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Senators call cyber security executive order a ‘mistake’

Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), and Richard Lugar (R-IN) urged the White House on Oct. 10 to forestall issuing an executive order on Cyber security because they said it would hamper efforts at more comprehensive, long-term efforts to protect the nation against electronic assault.

In the face of intense wrangling on Capitol Hill that has stymied cyber security legislation this year, the White House is considering an executive order that would put some protections in place.

In an Oct. 10 letter to the White House, Sens. Collins (ranking member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and a principal author of Cyber security legislation), Snowe and Lugar said issuing an order would be a “mistake” and urged further efforts to work with Congress on more comprehensive legislation.

The three said Cyber security was too big of a policy issue for the White House to tackle alone and it “deserve [s] the transparency and legitimacy that can be achieved only though the legislative process.”

They warned that the order would lull the public into thinking that the problem has been solved.

The legislative process, they said, is the only way to develop effective clear protections from liability to spur voluntary cooperation from private companies to install Cyber protections and share threat information with the government, as well as  insure privacy protections.

“As Members who have worked hard to advance Cyber security legislation in the Senate, we believe the legislative process remains the best way to build lasting consensus on an issue that is vital to our national security and our economic prosperity,” they said. “We share your frustration that Congress has not yet completed its work on this legislation, but we remain committed to the legislative process and urge you to continue to work with Congress, rather than acting unilaterally through an executive order.”


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