Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid engaged in bureaucratic chicanery Wednesday so that the White House could implement its own policy on cyber security by executive order – a policy that is sorely lacking, according to a Wall Street Journal editorial
What Reid did was to push a cyber security bill to the floor that he knew would fail, Journal editors write. “By aborting a bipartisan congressional push to strengthen the nation's digital defenses, . . . the Senate majority leader is giving political cover to White House plans to regulate the web by bureaucratic fiat,” they say.
Congress was working on a way to facilitate information-sharing about potential cyber threats between the government and business. In April, a bipartisan House majority voted to give companies liability protection to encourage them to monitor their systems and report attacks to the government without worrying about getting sued.
The Senate’s bill included that but went too far, requiring minimum network security standards and giving the Homeland Security Department regulatory primacy, the editorial states. With Republican opposition, the bill failed in August.
Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., had called a Senate meeting for Thursday to reach a compromise, but instead Reid just brought the August bill to the floor, and it failed again.
The result will be an executive order that “imposes the Senate's contentious regulatory scheme without the useful information sharing,” the editorial says. “A government council would decide what kind of security applies to which ‘critical’ industries.”
The end result: “Mr. Reid's partisan legislative virus makes the U.S. more vulnerable to a cyber attack,” Journal editors write.
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