WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEXSTAR) – On Thursday, some of the nation’s top cybersecurity officials testified before Congress about how prepared the country is for cyber attacks. Most members of the Armed Services Committee did not like what they heard.
“We are not succeeding,” said Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).
He said the United States is not prepared to handle cyber threats.
The top cyber officials from the FBI and Department of Defense and Homeland Security testified Thursday but the main witness did not show up.
“Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, the White House declined to have its cyber coordinator testify, citing executive privilege,” McCain said.
McCain called the move unconstitutional and members from both parties slammed the White House for keeping its cybersecurity coordinator from testifying.
“I think you should consider a subpoena,” said Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL)
Much of the hearing focused on the 2016 election and how the United States can prevent Russians from meddling in future elections.
“Cyber is an attempt to destroy a democracy and that’s what Mr. Putin is all about,” McCain said.
The FBI said it’s still learning how to handle cyber attacks.
“The scale, scope, and complexity of today’s threats in the digital domain is unlike anything humanity has ever experienced,” said Scott Smith, with the FBI.
McCain blasted the agencies for not coordinating on cybersecurity efforts.
“If you can change the outcome of an election, then what is the Constitution and our way of life all about?” he said.
McCain and others urged the agencies to develop a comprehensive plan before Russia strikes again.