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 WydenHillicon Valley: Facebook won't remove doctored Pelosi video | Trump denies knowledge of fake Pelosi videos | Controversy over new Assange charges | House Democrats seek bipartisan group on net neutrality Manning: Additional Assange charges are feds using the law 'as a sword' Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Senators unveil sweeping bipartisan health care package | House lawmakers float Medicare pricing reforms | Dems offer bill to guarantee abortion access MORE (D-Ore.) says he will "object" to President TrumpDonald John TrumpPapadopoulos on AG's new powers: 'Trump is now on the offense' Pelosi uses Trump to her advantage Mike Pence delivers West Point commencement address 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 PaulO'Rourke: Trump 'provoking' war with Iran by sending troops to Middle East Overnight Defense: 1,500 troops heading to Mideast to counter Iran | Trump cites Iran tensions to push through Saudi arms sale | Senate confirms Army, Navy chiefs before weeklong recess Trump to send 1,500 troops to Middle East to counter Iran MORE (R-Ky.), Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerSenate Republicans running away from Alabama abortion law Frustrated GOP senators want answers from Trump on Iran Graham: Trump officials not adequately briefing on Iran threat MORE (R-Colo.), and Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyHillicon Valley: Assange hit with 17 more charges | Facebook removes record 2.2B fake profiles | Senate passes anti-robocall bill | Senators offer bill to help companies remove Huawei equipment Senate passes anti-robocall bill The Hill's 12:30 Report: Pelosi fires back in feud with Trump 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.