May 11, 2021

***ICYMI*** Chairman Menendez Discusses Colonial Pipeline Cyberattack, Israeli-Palestinian Clashes with CNN’s Jake Tapper

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today spoke with CNN’s Jake Tapper about the ongoing ransomware incident affecting Colonial Pipeline that supplies gasoline and fuel to communities across New Jersey and the East Coast, as well as escalating tensions and violence in Israel.

On Colonial Pipeline ransomware hack and American cyber infrastructure: “This is a critical issue,” Chairman Menendez said, referencing his efforts in Congress to confront American cybersecurity deficiencies through the Strategic Competition Act, his bipartisan legislation to mobilize all U.S. strategic, economic, and diplomatic tools for an Indo-Pacific strategy that enables the U.S. government to compete effectively with China and confront Beijing’s challenges to our national and economic security. “I think we have neglected the reality that the new frontier in terms of conflict will be through cyber, and whether that be by criminal elements, as this one on Colonial Pipeline is supposed to be out of Russia, or whether that be state sponsors of cyberattacks.”

On holding Russia accountable:If you have a criminal enterprise operating in your country and ultimately committing attacks on foreign governments and or foreign companies and you do nothing about it then you are complicit in it,” Chairman Menendez said. “The Russian government has a responsibility within the international order to crack down on criminal enterprises within its own country, and they should certainly be cracking down on this criminal enterprise, unless in fact they are allowing them to continue to operate because it has collateral benefit to them… they have to be held accountable if that’s the case.”

On escalating tensions and violence in Israel: “Clearly Hamas’ rocket attacks into civilian populations is condemnable and violates all international norms, and so I certainly condemn those in the strongest possible terms,” Chairman Menendez said. “You know I think that the Israeli and Palestinian political and military leaders have to actively discourage agitators from any further action that provoke more violence and also that the Israeli National Police has to take steps to lower tensions throughout Jerusalem… This violence begets violence, and so we have to have it dramatically reduced on both sides.”

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