McCain Pushes For Select Committee to Address Wikileaks, Anonymous Attacks

In the face of continued attacks on federal agencies and contractors such as Booz Allen Hamilton and IRC Federal that do highly sensitive security work for the U.S. government, Sen. John McCain has asked Senate leaders to appoint a select committee to look into the attacks and data leaks that have plagued Washington throughout 2011.

In the face of continued attacks on federal agencies and contractors such as Booz Allen Hamilton and IRC Federal that do highly sensitive security work for the U.S. government, Sen. John McCain has asked Senate leaders to appoint a select committee to look into the attacks and data leaks that have plagued Washington throughout 2011.

In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, McCain (R-Ariz.) said that a temporary Senate committee is necessary in order to get a handle on all of the disparate cybersecurity legislation proposals and to address the threat posed by groups such as Anonymous, LulzSec and Wikileaks.

“I write to renew my request that the Senate create a temporary Select Committee on Cyber Security and Electronic Intelligence Leaks. I feel this Select Committee is necessary in order to develop comprehensive cyber security legislation and adequately address the continuing risk of insider threats that caused thousands of documents to be posted on the website Wikileaks,” McCain said in his letter, which he sent Thursday.

The request for the select committee comes on the heels of renewed attacks on federal agencies and contractors by Anonymous and other groups affiliated with the AntiSec movement. The most recent incidents in this campaign are the attack by Anonymous on Booz Allen Hamilton revealed on Monday and the attack on IRC Federal last weekend. Both companies are involved in national security work for the federal government, and such companies have become prime targets for the groups in the AntiSec campaign.

In his letter to Reid and McConnell, McCain says that the select committee he is proposing is necessary for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the need to decipher the tangle of legislative proposals and agencies involved in the cybersecurity discussion.

“As you know, cyber security legislation has been drafted by at least three committees and at least seven committees claim some jurisdiction over the issue. The White House put forward a legislative proposal in May and the Department of Energy put forth requirements and responsibilities for a cyber security program that same month. Earlier this month, the Department of Commerce sought comment on its proposal to establish voluntary codes of behavior to improve cyber security and the Department of Defense issued its strategy for operating in cyberspace. With so many agencies and the White House moving forward with cyber security proposals, we must provide congressional leadership on this pressing issue of national security,” McCain wrote in the letter.

In addition to the attacks on contractors and federal agencies, the government has been dealing with the fallout from the myriad revelations in the Wikileaks documents that have been trickling out since last year. McCain said in the letter that he thinks the government’s current plan for dealing with these things is inadequate.

“I truly believe the only way to ensure the protection of sensitive and valuable information from tampering or dissemination by unauthorized persons is a Select Committee,” McCain said.

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Discussion

  • Mace Moneta on

    Why is sensitive information being placed on systems connected to the Internet?  No one can remotely access information that isn't there.  That's what "air walls" are all about - to physically separate information from remote access.

  • Anonymous on

    SPELLING.

  • Anonymous on

    Let's not forget, McCain is staunchly against Net Neutrality and if there's anyone who has telecom lobbyist hands down the front of their pants - it's him.

    Why is it that we let these people, who know nothing about how the fundamentals of the underlying technology, govern the internet? "Oh we had a security breach, I know how to fix this! More beauracracy!" - this attitude has got to stop or else Washington is in for one hell of a giant headache in the future.

    Instead of actually fixing the problems that led to the breaches in the first place, they're always looking for somewhere to lay the blame and trying to come up with new ways of punishing people.

    You know what, they've been punishing pot smokers for almost a century now and that hasn't deterred them - Why do they think punishing "hackers" (I use the word loosely here) is going to stop anyone from poking around at computer networks?

  • Anonymous on

    Their time and energy would be much better spent investigating why companies that hold sensitive government informations are so vulnerable, and then do something about it. Groups like Wikileaks, LulzSec, Anonymous, et al are not the threat. Arrogant corporate executives who trade security for profit$ (good security is hard and expensive, with little payback in most cases) should be taken out to the woodshed and taught a lesson.

  • Anon E. Mouse on

    "I truly believe the only way to ensure the protection of sensitive and valuable information from tampering or dissemination by unauthorized persons is a Select Committee,"

    I almost spit milk out my nose when I read that! To quote Heinlein- "A comittee is a life form with six or more legs and no brain." I respect Sen. McCain. But I have no confidence that he or any of our elected officials can even understand the technical issues involved, let alone come up with a viable solution.

    Strangely we're now in the position where Anonymous and similar 'hacktivist' groups are contributing more to our national security than the contractors our government hires to do the job...

    How's that you ask?

    With every breach, a hole is exposed and closed. With every leak, corruption is exposed. Think people are getting hurt by Anonymous? Honestly if the data isn't released the hole doesn't get fixed. Most companies would simply deny they had been hacked. Data dumps make this impossible and shame the private sector into fixing the vulnerabilities. Ponder this one- How do we know that the vulnerabilities exposed by Anon. haven't already been exploited by foreign powers. If I was for example China, and I got into a contractor like H.B. Gary's network I'd keep it  REAL QUIET. I'd get in, stay in, and leach their data for as long as possible.

    I do not endorse Anonymous but I have a hard time condemning them.

    Food for thought.

     

  • Anonymous on

    McCain says absolutely, positively nothing that could even be implied to be related to Anonymous or LulzSec. He wants to address "insider threats" like Bradley Manning. This article seems to be reading way too much into what isn't even there.

  • Anon E. Mouse on

     in response to 'reading too much into what isn't even there', read the letter dude.-

    Just this month former CIA Chief and current Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee and said, “The next Pearl Harbor we confront could very well be a cyber attack …” We must act now and quickly develop and pass comprehensive legislation to protect our electric grid, air traffic control system, water supply, financial networks and defense systems and much more from a cyber attack.

    Cyber attack implies attackers. The highest profile of which are Anonymous and Lulzsec/Antisec.

    Realistically, insider threats have very little to do with cyber-security. The insiders who leak documents have access to them. Cyber security can't prevent that. it can only provide a list of suspects (i.e.- those who had access). My previous post mentioning Anonymous was simply an observation of how computer security has turned into a 'Bizzarro World' where the good guys aren't so good and the bad guys not so bad.

  • Anonymous on

    Hmm, not sure if I understand right but this mostly sounds like an opportunity for the intelligence/security industry lobbyism to start to open up. That's just great.
  • Anonymous on

    Anonymous release their hacks to the public showing how weak security is. Foreign Government hackers keep it a secret and you never know they are there going through your secrets over and over and over. + 1 Anonymous

  • Anonymous on

    oops.. sorry for the multiple replys.

  • Rex Alfie Lee on

    I know McCain is an ex-serviceman but I wonder who it is that he services? Other men whom he thinks are important so he bends over for them. I mean he is an a-hole after all. Who cares what this jerk thinks?

  • Anonymous on

    Isn't McCain the wrong guy to lead this?  Has he figured out email yet?

  • McShame on

    LOL!!! Only a few years ago McShame didn't even know how to use e-mail. Now he wants to go after one of the most notorious hacking groups in the world? Good luck Grandpa!

  • Anonymous on

    So my take on this: "We need to punish people for exposing our lies. We need to learn to lie better and develop ways to get away with corruption and hypocrisy."

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