Statements and Speeches
WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) participated in the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing, "Protecting Cyberspace: Assessing the White House Proposal."
For more information or to watch a webcast of the hearing, please click here.
A copy of Sen. Carper's remarks, as prepared for delivery, follows:
"Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for moving so swiftly to hold this hearing on the administration's proposal to improve our nation's ability to defend against cyber attacks.
"It's now been nearly ten years since September 11th. Over that period of time, our country has done a tremendous amount of work to defend against the kinds of attacks we saw on that day.
"We started with our airports, the launching pad for the destruction the 9/11 terrorists inflicted upon us. Under your leadership, Mr. Chairman, we then dramatically reorganized our government to better prevent attacks and prepare for the consequences of both natural and man-made disasters. We've also worked to better secure our ports, our mass transit systems, chemical facilities and other key pieces of critical infrastructure.
"Today, the architect of 9/11 is dead. And while we still face many threats, I think we can say that our country is, in a number of ways, much safer than it was on September 10th, 2001. That said, we face a new threat today that I don't think was even on our radar screen 10 years ago.
"More and more, Americans live their lives and conduct their business online. This has created attractive targets for hackers and criminals looking to steal information or money or just cause mischief. At the same time, an increased reliance on sophisticated technology to keep the lights on, keep our water clean, run our factories, and even to fight wars and defend our country. Terrorists with the ability to compromise and damage or destroy the technology we depend on every day could cause serious damage, potentially even on the scale of a "cyber 9/11."
"In past Congresses, I've introduced legislation to begin the process of addressing our cyber vulnerabilities by improving the way in which federal agencies secure their networks. Over the course of a series of hearings, the subcommittee I chair learned that agencies were relying on an outdated, expensive, paperwork-heavy system to secure the technology they rely on to serve the public and protect the important data they're entrusted with. Nobody could say for sure that that system worked and that our agencies were safe from cyber attack. My legislation aimed to hold agencies accountable for continuously monitoring their networks to ensure that they're as secure as possible at all times.
"Last year, I was pleased to join you, Mr. Chairman, and Senator Collins in developing comprehensive cyber security legislation that would have better secured agency networks while also beginning the process of working with the private sector to secure the critical systems they own. We introduced what I think is an improved version of our bill again this year.
"As my colleagues are aware, it's proven difficult so far this year to find bipartisan consensus on many issues here in the Senate. I have a feeling, however, that it might very well be possible to work across the aisle like we did after 9/11 to address the serious security challenges we face as a country. It is my hope, however, that we can act this time before the damage is done."