Cyberattacks are ‘No. 1 worry these days,’ expert says

ABC News’ Linsey Davis speaks with former Congresswoman Jane Harman about cyberthreats and her new book, “Insanity Defense."
6:53 | 05/13/21

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Transcript for Cyberattacks are ‘No. 1 worry these days,’ expert says
Tonight we're joined by Jane Harman who served nine terms in congress including four years as ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee she's also a former president of the Wilson Center her new book insanity defense why our failure to confront hard national security problems makes us less safe it comes out next week thank you so much for your time congresswoman. Yeah so it's yearbook and just a moment but let's start with the attack on colonial pipeline DHS says ransom lawyers now the fastest growing cyber crime and that ransom demands exceeded one point four billion dollars in Tony Tony as a national security expert does this ever keep you that night. Absolutely. I think this cyber attacks both friends and where and attached rights state authorities. Incredible our interest actually listed to. Are our number one worry is space and yes she's here tonight good news is exit art and security. Is now stepped up to focus our problems. The White House is naming someone to sound problem and congress is sworn in and asks. But to the point of of what might keep you out that night what the threats could we be looking at if these criminals become even more brazen. Well closing down. In the short term the nation's fuel supply is trying to there. But other things to not you would be the electric grid yeah our air traffic control system. And in other ways totally disable and art art I wouldn't be be horrible let's talk about. Private sector. Again part of it part of the problem could be dumping on the street all of our personal she threw some federal agency or some credit card company or some court. HT know who is the criminal operatives. We're working out of brush country not necessarily author. I'm glad you're Kuhn. But Russian bear some responsibility. For hasn't. A little are. And potentially turning a blind eye and has invited in his administration looks to spend trillions of dollars and critical infrastructure. What are your mind must be done now to shore up our security against cybercrime and from the plans that you're seeing his administration taking a cyber threats seriously enough. They're taking it seriously enough but lots more must be done and there are ways to curb and many of them not all of them are. Sheen is that these people insinuate themselves into networks especially inside the US and when there is some. Operator change going on the networks to actually HI. And you sensed something she married that there are ways to prevent these attacks and we hear that officials have been talking about cyber security for some twenty years at this point why after all this time are we still so vulnerable to these kinds of attacks. Heart problem. In my new book yellow sign that didn't it isn't we have failed to solid number of our problems. In the end in the area protecting the United States and our city and you always say that is what an art problem. And as you said we're now gonna turn to your new book you say they were making some of the same national security mistakes over and over that's how you got to the title insanity defense. Do you have reason to believe that will be able to break out of some of these dangerous patterns that you identify. Well what happened earlier today in the United States congress does not in the code that the congress is going to be the good actors arms solving problems and early. Some of this requires legislation. We have defined OK general lottery have to find a way but first. What the book is an artist. And she met more and it's an average. We failed to half a strategy. So what the post Cold War world the local action. We thought we want to show everyone wanted to be swell food in the ninety's I didn't want to be. And cherished. I wanted to chase down. We miss it shouldn't John GM to change things and not let her and ten I think we over militarized responds. And we made a lot of mistakes aren't shedding. Already prison. Allegedly outside the region US law churned out according to bring order not to be a huge loss. A you're right about the war in Afghanistan and you said that you now support president Biden's moved to withdrawing US troops from that country tell us despite the recent violence why that is. Well there are no good options Afghanistan and a I think this is the least bad and because again doing the same thing he definition of insanity. It is the definition of insanity and we have a swore. Two decades been propping up the government and yes hope wings are better result yet in any. 300000. Troops in Afghanistan. Are generic. And there's a lot of us exactly. Inability to. Chu Chu who laughed do an adequate job and they. Are very air her do what they eat doom. What I think is ending this endless war. But surging our diplomacy our ability to try to solve this problem. Diplomatically. Surging. Are published on human rights to these students and I we girls and women behind. Surging. Our ability chewed trainees terrorist but not just like. This year's is a much better approach Afghanistan that need to act. And lastly your chapter the incredible shrinking congress your right called the business model shifted from working together to solve urgent problems facing the country to blaming the other side for not solving the urgent problems bipartisanship. You write is critical for national security. The given you've already referenced do Liz Cheney and what happened earlier today do you think that's achievable in today's political climate. Well it sound as a hill got steeper I think what happened today it was a tragedy. And got real outrage. In any respect for law respect us JJ I admire Liz Cheney. I don't agree there and you just fruits or what I every hour. But she entered a little. And it's very clear to most people and that there was a fair election ends at Joseph Biden won that election. And I think is you know they called me a lot. It's pretty funny and it's a shame that a RD eight us history again and it. But there's so many chances are they handling a four. Now tries. Not just stands or it's obvious loves. Us so they got a little testament age. Congresswoman Jane Harman we thank you so much for your time in your inside. Stay here much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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