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US power grid: The energy secretary says opponents have the option to turn it off

Asked by CNN’s Jake Tapper about the “State of the Union” whether the nation’s opponents have the ability to exclude it, Granholm said, “Yes, they do.”

“There are thousands of attacks on all aspects of the energy sector and the private sector in general,” she said, adding: “This is happening all the time. That is why the private sector and the public sector must work together.”

The secretary’s warning comes amid rising ransomware attacks in America’s public and private sectors in recent weeks, creating a sense of urgency in the Biden administration on how to deal with cyber vulnerabilities. The issue will play a huge role during President Joe Biden̵
7;s first foreign trip this week, during which he will meet with European leaders and meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva, Switzerland.

Asked Sunday by NBC if the U.S. government is better prepared to deal with another potential ransomware attack on a gas pipeline, Granholm said new Transportation Security Administration regulations governing the pipelines now require companies to report when the attacks happen in real time.

“The TSA has, in fact, just issued a series of regulations requiring pipelines to let us know if they have fallen victim and whenever in real time … where these attacks take place, so we know and can coordinate with our intelligence community to determine not just how to react in the long run, but also how to react immediately. So much so, yes, “Granholm said in” Meet The Press. “

The energy secretary stressed that the private sector must work with the Biden administration to establish cyber standards for pipelines.

“We have an agreement with the private sector for the transmission network. There are basic standards, cyber standards that they follow, cyber standards developed by the Ministry of Commerce, and we need the same kind of pipeline regime. And that doesn’t exist at the moment,” he said. Granholm on NBC.

Independent Sen. Angus King of Maine, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Sunday that the U.S. government should step up its response to the attacks.

“You can’t defend yourself just by trimming, weaving and patching. The enemy needs to understand that they will pay a price, there will be costs to attack the United States or to attack our critical infrastructure. And so far they really haven’t felt it.” said King to Tapper in a separate interview.

Granholm on Sunday also expressed disappointment with infrastructure talks that appear to have hit the wall on Friday after the White House rejected the Republican counterprofession, which includes a nearly $ 50 billion increase in spending.

“This should be done soon. And without specifying a date. You noted that they spoke on Friday. They will speak on Monday,” she told Tapper when asked how long the administration would continue talks with Republicans. “The thing is, it’s a little confusing why Republicans haven’t moved on to critical pieces.”

A bipartisan group of senators is working on a separate proposal, which they could present immediately this week, according to sources familiar with the effort. Granholm told Tapper that the president would like to meet with the group.

“He is ready to meet anyone who will help move forward, you know the clock is ticking. There is an end point to this discussion,” she said.

This story was updated with further details on Sunday.

Kevin Liptak and CNN’s Jason Hoffman contributed to this report.

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