Attorney General Sessions Announces Publication of Cyber-Digital Task Force Report

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced today the public release of a report produced by the Attorney General’s Cyber-Digital Task Force.  The report provides a comprehensive assessment of the cyber-enabled threats confronting the Nation, and catalogs the ways in which the Department of Justice combats those threats.  Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein formally issued the report in remarks delivered today at the Aspen Security Forum in Aspen, Colorado.

Attorney General Sessions established the Cyber-Digital Task Force within the Department in February 2018 and directed the Task Force to answer two basic questions:  how is the Department responding to global cyber threats?  And how can federal law enforcement accomplish its mission in this area more effectively?  Today’s report answers the first question.  It canvasses a wide spectrum of cyber threats; defines the multi-faceted challenges posed by cyber-enabled crime; describes the Department’s work in detecting, deterring, and disrupting threats; explains how the Department collaborates with other government departments and with the private sector to respond to cyber incidents; and explores how the Department trains and maintains a skilled workforce.

“The Internet has given us amazing new tools that help us work, communicate, and participate in our economy, but these tools can be—and frequently are—exploited by criminals, terrorists, and enemy governments,” Attorney General Sessions said.  “At the Department of Justice, we take these threats seriously.  That is why I am grateful to the members of the Cyber-Digital Task Force for providing me with this thorough, first-of-its-kind report, which comprehensively details the scope of the problem and provides initial recommendations on the most effective ways that the Department can confront cyber threats and keep the American people safe.

The report begins by focusing on one of the most pressing cyber-enabled threats confronting the Nation: the threat posed by malign foreign influence operations.  Chapter 1 explains what foreign influence operations are and describes how foreign adversaries have used these operations to target our Nation’s democratic processes, including our elections.  It concludes by describing the Department’s efforts to protect the 2018 midterm elections and announces a new Department policy that governs the disclosure of foreign influence operations.

Chapters 2 and 3 discuss other significant cyber threats, particularly those relating to sophisticated cybercrime schemes, and describes how the Department is deploying its capabilities to combat them.  Chapter 4 focuses on the role of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in responding to cyber incidents.  Chapter 5 describes the Department’s efforts to recruit and train qualified personnel on cyber matters.  Chapter 6 concludes the report by identifying certain priority policy matters and charting a path for the Task Force’s future work.

The Task Force is chaired by Associate Deputy Attorney General Sujit Raman.  Task Force members include John P. Cronan, now the Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Criminal Division who until recently served as Acting Assistant Attorney General; John C. Demers, Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division; Beth A. Williams, Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Policy; John M. Gore, Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Division; Andrew E. Lelling, United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts; Peter A. Winn, the Department’s Acting Chief Privacy and Civil Liberties Officer; and two senior executives at the FBI.  Components from across the Department contributed to the drafting of the Task Force report.  The initial report of the Attorney General’s Cyber-Digital Task Force can be downloaded here, along with a fact sheet here.

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