House question Ridge on IT security

Members of the House Select Committee on Homeland Security want more specifics on the administration's cybersecurity plans.

Last week, four members sent a bipartisan letter to Homeland Security Department Secretary Tom Ridge asking what the agency was doing to carry out the President's National Strategy to Secure Cyber Space.

It was the second letter that members of Congress have sent to Ridge in the past two months expressing cybersecurity concerns. In March, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) sent Ridge a 21-page letter asking 57 questions about DHS work on cybersecurity.

The House members who sent the April 29 letter said they needed to know more about DHS' cybersecurity plans to make certain the agency has enough money to carry them out.

The letter also suggested that the National Cyber Security Division might need to be elevated within DHS, with its director perhaps reporting to the undersecretary for information analysis and infrastructure protection or to Ridge himself.

The letter was signed by Christopher Cox (R-Calif.), Select Committee chairman; Jim Turner (D-Texas), ranking committee member; Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), chairman of the Cybersecurity, Science and Research and Development Subcommittee; and subcommittee ranking member Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.)

The lawmakers asked Ridge to respond by May 10, citing their work on the fiscal 2005 authorization bill for DHS as the reason for the short deadline.

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