The Circuit

Voicing Concerns

Many inside and outside government have expressed their concerns that industry information sharing and analysis centers (ISACs) have not fulfilled the vision outlined under former President Clinton's critical infrastructure protection (CIP) directive.

The concept behind the ISACs is to encourage companies in the banking, telecommunications, transportation and other critical national infrastructures to share security vulnerability information and warnings with one another and, eventually, the government. But the ISACs that exist are still working on the first goal and are far from accomplishing the second.

The new CIP Project (see Page 16), created by James Madison and George Mason universities last week, is stepping up to provide technical, policy and legal assistance to help states form their own ISACs. And it might not be a bad idea for industry ISACs to take advantage of a little free expert help, several officials said.

De-bugging

You can't be too sure about anything these days, so the State Department has expanded a pilot program to detect eavesdropping devices that could be inserted into portable electronic devices carried by the agency's personnel.

Mikoh Corp., a provider of secure radio frequency identification technology, is furnishing the agency with Smart&Secure seals and readers to secure and track portable electronic devices.

The purpose: to detect surreptitious eavesdropping or the insertion of surveillance mechanisms that could occur when the devices are not under the control of State personnel. Officials say the devices are especially vulnerable to tampering when they are taken out of State's facilities or left unattended in unsecured areas.

Say What?

Another round of she said/he said has ensued in the ongoing lawsuit over the Interior Department's management of American Indian trust funds.

In a May 7 letter, Justice Department attorney Sandra Spooner asked Court Monitor Joseph Kieffer III to edit his seventh report to U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth.

Kieffer declined to alter the disparaging 86-page document that found that Interior Secretary Gale Norton hasn't given Special Trustee Thomas Slonaker the support he needs to fulfill his oversight duties, mandated by a 1994 law. Slonaker is charged with fixing the trust system, including a computer program with known security flaws.

"The seventh report will stand as it was written," Kieffer said in a May 13 letter, further adding that Norton's attorneys could warrant censure for their conduct.

True Telework Champion

Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) is a strong advocate of allowing employees who want to telecommute to do so. And so to keep his staff director on the Government Reform Committee's Technology and Procurement Policy Subcommittee happy, Davis had to do just that. His aide, Melissa Wojciak, gave birth to a boy, Adam, April 2 and has been burning up the landlines between her home and office ever since. She started sending e-mail messages four days after giving birth and continues to work from home, according to David Marin, Davis' spokesman. "She does set an outrageously high bar for the rest of us," he said.

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