WASHINGTON – Senator Claire McCaskill, the top-ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, is calling for answers on what the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is doing to ensure agencies comply with its ban on use of Kaspersky Lab products on American government systems, and why it took the agency so long to issue the ban. DHS issued the ban in September, four months after administration officials publicly expressed concerns over Kaspersky products to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
“It’s clear that Kaspersky products on government systems jeopardize our national security,” McCaskill said. “Now that the Department of Homeland Security has issued the ban on Kaspersky products, it needs to ensure that departments and agencies follow through on removing the software.”
McCaskill’s letter to DHS Acting Secretary Elaine Duke calls for answers on why DHS waited so long to issue the ban, which systems are covered by the ban, and how DHS will ensure that agencies affected by the ban adhere to it. She also asked for details on other systems that could connect to federal government systems – such as ones used by contractors or local governments – and what DHS is doing to ensure that Kaspersky products do not remain on federal information systems through contractors and state and local governments.
The Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC) has oversight jurisdiction over federal agencies’ national security methods and processes, including cybersecurity. At a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing earlier this month, McCaskill questioned DHS and Department of Defense officials over their efforts to remove Kaspersky products. HSGAC recently approved a McCaskill-backed bill to help prevent cyberattacks on computer systems at DHS. The Senate has also approved a McCaskill-backed bill addressing cybersecurity threats to small businesses.
Read McCaskill’s letter to the DHS Acting Secretary HERE.