Wyden: I object to Trump’s DHS cyber nomination over demands for Stingray information

Wyden: I object to Trump’s DHS cyber nomination over demands for Stingray information
© Greg Nash

Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenOvernight Health Care — Presented by Purdue Pharma — Trump says GOP will support pre-existing condition protections | McConnell defends ObamaCare lawsuit | Dems raise new questions for HHS on child separations Republicans should prepare for Nancy Pelosi to wield the gavel US to open trade talks with Japan, EU, UK MORE (D-Ore.) says he will "object" to President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from Gillum and DeSantis’s first debate GOP warns economy will tank if Dems win Gorbachev calls Trump's withdrawal from arms treaty 'a mistake' MORE's nominee to lead the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) cybersecurity efforts over unreleased information lawmakers are seeking from the agency.

Wyden said Thursday he would remain against the Senate proceeding with its consideration of Christopher Krebs until the agency publicly presents additional information about DHS's discovery of unauthorized mobile surveillance devices being used in the U.S. 

DHS previously presented the information about these devices, known as "Stingrays,"with other federal agencies earlier this year.


"That presentation included important information that I believe the American people have a right to know. My colleagues and I asked Mr. Krebs to remove the 'For Official Use Only,' FOUO designation from the slides used at this presentation and make them available for public release," Wyden said in a congressional notice.

"I remain hopeful that this is an issue we can work through and resolve soon. However, until the FOUO designation is removed from those slides and they are made available for public release, I will object to the Senate proceeding with the Krebs nomination," he continued.

His objection comes after he and a bipartisan group of lawmakers — Sens. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulErdoğan: Turkey to announce findings of Khashoggi investigation on Tuesday Lawmakers point fingers at Saudi crown prince in Khashoggi's death Rand Paul: Saudi explanation of Khashoggi's death 'insulting' MORE (R-Ky.), Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerElection Countdown: Small-donor donations explode | Russian woman charged with midterm interference | Takeaways from North Dakota Senate debate | O'Rourke gives 'definitive no' to 2020 run | Dems hope Latino voters turn Arizona blue Democrats must end mob rule GOP senators praise Haley as 'powerful' and 'unafraid' MORE (R-Colo.), and Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyElection Countdown: O'Rourke goes on the attack | Takeaways from fiery second Texas Senate debate | Heitkamp apologizes for ad misidentifying abuse victims | Trump Jr. to rally for Manchin challenger | Rick Scott leaves trail to deal with hurricane damage Senate Dems ask Trump to disclose financial ties to Saudi Arabia Dems damp down hopes for climate change agenda MORE (D-Mass.) — asked Krebs last month to specifically provide the DHS presentation that other federal employees received in February.

In a letter to Wyden in March, Krebs acknowledged that the law enforcement agency had come across unauthorized Stingrays being used in the Washington, D.C., area last year. These devices can track a user's location data through their mobile phones and can intercept cellphone calls and messages.

Wyden underscored how he has repeatedly urged DHS and Krebs, who Trump tapped to lead DHS's National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD), since last November "to be more open with the American people about the threat."

Cyberscoop first reported the congressional notice.

Krebs worked at DHS during the George W. Bush administration. Last August, he began working for NPPD and has since been acting as undersecretary.

Senators from both sides of the aisle have expressed support for his nomination, signaling that his confirmation process would not be particularly contentious. Some lawmakers, however, have pressed Krebs on his efforts to ensure U.S. election systems are secure, following Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. 

On Monday, senators on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee approved Kreb’s nomination. Kreb's nomination must still go before the full Senate, but a date to vote on his nomination has not yet been publicly announced.