Dick Armey writes letter to Koskinen with questions concerning FIDNet

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Apparently the House Majority Leader has a sense that Clinton's big idea has an agenda unfavorable to our Constitution (duh). If memory serves me, Armey was the only audience member to acknowledge Clinton's Y2K remark during his State of the Union address.


-- Will continue (farming@home.com), August 10, 1999


W.C. - Thanks for the link. It is my recollection that it was Constance Morella who cheered Clinton's remarks during the State-of-the-Union speech, if that is what you are referring to. However, Armey did sign the letter that Bennett and a few others sent Clinton during that time period, explaining that Y2K was a crisis and more money was needed to complete remediations.

-- Brooks (brooksbie@hotmail.com), August 10, 1999.

I want to see Koskinen's answer to the letter. Thanks for the link, Will.

-- Dog Gone (layinglow@rollover.now), August 10, 1999.

http:// www.freedom.gov/library/technology/y2kletter.asp

Y2K and Computer Network Monitoring

August 4, 1999

Some might raise the question of whether money that Congress appropriates to help solve the Year 2000 computer problem might be used as a basis for the Fidnet program, a system designed to monitor private computer networks.

The head of the Y2K Conversion Council, John Koskinien testified a recent Senate Y2K Committee hearing that the infrastructure created to help address Y2K issues might not be temporary: This is not a one-time only issue. The infrastructure will continually be vulnerable to attack, Mr. Koskinen said.

House Majority Leader Dick Armey wrote the following letter to Mr. Koskinen to find answers.

August 4, 1999

Mr. John Koskinen
Year 2000 Conversion Council
115 OEOB
Washington DC 20502

Dear Mr. Koskinen:

As you know, many questions are being raised about a new Administration proposal that would establish the Federal Intrusion Detection Network (FIDNet), which would, among other things, monitor civilian network traffic. This new bureaucracy would look for suspicious activity on both government and private computer networks, and the information collected would be gathered at the FBI's National Infrastructure Protection Center.

News reports about this system have understandably caused a great deal of concern. If the American people lost confidence in the security of their most personal communications, it could jeopardize the success of online commerce and other new areas of technological growth. Beyond that, it's simply frightening to think about the possibility of government bureaucrats snooping in our e-mail, particularly in light of the Administration's stance on encryption legislation.

At the same time, additional questions have been raised about our nation's preparedness for the Y2K computer problem. Congress has appropriated over $3 billion to your agency, and to every other Federal agency and Department, for the express purpose of preparing for the Y2K problem. To my knowledge, none of that money was intended for the purpose of establishing a permanent bureaucracy to monitor the integrity of private communications networks. Given the controversy surrounding the FIDNet proposal, or any federal monitoring of private networks, I wanted to take this opportunity to let you clarify your intentions.

I would appreciate if you could address the following concerns:

Have you, or anyone in your agency, been involved in any discussions concerning FIDNet or any other proposal to establish a permanent monitoring system for private communications networks?

Has any of the money appropriated for Y2K readiness been used for the purpose of establishing FIDNet or any other proposal to establish a permanent monitoring system for private communications networks?

What role, if any, will the Y2K Information Coordination Center play in implementing FIDNet or any other proposal to establish a permanent monitoring system for private communications networks?

What are the consequences, if any, for any private entity that does not cooperate or voluntarily provide information to the Y2K Information Coordination Center?

Will information collected by the ICC be used only for preparing for Y2K readiness, or will that information be made available to FIDNet or any other proposal to establish a permanent monitoring system for private communications networks?

When do you envision the Y2K Conversion Center completing its work?

How do you intend to ensure the privacy of individuals or corporations that have provided information to the Y2K Information Coordination Center?

Congress has a duty to the American people to make sure that there is no plan which would undermine the confidence of the American people and the future success of our economy. We also have a responsibility to make sure that federal agencies do not engage in mission creep, changing the nature of their operation to ensure a more permanent role once a temporary problem has been addressed. I appreciate your efforts in helping us understand the Administration's plans in these areas.


Dick Armey
House Majority Leader

-- mabel (mabel_louise@yahoo.com), August 10, 1999.

"mission creep" is right! in more ways than one.

-- with restraint (tempting@to.saymore), August 10, 1999.

Thank you will.....

-- Robert A. Cook, PE (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), August 10, 1999.

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