Republican Senate leaders slam new TSA cybersecurity regulations for rail, aviation industry

Republican leaders in the US Senate have come out harshly against new cybersecurity regulations designed to protect US railroad and airport systems. 

The new rules were handed down earlier this month by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and will be managed by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). The regulations were prompted in part by an April attack on New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority — one of the largest transportation systems in the world — and a 2020 attack on the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority. 

But in a letter to David Pekoske, administrator of the Transportation Security Administration, five senior US Senators criticized the new rules and how they were rolled out.

Senators Roger Wicker, John Thune, Cynthia Lummis, Todd Young, Deb Fischer — all part of the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation — slammed the use of emergency authority to push the rules out, questioning whether they were “appropriate absent an immediate threat.”

The senators urged Pekoske to “reconsider” the rules, arguing that “the very importance of effective cybersecurity for critical infrastructure, such as the rail, rail transit, and aviation systems, counsels against acting rashly in the absence of a genuine emergency.”

The letter says the “prescriptive requirements” rolled out by TSA “may

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