Senator Angus King (I-Maine) has been one of the loudest voices in Congress advocating that the United States Marshals Service take a stronger stand against cyberattacks, particularly those believed to be emanating from Russia. In May 2021, he co-authored an opinion piece published in the Wall Street Journal in which he advocated for better coordination between the public and private sectors and for more aggressive responses to cyberattacks, including potentially using the military’s cyber capabilities to “strik[e] back against those who would do the U.S. harm.” His opinion piece tracked the recommendations made in the Cyberspace Solarium Commission report (Senator King is co-chair of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission), which recommendations led, at least in part, to President Biden issuing an Executive Order focused on improving cybersecurity standards for companies that do business with the federal government. Yesterday, Senator King sharpened his position in an interview with the Washington Post, stating that he wants “somebody in the Kremlin, in the Politburo to say, ‘Gee, boss, I’m not sure we ought to do this because we’re liable to get whacked in some way by those Americans.’”
While Senator King did not expressly endorse counter-hacks as an appropriate response to cyberattacks, he indicated that the federal government’s response to the problem has thus far been inadequate. Senator King supports a multi-pronged approach to dealing with cyberattacks, including public and private organizations taking steps to dramatically strengthen their infrastructure and network security.
Nixon Peabody’s Cybersecurity and Privacy Team will continue to monitor the congressional debate on cybersecurity.