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Rep. Engel: We Must Account for the Risk Posed by Cyberattacks

Rep. Engel: We Must Account for the Risk Posed by Cyberattacks

Westchester, NY – Congressman Eliot L. Engel, the Ranking Member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued the following statement in response to the Justice Department’s announcement that Iran is responsible for a cyber-attack on the Bowman Avenue Dam in Rye, New York:

“Yesterday’s report confirming that Iran successfully executed a cyberattack on a dam in Rye comes as no surprise. This attack is further proof that Iran cannot be trusted, and we will not tolerate these provocations on their part.

“We live in dangerous times, and cannot continue to underestimate or discount the threat posed by cyberattacks like these. A small dam in Rye might only be the tip of the iceberg. This incident could just as easily be about a nuclear facility sitting 25 miles outside New York City, or a compressed natural gas pipeline running a mere 150 feet alongside it. A cybercriminal or hostile foreign nation which hacked into the Bowman Avenue Dam could also hack into or seize control of – and perhaps even destroy – any piece of infrastructure connected to a computer.

“We are not as prepared to deal with cyber threats as we should be, and we need to make countering them a much higher priority before it’s too late. For months now I have led the call demanding that FERC – the federal agency which approved the Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) pipeline project earlier this year – take these dangers into account and consult with experts before going ahead with their approval. Unfortunately, my calls fell on deaf ears, and FERC issued final approval of the project earlier this year. I urge Governor Cuomo in his planned safety assessment of the Algonquin AIM pipeline to focus on the potential threats cyber-terrorism pose to the project.

“The Department of Homeland Security needs to be involved in the decision-making process anytime a new piece of critical infrastructure is proposed. So I am drafting legislation that will give DHS a say in any approval process going forward. At this late hour, I hope it isn’t too late for Governor Cuomo’s independent safety assessment to convince FERC to retract its approval of the Algonquin AIM pipeline.”