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GOP Rep. Will Hurd Calls For Plan To Address Threat Of Cyber Attacks


Now we're going to talk to Republican Representative Will Hurd of Texas. He joined the House permanent select intelligence committee this year. Welcome to the show.

WILL HURD: Thanks for having me on.

MCEVERS: We just heard from Congressman Schiff that he thinks Congress needs to come to a consensus to deal with the threat of more cyberattacks in the future. Do you agree with that? And if so, how could you come together to work on this?

HURD: Well, I think when it comes to cyber security, this is an issue that I spend a lot of time on. It really is already a bipartisan issue. And one of the things that we have to do is we have to ensure that the federal agencies have all the tools and capabilities that they need in order to introduce new technology into their systems.

But we also need to improve information sharing between the public and private sector on these threats. And I think, you know, the question around what, you know, the DNC servers - were they given to the federal government? Were they not? What is the information that was ascertained from that hack? Was that shared and provided? These are all - this is an example of how we've got to make sure that information sharing is improved. But we need to make sure we get it better in the future.

MCEVERS: Is it realistic to talk about the federal government taking the lead on this if it's still not clear whether President Trump believes that Russia interfered in the election?

HURD: You know, I think a lot of folks are asking that question. I think been it's very clear in that the - what the intelligence community assessment is. It's been very clear to folks in Congress. I haven't reviewed all of President Trump's statements on this. But the Russians attempted to influence our election. And Secretary Johnson made it clear today in the hearings that there was no manipulation of the vote tallying machines.

And so we have to - and our goal on the committee is to be thorough, be bipartisan and make sure our report, when we get done, has some best, you know, next steps - what should we have done and so that we can learn what we can do in the future because Secretary Johnson is right. The Russians are going to continue to try to use cyber capabilities. They're going to continue to try to use disinformation in order to attack our democratic institutions. And we as the Congress and as a nation need to come together because, again, an attack on the DNC or the DCCC is an attack on all of us. And...

MCEVERS: Just going - yeah, go ahead. I mean just going back to the question of the president for just a second, I mean the White House press secretary this week could not say whether or not President Trump believes that Russia interfered. I mean is it important to you that the president acknowledges it at some point?

HURD: Well, I think it's clear. As a former member of the intelligence community, I spent nine and a half years as an undercover officer in the CIA. These - the men and women in our intelligence community and federal law enforcement are pros. And the fact that they came together with the joint assessment saying that the Russians were attempting to get involved - that is not debated, in my opinion.

And so we need to start moving the conversation to, how do we defend and harden our digital infrastructure and - you know, going forward? And how do we deal with disinformation? And that is something that is much more difficult to deal with. It's - I recently traveled to Ukraine, Poland, Estonia, and they've been dealing with Russian disinformation campaigns for decades. And it is a - it is something that the Russians have perfected over the last couple of decades, and it's something that we're going to see them continuing to use here in our country and against our allies in Europe.

MCEVERS: Texas Republican Congressman Will Hurd, thanks a lot.

HURD: Thank you.


NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

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