House Intelligence chairman Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) reiterated this week that he is frustrated with how the Edward Snowden leaks about the NSA's domestic spying programs on U.S. citizens has stalled the progress of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act in the Senate. Rogers spoke at a panel discussion hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. yesterday.
CISPA passed the House in April but has not received a vote in the Senate yet. While Rogers blames some of this on Snowden's leaks, the Senate has held off on offering any kind of counterpart legislation to CISPA until recently. Rogers says that Snowden's leaks to the media damaged perceptions of the bill and raised "underserved" concerns that it would allow more government access to personal information.
"The biggest problem we had was not the technical aspects of it. It was the perception," he said. "When you think of this threat--that we're going to allow our private sector, the next generation of innovation...to fly out the back door because we have a misperception about what we're trying to do in defense--shame on us," he said.
James Andrew Lewis, director of the Technology and Public Policy Program at CSIS, also spoke at the panel. He also complained about the lack of urgency on the part of lawmakers in the Senate to strengthen cybersecurity.
"It won't be another 9/11. I hate 'cyber 9/11.' I hate 'cyber Pearl Harbor'...I hate all those things. They're exaggerations. But we're in the same pattern. We can see the iceberg coming towards the ship, and we're saying, 'Ah, that's really interesting. Look at that big white thing,'" he said.
More remarks from the panel can be found here, but the gist of Rogers' comments is that a delay puts the country at risk. Rights groups want certain provisions stripped from the bill (like blanket immunity from court action for corporations) and for more oversight from an independent body when it comes to collecting and sharing personal data.