By Gautham Nagesh - 06/26/10 09:49 PM EDT
Unlike the Homeland Security cyber bill, under the Bond-Hatch bill there would be no White House cybersecurity coordinator. The Senators expressed concern that creating such a position would impede Congressional oversight. According to Lieberman, current White House cyber czar Howard Schmidt has repeatedly refused to testify before Congress, citing executive privilege.
Bond's bill would also create a cybersecurity center housed at the Department of Energy that would allow critical private sector entities like utilities, financial services firms and power companies to meet and share information on cyber attacks and best practices. The center would not be subject to the Freedom of Information Act or antitrust challenges so companies would feel free to discuss the challenges and attacks they are facing.
"They won't come in and open up with each other if they don't have that," Bond said.
Bond acknowledged the existence of more than 20 competing pieces of cybersecurity legislation, but said unlike the other bills, his is not part of a "turf battle." He said senior intelligence officials have expressed concerns to him about some of the other bills and their potential adverse impact on network security in the intelligence community. Bond and Hatch both sit on the Senate Intelligence Committee.
"If there are further things to do, we'll deal with those later," Bond said. "But we need a single point of contact controlling cybersecurity and a forum for the private sector to share information, threat warnings and best practices."