Senator Reed Speaks About Russian Cyber Influence on U.S. Elections, Part 2
Mr. President, we have been talking about this shutdown. After I described the activities that have transpired over the last 5 to 10 years, we should be aware that they are continuing, and the consequences of this shutdown are more than theoretical. We are missing some of our most critical tools for countering Russian information warfare for protecting systems that are vital to our democracy. As Andrew Grotto, a former cyber security adviser for Presidents Trump and Obama stated, ‘‘Defending Federal networks is already an act of triage. Furloughs make a hard job even harder.’’
While I applaud DHS for reorganizing into the new Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, they have since had to furlough 43 percent of their employees. That is over 1,500 workers who right now are unable to continue key missions and protect us from attack. The FBI is also affected by the shutdown in critical functions related to countering Russian hybrid and information warfare. A recent FBI Agent’s Association report highlighted how efforts to investigate and prosecute cyber criminals have been impacted. That includes a lack of resources to pay for wiretaps and subpoenas. One anonymous FBI agent quoted in the report remarked: ‘‘These delays slow down our work to combat criminal activity on the [internet] and protect the American people.’’ All the while, Russia continues to attack us with information warfare. They were not closed for business.
With this unnecessary government shutdown, we are fighting blindfolded with one hand tied behind our backs. I am confident in the ability of our government and our society to come together. I am confident that with the American vision and ingenuity, working across the aisle and across the Atlantic, these are challenges that we can meet and conquer, but we must remember that this is not a Democratic or Republican problem. This is an attack against the Nation by a foreign power. This is a problem of our national security. We have no time to waste. If we are looking for another reason why we should open this government immediately, it is to continue our protection against the attacks by foreign entities. With that, let me particularly thank the Senator from Florida for his patience and thank the Presiding Officer for his patience as well. I yield the floor.