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Long IslandPolitics

Janet Napolitano, in Bethpage, targets cyberterror threat

Homeland Security Secretary Janet A. Napolitano visits the

Homeland Security Secretary Janet A. Napolitano visits the Applied Science Foundation for Homeland Security in Bethpage. (Sept. 24, 2012) Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

Cyberterrorism is one of the biggest threats facing the nation, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet A. Napolitano said Monday in Bethpage.

"It is one area where there is a robust recognition of the danger by both the [Obama] administration and the Congress," Napolitano said at the Applied Science Foundation for Homeland Security. "It is a problem that is going to be with us for the foreseeable future."

Napolitano, a former Arizona governor, was making her first appearance at the foundation, a public-private partnership dedicated to developing and commercializing first-responder-driven products and technologies.

Napolitano emphasized the importance of first responders. "Homeland security begins with hometown security. . . . If something happens, you don't call my office; you call 911," she said.

Napolitano also toured the Nassau County Office of Emergency Management, which also is located at the site, and Napolitano also visited other parts of the building with Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano.

The secretary had been invited to the foundation by Reps. Pete King (R-Seaford) and Steve Israel (D-Huntington).

Israel said the issue of cyberterrorism "keeps me up at night." Attempted cyberattacks against federal infrastructure have risen 680 percent since 2006, Israel said.

Quoting an expert and a Long Islander -- Gen. Keith Alexander, the top U.S. military official in charge of foiling cyberattacks, Israel said, "on a 'preparedness scale' of one to 10, Alexander assigned a level of only three to the U.S."

King did not appear because of an emergency, his office said.

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