Week ahead: Obama's CIA chief to testify on Russia probe

Week ahead: Obama's CIA chief to testify on Russia probe
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Congressional investigations into Russian interference in the presidential election will press forward in the upcoming week.

On Tuesday, the House Intelligence Committee will hear testimony from John Brennan, the CIA director under the Obama administration, in a public hearing on Russian interference efforts.

The hearing will take place amid scrutiny over President Trump's decision to fire FBI director James Comey, who was spearheading the bureau's own investigation into Russia's meddling, including exploring any links between Trump campaign associates and Moscow.

Lawmakers have sought to get to the bottom of Trump's decision to fire Comey, which the White House initially pinned on a recommendation by deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein--a narrative that the president later contradicted.

Comey has agreed to testify publicly before the Senate Intelligence Committee, a hearing that will take place sometime after Memorial Day, the committee leaders announced Friday. 

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Two Senate Judiciary Committee and House Oversight have also invited Comey to testify publicly.

Under increasing pressure from Democrats, Rosenstein appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special counsel to oversee the bureau's Russia nvestigation.

The coming week will also bring more fallout from the global "Wanna Cry" ransomware campaign that began wreaking havoc on May 12, damaging to Britain's hospital system and other businesses and organizations around the world. The U.S. was not impacted as severely as other countries.

The ransomware is thought to be based on a hacking tool allegedly developed by the NSA that was leaked by hacker group Shadow Brokers earlier this year.  It exploits a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows.

While the infection rates slowed after the first few days of the outbreak, the episode is sure to impact further discussions about cybersecurity in and out of the government.

The ransomware attack got its first legislative response on Wednesday when a bipartisan contingent of lawmakers unveiled a bill to boost transparency for the process by which the federal government decides whether to disclose cyber vulnerabilities to the private sector. The bill would codify the process into law.

In other legislative news, the upcoming week presents the first opportunity for the Senate to vote on legislation aimed at incentivizing federal agencies to modernize information technology. Experts say its a critical element of cybersecurity.

 

The bill, introduced by a bipartisan group led by Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas), passed the House on Wednesday. Sen. Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranIt's time for Congress to act before slow mail turns into no mail Kaine says he has votes to pass Iraq War repeal in Senate Seven-figure ad campaign urges GOP to support infrastructure bill MORE (R-Kans.) has offered companion legislation in the Senate.

The measure comes with backing from the Trump administration--which could provide the Senate with incentive to move quickly on it.

The week ahead could also bring more details on Trump's aims for cybersecurity funding in fiscal 2018. An outline of the administration's funding proposal released in March allocated $1.5 billion for cybersecurity at the Department of Homeland Security and indicated that proposed hikes at the Defense Department would in part be used for cyber efforts.

On Tuesday, the White House will release the full proposal, offering more specifics on budget hikes and cuts.

 

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