U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry stopped by the other day to talk about cyber security, something in which he has a huge stake.
The Clarendon Republican chaired a House select committee tasked with making recommendations on how to make our vast Internet information network safe against those who would launch a cyber attack against us.
Well, the guidelines are out there. They involve streamlining information flow and determining which government agencies should act, and in what order they should respond.
The recommendations are still without much form, but Thornberry hopes the congressional committees that receive them will create sensible legislation that can protect us from the bad guys.
But the veteran lawmaker also said something else. He predicted this new warfare never — not ever — will be concluded.
He projects the United States will be on guard forever against our nation’s sworn enemies who have determined the United States is a relatively easy target to hit.
What makes the United States so vulnerable to attack?
Thornberry thinks it could be certain laws that guarantee information flow throughout the Internet, a frontier with no boundaries.
Thornberry has no intention of recommending we water down those laws that allow people to disseminate information. Indeed, the U.S. Constitution is quite clear in its protection of Americans’ freedom of speech and expression as well as Americans’ right to privacy.
But he points out correctly that “the list of bad guys is growing and they have a number of tools at their disposal” to attack the U.S. banking system and financial markets as well as its national defense apparatus.
If ever there was a moving target and an enemy that can hide its weapons in an infinite number of places, it would be those who seek to harm us using the Internet.
And that is what creates the daunting challenge awaiting lawmakers assigned with the task of protecting us.
It’s obvious Mac Thornberry and the others serving with him in both houses of Congress won’t be around forever. It becomes imperative that they hand off to the next generation of lawmakers the same sense of urgency they feel now with regard to cyber security.
This fight will go on until the end of time.