After the United States Announced Trade and Energy Penalties on Russia and Approved $14 Billion in Aid for Ukraine, Bipartisan Group of 22 Senators Request Information on Efforts to Protect Critical Infrastructure and Businesses from Retaliatory Russian Cyberattacks

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV), a member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Mike Rounds (R-SD), Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, are leading a bipartisan group of 22 senators in a letter to the Secretary of Homeland Security requesting information on efforts to protect the United States from Russian cyber and disinformation threats. The letter references past Russian cyber operations – such as the SolarWinds attack – as evidence of their history of engaging in malicious cyber activities that target the United States. 

In addition to Senators Rosen and Rounds, the bipartisan letter was signed by Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH) Mike Braun (R-IN), Shelley Capito (R-WV), Bob Casey (D-PA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Angus King (I-ME), Joseph Manchin (D-WV), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). 

“The Russian government often engages in malicious cyber activities, including espionage, intellectual property theft, disinformation, propaganda, and cyberattacks, that target the United States. In response, the United States government has imposed sanctions on Russian security personnel and agents for various cyberattacks, including the SolarWinds cyber espionage campaign, and for acts of disinformation and interference, including Russian government-directed attempts to influence U.S. elections,” wrote the Senators.

“Given Russia’s history of disruptive cyber and disinformation activities, we are concerned that the United States may be targeted in retaliation for actions taken to impose costs on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine,”  the Senators’ letter continued. “As we stand with the Ukrainian people, impose crushing sanctions on Vladimir Putin’s regime, and push for additional security assistance to help Ukraine defend itself, we also must work to secure the homeland from retaliatory cyber activities.”

Senator Rosen has been a leader in efforts to defend the United States from cybersecurity threats and to support Ukraine. Earlier this year, Senator Rosen led a bipartisan group of 10 Senators in requesting information from the Departments of Transportation and Homeland Security about their ability to manage cyber threats against the nation’s critical transportation infrastructure. Last year, Senator Rosen introduced the Cyber Sense Act, bipartisan legislation to create a program at the Department of Energy to test the cybersecurity of products and technologies intended for use in the bulk-power system. Senator Rosen’s CISA Cyber Exercise Act, which establishes a national program at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to test the U.S. response plan for major cyber incidents, was included in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022.

Last week, Senator Rosen co-sponsored bipartisan legislation to ban all Russian energy imports to the United States. She also spoke on the floor of the U.S. Senate calling for facilitating the transfer of fighter jets from European partners and weakening Russia’s economy through energy and trade restrictions, particularly suspending normal trade relations with Russia.

The full text of the letter can be found here.

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