Langevin Slams Colonial Pipeline CEO For Refusing CISA Assistance After Devastating Ransomware Hack Threatened 45% of American Fuel Supply

Jun 10, 2021 Issues: Cybersecurity

Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI), a member of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission and co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus, issued the following statement after questioning Colonial Pipeline CEO, Joseph Blount, during a House Homeland Security Committee hearing:

“The Colonial Pipeline hack was one of the worst in our nation’s history. The pipelines that supply fuel to nearly half the country were knocked offline, and Colonial Pipeline paid a foreign ransomware gang $4.4 million. There are many lessons to be learned from the Colonial Pipeline incident, not the least of which is to contact and consult the federal government early and often when these types of attacks occur.

“I am outraged that Mr. Blount today doubled down on his refusal to allow CISA to provide direct assistance in restoring his company’s systems. In his testimony in front of the Senate yesterday, Mr. Blount used the word ‘transparent’ eight times, yet he continues to block the federal government’s premier cyber agency from ensuring that Colonial Pipeline’s networks are secure. Mr. Blount’s intransigence is all the more ridiculous because he has admitted that some of Colonial’s systems still remain damaged and offline.

“In light of the damage caused to Colonial Pipeline, Mr. Blount’s sustained rejection of CISA assistance is the height of irresponsibility. Mr. Blount’s testimony raises significant questions about whether private companies that operate systemically important critical infrastructure like pipelines should be permitted to freeze out federal agencies like CISA.

“I hope Mr. Blount will reevaluate his dangerous decision. Mr. Blount has repeatedly assured the American people that he has acted in the best interest of the country, yet today’s testimony has clearly demonstrated the opposite. I’d be happy to help connect his team with the highly qualified experts at CISA at his earliest convenience.”