February 19, 2013, 2:20 PM — Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) retired in January after quite a colorful two-dozen years in the U.S. Senate. One of the major issues he pushed for during his last few years in office was protection of the U.S. critical infrastructure. Along with Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lieberman put forth a series of bills aimed at requiring some level of protection for such infrastructure, the last of these being voted down in November.
President Obama has now issued a "Presidential Policy Directive" on "Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience." This directive was accompanied by an Executive Order on "Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity." Sadly, the president's efforts may turn out to be about as useful as Lieberman's.
[ RELATED: Obama signs cybersecurity order ]
The senator's efforts ultimately failed because 2012 was an election year. But the big beef against his bill was that it actually called for companies to take responsibility for the risks that they had created. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) headed the attacks saying, "unelected bureaucrats at the DHS could promulgate prescriptive regulations on American businesses, which own roughly 90% of critical cyber infrastructure."
I will admit that the fact that the Lieberman/Collins bill would have put the Department of Homeland Security -- you know, the people that bring you the security theater that is the TSA -- in charge of protecting critical infrastructure made it a lot harder to take the proposal seriously. But the McCain assumption that the folks that run our power plants, hospitals, transportation and financial networks will suddenly wake up on their own and start protecting the infrastructures they have so carelessly and assiduously left exposed strains credibility.