Few Tapped for Input on Bush Cyber-Strategy

Lawmakers who would be instrumental in making the plan work said they have had no direct input in its crafting.

In a preliminary version of their plan for securing cyberspace, White House advisers tout the strategy as being a collaborative effort among industry, academia, the military and the government. But lawmakers who would be instrumental in making the plan work said they have had no direct input in its crafting.

According to a draft of the strategy obtained by eWeek, coordinating with Congress is one of a half-dozen principles guiding the plan being created by the Presidents Critical Infrastructure Protection Board. To ensure that the administrations approach enjoys "broad support and consensus, the Executive Branch will consult with and seek input from Congress," the draft reads.

In developing the initial strategy and laying the groundwork for debate, however, the board has not sought congressional feedback.

"We gave some background briefings to key lawmakers," said Andy Purdy, senior adviser for IT security and privacy at the CIPB, in Washington. "Were not soliciting their input."

The draft plan, which was first reported in eWeek Aug. 26, includes calls for creating a federal Network Operations Center to collect increased amounts of security data as well as provisions for bolstering the collection and analysis of network traffic at colleges. The plan also calls for the creation of a privacy czar role, to oversee privacy compliance in government.

Some of the drafts proposals would require legislative action to advance, a point not lost on the CIPB and noted in the draft document.

Still, although it touches on expanded surveillance and privacy issues, several members of the relevant congressional committees said they have not been apprised of the drafts proposals.

An assistant to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the ranking Republican on the Senate commerce committee, said the senators technology advisers have not been involved in the strategy so far. The assistant added that McCain has had input on some IT matters.

An assistant to Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., said the congressman also has not been consulted by the White House despite Conyers position on the House Judiciary Committee.