WMATA inspector general calls on lawmakers to focus on DC Metro system threats

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) Inspector General Geoff Cherrington is calling for lawmakers to pay more attention to potential cybersecurity threats facing the public transportation system in the nation's capital.  

"I think there needs to be a lot of emphasis and focus on cybersecurity, on homeland security, regarding the rail system, the transportation systems," Cherrington told Hill.TV's Buck Sexton last week when asked what issues he'd like to lawmakers to give more focus.

"We focus a lot on aviation. We focus a lot on, you know, folks slamming into the Pentagon in a large truck," he continued.

"What I think we need to focus on are the large busses and the large rail that goes through our city, pretty much unfettered," he said. 

Cherrington's comments come amid heightened concerns surrounding state-owned China Railway Rolling Stock Corp's (CRRC) involvement in the U.S. train industry.

CRRC has raised concerns about potential cyberattacks from China, according to media reports.

The Washington Post reported this month that some experts have warned that China could use transit rail cars to carry out cyberespionage, though the newspaper said CRRC called that “ludicrous.”

The corporation has made inroads in the U.S. freight rail industry in recent years by producing rail cars for transit systems in cities like Los Angeles and Chicago.

— Julia Manchester