White House Consults Congress and Private Sector on Cybersecurity Executive Order

A number of officials have urged the president not to rush the process

A couple of weeks ago, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano revealed that the executive order that seeks to create best cybersecurity practices for organizations in charge of handling the United States’ critical infrastructures is close to completion. However, as it turns out, the White House decided not to rush the process.

According to GovInfo Security, White House representatives claim that the development process will take some time because Congress and the private sector must be consulted.

“We have started reaching out to both the private sector and Congress and we look forward to gaining their input. Given the gravity of the threats we face in cyberspace, we want to get this right in addition to getting it done swiftly,” White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden explained.

Shortly after the Senate blocked the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 – with most Republicans being against it – the Obama administration started considering an executive order on the grounds that the country’s critical infrastructures could not remain unregulated.

When the executive order was first announced, it seemed that it would be signed in no time. However, Republican senators told President Obama that signing it would further divide lawmakers.

Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas also urged the president not to issue the order, despite the fact that he shared his disappointment regarding the failure to enact a proper cybersecurity law.

“Only Congress, not the executive branch, possesses the authority to create meaningful liability protections or incentives, which are necessary for the private sector to participate in an effective information sharing system,” McCaul wrote in a letter addressed to the president.

“Both liability protections and incentives are a crucial part of any information sharing partnership between the private sector and government. Without those provisions, a voluntary program intended to strengthen communication between the government and private sector will be ineffective and carry consequences for entities that chose to participate.”

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