Media Contact: Christine Glunz, 202.225.3072
Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Representative Zoe Lofgren, Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Science and Research and Development (D-San Jose) gave remarks at the subcommittee’s hearing “The Invisible Battleground: What the Department of Homeland Security Is Doing to Make America’s Cyberspace More Secure.” Following is the text of Lofgren’s remarks “as prepared.”
“Thank you Chairman Thornberry for holding this hearing and for your continued outstanding leadership of this subcommittee.
“Chairman Thornberry did a terrific job in summarizing the work that this subcommittee has done to date. All Members of this subcommittee should be commended for taking the time to study the incredible complex set of issues involving cybersecurity.
“We have learned a lot since this subcommittee first met at the beginning of the year. I think all would agree that our nation’s cyber infrastructure remains vulnerable, and that the federal government must provide leadership to better secure our systems in both the public and private sector.
“My concerns about the Department of Homeland Security are that it is just not providing sufficient leadership in the cyber arena, particularly in the following five areas.
“Reducing Vulnerabilities: The Department is tasked with reducing vulnerabilities to government and critical asset computers, as well as responding to cyber incidents. The number of cyber attacks, and resultant damage, however, continues to increase. This past August was the worst month ever for computer viruses. The Blaster, Welchia, and SoBig.F viruses, along with other attacks, caused more than $ 32.8 billion in economic damages, according to one digital risk assessment company.
“Coordination: Is the National Cyber Security Division (NCSD) coordinating with the private sector, other government agencies, and state and local governments to identify vulnerabilities? Has the NCSD begun a national risk assessment? If so, when will it be complete? I am very concerned that the Department is just not providing leadership in this area.
“Bush Administration Departures: In the last six months, the most senior Bush Administration cyber officials have left the government. These individuals include Richard Clarke, the special advisor to the president for cyber security; Howard Schmidt, the vice chair of the president’s critical infrastructure board and Clarke’s replacement; Ron Dick, the director of the National Infrastructure Protection Center; and John Tritak, director of the Critical Infrastructure Assurance Office.
“I am very concerned about these departures and that the National Cyber Security Division may lack sufficient personnel and resources to operate effectively
“Cyber priorities at DHS: Clearly, cyber security has been demoted in importance in the Administration with the lead official for cyber issues reduced from a special advisor to the President working in the White House, to a Directorship buried deep within the Department of Homeland Security. The nation’s cyber chief must have the both the access and resources to do the job.
“Cyber Chief at DHS: In addition, it took the department over 3 months to announce its choice for a leader of the NCSD. This delay is troublesome, and I am curious as to why it took the department so long to settle on a candidate. I am also concerned about the number of other jobs that need to be filled within the NCSD. How many desks are empty? Is there anyone there to answer the phone?
“With these concerns in mind, I am very encouraged by the person chosen to lead the NCSD. Mr. Amit Yoran currently serves as the Vice President of Managed Security Services Operations at Symantec Corporation, the internet security firm headquartered in Cupertino, California. I am very familiar with the work of Symantec. It remains one of the true bright spots in Silicon Valley, and its CEO, John Thompson is a talented and thoughtful leader.
“I am hopeful that Mr. Yoran will provide needed leadership in the NCSD. Once he in on the job, I am going to tell him that he must candidly tell me if he has the access and resources needed to do his job. If he is unable to do his job, Secretary Ridge should expect to hear directly from me.
“As you can see, I have many concerns about the cyber program at the Department of Homeland Security. I am pleased that we finally get to hear directly from a top official at DHS today on its efforts. Robert Liscouski, Assistant Secretary for Infrastructure Protection, has served as the acting chief of the National Cyber Security Division (NCSD) since it was established on June 6, 2003.
“I hope that Mr. Liscouski will address my many concerns and reassure me that cyber security is in fact a priority at the Department of Homeland Security.”