The cyberattack that shut down the Colonial pipeline is a study in how to make a mess of a bad situation. But wait, there is an answer to calamities such as these that can be solved easily by none other than the federal government. In addressing the shutdown of the pipeline that serves most of the southeastern United States, the president’s innovative approach comes down to one thing. It is the very same thing Democrats always say is the way to solve a problem – more government.
Bold New Approaches
In remarks made to a worried nation, Mr. Joe Biden stepped up his calls for federal intervention in which he told people not to panic. As well, he released a 22-page executive order on “Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity” that calls for the government to fix the problem: “[T]he Federal Government needs to make bold changes and significant investments in order to defend the vital institutions that underpin the American way of life.” Meanwhile, it has been widely reported that Colonial did the nasty and paid hackers somewhere between four and five million dollars to get its pipeline back online. All this comes as the 24-hour news networks are re-running videos of people punching each other out at the gas pumps.
What a mess.
According to the president, all can be solved by getting the Office of Management and Budget and the Department of Homeland Security together with the Secretary of Defense and the Director of National Intelligence. Within this executive order (EO), Biden promised this team of administrators would “review the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement contract requirements for contracting with information technology and operational technology.”
That a president would suggest a bureaucratic approach to an acute fiasco such as the shutdown of the nation’s largest oil pipeline is breathtaking. The pipeline carries an estimated 3 million barrels of fuel every day. Can one even fathom the slow wheels of the federal government churning at break-neck speed to address such a catastrophe?
Colonial paid the ransomware group after tacit approval from the Biden administration was voiced at a press briefing at the White House on Tuesday. The private company got the message and forked over millions in untraceable cryptocurrency. Reasonable people widely see such a move as an invitation to be hacked again and again.
Biden’s lengthy EO is almost incomprehensible:
“(ii) ICT service providers must also directly report to CISA whenever they report under subsection (f)(i) of this section to Federal Civilian Executive Branch (FCEB) Agencies, and CISA must centrally collect and manage such information; and (iii) reports pertaining to National Security Systems, as defined in section 10(h) of this order, must be received and managed by the appropriate agency as to be determined under subsection (g)(i)(E) of this section.”
If cybercriminals were killed by bureaucratic-speak, those involved in DarkSide would be in the morgue rather than counting their crypto-bucks. Does one wonder if Biden reflected on his decision to shut down construction of the Keystone Pipeline amid all this doubletalk? That would certainly make sense because competition is the best way for a private company to become more effective.
But the Democratic Party’s solution to every problem is always to look to the government to solve it. Telling the American people not to panic and suggesting that such a dilemma can be fixed if only we had more rules and regulations just creates more difficulties for companies like Colonial. Such as it is, the president plans to fill up America’s gas tank with more bureaucracy rather than what the nation actually needs – more pipelines.
Read more from Leesa K. Donner.