2.01.2008

If you like warrantless wiretapping...

...then you'll love this. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this week about an item in Bush's forthcoming budget proposal: "an estimated $6 billion to build a secretive system protecting U.S. communication networks from attacks by terrorists, spies and hackers."

Protecting private computer systems would likely require the government to install sensors on private, company networks, officials familiar with the initiative said. Amid divisiveness about other government-surveillance programs, having the government monitor Internet traffic, even in the name of national security, will be a hard sell to Congress and the public.

...

Former officials said the final price tag is approaching an estimated $30 billion over seven years, including a 2009 infusion of around $6 billion, though those numbers could change significantly as the plan develops.

...

Current and former officials said the effort could be scaled back to primarily protect government networks. They would then do what is possible to help the private sector improve its security. [Director of National Intelligence Mike] McConnell has said 95% of the problem lies with the private sector. [emphasis added]

Right. Like the gubmint knows more about computer security. Even a lefty like me isn't buying that one. On the other side, Varones and his ilk, I assume, ought to be outraged about the price tag and the privacy implications. Regardless, Bush is using the same top-secret playbook to get this one through:

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie G. Thompson...said he was particularly irked to learn that Mr. Bush had signed a classified directive that outlines how the White House proposes to bolster security of government networks weeks ago but "has refused to share [the directive] with Congress."

White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said the White House is giving "careful consideration" to Mr. Thompson's request for the Jan. 8 directive...



Uh-huh.

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