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 WydenSenate Dems petition Saudi king to release dissidents, US citizen Klobuchar: ObamaCare a 'missed opportunity' to address drug costs Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — FDA issues proposal to limit sales of flavored e-cigs | Trump health chief gets grilling | Divisions emerge over House drug pricing bills | Dems launch investigation into short-term health plans MORE (D-Ore.) says he will "object" to President TrumpDonald John TrumpDem lawmaker says Electoral College was 'conceived' as way to perpetuate slavery Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals to visit White House on Monday Transportation Dept requests formal audit of Boeing 737 Max certification 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

"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 PaulTrio of NFL players intern on Capitol Hill as part of league program Trump keeps tight grip on GOP GOP moves to rein in president's emergency powers MORE (R-Ky.), Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerOvernight Health Care: CDC pushes for expanding HIV testing, treatment | Dem group launches ads attacking Trump on Medicare, Medicaid cuts | Hospitals, insurers spar over surprise bills | O'Rourke under pressure from left on Medicare for all Dem group launches ads attacking Trump's 'hypocrisy on Medicare and Medicaid cuts' Trump keeps tight grip on GOP MORE (R-Colo.), and Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeySenate Dems petition Saudi king to release dissidents, US citizen The Hill's 12:30 Report: Manafort sentenced to total of 7.5 years in prison Hillicon Valley: Google takes heat at privacy hearing | 2020 Dems to debate 'monopoly power' | GOP rips net neutrality bill | Warren throws down gauntlet over big tech | New scrutiny for Trump over AT&T merger 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.