Defense

Senators Want Ukraine to Arrest Target Hackers in Exchange for Aid

 "The previous Ukrainian government routinely turned a blind eye to cybercrime,” Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., said in a statement.

"The previous Ukrainian government routinely turned a blind eye to cybercrime,” Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., said in a statement. // J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Bilateral legislation poised for debate this week would make Ukrainian economic support contingent upon a clampdown on cybercrime in the eastern European nation. 

Bill sponsors Sens. Mark Warner, D-Va., and Mark Kirk, R-Ill., led the first congressional hearing on the Target payment card breach, which, along with other major U.S. retail hacks, was traced to Ukraine. 

The pending provision would, among other things, initiate a round of U.S.-Ukraine bilateral talks on cybercrime cooperation and institute new extradition procedures. The United States and Ukraine currently do not have an extradition treaty, which makes the foreign country an attractive place for identity thieves to set up shop.

The legislation also would create a working group to air concerns about hackers and to exchange tips between authorities in both countries. Another initiative would dispatch FBI agents to assist Ukrainian investigations. 

The policies would be attached to an aid measure cobbled together in the wake of Russia's annexation of Crimea. The package passed a procedural vote in the Senate on Monday night. 

"The previous Ukrainian government routinely turned a blind eye to cybercrime,” Warner said in a statement. “As the United States works to support this new Ukrainian government and as the Senate considers this significant Ukrainian aid package, we have an excellent opportunity to create new structures of cooperation that will better protect American consumers and businesses by working together to crack down on international cybercrime.”

Kirk added, "Ukraine is a known hub for cybercrime, and the United States should work with the Ukrainian government to create a framework of cooperation to deter, prevent and counter these cyber criminals and ensure the safety of the newly formed Ukrainian government and financial system.”

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