WASHINGTON – In applauding the appointment of a National Cyber Security Chief within the Department of Homeland Security, Governmental Affairs Committee Ranking Member Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., expressed serious concern Tuesday about the nation’s lack of readiness against a cyber attack.
“The Bush Administration has shown insufficient leadership and offered little guidance on the enormous cyber security problems we face,” Lieberman said. “Instead, it has left the public sector, the private sector and the average computer user at home to fend for themselves.”
“We have fallen far behind where we should be,” Lieberman continued, “and frankly, we cannot afford it. The numerous computer worms that plagued Internet systems this year – and the $12 billion in economic losses that accompanied them – show just how vulnerable we have become. Unless this Administration takes action soon, we will suffer additional losses.” Lieberman said Amit Yoran’s background shows broad experience with computer security in both the public and private sectors – experience that will be critical to the success of the Cyber Security Division of DHS. But he noted that Mr. Yoran will be playing a difficult game of catch-up. “The Bush Administration issued an extremely vague strategy on cyber security in early February, and has done little since,” Lieberman said. “It has shown inadequate attention to the development of a comprehensive and effective plan, much less a timeline for implementing the plan.” In March, Lieberman asked Homeland Security Department Secretary Tom Ridge when and how he planned to establish an inventory of critical infrastructure, including cyber and other assets, that need protection. Nearly six months later the Department has still failed to take that basic step. “The Administration has demonstrated, though its neglect of cyber security, that computer security is not a priority,” Lieberman said. “This has been a mistake, but perhaps Mr. Yoran, with his impressive experience and background, will be able to begin to address these very important issues.” -30-