Feds ready anti-terror cyberteam
By M.J. Zuckerman
The Clinton administration, citing the threat of electronic
terrorist attacks, is taking steps to secure cyberspace.
The administration is expected to announce later this month
+ An emergency response task force, directed by the FBI and
based in the Justice Department, to manage any terrorist
incident involving an attack in cyberspace.
The Cyber Security Assurance Group would funcaon as both an
emergency response team and investigative body. It will
respond to any collapse of the National Information
Infrastructure -- the nation's vital computer systems such
as banking, transportation and telecommunications.
"The threat is there, it's very real," says CIA General
Counsel Jeffrey Smith. "If we have a Unabomber who decides
to launch an attack with a PC instead of a bomb, (there
could be) a great deal of damage."
+ A commission, dominated by national security
representatives and chaired by a private sector person, to
deliver within 12 months a national policy on cyberspace
The commission faces difficulty in balancing government
inter-agency turf battles as well as dealing with industry
and the private sector, which oppose Internet regulation.
"This is one of the toughest issues government faces
today," says Smith.
The initiatives have emerged from an unprecedented, closely
guarded series of meeangs held in recent months between
leading administration officials from law enforcement,
national security and defense.
Attorney General Janet Reno, acting under a classified
presidential directive issued late last year in response to
the Oklahoma City bombing, chairs the panel.
It includes the directors of the CIA and FBI along with
Cabinet secretaries from Treasury, Commerce, Transportation
Today, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations
holds the second in a series of hearings examining
cyberspace security and threats to information systems.
The panel's minority staff is expected to endorse
administration proposals to clearly draw national policy on
information security but calls for a more ambitious
emergency response effort by government.
To see adjoining UT article (9 kb),
"Post-Cold War hysteria or a national threat?"