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 WydenWyden blasts FEC Republicans for blocking probe into NRA over possible Russia donations Wyden calls for end to political ad targeting on Facebook, Google Ex-CIA chief worries campaigns falling short on cybersecurity MORE (D-Ore.) says he will "object" to President TrumpDonald John TrumpSarah Huckabee Sanders becomes Fox News contributor The US-Iranian scuffle over a ship is a sideshow to events in the Gulf South Korea: US, North Korea to resume nuclear talks 'soon' 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.

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"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 PaulGraham promises ObamaCare repeal if Trump, Republicans win in 2020 Conservatives buck Trump over worries of 'socialist' drug pricing Rand Paul to 'limit' August activities due to health MORE (R-Ky.), Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump touts new immigration policy, backtracks on tax cuts Hickenlooper announces Senate bid Poll: Trump trails three Democrats by 10 points in Colorado MORE (R-Colo.), and Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyJoseph Kennedy mulling primary challenge to Markey in Massachusetts Overnight Energy: Trump sparks new fight over endangered species protections | States sue over repeal of Obama power plant rules | Interior changes rules for ethics watchdogs To cash in on innovation, remove market barriers for advanced energy technologies 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.