Ben Bain reports:
Senate aides familiar with proposed legislation that would define the president’s power to deal with a cybersecurity emergency say the bill wouldn’t give the government sweeping control over the country’s digital infrastructure as some critics have claimed.
The controversy stems from language in a bill introduced in April by Sens. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine). The measure’s original language said the president could declare a cybersecurity emergency and order the “shutdown” of Internet traffic to and from government systems or networks and those considered critical infrastructure. In addition, the president could, in the interest of national security, order the disconnection of such networks or systems.
“To be very clear, the Rockefeller/Snowe bill will not empower a government shutdown or takeover of the Internet, and any suggestion otherwise is misleading and false,” said Jena Longo, a press officer for the majority on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, in a written statement. Rockefeller is chairman of the committee.
The firestorm erupted last month after a copy of the second draft was leaked to the press.
Read more on Federal Computer Week.