[ISN] 2001: Bush Warned of Tech Dangers

From: InfoSec News (isn@private)
Date: Mon Mar 14 2005 - 01:42:03 PST

Forwarded from: William Knowles <wk@private>


Associated Press
March 13, 2005 

WASHINGTON -- The nation's electronic intelligence agency warned 
President Bush in 2001 that monitoring U.S. adversaries would require 
a "permanent presence" on networks that also carry Americans' messages 
that are protected from government eavesdropping. 

The warning was contained in a National Security Agency report 
entitled "Transition 2001," sent to Bush shortly after he took office 
and reflects the agency's major concerns at the time. 

The report was obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the 
National Security Archive, a private security watchdog group at George 
Washington University that made the document public. 

The papers offer a rare glimpse into the usually publicity-shy NSA, 
which monitors communications involving foreign targets and does 
code-making and breaking. 

The document showed an agency making a case to the White House that 
information security should be a top priority. It raised questions 
about how new global communications technologies were challenging the 
Constitution's protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. 

"Make no mistake, NSA can and will perform its missions consistent 
with the Fourth Amendment and all applicable laws," the document says. 
But, it adds, senior leadership must understand that the NSA's mission 
will demand a "powerful, permanent presence" on global 
telecommunications networks that host both "'protected' communications 
of Americans" and the communications of adversaries the agency wants 
to target. 

The document also said the global nature of technology leaves 
government and private networks more vulnerable to penetration by 
enemies. The report said the agency was concerned that federal and 
private digital networks were now "more vulnerable to foreign 
intelligence operations and to compromise." 

The documents indicate the NSA was going on an offensive using the new 
modes of communication -- mostly digital and able to carry billions of 
bits of data. It says the agency is "prepared organizationally, 
intellectually and -- with sufficient investment -- technologically to 
exploit in an unprecedented way the explosion of global 

NSA was also concerned about the security of its parent agency, the 
Defense Department. In 1999, the document says, the department 
experienced over 22,000 cyber attacks, most of which had little effect 
on operations. 

"During the presidential transition period, a major cyber attack is 
possible," the agency warned. But no significant cyber attack occurred 

In the 42-page report, the agency said it had tried to transform 
itself from an entity nicknamed "No Such Agency" by dispatching its 
director to public events and reaching out to the media. The agency 
said media representatives were invited inside the agency for family 
day in September 2000. 

Staffing was clearly a concern of the agency. The documents show a 
sharp drop in civilian personnel after the end of the cold war. In 
2001, there were just over 16,000 civilians, down from 22,000 in early 
2001. At the time, 19 percent of the work force was eligible for early 

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, intelligence agencies have gone on 
a hiring spree. The NSA announced last April it intended to hire 1,500 
new employees a year for the next five years, focusing on people 
fluent in foreign languages including Arabic and Chinese, intelligence 
analysts and technical experts. 

"Communications without intelligence is noise;  Intelligence
without communications is irrelevant." Gen Alfred. M. Gray, USMC
C4I.org - Computer Security, & Intelligence - http://www.c4i.org

Bellua Cyber Security Asia 2005 -

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