Garbarino Opening Statement In Cyber Security Hearing
WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Andrew Garbarino (R-NY), Ranking Member of the Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection & Innovation Subcommittee, delivered the following opening statement in a subcommittee hearing entitled, “Securing Democracy: Protecting Against Threats to Election Infrastructure and Voter Confidence.”
Ranking Member Garbarino’s Opening Statement (as prepared for delivery)
Thank you, Chairwoman Clarke, for holding this hearing today. I appreciate our witnesses being here to discuss how we can support our state and local election officials, secure election infrastructure from cyber threats, and examine ways to improve the tools and services provided by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).
In 2021, our nation experienced an unprecedented number of cyber attacks against our critical infrastructure. We began 2021 by analyzing the impacts of the SolarWinds cyber espionage campaign, and we ended the year by responding to Log4j—the most pervasive vulnerability the cybersecurity community has ever seen. This is not to mention the dozens of significant ransomware attacks throughout the year.
On top of spikes in cybercrime, we are seeing a lack of faith among voters in our election security. As we enter 2022, we must keep a keen eye on the midterm elections and ensure that voters can be confident that their vote will count. Given the volume and sophistication of the cyber threats we face, we must empower CISA with the tools and resources it needs to support our state and local election officials so that they can carry out their mission to administer free and fair elections.
CISA’s election security mission has greatly evolved since election infrastructure was designated as a subsector of our nation’s critical infrastructure in 2017. CISA has gone to great lengths to build trusted relationships with state and local election officials across the country, and has provided free and voluntary cybersecurity services, tools, and other guidance in all 50 states.
A key part of securing election infrastructure that is owned and operated by state and locals is ensuring that CISA has the ability to provide situational awareness about vulnerabilities across digital footprints. Initiatives like CISA’s Crossfeed Program are a commendable effort in this respect. Crossfeed leverages the best available technology to attribute public-facing assets to the organizations that own them, and provides CISA the ability to quickly detect new vulnerabilities. You can’t secure what you can’t see, and this real-time common operating picture, as well as several other CISA programs, continue to provide great value to state and local officials across the country.
I am pleased that we are joined today by Matt Masterson, who led CISA’s election security work in the prior administration and built the backbone of the trusted relationships that CISA leverages today. Matt has experience in elections at every level, from administering them at a state level in Ohio, to serving as Commissioner of the Elections Assistance Commission, and as Senior Cybersecurity Advisor for elections at CISA. I look forward to hearing from Matt about the practical, meaningful steps we can take to improve CISA’s ability to support our state and local officials.
I am determined to work with state and local officials, and other stakeholders in New York’s 2nd district and across the country to improve their cybersecurity posture in the wake of increasing threats. This past August, I was pleased to host a roundtable discussion in my district with local government, critical infrastructure stakeholders, and CISA’s Region 2 team, where CISA presented numerous tools and resources they can provide to bolster critical infrastructure security, free of charge.
I am also proud to have been an original cosponsor of the Chairwoman’s State and Local Cybersecurity Improvement Act, which was signed into law last year. While we can all agree more resources for our state and local governments are necessary, we must also ensure these funds are spent responsibly and have a meaningful impact on risk reduction. CISA plays a vital role here. This important bill is a tremendous step forward in our fight to enhance election infrastructure security at the local level.
I look forward to hearing from our witnesses today about how Congress can bolster CISA’s role in election security and how CISA can in turn support our state and local election officials. Thank you, madam chair.