Chris Carney Noted for Prescience on Pipeline Cybersecurity in Wake of Colonial Hack

05.30.2021
Washington Post

Chris Carney was mentioned in the Washington Post article, “Colonial Hack Exposed Government’s Light-Touch Oversight of Pipeline Cybersecurity.” The article discusses the failure of many parties—including Colonial Pipeline and the Transportation Security Administration—to review and/or institute mandatory cybersecurity procedures that could have helped guard against ransomware attacks on critical U.S. infrastructure.

The article notes that Chris was one of the first to call for mandatory oversight in this area—doing so in 2010 as energy and pipeline systems became increasingly operated by automated systems that were vulnerable to cyberattacks. During a House Homeland Security Committee field hearing on pipeline security in 2010, Chris (who was representing Pennsylvania in Congress at the time) asked the head of the TSA’s pipeline security program, Jack Fox, “whether regulations were needed to ensure pipeline security.” The 9/11 Commission Act of 2007 required the TSA to determine whether they were necessary.

Fox responded, “At this point, we are still working on this partnership that we have with the private industry” and an industry witness opined that regulations “waste a lot of resources.” Chris persisted in his questioning, stating, “Our concern…is that there is no problem until there is a problem, until something happens. Then [people] will say, ‘Well, why was that not regulated?’”

Chris represented Pennsylvania’s 10th Congressional District for two terms and was a tenured professor of political science specializing in international relations at Penn State University. Prior to running for Congress, he worked at the Pentagon for four years on strategic analysis of the global terrorist threat, ran the Department of Defense’s Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group (PCTEG) and was the “Special Projects” intelligence officer for two tours during Operation Southern Watch. Chris received a Presidential appointment as a Commissioner on the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission (MCRMC) and served as a Senior Intelligence Specialist at NAI2O.

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