WASHINGTON – The four lead sponsors of Senate legislation to protect the  nation’s most critical networks said Wednesday that cybersecurity legislation to be debated in the House provides inadequate protection against malicious cyber intrusions or attacks. Senators Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., Susan Collins, R-Maine, Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., have introduced the Cybersecurity Act of 2012, to apply minimum security standards to the networks of the nation’s most critical infrastructure. They released the following joint statement: 

“We are pleased House leadership recognizes the threats we face in cyberspace but are disappointed that none of the House bills addresses the most glaring vulnerability in our cyber defenses:  adequately protecting our most critical, privately-owned infrastructure.  The Senate is committed to passing comprehensive cybersecurity legislation because the threat we face to our economic and national security demands it.

“The House bills include important provisions that mirror portions of our bill regarding information sharing and cybersecurity research and development. But these pieces alone are not sufficient to defend our most critical networks from pernicious intrusions and attacks.

“By leaving out protection for critical infrastructure – our electric grid, water and sewer systems, transportation and financial networks – the House ignores the advice of our intelligence community, our national and homeland security leaders, as well as a number of prominent Republicans, including former Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell, former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, 9/11 Commission Co-Chairman Gov. Tom Kean, and even President Ronald Reagan’s chief economist Martin Feldstein, who serves as an outside advisor to the National Security agency.

“And, in failing to protect critical infrastructure, the House is turning away from proposals and recommendations from the House Republicans’ own leading cybersecurity experts, including the House Republican Cybersecurity Taskforce appointed by House leadership and led by Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Tex., as well as Rep. Mike McCaul, R-Tex., co-chair of the House Cybers Caucus; Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee; and Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Calif., who chairs the House Homeland Security Subcommittee with jurisdiction over cybersecurity.”  

“The government applies safety standards for cars, food, building structures, and toys, to name a few. Why not do the same for the infrastructure that powers our economy and provides us with the highest standard of living in the world?”