Wyden: I object to Trump’s DHS cyber nomination over demands for Stingray information

Wyden: I object to Trump’s DHS cyber nomination over demands for Stingray information
© Greg Nash

Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenGroup files lawsuit to force Georgia to adopt paper ballots Treasury releases proposed rules on major part of Trump tax law Rubio slams Google over plans to unveil censored Chinese search engine MORE (D-Ore.) says he will "object" to President TrumpDonald John TrumpWhite House counsel called Trump 'King Kong' behind his back: report Trump stays out of Arizona's ugly and costly GOP fight Trump claims he instructed White House counsel to cooperate with Mueller MORE's nominee to lead the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) cybersecurity efforts over unreleased information lawmakers are seeking from the agency.

Wyden said Thursday he would remain against the Senate proceeding with its consideration of Christopher Krebs until the agency publicly presents additional information about DHS's discovery of unauthorized mobile surveillance devices being used in the U.S. 

DHS previously presented the information about these devices, known as "Stingrays,"with other federal agencies earlier this year.

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"That presentation included important information that I believe the American people have a right to know. My colleagues and I asked Mr. Krebs to remove the 'For Official Use Only,' FOUO designation from the slides used at this presentation and make them available for public release," Wyden said in a congressional notice.

"I remain hopeful that this is an issue we can work through and resolve soon. However, until the FOUO designation is removed from those slides and they are made available for public release, I will object to the Senate proceeding with the Krebs nomination," he continued.

His objection comes after he and a bipartisan group of lawmakers — Sens. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulHillicon Valley: Trump escalates feud with intel critics | Tesla shares fall after troubling Musk interview | House panel considers subpoena for Twitter's Jack Dorsey | Why Turkish citizens are breaking their iPhones Overnight Defense: Trump cancels military parade, blames DC for cost | DC mayor hits back | Pentagon warns China 'likely' training for strikes against US | Turkey refuses to release US pastor On Russia we need diplomacy, not just sanctions MORE (R-Ky.), Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerBusinesses fear blowback from Russia sanctions bill Senate GOP campaign arm asking Trump to endorse McSally in Arizona: report When it comes to drone tech, wildfire officials need the rights tools for the job MORE (R-Colo.), and Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyTo make the House of Representatives work again, make it bigger Dems urge tech companies to remove 3D-gun blueprints Make the moon a refueling station — then head to Mars MORE (D-Mass.) — asked Krebs last month to specifically provide the DHS presentation that other federal employees received in February.

In a letter to Wyden in March, Krebs acknowledged that the law enforcement agency had come across unauthorized Stingrays being used in the Washington, D.C., area last year. These devices can track a user's location data through their mobile phones and can intercept cellphone calls and messages.

Wyden underscored how he has repeatedly urged DHS and Krebs, who Trump tapped to lead DHS's National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD), since last November "to be more open with the American people about the threat."

Cyberscoop first reported the congressional notice.

Krebs worked at DHS during the George W. Bush administration. Last August, he began working for NPPD and has since been acting as undersecretary.

Senators from both sides of the aisle have expressed support for his nomination, signaling that his confirmation process would not be particularly contentious. Some lawmakers, however, have pressed Krebs on his efforts to ensure U.S. election systems are secure, following Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. 

On Monday, senators on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee approved Kreb’s nomination. Kreb's nomination must still go before the full Senate, but a date to vote on his nomination has not yet been publicly announced.