House threatens to delay security funding

House threatens to delay security funding

By Christopher J. Dorobek

GCN Staff

House Majority Leader Dick Armey this month threatened to hold up funding for the Clinton administration's critical-infrastructure protection plan unless Congress gets answers to its questions about the White House's systems security initiatives.

Specifically, Armey said House lawmakers want more detailed information about the Federal Information Detection Network (FIDnet) project and the administration's encryption policies.

In a Dec. 6 letter to Attorney General Janet Reno, Armey said the administration has yet to respond to questions put forth by House lawmakers in September [GCN, Oct. 25, Page 9].

The House wants details on how the administration will protect personal information it gathers via FIDnet, Armey said. Administration officials have stressed that it will use FIDnet to monitor only federal network traffic.

'While I share the administration's goal of protecting government computer networks from outside intruders, there are serious policy questions about how best to achieve security in a way that protects personal privacy,' Armey said in the letter to Reno.

Armey said he will ask lawmakers to bar the government from spending any funds for the White House's plan to protect critical systems infrastructures until the privacy questions are answered.

The administration's security teams are drafting a final version of the critical protection plan, which the White House laid out in Presidential Decision Directive 63. The final plan will likely be released soon, Clinton officials said.


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