- By Judi Hasson
- May 22, 2000
If You Say it Often Enough
Even though they are not slated to receive new money for information
security until fiscal 2001, chief information officers in the federal government
seem to be taking the approach that if they utter the phrase "emergency
supplemental" often enough, maybe some money will drift their way from Congress.
State Department CIO Fernando Burbano has been pushing the idea every chance
he gets. Now, Agriculture Department CIO Joseph Leo is taking up the cause.
After numerous agencies were hit by the recent "love bug" attack, Leo suggested
there may be an emergency supplemental fund for cybersecurity this year.
The one time the concept was suggested this year in public to the lead budget
gatekeeper, the Office of Management and Budget, OMB said it didn't want
to get involved.
Maybe Transportation Department CIO George Molaski had the right idea
when he suggested that the first time the World Wide Web site of a member
of Congress who is running for re-election gets hit, the money will pour
Last month, Sens. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.) and Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.)
called on agencies to talk about their progress in implementing the Clinger-Cohen
Act four years after its passage, and many wondered why no one had asked
before. But apparently someone had the Office of Management and Budget.
According to one federal official, OMB asked agencies to give it an update
on Clinger-Cohen in the fall of 1997. Letters were sent out and responses
received. But nothing was ever done, and any trace of those responses has
long since disappeared. It makes you wonder if the agency responses were
bad enough that OMB didn't want to take the time to fix the problems or
good enough that OMB decided to leave well enough alone.
Glowing in the Dark
At the National Archives and Records Administration, where they usually
worry about preserving electronic documents for a few decades or paper documents
for a century or two, researchers discovered some really long-lasting stuff
in their files uranium samples with a half-life of 4.5 billion years.
The samples were found in envelopes tucked in with 50-year-old Army documents
that had been sent to NARA in January for declassification. Officials said
a small amount of radiation was detected on four envelopes containing the
uranium, but none was found in the records processing area or on NARA employees
who handled the records. Try electronic filing next time.
Don't Add it to the Map Room
White House information managers doubtless earned a "D" in geography
recently after posting a map of the United States on the official White
House Web site that mixed up Kentucky and Tennessee. The map was picked
up by "journalist" Matt Drudge, who brought it to public attention on his
Web site, The Drudge Report. The map was posted in connection with the president's
school reform tour and located Owensboro, Ky., in western Tennessee. The
mistake was swiftly corrected, but not before Drudge had splashed it online.
To help prevent this from happening again, we note that there are several
excellent software packages that include maps, and there are even free maps
available on the Net.
Have a tip? Send it to [email protected].