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Napolitano warns of imminent 'cyber 9/11' if US doesn't take preventative action (VIDEO)


U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano testifies during a hearing before House Judiciary Committee July 19, 2012 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The hearing was focused on "Oversight of the Department of Homeland Security."


Alex Wong

Is the US threatened with a technological 9/11, as cyber-warfare becomes more and more of a threat to American interests?

That's what Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano believes. On Thursday, Napolitano warned that a "cyber 9/11" could happen "imminently."

Speaking at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars on Thursday, she the audience: "We shouldn't wait until there is a 9/11 in the cyber world. There are things we can and should be doing right now that, if not prevent, would mitigate the extent of damage," according to Reuters.

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Napolitano has been pushing for Congress to pass a bill that would permit the government to share more tech security information with the private sector, as much of the infrastructure a terrorist cyber-attack would target likely rests in private hands.

At the 2012 Social Good Summit in September, Napolitano reiterated her disappointment with Congress for failing to pass cyber-security legislation, wrote Mashable, claiming that she wanted to construct a "cooperative" cyber-security relationship between the government and private sector interests.

At the speech, which was co-sponsored with the Aspen Institute's Homeland Security Center, Napolitano noted that "The clarion call is here and we need to be dealing with this very urgently."

"Attacks are coming all the time. They are coming from different sources, they take different forms. But they are increasing in seriousness and sophistication," she added.

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Napolitano's talk also provoked discussion after she noted the Department of Homeland Security does not intend to meet a Congressional requirement that all foreign cargo shipped to the US be scanned for dangerous materials, wrote NTI, as it would be "extraordinarily expensive" to implement.

Napolitano also delved into immigration law and the DHS's relationships with international partners, and noted that the department has made great strides in both securing and keeping an eye on the border with Mexico, according to C-Span.