Sen. Mark Warner is seeking to add an amendment to a pending Ukraine aid package that would create a law enforcement partnership between the United States and Ukraine to combat cyber-crime.
“The previous Ukrainian regime under president [Viktor] Yanukovych basically turned a blind eye to the number of cyber-activists there,” the Virginia Democrat said Monday on MSNBC. “And I think many of us remember the Target breach that took place right before Christmas , that was perpetrated by cyber-criminals out of Ukraine. If we're going to help Ukraine, Ukraine needs to step up and work with our law enforcement officials to go after these cyber-criminals.”
The Senate is expected to take up the Ukrainian bill on Monday evening after a procedural vote.
Sen. Mark S. Kirk, R-Ill., is a co-sponsor of the Warner amendment.
Target disclosed on Dec. 19 that 40 million credit and debit card accounts had been compromised during the peak holiday shopping season and that hackers had gotten into the accounts of as many as 70 million customers and stolen personal information, such as names, phone numbers, and email and mailing addresses. The data breach is under investigation by several agencies.
Other possible amendments include a proposal from Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., which would expedite exports of natural gas from the United States to allies in the region.
Warner said he is supportive of boosting exports to Europe, which is dependent on Russian exports, and has been working with Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., to push the White House to take action. Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, has also called for action.
"I absolutely would join with the speaker or anyone else,” Warner said. “I called on the administration last week to expedite these permits.”
Boehner has charged that the White House has been slow to clear red tape for exports. Warner disagreed.
“I'm not sure the administration has been necessarily dragging their feet," he said. "They have approved six of these permits. There's about another 20 pending. We'd like to know — they ought to go ahead and approve them or tell us why within ... 60 to 90 days, let us know why.”