Former cybersecurity chief opposes new regulations

Richard Clarke, former White House cybersecurity chief, is the first to admit that more than a year after that office completed a national cybersecurity strategy, attacks via the Internet are still on the rise. But that is not the fault of the strategy, and does not mean that more government intervention is needed, he said.

In a recent interview with National Journal's Technology Daily, Clarke criticized the Bush administration for failing to implement the National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace and for cutting funding for cybersecurity research.

"They've actually cut the overall amount of money for research in cybersecurity," he said. "They've not created the federal government as an example of how to do cybersecurity."

Clarke defended the strategy he oversaw, saying that it "absolutely" reflected his views, and indicating that no changes are needed in it. He took issue with press reports from the time of the strategy's release that suggested it had been "watered down" through consultation with industry and others.

"What we did was we had a very complex document that was the result of a lot of input from a lot of groups in and out of government," he said. "We had 70 or 80 ... recommendations. ... So we clustered them ... into five recommendations and simplified the document. It wasn't watered down."

He also contended with assertions that the earlier version had more "teeth," in terms of calling for federal regulations. He said a strong public-private partnership is critical to success against cyber attacks, and frowned upon new regulation.

"I don't mind regulation if it's already there in industry traditionally regulated [such as electric power, banking and healthcare], and I think if you're going to have regulation, it ought to be effective regulation."

Clarke also said, "The FBI is light years ahead of where it was three or four years ago, but where it was three or four years ago is in the Stone Age." But he said FBI and the Homeland Security Department are moving slowly to put in place a sophisticated network for federal, state and local law enforcement. "They are underfunded and there is a certain lack of creativity," he said.

Clarke, who was the White House counter-terrorism adviser before moving to cybersecurity, said, "Terrorists use the Internet just like anybody else." But he has "yet to see any evidence per se that terrorists have used the Internet to launch attacks and cyber attacks. But then we very seldom know who does launch cyber attacks."

Clarke left the administration shortly after the strategy's release early in 2003, and is now in the private sector in northern Virginia, consulting on cybersecurity for firms such as Symantec and RSA Security.

Asked about this year's presidential election, Clarke said he is "still waiting" for a technology policy statement from the campaign of Democratic candidate John Kerry and would not say which candidate he supports. "I think I'm going to not publicly endorse anyone. I certainly think we need a management change, let's put it that way."

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.