Political Gridlock Leaves U.S. Facing Cyber Pearl Harbor [View all]
By Eric Engleman and Michael Riley - Nov 15, 2012 12:45 AM ET
Thereís almost universal agreement that the U.S. faces a catastrophic threat from cyber attacks by terrorists, hackers and spies. Washington policy makers just donít seem able to do anything about it.
Even with the consensus about vulnerabilities in U.S. networks, and with hundreds of billions of dollars at stake, Congress failed to pass cybersecurity legislation that was four years in the making and had sponsors from both parties.
The measure succumbed in August amid partisan gridlock and aggressive lobbying, even though lawmakers had heard warnings for years about holes in corporate and government systems that imperil U.S economic and national security.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, yesterday failed to muster enough votes to revive the measure. The billís demise reveals how partisan bickering, tactical errors, industry lobbying, conflicting interests, and ignorance can trump even national security concerns, according to documents and interviews with advocates and opponents in the Senate, the administration and the business community.