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House panel approves cyber attribution bill

Rep. Ted Yoho
Rep. Ted Yoho. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

The House Committee on Foreign Affairs approved the Cyber Deterrence and Response Act Thursday, a bill that would require the White House to publicly identify and sanction any foreign, state-sponsored cyber threat.

Why it matters: The president currently has wide discretion over releasing information about foreign cyber campaigns. This would both tie the president's hands and ensure action.

  • The Obama and Trump White Houses both have been hesitant to take Congressional direction on how to punish cyber attacks in the past. The general feeling from the executive branch is that a strict menu of responses to an attack limits the role of strategy. For example, it may be difficult to penalize a nation while seeking its help in a different matter.

The details: The bill was spearheaded by Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fl.).

  • Under the bill, the president would have seven days to publish a new threat group in the Federal Register after it was discovered.
  • The bill gives the president a wide array of choices for sanctions, including freezing assets, witholding aid and limiting trade.
  • Individuals would be subject to travel bans.
  • The president is free to take additional measures.