Clear and Present Danger

Richard Clarke, former White House adviser for cyberspace security, says too little has been done to gird the nation's telecom and information technology systems against terrorist attack.

Richard Clarke, former White House adviser for cyberspace security, says too little has been done to gird the nations telecom and information technology systems against terrorist attack. Recently, he sat down with CIO Insight Editor-in-Chief Ellen Pearlman and Executive Editor Marcia Stepanek to explain why. What follows is an edited version of his remarks.

Take the biggest merger you can imagine—Compaq and Hewlett-Packard Co. plus AOL Time Warner Inc.—and multiply it times 10, and you have the problem [director of Homeland Security] Tom Ridge faces. Hes doing 22 simultaneous mergers and acquisitions, bringing 22 different federal agencies together into one. That is a daunting management problem. But the Department of Homeland Security has not done a very good job yet in infrastructure protection, and particularly in cyberspace security. We have been urging them to create a national cyberspace security center, get a well-known national expert to lead it and place that person fairly high up in the organization chart. Until the department does all three of those things, I dont think theyll succeed in carrying out the mission given to them by Congress.