The Complex

House intel committee working with White House to avoid another CISPA veto

The leaders of the House intelligence committee say they are working with the White House to ensure passage of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, which fell to a presidential veto threat last year but which Chairman Mike Rogers' (R-Mich.) reintroduced yesterday.

The bill would establish rapid information-sharing about cyber threats between private businesses and the government. Last year, the White House threatened to veto it over concerns from privacy groups that the bill gave the government too much authority to view people's online activities without a warrant.

"We were working with the White House for one year, and we thought everything was going to be fine," Dutch Ruppersburger, the committee's ranking member, said yesterday in a joint appearance with Rogers. "Fifteen minutes before we went to the rules committee, we received a phone call that the president was going to veto our bill."

"We've resolved all that," he added. "We're working with the White House as of today. Mike [Rogers] and I talked with the national security advisor [Tom] Donilon and the White House is now working with us to ensure that somehow, some way, we get a bill."

Rogers was a little more cautious, telling reporters yesterday that White House "does not endorse the bill" as it stands right now and that negotiations over its contents are ongoing. "They want to see changes in the bill, but that's a long way from where we used to be," said Rogers. "We're actually having a dialogue on how the bill moves through, I welcome that, that's a good thing." 

Ruppersburger and Rogers repeatedly emphasized during a Capitol Hill hearing today that the bill will not infringe on privacy, and that CISPA only authorizes the government and private companies to share digital threat signatures, "ones and zeros" that make up packets carrying malware.

It does not allow the government to not "monitor your computer, read your email, tweets or Facebook posts," Ruppersburger said yesterday.

The two lawmakers also said they are committed to working with privacy advocates on the bill.

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