Posted: 12:27 am EDT
Updated: 11:23 am PDT
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Update: A source on the Hill alerted us that the State Authorization bill was offered as an amendment when the NDAA was debated in the Senate last month but it was not voted on and the NDAA passed on June 18 (That would be H.R. 1735 which passed 215 (71-25) We understand that both chambers are now starting the process to bring the bill to conference in order to resolve differences. The State Authorization bill, we are told, will not be part of those discussions. In order for this to move forward, it will either need to be brought to the floor as a stand alone vote or Corker/Cardin could try again to attach it to another piece of legislation. Given that this is the first authorization bill passed by the SFRC in 5 years, and made it through the committee with bi-partisan support, we suspect that the senators will not just easily forget about this. — DS
On June 9, 2015, U.S. Senators Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.), the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, applauded the unanimous committee passage of the Fiscal Year 2016 Department of State Operations Authorization and Embassy Security Act. The SFRC statement says that it has been five years since the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed a State Department Authorization bill and 13 years since one was enacted into law. This State Department Authorization bill has been offered as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, which currently is on the Senate floor. It is quite lengthy so we’re doing this in installments.
Below is the section on information technology system security that mandates security breach reporting, as well as making State Dept systems and networks available to the Director of the National Security Agency (NSA) and any other such departments or agencies to carry out necessary tests and procedures.
The State Department’s Consular Consolidated Database (CCD) as of 2011 contains over 137 million American and foreign case records and over 130 million photographs and is growing at approximately 40,000 visa and passport cases every day. If the CCD is compromised, it would be a jackpot for hackers that would make the OPM hack severely pales in comparison.
If this bill passes, will the penetration test by NSA on one of the world’s largest data warehouses finally happen?
Section 206.Information technology system security
The Secretary shall regularly consult with the Director of the National Security Agency and any other departments or agencies the Secretary determines to be appropriate regarding the security of United States Government and nongovernment information technology systems and networks owned, operated, managed, or utilized by the Department, including any such systems or networks facilitating the use of sensitive or classified information.
In performing the consultations required under subsection (a), the Secretary shall make all such systems and networks available to the Director of the National Security Agency and any other such departments or agencies to carry out such tests and procedures as are necessary to ensure adequate policies and protections are in place to prevent penetrations or compromises of such systems and networks, including by malicious intrusions by any unauthorized individual or state actor or other entity.
(c)Security breach reporting
Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, and every 180 days thereafter, the Secretary, in consultation with the Director of the National Security Agency and any other departments or agencies the Secretary determines to be appropriate, shall submit a report to the appropriate congressional committees that describes in detail—
(1)all known or suspected penetrations or compromises of the systems or networks described in subsection (a) facilitating the use of classified information; and
(2)all known or suspected significant penetrations or compromises of any other such systems and networks that occurred since the submission of the prior report.
Each report submitted under subsection (c) shall include—
(1)a description of the relevant information technology system or network penetrated or compromised;
(2)an assessment of the date and time such penetration or compromise occurred;
(3)an assessment of the duration for which such system or network was penetrated or compromised, including whether such penetration or compromise is ongoing;
(4)an assessment of the amount and sensitivity of information accessed and available to have been accessed by such penetration or compromise, including any such information contained on systems and networks owned, operated, managed, or utilized by any other department or agency of the United States Government;
(5)an assessment of whether such system or network was penetrated by a malicious intrusion, including an assessment of—
(A)the known or suspected perpetrators, including state actors; and
(B)the methods used to conduct such penetration or compromise; and
(6)a description of the actions the Department has taken, or plans to take, to prevent future, similar penetrations or compromises of such systems and networks.