DOJ requests new resources to fight cyberterrorism

The Justice Department is seeking increased funding for fiscal 2000 to protect government computer systems and to improve its internal information technology operations.

DOJ's budget request includes $122 million to pay for personnel and other resources needed to defend against attacks on the nation's critical computer systems. Part of the money will go toward hiring 60 attorneys and 60 agents to fight cyberterrorism. The new agents will be broken up into "squads" to investigate attacks on the nation's critical infrastructure, Attorney General Janet Reno said today.

DOJ also is seeking a $93 million increase in information resources management funds. The additional money will help the department improve its systems for sharing information internally and upgrade systems to automate business processes, DOJ officials said Monday when they unveiled their fiscal 2000 budget request.

Nearly $39 million of the extra money would go toward an FBI project called the Information Sharing Initiative, which should let FBI agents more easily exchange data on cases they are working.

The requested increase for IRM also would sink $37 million into a Legal Activities Office Automation project for upgrading critical management software at DOJ.

Moreover, the department is asking Congress for $50 million to enhance the Integrated Surveillance Information System, which the Immigration and Naturalization Service uses to monitor the U.S. border with Mexico.

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