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Federal regulation urged on cybersecurity

Wednesday, February 24, 2010; A03

SENATE

Regulation urged on cybersecurity

The federal government must become more aggressive in getting industry to protect computer networks because self-regulation is not working, leading cybersecurity experts told Congress on Tuesday.

The private sector has pushed back, arguing that it can protect itself, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.) said at a hearing on protecting critical industry systems. Rockefeller is preparing legislation with Sen. Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) to strengthen cybersecurity.

"Many people will say we should let the market fix it," said James A. Lewis, a technology expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "The government needs to give the market a kick.'' He noted that cars were not made safe until government pressure changed automakers' behavior.

Former director of national intelligence Mike McConnell, now an executive at Booz Allen Hamilton, a large federal cyber contractor, said that any fix must be mandatory "because industry is not going to embrace it unless they're forced to do it."

"There may be a role for regulation in terms of identity management" to safeguard the telecommunications networks, said James "Jamie" Barnett Jr., a senior Federal Communications Commission official. "You can't have piecemeal answers. A regulatory framework may help."

-- Ellen Nakashima

POLITICS

Cheney suffered mild heart attack

Doctors have determined that former vice president Richard B. Cheney suffered a mild heart attack Monday, his fifth, a spokesman said.

Lab tests at George Washington University Hospital revealed the heart attack, Peter Long said Tuesday in a statement.

Cheney, 69, "underwent a stress test and a heart catheterization. He is feeling good and is expected to be discharged in the next day or two," Long said.

Former president George W. Bush spoke with Cheney by phone Tuesday afternoon, a Bush aide in Dallas told the Associated Press.

Cheney has had heart trouble much of his adult life, suffering his first heart attack at 37.

-- Michael D. Shear

NAVY

Move made to lift ban on women on subs

The Pentagon has moved to lift a decades-old policy that prohibits women from serving aboard Navy submarines.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates notified Congress in a letter signed Friday that the Navy intends to repeal the ban on women sailors on subs. Congress has 30 days to weigh in.

-- Associated Press

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