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Clinton pushes national cyberterrorism center

Clinton pushes national cyberterrorism center

President Clinton will unveil a national center for warning of, and responding to, attacks on computers that control Wall Street, banking, utilities and air traffic by early March, the president's chief cyberterrorism adviser told National Journal's Technology Daily Tuesday.

The National Plan to Defend America's Cyberspace follows on Clinton's call last May for the administration to work with the private sector to create the warning center, said Richard Clarke. The administration hopes to implement the plan by 2003, after gathering input from Congress and the public. The plan is separate from Clinton's FY 2000 budget request for $1.4 billion to combat cyberterrorism, and is instead to help the government hire more skilled computer personnel, to build a network to detect attacks on government computer systems, and to boost research and development on ways to strengthen computer security systems, said Clarke.

The basic idea of the plan is to create centers throughout the country where private industry can receive government intelligence information about possible cyber-attacks and where companies can get information to shore up their security. The plan would not call for any new regulations, nor would it require any company to participate, said Clarke, who spoke at a Center for Strategic and International Studies luncheon. IBM, Dell Computers, BellSouth and GTE are already working with the government on the initial framework, according to news reports.

"We can't defend this country without the private sector ... but the worry is that the purpose of these [centers] is for the private sector to divulge information to the government, when it is almost the other way around. The government has lots of information about computer threats and we would be divulging the information" to the private sector, Clarke said.