Clinton Unveils "Cyber-Protection" Plan

July 7, 2008 - 8:02 PM

( - Another government-expanding proposal from President Clinton Friday, who announced the nation's first major ($2 billion) plan to fight cyber-terrorism - a threat that so far exists more in theory than in practice.

"We live in an age when one person sitting at one computer can come up with an idea, travel it through cyberspace, and take humanity to new heights, and someone can sit at the same computer, hack into the computer system, and potentially paralyze a company, a city, or a government," he said in this morning's announcement at the White House.

The president is particularly concerned about security breaches in the energy, telecommunications, banking and transportation industries.

The president says the Y2K experience underscored how "interconnected" Americans are. He said his national plan - three years in the making -- will "defend America's cyberspace."

The president said, "We need to do more to bring people into the field of computer security. That's why I am proposing a new program that will offer college scholarships to students in the field of computer security in exchange for their public service afterward. This program will create a new generation of computer security specialists who will work to defend our nation's computers."

Clinton said his program would create a new "Institute for Information Infrastructure Protection" that would bring together researchers, engineers and computer scientists to find ways to close what the president called "research gaps."

President Clinton said he will request $91 million for these and other reforms as part of an overall $2-billion budget to help meet "our security challenges."

"I will work hard to get these measures passed," he said, adding that he will also work equally hard to uphold the privacy rights of the American people and the proprietary rights of American businesses.

Like the school-funding and "smart gun" initiatives announced earlier this week, the cyber-protection plan is included in Clinton's fiscal 2001 budget request, which is due to be released on February 7.

"I hope this will be a completely nonpartisan issue," the president said, saying that we need to work together to ensure that information technology "will create unprecedented prosperity in the 21st century, in an atmosphere that makes all Americans more secure."