President Barack Obama will talk with House and Senate
Republicans and Democrats in four separate meetings over the next three days
and stemming gun violence and passing cybersecurity legislation will be among
the topics of conversation.
In a briefing with reporters Monday, White House press
secretary Jay Carney said that among his priorities will be "efforts to
move forward on actions to reduce gun violence" and "the need for
Congress to take action on cybersecurity."
The president has already issued an executive order
mandating more sharing of government cybersecurity threat info with industry
and creating a voluntary cybersecurity best practices regime with input from
industry. But the administration has also made it clear that was not a
substitute for bipartisan legislation that would deal with such issues as
liability for info sharing among industry players and between industry and
a Senate Commerce Committee hearing last week on implementing the executive
order, Department of Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano said a
"suite" of legislation was needed that would 1) incorporate privacy
and civil liberties; 2) create information sharing standards; 3) provide
additional tools to fight cybercrime; 4) create a data breach reporting
requirement; and 5) give DHS hiring authority equivalent to the National
Both Republicans and Democrats agree there is a growing
cyberthreat, but compromise legislation failed to materialize in the last
Congress despite that threat and Republicans have reintroduced a bill that
focuses on liability and info sharing.
While some Senators at the hearing expressed optimism that
compromise legislation could be achieved, the two administration witnesses,
Napolitano and Patrick Gallagher of the National Institute of Standards and
Technology, agreed that Republican-backed House legislation that dealt
primarily with information sharing was not sufficient to address the problem.
NSA is charged by the White House with facilitating and providing technical
support for the industry-driven cybersecurity framework.