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The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the House
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
June 3, 2021
Dear Speaker Pelosi,
On Sunday, May 30, JBS USA announced that it was a target of an organized cyber security attack which affected servers in North American and Australian IT systems. JBS was quick to take action by suspending all affected systems, alerting authorities, and ensuring the safety of their backup servers. JBS USA is the number one beef producer in the United States, the number two pork producer in the United States, and the number two poultry producer in the United States.1 With over 66,000 team members, JBS USA hosts 84 locations across the United States, seven in Texas, and two that are housed in the fourth congressional district of Texas; JBS Carriers Facility in Pittsburg, Texas and Pilgrim’s Pride in Mount Pleasant, Texas.2
The results of this attack will not immediately bring a shortage of meat, but a suspension of operations and a pause on slaughter. The longer this issue drags on, the more expensive it will become for both producers and consumers. It will have a negative impact on the futures market, causing deadlines to change and inflation in markets, creating small price swings that will reflect massive changes in the market. Farmers will be penalized for a situation they cannot fix or change, and in return, they will be faced with less profit for their product for an undetermined amount of time.
In 2021, we have witnessed far too many vicious attacks on our critical infrastructure. In February we saw the attack of a Florida water system, in April we saw the attack of Washington D.C.’s police database, and in May we’ve watched Scripps Health System, the Colonial Pipeline, USAID, and now JBS fall victim to cyberattacks. According to a report from Emsisoft, just ransom demand costs have cost the United States a minimum of $596,436,809 in the public and private sector.3 Most, if not all of these attacks have been carried out by foreign actors and we do not currently possess a law with guidance to punish them.
In reaction to the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack, I introduced H.R. 3388 Protecting Critical Infrastructure Act of 2021. This legislation defines “critical infrastructure” as a systems and assets, whether physical or virtual, so vital to the United States that the incapacity or destruction of such systems and assets would have a debilitating impact on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination of those matters.” The bill not only increases penalties for disruption to critical infrastructure, but creates sanctions reaching foreign actors. Passing this legislation would create a way for the United States to hold foreign attackers accountable for their actions, by setting forth significant penalties and sanctions against them. This legislation is a vital step in securing our critical infrastructure, and needs to be brought to the floor for consideration immediately. By continually neglecting the necessity to create meaningful and actionable penalties for foreign actors, we are not protecting our critical infrastructure, rather, we are abetting its destruction.
America’s critical infrastructure is under attack. Speaker Pelosi, I respectfully and urgently ask that you immediately bring my bill H.R. 3388 to the House Floor for a vote so we as Congress are able to take action to defend our critical infrastructure from future attacks. We cannot sit idly by and wait for the next attack. We must take action now.
For Texas and Liberty,
Pat Fallon, Member
House of Representatives