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White House to meet with House staffers over cybersecurity order

by mda-web01 | 10th October 2012

Obama administration officials plan to discuss a possible executive order aimed at improve cybersecurity with House aides.

Caitlin Hayden, a White House spokeswoman, acknowledged on Tuesday that an interagency team, led by White House national security staff, met with Senate aides on Friday. She said the administration is planning to hold a similar session with House staffers in the “near future.”

“The administration is continuing to explore improvements both through the promotion of cybersecurity best practices and increased cybersecurity information sharing. Issuing an Executive Order is one – though certainly not the only – vehicle we are considering,” she wrote in an email.

The planned meeting comes after Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, called the White House “irresponsible” for failing to reach out to Republican lawmakers and businesses about a cybersecurity order.

“Why you wouldn’t want input from the outside on this stuff is beyond me,” Rogers said last week. “And that tells me what kind of product you’re going to get too, would be my guess.”

Rogers is the author of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), which passed the House in April. The measure would encourage companies and the government to share information with each other about cyberattacks. But the White House threatened to veto the bill over concerns that it would give spy agencies access to people’s personal information.

The White House endorsed a separate Senate bill, the Cybersecurity Act, which included tougher privacy protections and would have set government security standards for critical infrastructure, such as gas pipelines and banks.

But Republicans blocked the Cybersecurity Act, arguing that the standards would burden businesses and do little to improve security.

The potential executive order is expected to give the Homeland Security Department the authority to develop voluntary cybersecurity standards for critical infrastructure. The president’s legal authority to enact the information-sharing provisions without congressional approval is limited.

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