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Republicans, Democrats both support measure to expand federal power, but Ron Paul leads minority opposition

In an editorial in The Wall Street Journal, a newspaper published by conservative media mogul Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. (NWS), President Obama laid out his opinion of why poor cybersecurity is such a dire threat to the nation and his opinion on what should be done about it.

I. President Obama Calls Out Businesses for Poor Security

In the piece he describes the results of a recent wargames simulation by nation defense and intelligence agencies, recalling, "Across the country trains had derailed, including one carrying industrial chemicals that exploded into a toxic cloud. Water treatment plants in several states had shut down, contaminating drinking water and causing Americans to fall ill."

The scenario was fictional, but President Obama warns it could happen, if safeguards are not put in place.

Train derailed
President Obama claims terrorists could use cyber-attacks to derail trains.
[Image Source: Zimbio]

He blames poor security partially on the corporate sector, calling out the glaring incompetence security-wise of decision makers at some utilities and other vital infrastructure firms.  He writes:

Yet simply sharing more information is not enough. Ultimately, this is about security gaps that have to be filled. To their credit, many of these companies have boosted their cyber defenses. But many others have not, with some lacking even the most basic protection: a good password. That puts public safety and our national security at risk.

The American people deserve to know that companies running our critical infrastructure meet basic, commonsense cybersecurity standards, just as they already meet other security requirements.
 
 
Obama speaking
President Obama wants to expand the federal gov't to "solve" the cybersecurity "crisis".
[Image Source: U.S. Aid]

President Obama is proposing an amendment National Security Act of 1947 [PDF], which is ostensibly targeted at promoting information and expertise sharing between U.S. government agencies and key civilian-sector contractors/infrastructure providers.

II. Bill to Expand DHS is Backed by Both Parties, But Has a Few Vocal Critics

The bill, S.2105 [PDF], is a redraft of earlier House bill H.R. 3523.  

The new bill is dubbed the "Cybersecurity Act of 2012".  The key change from the earlier house measure is that the Senate bill funnels the information shared by private sector firms through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  President Obama vocally opposed the earlier House bill, which put the DHS in more of a backseat role.

Homeland Security
The bill would expand the scope of the DHS. [Image Source: CyTalk]
 
The new bill enjoys a fair measure of bipartisan support in the Senate.  It is sponsored by Senators Susan Collins (R- Maine), Joe Lieberman (I/D- Connecticut), Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.), and J. D. "Jay" Rockefeller IV (D- West Virginia).

However, the bill has a couple of vocal opponents among the more liberal and more conservative members of the House.  Among those opposed to expanding the DHS's role is Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX).  Rep. Paul called the bill "Big Brother writ large."

Ron Paul
Rep. Ron Paul is one of the few opponents of the measure to expand federal government.
[Image Source: AP]

Rep. Paul has suggested that the Department of Homeland Security is poor in talent, offensive to civil liberties, and redundant, commenting [source]:

Before 9/11, we were spending $40 billion a year, and the FBI was producing numerous information about people being trained on airplanes, to fly them but not land them. And they totally ignored them. So it’s the inefficiency of the bureaucracy that is the problem. So, increasing this with the Department of Homeland Security and spending more money doesn’t absolve us of the problem. Yes, we have every right in the world to know something about intelligence gathering. But we have to have intelligent people interpreting this information.

President Obama is urging Democrats and Republicans to come together, as they oft do, to overlook civil liberties and debt concerns and pass a bill to expand the federal government.  As with many such expansions of federal government pushed by America's two ruling parties in recent years, there will likely be large price tag to this measure.  And as usual the justification is "national security".

Sources: WSJ, U.S. Senate



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By inperfectdarkness on 7/23/2012 1:16:46 AM , Rating: 2
So freaking true. It's like he'll start talking about smaller government and fiscal responsibility....and the BANG: now he wants to return the US back into early 1800's isolationist policies.

I suppose every fecal flinger can at times craft poetry of sheer brilliance in between the mad ravings.


By steven975 on 7/23/2012 9:23:09 AM , Rating: 2
isolationism =/= actually being a good neighbor and having good relations.

He's not for shutting off foreign relations. He's more for the Ben Franklin model.


RE: Oh, so he wants to nationalize everything now?
By MZperX on 7/23/2012 1:38:24 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think the guy is perfect, but it's important to note that he is not an isolationist. He is a non-interventionist. Huge difference!

Isolationist means to pretend the outside world does not exist and live in your own cocoon. Essentially ostrich policy.

Non-interventionist means maintaining relations with all nations open to mutual trade and respect and minding our own business. Essentially to not go around the world kicking ass and taking names.


By wempa on 7/23/2012 4:34:29 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. It cracks me up how so many people make these idiotic claims about Ron Paul. Let's see. We waste billions of dollars on over 100 military bases in other countries, most of which aren't necessary. So, he wants to close the less important ones to use the money saved and more important things. So, this makes him an isolationist ? Great logic !


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