Obama Administration Establishes ‘New Agency’ To Sniff Out Threats In Cyber Space; Set Up ‘Rapid Source Of Intelligence’; Should Congress Consider Imposing A Sunset Clause To Examine Its Usefulness – Down The Road?
Ellen Nakashima. writing in this mornings(February 10, 2015) Washington Post, says that the “Sony Pictures hack spurred the Obama administration to set up a ‘rapid source of intelligence,’ regarding cyber attacks. The new agency is modeled after the U.S. Counter-Terrorism Center — which was launched in the wake of the 9/11 attacks — based in large part on the fact that government agencies did not adequately share intelligence/information — that could have potentially discovered the 9/11 plot…before it occurred.”
“The cyber threat is one of the greatest threats we face, and policy makers and operators will benefit from having a rapid source of intelligence,” said Lisa Monaco, Assistant to the POTUS for Homeland Security and Counter-Terrorism, in an interview. “It will help ensure that we have the same integrated, all-source approach to the cyber threat…that we have developed to combat ” Ms. Monaco will announce the creation of The Cyber Threat Intelligence Center, today (Tue.), in a speech at the Wilson Center, according to the Washington Post. “It’s a great idea,” said Richard Clarke, a former White House counter-terrorism official. “It’s overdue.”
“Others question why a new agency is needed, when the government already has several dedicated to monitoring, and analyzing cyber threat data,” Ms. Nakashima wrote. “The Department of Homeland Security, the FBI; and, the National Security Agency (NSA) all have cyber-operations centers; and, the FBI and NSA are able to integrate information,” noted Ms. Melissa Hathaway, a former White House cyber security coordinator and President of Hathaway Global Strategies. “We should not be creating more organizations and bureaucracy,” she said. Amen to that. “We need to be forcing the existing organizations to become more effective — [and], hold them accountable.”
“POTUS will issue a memorandum creating the center,” Ms. Nakashima writes, “which will be part of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The new agency will begin with a staff of about 50; and, a budget of $35M,” officials said.
The devil is in the details of course. Time will tell whether this new center is additive, and really the right answer to a very complex, gnarly problem. Perhaps Congress should consider a sunset-clause with the stand-up of this new organization. It is very difficult to disestablish something like this as time goes on — even if the new organization is not as value-added as was intended or perceived. Examining whether or not such an entity has proved to be a net benefit to the country and the taxpayers — is something that would be refreshing and a healthy way to ensure such organizations do not ‘live on in perpetuity,’ and long past their usefulness. When is the last time the U.S. Government ever used a sunset clause;to justify the existence of a new agency; and. what was the outcome? Has it ever been tried — I don’t know the answer to that. Maybe one of you do. V/R, RCP