Carly Fiorina: United States ‘Woefully Unprepared for Cyberterrorism’

Fiorina in Cedar Rapids APScott Morgan
AP/Scott Morgan
Washington, DC

GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina stressed the need for the United States to take cybersecurity seriously because of the threat the Islamic State (ISIS) poses on national security.

“We must have a president that actually understands technology both as a tool and as a weapon,” Fiorina said during a speech on cybersecurity in Cedar Rapids on Monday night. “I’m angry that this President and Hillary Clinton do not recognize this threat.”

Fiorina added that when the United States didn’t respond to the terrorist attack in Benghazi under then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s watch, the terrorists declared it an “open season.”

She said that if elected president, she vows to defeat ISIS and “put America back in the leadership business.”

“As we talk about technology and how to use it,” cybersecurity can be a way to defeat ISIS and secure national security. “The United States is woefully unprepared for cyberterrorism,” Fiorina explained. “While we sit idly by, our enemies are building their capabilities.”

Fiorina explained to the audience that the strategy in place today to combat cybersecurity is from 2011 and is out of date.

“If you wait four years to move in technology, you’re already losing,” the former Hewlett-Packard CEO said, saying it’s “unconscionable” that the strategy hasn’t been updated since 2011.

“ISIS is getting better and better at using encrypted communications to recruit and radicalize,” she warned, adding that ISIS has even established an around-the-clock help desk to pass training onto other terrorists. “They are learning where we are vulnerable and they are exploiting our vulnerabilities.”

Fiorina warned that a cyber attack could potentially shut down the economy and day to day life but warned that it doesn’t have to be this way because “We are the world’s leader in innovation.”

“We have the talent. We have the capabilities,” she said, adding that we need a president who will challenge those talents to solve one of the most urgent national security challenges facing the nation right now.

“Private sector compaies can and should take the lead on cybersecurity,” she explained, saying the government gets in the way on this issue, because the conversation in Washington, D.C. is “frankly missing the point.”

Fiorina said the political class wants to dictate or legislate on a concept they don’t understand, referencing the Patriot Act, which is 14-years-old, “several generations in technology.”

She said the idea that we must reauthorize the Patriot Act “is a false choice.”

“I will gather our top tenchology leaders,” not a room of politicians, she said. “As president, I will establish a central cybersecurity command.”

She said the command will develop an effective up to date strategy by working with private sector companies.

“We have to be willing to retaliate,” Fiorina charged, when there is a cyber attack. “We must push back and retaliate where necessary…and we will stand with our allies.”

This administration “all but ignored cybersecurity,” allowing terrorists to infiltrate America’s national security apparatus, she said.

“We must have a president that actually understands technology both as a tool and as a weapon,” she warned. “Innovation led by citizens…is the answer.”