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Congressman Langevin Determined to Prevent a 'cyber 9/11'

By NextGov.com

April 30, 2009

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In an interview, Rep. James R. Langevin (D-R.I.), the co-founder and co-chair of the House Cybersecurity Caucus, said he promises to do everything he can to prevent a massive cyberattack on the U.S.'s infrastructure — an event he said would be the equivalent of a "cyber 9/11." For example, Langevin says he plans to work with his colleagues in the U.S. Congress to exercise strong oversight of the nation's information technology (IT) networks, for example.  He also says it is important that Congress work with the Obama administration to ensure that the federal government adopts the correct cybersecurity strategy.

Langevin says that Congress could improve cybersecurity by passing legislation that would directly codify the findings of the CSIS Commission on Cybersecurity, which he co-chaired. But Congress alone cannot take charge of efforts to bolster the security of the nation's IT networks, Langevin says. He calls on the Obama administration to create the position of special assistant to the president for cybersecurity. Langevin says there also should be someone in the White House that has budgetary and policy authority across federal departments and agencies.

One thing that should not be done to bolster cybersecurity is to put the National Security Agency in charge of protecting the nation from cyberattacks, Langevin says. He points out that such a "large and complex issue" should not be handled by just one agency, but should instead be coordinated at a policy and budgetary level from the White House.

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