Obama Considering Executive-Branch Action on Cybersecurity
President Barack Obama is considering executive-branch action on U.S. cybersecurity after Congress failed to pass legislation to protect national security assets, a White House aide said.
“If the Congress is not going to act on something like this, then the president wants to make sure that we’re doing everything possible,” John Brennan, Obama’s counterterrorism adviser, said today at an event at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington.
Senate Republicans last week blocked a bill backed by Obama that would have set up voluntary cybersecurity standards for operators of infrastructure such as power grids and water-treatment plants that are considered essential to national security.
Republicans, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business groups said the voluntary standards would be a back door to government regulation of companies. The bill was sponsored by Senators Joe Lieberman, a Connecticut independent, and Susan Collins, a Maine Republican.
Brennan said opponents misrepresented the bill, which he said called for minimum performance standards. He didn’t specify what the White House is planning, or if it would take the form of an executive order.