Ben Cardin - Senator for Maryland

Homeland Security

Congress’ top priority is to protect the American people.  As the former Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Terrorism and Homeland Security Subcommittee, I fully recognize that we must make sure that our law enforcement and intelligence professionals have the tools they need to prevent and disrupt terrorist attacks. At the same time, we must ensure that our government uses its scarce resources wisely, and that it strikes an appropriate balance between national security and protecting civil liberties.

In today’s information society, the threats to Americans can be invisible. I am particularly concerned about cybersecurity and the potential damage that could be inflicted by hackers, terrorists, and others trying to steal or manipulate our intellectual property or damage our national infrastructure. I believe protecting key constitutional rights, including privacy, is as critical online and in cyberspace as it is elsewhere.

Immigration has a major impact on our national security as well as our economic security.  Today, our nation's immigration and border security system is broken and must be fixed.  We must ensure that our borders are secure.  At the same time, we must require illegal immigrants to come out of the shadows and go to the back of the line. The process won't be easy or quick, but it should be fair and practical. We also must use the full force of the law against employers who hire illegal immigrants.


How many law enforcement officers are killed each year in the line of duty?
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), 48 law enforcement officers were feloniously killed in the line of duty in 2009; over the past decade, an average of 53 law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty each year.
What would Senator Cardin’s Blue Alert legislation do?
The National Blue Alert Act, S. 657, would create a nationwide alert system to apprehend violent criminals who have injured or killed police officers. Similar to the successful Amber Alert system, the nationwide Blue Alert system would be used to disseminate critical information about the suspect to law enforcement agencies, the public and the media.  I am pleased that states like Maryland have taken the lead in creating a Blue Alert system.  We now need to take it to the next level and put in place a national system that will ensure the speedy apprehension of violent criminals who have injured or killed law enforcement officers.
The Internet was designed to share information.  What are the dangers on the Internet in terms of those trying to bring about harm?
I believe that a free and open Internet gives strength and a voice to people worldwide and should be protected from censorship and other forms of suppression. But the Internet and those who engage in communications and commerce across cyberspace must be safe -- protected from predators like criminals, terrorists and spies who wish to exploit or compromise information and systems connected to the Internet.  Unfortunately, while some computer users and systems take safety precautions, others do not. Users of computers and other devices that connect to the Internet are generally unaware that their computers and other devices may be illegally used, exploited, and compromised by others with spam, viruses, and other malicious software and agents.
What is Maryland’s unique role in cybersecurity?
Maryland is at the center of our nation’s cybersecurity efforts. The new United States Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) is located at Ft. Meade, MD. More than 50 key security and intelligence federal facilities and 12 major military installations are or will soon be located in our state, and combined, these facilities and installations will employ nearly 200,000 well-educated, highly-skilled government employees and contractors in cutting-edge research and development, as well as important scientific, medical and technological innovations. In total, Maryland has one of the highest concentrations of technology jobs in the nation, and led the nation in 2009 with the largest growth in computer systems design jobs.
What is the purpose of Senator Cardin’s cybersecurity legislation?
I have introduced legislation to require the government to work with the private sector to develop minimum standards to protect Americans from cybercrime and cyberterrorism.  I believe that working together we can find a balance that keeps information flowing freely while keeping us all safe from harm. S. 372, the Cybersecurity and Internet Safety Standards Act would require the U.S. government and the private sector to work together to develop safety standards for users of computers and other devices that connect to the Internet.
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