With New Reports Of Financial Terrorism GOP Slashes Budget For Market Watchdogs

With New Reports Of Financial Terrorism GOP Slashes Budget For Market Watchdogs

Menendez Calls for Renewed Efforts to Boost Oversight for Financial Markets, Cyber-Security

Menendez: "GOP Whistling Past the Cyber Graveyard"

Washington - With new reports that cyber terrorists breached Morgan Stanley financial systems, US Senator Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey) today renewed his call to boost US market cyber-security against potential attacks and oppose GOP attempts to limit funding for the relevant agencies as part of their budget proposal. Reuters reported Tuesday that hackers based in China accessed "very sensitive" data on Morgan Stanley financial systems. Morgan Stanley officials declined to comment.

Menendez, a member of the Senate Banking Committee, said that the Republican budget, which cuts the current budget for both the Securities and Exchange Commission and Commodity Futures Trading Commission by 2 percent and 34 percent, respectively, would mean each government investigator would have the task of patrolling almost $100 billion in investments - a feat certain to lead to another major economic swindle. Menendez announced that he is gathering support for a letter to leaders of the Senate Appropriations Committee calling for Congress to provide Wall Street regulators, including investigators at the SEC and CFTC, with the tools they need to hold Wall Street accountable and protect middle class investments. President Obama is proposing an increase to $1.43 billion for the SEC and $308 million for the CFTC. The federal deficit is not affected by the funding levels Congress sets for the SEC and possibly the CFTC. The SEC already funds itself through collections from the financial industry and under the President's budget, the CFTC will also do so if Congress approves that proposal.

Senator Menendez said, "Cyber attacks are happening today, not tomorrow. Republicans would have us whistle past the cyber graveyard. They're wrong. We need to prepare for attacks, and challenge this threat head on. Turning our back isn't going to make this problem disappear. Investors deserve more, and I plan to stand up to these cyber threats."

US Senator Robert Menendez introduced in early February 2011 the Cyber security Enhancement Act, a bipartisan bill sponsored by Rep. Dan Lipinski which passed the House last year, which will increase the capacity to identify and respond to cyber attacks - boosting security for markets and protecting investments. The legislation will help the agencies that fund cyber security research to cooperate in developing a long-term, proactive plan.

THE CYBERSECURITY ENHANCEMENT ACT
• Require the agencies that fund cybersecurity research to cooperate in developing a long-term, proactive R&D plan
• Improve the transfer of cybersecurity technologies to the marketplace
• Reauthorize National Science Foundation R&D programs to safeguard computer and network privacy and to develop cybersecurity degree programs at colleges
• Require the National Institute of Standards and Technology to develop and implement a public cybersecurity awareness and education program to encourage the more widespread adoption of best practices.

###