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U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs

01/07/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 01/07/2021 18:53

Meeks Statement on State Department Cyber Bureau

Washington-Representative Gregory W. Meeks, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement regarding Secretary Pompeo's order to establish a State Department Bureau of Cyberspace Security and Emerging Technologies (CSET):

'Everyone agrees the State Department needs a Cyber Bureau-but Secretary Pompeo's plan is ill-suited to address the Bureau's critical purpose. In 2018, the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC), advanced the Cyber Diplomacy Act, which went on to pass the full House and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) with broad bipartisan support. But Secretary Pompeo blocked the bill from moving forward so he could instead push through his effort, which he did this week despite longstanding bipartisan congressional opposition, advice from experts, including a deeply critical Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, and an ongoing GAO investigation.

'The bipartisan leaders of HFAC and SFRC and cybersecurity experts raised deep concerns with Pompeo's plan because it fails to address fundamental aspects of cyber diplomacy and will not solve the problems a new bureau would need to address; it will not coordinate responsibility for the security, economic, and human rights aspects of cyber policy, which are all essential to effective diplomatic engagement on these issues.

'Congress has repeatedly tried to work with the Department to address any specific concerns it has with the Cyber Diplomacy Act, but the Department refused to work with us, preferring instead to ram through its poorly considered and ineffective plan just days before Pompeo leaves office. As Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, I will continue working to strengthen our nation's cyber engagement and advance the role of cyber diplomacy in our foreign policy.'

Background:

A September 2020 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report highlighted serious problems with the State Department's plan, including a complete failure to coordinate with other government agencies working on cyber security.

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