Experts find fault with cyberdirective

Intelligence monitoring authorization reverses 20 years of policy and laws, critics contend.

When President Bush issued a classified cybersecurity directive early last month, he reversed 21 years of policy that had prevented the Defense Department and the National Security Agency from having oversight of civilian agency networks. Some opponents of the directive, which include several former Office of Management and Budget officials, say that National Security Presidential Directive 54/Homeland Security Presidential Directive 23 authorizing intelligence monitoring of all federal agency networks will create a new set of information technology security problems and raise privacy and civil liberties concerns that had been avoided until now.“To solve the security problem, they want to use intelligence monitoring?” asked Glenn Schlarman, a former OMB official in charge of security policy who is now a consultant. DOD has not done a great job of defending its own networks, Schlarman said, adding that there are “starkly different needs and purposes for intelligence gathering and computer security.”Schlarman is one of several former OMB officials who disapprove of parts of the president’s classified directive. They said it violates the Computer Security Act of 1987, the Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002 and the Privacy Act of 1974. Until now, Schlarman and others had fought — and won — a recurring battle to prevent DOD and NSA from having a role in managing civilian agency networks.   Bruce McConnell, who was at OMB for 15 years and was chief of the information policy and technology branch for many years, testified before Congress last week that the classified directive could have a potentially chilling effect on the free flow of information between government and citizens.“It is impossible for DOD to balance the needs of security and monitoring,” McConnell told House lawmakers last week. McConnell, who is president at Government Futures, a consulting company, said the directive has garnered a lot support because of repeated attacks on federal networks.Asked about the concerns expressed by former OMB officials, Karen Evans, OMB’s administrator for e-government and IT, said the new policy “has been fully vetted, and it is clear what everyone’s roles and responsibilities are.”Evans said she could not comment further because of the classified nature of the directive.Several critics say such secrecy is one of their concerns. “People have consistently concluded that this kind of secrecy slows down the responsiveness and effectiveness of responding” to network security problems, said Jim Dempsey, the Center for Democracy and Technology’s policy director. “That is why the Computer Emergency Readiness Team publishes vulnerabilities and their fixes as quickly as possible.”DOD and NSA have been trying to obtain rights to monitor federal computer networks since 1984, when John Poindexter, then the National Security Advisor, issued a directive. Each time, OMB and lawmakers stopped or staved off those attempts. “Either no one raised these concerns, or they finally got into a situation where they went above the OMB staff level and to the White House staff and convinced them it was the right thing to do,” Schlarman said.Dempsey said he believes this latest effort to change agency network oversight originated with Mike McConnell, director of national intelligence. “For McConnell, this is the latest chapter in a 20-year effort,” he said. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence referred all questions about the new cyberdirective to the Homeland Security Department.

Separation of powers

For 23 years, the Defense Department and the National Security Agency have tried to gain responsibility for overseeing civilian agency networks. Each time, Congress and Office of Management and Budget officials have stopped them through policy or legislation. Two prominent laws, among others, create clear separation between intelligence and civilian networks. They are:

The Computer Security Act of 1987.

The law gives the National Institute of Standards and Technology authority to develop governmentwide computer security standards.
The Federal Information Security


The Management Act of 2002.

FISMA restates NIST’s and OMB’s roles in overseeing computer security policies and standards.


— Jason Miller

























X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.