- Former CIA Director George J. Tenet yesterday called
for new security measures to guard against attacks on the United States
that use the Internet, which he called "a potential Achilles' heel."
- "I know that these actions will be controversial
in this age when we still think the Internet is a free and open society
with no control or accountability," he told an information-technology
security conference in Washington, "but ultimately the Wild West must
give way to governance and control."
- The former CIA director said telecommunications -
and specifically the Internet - are a back door through which terrorists
and other enemies of the United States could attack the country, even though
great strides have been made in securing the physical infrastructure.
- The Internet "represents a potential Achilles'
heel for our financial stability and physical security if the networks
we are creating are not protected," Mr. Tenet said.
- He said known adversaries, including "intelligence
services, military organizations and non-state actors," are researching
information attacks against the United States.
- Within the federal government, the Department of
Homeland Security has the lead role in protecting the Internet from terrorism.
But the department's head of cyber-security recently quit amid reports
that he had clashed with his superiors.
- Mr. Tenet, who retired in July as director of the
CIA after seven years, warned that al Qaeda remains a sophisticated group,
even though its first-tier leadership largely has been destroyed.
- It is "undoubtedly mapping vulnerabilities and
weaknesses in our telecommunications networks," he said.
- Mr. Tenet pointed out that the modernization of key
industries in the United States is making them more vulnerable by connecting
them with an Internet that is open to attack.
- The way the Internet was built might be part of the
problem, he said. Its open architecture allows Web surfing, but that openness
makes the system vulnerable, Mr. Tenet said.
- Mr. Tenet called for industry to lead the way by "establishing
and enforcing" security standards. Products need to be delivered to
government and private-sector customers "with a new level of security
and risk management already built in."
- The national press, including United Press International
(UPI), were excluded from yesterday's event, at Mr. Tenet's request, organizers