Clinton tackling cyber terrorism

President Bill Clinton Friday proposed a $1.46 bn (£0.8bn) initiative designed to protect the United States against attacks from cyber, biological and chemical terrorism.
Written by Joel Deane, Contributor

Speaking at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C., Clinton said "terrorist and outlaw states are extending the world's fields of battle from physical space to cyberspace."

"The enemies of peace realise they cannot defeat us with traditional military means. So they are working on two new forms of assault; cyberattacks on our critical computer systems and attacks with weapons of mass destruction -- chemical, biological and potentially even nuclear weapons," Clinton said. The president's Cyber Corps plan will be included in his fiscal 2000 budget proposal next month. If approved by Congress, the plan will help fund four new initiatives:

A research project to detect intruders trying to break into critical computer systems. Building crime detection networks, starting with the Department of Defence.

Creating information centres in the private sector to encourage private-government cooperation on cyberthreats. Bolstering the government's ranks of computer experts able to prevent and respond to computer crises. "We must be ready. Ready if our adversaries try to use computers to disable power grids, banking, communications and transportation networks, police, fire and health services -- or military assets," Clinton said.

While the United States would be "deliberate" and "aggressive" in its war on cyberterrorism, he said, "we will remain committed to uphold privacy rights and other constitutional protections."

Clinton said his $1.46 billion proposal was 40 percent more than the United States spent on anti-terrorism two years ago.

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