Nearly 5 years after 9/11, the United States remains vulnerable to a
widespread cyber attack, which has the potential to disrupt
telecommunications networks, power, water and sewage systems, chemical
manufacturing and transportation systems.

Despite this risk, the Department of Homeland Security has still not
appointed a cyber security expert to the post of assistant-secretary. The
position has been vacant for about one year.

Terrorism experts have indicated that groups like al Qaeda are increasingly
focusing on ways to destroy the economy of the United States. And a cyber
attack could devastate the national economy and wreak havoc on the nation's
cyber infrastructure.

Remember that the 2003 blackout, in which much of the Northeastern United
States lost power for over 24 hours, exposed the dramatic impact such an
event could have on the economy. For example, the economic impact on New
York City alone was estimated at least $1 billion, not including the
additional millions lost due to overtime pay for the recovery and the lost
sales tax revenues.

That's why I've called for Congressional hearings, which will help shine a
light on the need for action and serve as a springboard for implementing a
comprehensive cyber security plan.