Senators Collins, Snowe, and Lugar to White House: Refrain from Executive Order on Cybersecurity

Washington, DC –   U.S. Senators Susan Collins, Olympia J. Snowe, and Richard Lugar today sent a letter to the White House outlining their objections to a possible executive order on cybersecurity.    

Senator Collins is the Ranking Member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and one of the principal authors of comprehensive cybersecurity legislation.

The text of the letter follows.

October 10, 2012

The Honorable Barack Obama

President of the United States

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

As strong supporters of cybersecurity legislation, we are writing to urge you to refrain from issuing an Executive Order on this matter of national importance.  For the reasons outlined below, we believe that your issuing an Executive Order would be a mistake and we urge you to redouble your efforts to work with Congress to pass a cybersecurity bill.  

The ramifications of a national cybersecurity policy for the public and private sectors are significant and deserve the transparency and legitimacy that can be achieved only though the legislative process.  Moreover, an Executive Order could have the unintended consequence of undermining the need for Congress to act by lulling people into a false sense of security that the problem has been “solved” through executive action.

Only the legislative process can provide all of the tools, including clear protections from liability, necessary to incentivize voluntary participation to meet best practices and to protect companies that share cyber threat information with the government.  Only legislation can put in place the privacy protections that Americans expect from their government.  Only legislation can ensure that the cybersecurity policy endures from one Administration to the next and provide the long-term solutions needed to address the cyber threat. 

As Members who have worked hard to advance cybersecurity legislation in the Senate, we believe the legislative process remains the best way to build lasting consensus on an issue that is vital to our national security and our economic prosperity.  We share your frustration that Congress has not yet completed its work on this legislation, but we remain committed to the legislative process and urge you to continue to work with Congress, rather than acting unilaterally through an Executive Order.


 Susan M. Collins

 United States Senator                                                                        

Richard G. Lugar

United States Senator

Olympia J. Snowe

United States Senator