U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka, a senior member of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security, issued the following statement today after a minority of the Senate obstructed final consideration of the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 (S.3414).

“I am disappointed that some of my colleagues again blocked this critical national security legislation.  We must act to protect Americans’ safety, personal information, credit card numbers, intellectual property, trade secrets, and sensitive government intelligence. 

“For years, my colleagues and I on the Homeland Security Committee have heard about how computer networks in the United States – both in the government and in the private sector – are under constant cyber attack.  The computer control systems that operate our critical infrastructure, such as our electricity grid, water plants, and transportation systems, have been incessantly targeted as well. 

“Last month, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned that the U.S. faced the threat of a ‘cyber Pearl Harbor’ and national security experts on both sides of the aisle have warned about a impending ‘cyber 9/11.’  As a witness to the attack on Pearl Harbor, it is frightening to know that a successful attack on a critical infrastructure control system could lead to more loss of life, injury, and damage than those terrible events.  That is why I am disappointed that we once again failed to put partisan differences aside and pass this critical bill.  In light of today’s continued obstruction, I urge President Obama to move forward with an executive order to enhance the cybersecurity of our nation’s critical infrastructure.”

Today’s vote to end debate on the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 failed with 51 in support and 47 in opposition.  Sixty votes were needed to end debate.