[ISN] 9/11 overhaul likely to include cybersecurity provision

InfoSec News isn at c4i.org
Tue Sep 21 05:30:33 EDT 2004

Forwarded from: William Knowles <wk at c4i.org>


By Greta Wodele
September 20, 2004 

House Republican leaders have included provisions to bolster the
Homeland Security Department's cybersecurity responsibilities in
legislation addressing recommendations made by the 9/11 Commission,
according to sources.

A congressional aide, who reviewed parts of the 9/11 proposal, said it
now includes two smaller bills introduced last week by Reps. Mac
Thornberry, R-Texas, and Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., to elevate the
department's cybersecurity director and create a technology transfer

House Majority Whip Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said last week GOP leaders could
have their 9/11 package ready by Tuesday, and House committees could
begin marking up the bill next week. The smaller bills were part of
the House Homeland Security Committee's authorization measure, but
negotiations stalled this summer and sources said it is unlikely the
panel will take up an authorization measure this session.

"It did not appear that the authorization measure had legs," said an
aide. Thornberry and Lofgren, the chairman and ranking member on the
Homeland Security Cybersecurity, Science, and Research and Development
Subcommittee, have fashioned bipartisan support for the bill. The
provision would require the department to promote the department's
cybersecurity director in the bureaucracy to increase the focus and
resources on protection against a cyberattack.

Thornberry and Lofgren have said cybersecurity resources within the
department are fragmented and a low priority. Lofgren said the
cybersecurity bill has wide support in the technology, education,
financial and business sectors.

But Larry Clinton, chief operating officer of the Internet Security
Alliance, which represents Visa, Verizon and other corporations, said
while the group appreciates the notion of promoting cybersecurity, it
believes restructuring the department will disrupt ongoing security

"It's taken a long time to get the current momentum," Clinton said.  
The department also opposes the legislation, arguing that
cybersecurity should be part of the efforts to protect physical
infrastructure such as transportation systems, financial markets and
electricity grids.

"We just firmly believe [cybersecurity] should remain integrated"  
within the infrastructure protection wing, said a Homeland Security
Department spokeswoman.

On technology, the provision would require the science and technology
division to establish a program to transfer and commercialize
promising technologies to federal, state and local officials and the
private sector. The Senate passed similar legislation late last year.

"Communications without intelligence is noise;  Intelligence
without communications is irrelevant." Gen Alfred. M. Gray, USMC
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