US faces threats from Iran, hackers, congressman says

Published 10:00 am Thursday, April 23, 2015

ROE Quote

Cyber security and foreign policy are two of the hot topics lawmakers in Washington are discussing, according to Congressman Phil Roe, R-1st.

“What we are going to debate this week, beginning today, are two cyber security bills,” Roe said during a teleconference Wednesday. “There is a growing digital threat in this country coming from these nation states.”

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Roe cited recent security breaches with Sony Pictures, Anthem Healthcare and several large retailers as a cause for concern in the modern world.

Everybody and every business relies on this technology anymore,” he said. “Everyone has some sort of phone, device or computer that they work with every day.”

Hackers have targeted not just financial information but also other personal information such as medical records as well, Roe said.

“One American in almost four’s personal information was obtained by hackers,” he said in reference to the security breach at Anthem Healthcare.

Among the bills being debated, one would create a voluntary information sharing program that businesses can use to warn others of potential information breaches. Currently, businesses and companies are limited on how they can share that information, Roe said.

“The trial lawyers oppose this bill, but the companies want this bill,” he said. “When an attack like this happens, these companies want to share that non-sensitive information. It won’t be names or accounts but just information like we’ve been hit by this malware and we believe this is where it is coming from.”

“There is no sharing with the NSA or the military either, this is all civilian information,” Roe added.

The security breaches recently detected in the United States also relate back to our nation’s foreign policies and should serve to influence future policies, Roe said.

“We know North Korea was involved in the Sony hacks,” he said. “Most of the financial hacks are coming from Russia.” Iran has also been linked to some data breaches, Roe said.

On the foreign policy front, Roe said Congress is still debating issues surrounding the recent agreement President Barack Obama announced with Iran.

Currently, the Senate is working on legislation that would “rein in” the agreement and help give Congress more control over the policies, Roe said.

“The House won’t take it up until after the Senate does,” he said. “That will be sometime in the next few weeks. What this lets us do is put 535 sets of eyes on this agreement and right now we have none.”

Many in Congress are still concerned the agreement is too lenient in its nuclear regulations with Iran, the congressman said.

Iran is “all huggy-kissy with Hamas and (is) the leading sponsor of terrorism in the Middle East,” Roe said. “What is it about ‘Death to America’ that the president doesn’t understand?”

“I don’t think allowing Iran to have the a pathway to a nuclear weapon is in the best interest of anyone in the world,” Roe added. “When you are dealing with people who would strap C4 explosives to a child or use suicide bombers for terrorism and attacks like 9-11 and now they have access to nuclear weapons, why would you think they would not use a nuclear weapon for a terrorist attack?”

In addition to concerns with Iran, Roe said the country must also remain vigilant regarding North Korea.

“It is such a schizophrenic state with the guy who’s leading it, Kim Jong Un,” Roe said. “It is probably one of the most dangerous places in the world because of the leadership it has. Having another rogue state that has access to nuclear weapons is a danger to all the free peoples of the world.”