SHERWOOD BOEHLERT (R-NY)
STATEMENT FOR COMPUTER SECURITY HEARING
a pleasure to welcome everyone here today to discuss the fascinating and
troubling issue of computer security.
events of September 11th have made all Americans more conscious of
security issues. Our job in Congress is
to ensure that we are focusing adequate attention and resources on security
matters while at the same time preserving the openness that is the hallmark of
American society. It’s not an easy
balance to achieve, and we need to guard against the worst kinds of failures –
those that will leave us more encumbered but no more secure.
talking to experts on matters within this Committee’s jurisdiction, the
security issue that came up repeatedly was computer security. It’s easy to state the problem in general
terms: American society has become
vastly more dependent on computers and the Internet in recent years, making us
more vulnerable to criminal or terrorist attacks on our computer networks. Yet research and development on computer
security have not kept pace with the growing significance of the threat.
laying out the problem is easier than figuring out what to do about it. So today we’ll hear from a variety of
experts who will guide us as we decide what legislative and other steps are
needed to increase the focus on computer security, in terms of R&D, risk
assessment and implementation.
starters, it’s clear that we have to devote greater resources – not only money,
but also our individual and collective attention – to computer and especially
To put it simply,
we need more people to do be doing more creative thinking about computer
security. That’s what our adversaries
I’m pleased that
the President has taken some initial steps in this direction by appointing Dr.
Richard Clarke as a Special Advisor for Cybersecurity. I anticipate working with Dr. Clarke and
with my good friend Governor Tom Ridge on these issues, and also with Dr. Jack
Marburger, whose confirmation hearing I testified at yesterday. We will never have the coordinated, focused
federal effort on computer security that we need without clear, firm and
continuing guidance from the White House.
We will also be
providing continuing guidance of our own.
We expect to have another hearing on computer security next week, and
intend to follow up with legislation.
In addition, the Committee will hold a hearing later this month
examining security issues regarding our nation’s physical infrastructure,
including water supplies.
of course, our Committee is hardly alone in focusing on this issue. I want to especially note the work of our
Committee member Lamar Smith, who has held three hearings on cybercrime in his
Judiciary subcommittee this year.
purpose of our hearings is not to gain
attention or to spread frightening scenarios – which, by their very nature, are
virtually limitless. We want to focus
on real, concrete problems and develop specific solutions. I’m optimistic that this hearing will help
us do just that.
I introduce today’s distinguished witnesses, I want to extend a special welcome
to Special Agent Bob Weaver of the Secret Service.
Bob and his team
on the New York Electronic Crimes Task Force were located at 7 World Trade
Center and was directly touched by the tragic events of Sept. 11. Thankfully, all Task Force members have been
accounted for and are safe. Welcome Bob
– thanks for being here.
The Task Force has
been at the forefront of the effort to combat all forms of electronic crime,
especially the financial networks that support terrorism. I’m proud to note that the National
Institute of Justice’s CyberScience Laboratory at Rome, New York in my district
is a key partner in the Task Force. The
Laboratory has been working with the Task Force in the days since September 11
to get things up and running again, to help track down the financial assets of
Until the tragic
events of September 11 intervened, New York Governor Pataki had been planning a
National Cybercrime – Cyberterrorism Summit, which was to have taken place in
the financial district next week. The
summit is being rescheduled for early next year and I applaud the foresight and
leadership of Governor Pataki and look forward to participating.
witnesses this morning are among the nation’s leaders in computer science.