Cyberdefense alarms ring on Hill
- By Dan Verton
- Mar 09, 2000
A senior member of the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday criticized
President Clinton for not using his position as the nation's commander in
chief to raise the average citizen's awareness of the national security
threat posed by hacker attacks and cyberwar.
During a hearing on information assurance and critical infrastructure protection,
Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Pa.), chairman of the Research and Development Subcommittee,
chastised the president because Clinton's 89-minute State of the Union address
included only 90 seconds dedicated to national security and cyberdefense
Arthur Money, the Pentagon's assistant secretary of defense for command,
control, communications and intelligence, told the committee that the Defense
Department last year experienced 22,126 cyberattacks against its systems.
The revelation led Weldon to criticize the intelligence community for not
yet developing a national intelligence estimate detailing specific cyberwar
threats. Neil Lane, assistant to the president for science and technology,
said he would request a timeline from the intelligence community as to when
a national estimate will be available.
"I'm surprised we haven't asked [the intelligence community] yet," said
Weldon. "If this isn't the state of the union, I don't know what is."
Clinton gave his State of the Union speech two months ago and has since
held the first-ever cybersecurity summit at the White House in the aftermath
of recent denial-of-service attacks against popular e-commerce Internet
Nevertheless, John Tritak, director of the Critical Infrastructure Assurance
Office, said officials must find a way to get people to pay attention to
cyberthreats the way they once did to the Cold War and the threat of nuclear