especially any that would affect chemical facilities. Other than ‘Smart Grid’ she never specifically addresses control system security, but she was talking to a reporter that covers Federal IT issues so there would not be the focus on ICS security. She did mention that there is an on-going GAO look at cyber security and infrastructure protection. This could cover just about anything, but hopefully it will include some mention of ICS security issues. To me, the most important disclosure in the interview was the mention of an upcoming meeting of Subcommittee Chair from across the House that will be looking at coordinating their efforts on cyber security issues. Crossing Committee boundaries is almost as unheard of in Congress as crossing party lines in the current Congress. I was disappointed, but certainly not surprised, to hear Ms Clarke’s response to the question about the chances for passing comprehensive cyber security legislation. I think that her comment that it’s “not rising to the top at this moment” is a bit of an understatement, though she does note that there is an increasing awareness of cyber security issues. The one thing missing from this interview is any discussion of that disappearing word, bipartisan. If someone were working on developing a bipartisan consensus type bill, I think that it would have a good chance of passing. Republican opposition to big government and excess spending has always been somewhat lessened when you talk about security matters, so there is an increased area of potential philosophical overlap for a bipartisan effort. Of course this is an election year and too many politicians see ‘bipartisan’ anything as a political liability this year.

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