The U.S. Senate's final push to pass Sens. Joe Lieberman
(I-Ct.) and Susan Collins' (R-Maine.) cyber security bill into law next month will
likely be bolstered by a newfound sense of urgency on all things cybersecurity,
said Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) this morning.
"The sense of urgency is heightened, I believe the
comments by [Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Gen. Martin Dempsey] have
sad that we have a compelling need," to pass legislation aimed at defending
privately owned critical infrastructure from cyber attack, said Mikulski at a
cyber security conference in Baltimore. "I think we'll find a way if we get the
will, and we're developing the will because of the great sense of urgency"
The Lieberman-Collins bill, known as the Cyber Security Act
of 2012, would establish minimal IT security standards -- and leave it largely
up to private industry to enforce those standards -- allows rapid information
sharing between businesses and the government, protects those businesses from
lawsuits for inappropriately sharing information on private citizens and it
restricts the type of information that could be collected about U.S. citizens
and how it could be used.
The bill is aimed at defending banks, utilities and
transportation companies and other so called, critical infrastructure
providers, from cyber attacks.
CSA 2012 was shot down in early August by Republicans
opposed to government-mandated cyber security standards for private companies.
However, if a large-scale cyber attack of the type that
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta recently warned of happens, Congress will pass
regulations far stricter than those contained in the Lieberman Collins bill.
"If there's a wholesale attack on critical infrastructure, the
congress will react, . . . they'll pound their chest, hold snarky little
hearings, we'll over spend and we'll over-regulate," warned Mikulski. "We're
now at a time of great rationality with a great sense of urgency, we can do it
and we can do it right."
Mikulski's comments come after Sen. Majority Leader Harry
Reid (D-Nev.) announced on Saturday that he will bring Lieberman and Collins'
bill to the Senate floor in November.
"Secretary Panetta has made clear that inaction is not an option,"
said Reid. "I will bring cybersecurity legislation back to the Senate floor
when Congress returns in November. My colleagues who profess to understand the urgency
of the threat will have one more chance to back their words with action, and
work with us to pass this bill."