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Senator James Lankford (OK) on Grid Vulnerability

US Senator James Lankford

Transcript of Senator Lankford on Secure Freedom Radio

Catch the audio of the full interview here

FRANK GAFFNEY: Senator, let me switch gears, because one of the other places where the Iranian nuclear threat, among others, is of concern to me and I think to many of us, is an area that is kind of in the sweet spot of several of your committee responsibilities. You serve on the Energy Subcommittee, the Senate Appropriations Committee and, of course, as I mentioned, the Homeland Security Committee, and that is, of course, the vulnerability of our electric grid. And I wonder what your thoughts are on that vulnerability and the extent to which this ought to be a priority in terms of the kind of homeland security improvements we ought to be making in the face of these various threats.

SENATOR LANKFORD: So there are three different tiers of this point. The EMP, the electro magnetic pulse, which you’re very familiar with, and have spoken of often, is an area that the nation has to continue to prepare for. We have actually passed legislation in the last six months that starts to deal with some preparation for an EMP attack. Also, the cyber security.

Last December, just last month, we passed a pretty major bill dealing with cyber security preparation and allowing companies to be able to share information back and forth and for the government be able to voluntarily connect with organizations as a true voluntary. If a business wants to be able to get advice from the FBI or other organizations on cyber they could do that as well. That is very important because Iran, North Korea, Russia, China, all have a part of their military structure reaching into American infrastructure.

It is part of their own deterrence, to say if America ever attacks us, which we’re not going to, obviously we’re a peaceful country, but their threat is if America ever attacks, they’re able to reach in and shut down our infrastructure based on a cyber attack. They can’t reach us militarily, and so their threat is ‘We’ll shut down your governmental systems, your systems of all your infrastructure, for your electricity, for your water, for your sewage and we’ll shut down all your banking systems.’ It is a very real issue for us and is a part of their defense plan, and it’s one of the things we need to be better prepared for that we’re currently not.

So we need to have the best folks in the world that actually work with the United States, to be able to protect our infrastructure as well, but it’s something we need to be conscious of. Just because we’re peaceful to other nations, doesn’t mean that other nations are going to leave us alone. They’re proactively searching out ways to put us at risk.