Take It Seriously
White House Fact Sheet Emphasizes Cyber Security
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Paying More For Independence
Deputy National Security Advisor Anne Neuberger spoke to members of the press on March 21 to promote cybersecurity after the White House released a fact sheet that outlines steps companies and individuals should be taking to avoid serious disruptions. Neuberger spoke of the evolving intelligence about the threat of Russian government cyberattacks on critical infrastructure in the United States.
President Joe Biden Jr. has directed government departments and agencies to use all existing authority to require new cybersecurity and network defense measures, similar to the directives for oil and gas pipelines after the Colonial Pipeline incident that highlighted the significant gaps in resilience.
“The majority of our critical infrastructure, as you know, is owned and operated by the private sector,” Neuberger said. “And those owners and operators have the ability and the responsibility to harden the systems and networks we all rely on.” But, she said, “we continue to see adversaries compromising systems that use known vulnerabilities for which there are patches. This is deeply troubling.”
She said the U.S. is declassifying intelligence as it is able to do so, but avoided some specifics to give companies time to address the vulnerabilities that have been identified. She said the release of information “was driven by a focus on outcomes. It was driven by the President’s desire to avoid war at all costs, to really invest in diplomacy. … So, as we consider this information, the first step we did was we gave classified, detailed briefings to the companies and sectors for which we had some preparatory information about. And then for those where we don’t, that’s the purpose of today’s unclassified briefing: to give that broad warning. And I want to lift up the factsheet, which is really the call to action for specific activities to do.”
She summed up the advice: “Lock your digital doors. Make it harder for attackers. Make them do more work. … But the reason I’m here is because critical infrastructure — power, water, many hospitals — in the United States are owned by the private sector, and while the federal government makes extensive resources available — I mentioned FBI’s 56 regional offices — you can just walk in; CISA has offices near most FEMA sites in the United States. They’ve had their Shields Up program. We can make those resources available. For those sectors where we can mandate measures like oil and gas pipelines, we have. But it’s ultimately the private sector’s responsibility, in our current authority structure, to do those steps, to use those resources to take those steps.”
When Dr. Mehmet Oz appeared as a guest on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show while campaigning as a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, he said, “I’m here in Pennsylvania where there’s natural gas under my feet that could address our domestic issues … and, more importantly, help our allies in Europe wean themselves off their dependence on Russian natural gas. … The state of Pennsylvania has been smart. They’ve been fracking.”
Yet in Dr. Oz’s syndicated newspaper column he has been co-writing with Dr. Mike Roizen, now the emeritus chief wellness officer at the Cleveland Clinic, the two physicians have cited the environmental and health risks associated with fracking on several occasions. In one column, they warned expecting mothers who live near natural gas wells against drinking the water and counseled them to keep three kilometers away from fracking fields.
Now, Oz’s campaign website declares that he “will work to overturn” the “heavy-handed regulations that are hurting Pennsylvania jobs,” which he says are the result of an “attack” on the energy industry by the Biden administration. Oz reiterated his current support for natural gas extraction, and for fracking specifically, on Newsmax, saying, “Back off, Biden. Give us the freedom we need to frack.”
Paying For Independence
Voters from the towns of Danbury and Alexandria split a decision on whether to merge their two police departments — a proposal designed to save money and ensure better coverage — so the merger is off and Danbury will continue its search for its own police chief.
Alexandria residents favored the merger in a 216-130 vote, but Danbury residents opposed it in a 167-175 vote.
Police Chief David Suckling, who currently oversees both communities, serving as a part-time chief in Danbury while working as a full-time chief in Alexandria, said he will stay on until Danbury finds its own police chief.
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