Rep. Ratcliffe introduces bill to impose sanctions on Iranian cyber attackers

(ROCKWALL, TX—May 12, 2016) Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) introduced the Iran Cyber Sanctions Act of 2016 today to require the administration to impose sanctions on hackers linked to the Iranian Government. The measure pushes the administration to take action on an April 2015 executive order that authorized the Treasury Department to sanction individuals and entities who engage in malicious cyber activities against the United States.

“The danger posed by Iran’s increasingly sophisticated cyber capabilities has grown significantly over the past few years, and we must take these threats seriously,” Ratcliffe said.

“However, just talking about the need to fight back against malicious cyber actors isn’t enough – the administration must follow through with forceful action that shows we mean business when it comes to defending our critical infrastructure and protecting Americans’ personal information.”

In March the Department of Justice announced the indictment of seven hackers connected to the Iranian government. The attacks, which were directed at American banks and a New York dam, represented the first time the U.S. charged state-sponsored individuals for seeking to disrupt the networks of key industries.

“The attacks by the Iran-linked hackers confirmed concerns previously voiced by top experts regarding the country’s malicious intent. Iran’s actions as a cyber aggressor prove the need to take swift action before its cyber capabilities become even more sophisticated,” Ratcliffe said.

“Just last week, I met personally with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who expressed deep concerns that Iran may use funds from the nuclear agreement to bolster its cyber capabilities. This reinforced the necessity of using sanctions as a tool in deterring such destructive behavior that so greatly threatens our national security.”

Ratcliffe voted numerous times against the Iran nuclear agreement when it was brought before Congress last year, in part, due to the potential that increased revenue from the agreement might be used to enhance Iran’s cyber capabilities. Ratcliffe’s efforts to combat Iran’s cyber aggression are bicameral, as Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) introduced a nearly identical Senate version of the Iran Cyber Sanctions Act of 2016 (S. 2756) just last month.

Submitted by Rachel Stephens, Press Secretary, Congressman John Ratcliffe (TX-04).

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