LIEBERMAN-HOMELAND-HNS

LIEBERMAN, IN FAREWELL SPEECH, WARNS OF CYBER THREAT@

Published on NewsOK Modified: November 28, 2012 at 3:57 pm •  Published: November 28, 2012
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LIEBERMAN, IN FAREWELL SPEECH, WARNS OF CYBER THREAT@<

(For use by New York Times News Service clients)@<

By CHARLES J. LEWIS@

C.2012 Hearst Newspapers@

WASHINGTON — Retiring Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., in what he called "my farewell homeland security address," on Wednesday warned that cyber attacks are a key threat that the United States has yet to recognize and defend against.

"We're vulnerable," said Lieberman, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, particularly in the private sector where transportation, finance, energy and communications infrastructures all are controlled by cyber systems.

The United States has improved defenses against cyber attacks on government systems — and has improved its capability for offensive cyber attacks — but the private sector is lagging, he said.

The Obama administration is expected to renew efforts next year for legislation requiring the private sector to bolster cyber security systems. Last August, Senate Republicans led by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., blocked a bill that would have set optional standards for critical computer systems considered vital to U.S. infrastructure.

Lieberman, 70, is retiring in January after serving 24 years in the Senate, including seven years as chair of the Homeland Security Committee. His work in that area will be a key part of Lieberman's legacy.

In remarks to an event sponsored by the George Washington University Homeland Security Policy Institute and Center for Strategic and International Studies, the senator listed cyber attacks as the top homeland security issue facing the United States.

He noted recent cyber attacks on U.S. banks, Saudi Aramco — the world's largest oil company — and the South Carolina Department of Revenue, where hackers stole Social Security numbers of taxpayers and other financial data.

Lieberman also listed violent homegrown Islamic extremism as an ongoing security threat and cited the 2009 massacre of 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas. Army Major Nidal Hasan, an American-born psychiatrist of Palestinian descent, has been charged in the shootings.

The senator said another homeland security problem is that Congress has failed to adopt a recommendation from the 9-11 commission — whose 2004 report he praised as "one of the best" government reports during his years in the Senate. The panel had urged Congress to concentrate its oversight of the intelligence and national security agencies in order to avoid jurisdictional overlap. The legislators haven't acted.



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