CSIS Interview: Cybersecurity with Sen. Whitehouse (D-RI)
May 3, 2010
WASHINGTON, May 3, 2010 – The Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) Cybersecurity Podcast Series interviewed Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) on cybersecurity issues. Sen. Whitehouse is chair of the Cybersecurity Task Force, established by the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence to evaluate cyber threats to the United States and issue recommendations to the Committee.
The CSIS Cybersecurity Podcast Series is made possible with support from Raytheon.
Please find a link to the interview below:
Please find excerpts from Sen. Whitehouse's interview below:
“[The intelligence community] has to make sure that it is defending the USA against cyber attack just as it would against any other kind of attack and use the covert tools at its disposal to do that. It’s also important that the boundary issues between the intelligence community and other overt organizations be made clear so that you don’t end up with the ball dropping between the two fielders – everyone knows where their responsibilities begin and end and what the coordination feature is for that boundary. I think those are probably the two major concerns. The fact of the matter is that, from a technological point of view, NSA is the mother ship and we have to make sure that we don’t compromise or diminish the technological capabilities and advantages that the expertise of NSA provides for the country, while at the same time making sure that safeguards for privacy and civil liberties are not only adhered to but that there is a mechanism in place for making sure that they are adhered to.”
“Cyberspace is an entirely new frontier and it’s a massive frontier. So one could easily spend a great deal of time engaged in oversight that was ineffectual because it wasn’t focused at the real key problem areas. Identification of the areas that are likely to be problematic, that are likely to require legislative change, that are likely to lead to boundary disputes or confusion or that bump up against civil liberties and privacy concerns are the key areas where we need to be focusing our time.”
“The biggest coordination challenge with regard to cyber security in my opinion is the question of what happens in the space between doing nothing about cyber attacks and cyber theft and the cyber attack or cyber theft that is so evident and so consequential and so attributable that we as a country have to take an overt action in response…In those circumstances, we pretty well know what to do. And doing nothing is always easy. But in between, in that sort of shadow area where attribution is difficult and where it hasn’t risen to the level where you want to make an overt declaration but you do want to hit back and show that there are consequences for what is going on. That is the area where coordination among the intelligence community and with other groups, particularly the military, is key, and where rules of engagement and chains of command need to be very clear.”
The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) is a private, tax-exempt institution focusing on international public policy issues. Its research is nonpartisan and nonproprietary. CSIS does not take specific policy positions; accordingly, all views, positions, and conclusions expressed in these publications should be understood to be solely those of the authors.
H. Andrew Schwartz