A Senate panel is “very close” to unveiling cybersecurity legislation aimed at helping and encouraging critical-infrastructure providers — including nuclear-power plants — to share more cyber-threat data with each other and the government, a top Republican said Tuesday, according to The Hill newspaper.
Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), the ranking member on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said at a cybersecurity conference in Washington that his panel is finalizing a bill akin to the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, which the Republican-led House passed in April. Senate Democrats largely balked at that House legislation and the White House threatened to veto it, charging it would not significantly protect citizens’ data privacy.
Chambliss nonetheless said he and Intelligence panel Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) are proceeding with their similar legislation, and currently are hashing out the final details, according to The Hill. The GOP senator said he and Feinstein have worked with Representatives Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.), who crafted the CISPA, in hopes of ensuring if the Senate bill passes the full chamber that it can be reconciled with the House plan.
At the cyber conference, sponsored by Politico, Chambliss indicated a sticking point members of the Senate Intelligence Committee are still debating: if and how their bill will grant immunity protection to companies that share cyber-threat data with the government, according to Politico. Chambliss further said the Senate Intelligence Committee’s bill will call for establishing a government portal for the cyber-threat data coming from the private sector, which likely would be part of the Homeland Security Department. However, he said he wants the National Security Agency to have access to the private-sector information — something that could alarm privacy advocates.
“You can’t have protection from a cybersecurity standpoint without the NSA being integrally involved,” Chambliss reportedly said. “I mean, they’re the experts.”
Chambliss and other lawmakers said at the Tuesday Newseum event lamented that the pace of cybersecurity legislation has slowed on Capitol Hill since former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked intelligence documents regarding the agency’s widespread surveillance activities.
Representative Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) said he suspected lawmakers would not address significant cybersecurity legislation this year. “It’s very difficult at this point,” he told Politico, “given the government shutdown and what happened as a result” of Snowden.
President Obama in February signed an executive order intended to implement some aspects of a cybersecurity bill that died in the Senate last year, which the U.S. Chamber of Commerce argued would have led to excessive regulations on companies. Obama’s executive order calls for government and industry officials to craft voluntary cyber-threat standards, and an early draft of them is due Oct. 12, according to Politico.
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"American spies collected information last summer revealing that senior Russian intelligence and political officials were discussing how to exert influence over Donald J. Trump through his advisers." The conversations centered around Paul Manafort, who was campaign chairman at the time, and Michael Flynn, former national security adviser and then a close campaign surrogate. Both men have been tied heavily with Russia and Flynn is currently at the center of the FBI investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
"Former FBI Director Robert Mueller has been cleared by U.S. Department of Justice ethics experts to oversee an investigation into possible collusion between then-candidate Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign and Russia." Some had speculated that the White House would use "an ethics rule limiting government attorneys from investigating people their former law firm represented" to trip up Mueller's appointment. Jared Kushner is a client of Mueller's firm, WilmerHale. "Although Mueller has now been cleared by the Justice Department, the White House may still use his former law firm's connection to Manafort and Kushner to undermine the findings of his investigation, according to two sources close to the White House."
Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and ranking member Mark Warner (D-VA) will subpoena two businesses owned by former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Burr said, "We would like to hear from General Flynn. We'd like to see his documents. We'd like him to tell his story because he publicly said he had a story to tell."