Following several congressional failures to pass cybersecurity bills, some signs point to a presidential order to protect the nation's infrastructure from hackers.
Disappointed with the recent failure of the Cybersecurity Act to pass through Congress, President Barack Obama signaled he may invoke his power of executive order to pass similar legislation, Network World speculated. Obama has issued more than 130 executive orders during his tenure as president, frequently citing his mantra, “We can't wait.”
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney blamed “Republican stall tactics,” and told the Hill, “Unfortunately, we will continue to be hamstrung by outdated and inadequate statutory authorities that the legislation would have fixed. Moving forward, the president is determined to do absolutely everything we can to better protect our nation against today's cyberthreats and we will do that.”
Various cybersecurity bills meant to address potential hacker threats on critical infrastructure have made their way through Congress, but none have passed. In July, the president wrote an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal in which he called for cooperation against potential cyberattacks. “In a future conflict, an adversary unable to match our military supremacy on the battlefield might seek to exploit our computer vulnerabilities here at home,” he wrote.
The president will not face many obstacles if he decides to bypass Congress, reported Network World. However, the president does not have the power to remove barriers to information sharing -- which is generally considered an important part of fighting cybercrime -- without the help of Congress.
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