By Jennifer Martinez - 10/25/12 08:32 PM EDT
During a speech in New York to the Business Executives for National Security conference earlier this month, Panetta warned that the cyber threat facing the United States "is a pre-9/11 moment" and that a "destructive cyber-terrorist attack could virtually paralyze the nation."
Days after Panetta's comments, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he wanted to take another shot at passing cybersecurity legislation this year and he plans to bring a bill to the floor in November. While both parties want to get a bill done on cybersecurity, they still haven't reached a compromise on legislation after the Senate bill failed this summer.
Chief on Panetta's congressional priority list is for lawmakers to come up with an alternative to the White House's sequestration plan, which would implement $500 billion in across-the-board defense cuts.