John Brennan, assistant to the President for
Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, issued a letter to Sen. Jay Rockefeller
(D-W.Va.), where he confirmed the White House is exploring
a cybersecurity executive order, according to a copy of the
letter released by Rockefeller.
congressional inaction, the President is determined to use existing executive
branch authorities to protect our nation against cyber threats," including
"exploring an executive order to direct executive branch departments and
agencies to secure the nation's critical infrastructure by working with the
the Senate failed to vote on a cybersecurity bill, the White House drew calls
from some Democrats, including Rockefeller, to step in and mandate cybersecurity protection measures given
that both sides agreed attacks from hackers, hacktivists and state sponsored
entities was an ongoing threat.
said in his letter that he agreed with Rockefeller that cybersecurity
guidelines to protect everything from airports to "national broadcast
systems" should be worked out between government and industry.
said that even if an executive order is issued, comprehensive legislation is
still needed. "Executive branch actions under existing authorities cannot
alter the reality that the United States Government will continue to be
hamstrung by outdated and inadequate statutory authorities that the legislation
would have addressed.
White House supported a primarily Democrat-backed Cybersecurity Act of 2012
that Republicans countered was overly regulatory. Their bill, the SECURE IT
Act, focused on information sharing rather than government/industry guidelines
that Republicans argued would morph into government mandates.