Langevin Statement on Trump Administration's Refusal to Provide Congress with Cyberspace Operations Directive

Jul 10, 2019 Issues: Cybersecurity

WASHINGTON – Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI), the co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus and chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities, issued a statement regarding the Trump Administration’s refusal to provide members of Congress with copies of National Security Presidential Memoranda (NSPM) regarding Department of Defense cyberspace operations. Langevin, along with his Subcommittee’s Ranking Member, Elise Stefanik (R-NY), and the House Armed Services Committee Chairman and Ranking Member, Adam Smith (D-WA) and Mac Thornberry (R-TX), sent a letter to the President in February requesting a copy of NSPM 13. To date, they have not received a response. Langevin filed an amendment to the FY 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, which is being considered on the House floor this week, that would require the President to provide these documents to Congress.

The following may be attributed to Congressman Langevin:

“I strongly believe in the mission of USCYBERCOM, and I have championed its growth and maturation. However, our actions must always be guided by our commitment to promoting stability in cyberspace. Congress has a vital role to play in ensuring any offensive cyber operations do not inadvertently undermine that stability and reflect our commitments to responsible state behavior in this new domain. Unfortunately, the White House has continually stymied our attempts to conduct this Constitutionally protected oversight, refusing to provide important policy documents that took effect nearly a year ago. Ironically, I have largely supported the Administration’s more forward-leaning posture, particularly with regard to protecting our 2018 midterm elections. But regardless of my feelings toward the underlying strategy, it is unacceptable that the White House continues to stonewall our attempts to oversee sensitive operations. I expect these documents to be provided immediately, or else we will take measures to require them by law. Defending our nation in cyberspace requires close collaboration between the legislative and the executive branches, and I am deeply disappointed that the President refuses to work with us on this vital issue.”