CONFERENCE ON CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE PROTECTION
ADDRESS BY ATTORNEY GENERAL JANET RENO
Friday, February 27, 1998
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
7000 East Street, Building 123
- (12:00 noon)
- MS. RENO: Thank you very much. It is a very special privilege for me to be here
- This laboratory is such a great institution and it has such a distinguished history. I can
see why, after a half-hour with Bruce, I was the student since I had forgotten most of
my chemistry. And it has been one of the most extraordinarily helpful and constructive
half-hours I have spent in the almost five years I have been Attorney General.
- This is an issue that is critically important to me: How we protect the systems and the
networks of this nation that make its businesses run; how we create a system that can
provide for the protection of our nation's defenses; how you get to the hospital
emergency room on time; how do we protect those whom we hold dear from a threat of
chemical weapons in a subway.
- Our energy production and distribution channels, our transportation networks and our
telecommunication systems are more vulnerable than ever before as we come to rely on
technology more than ever.
- This generation faces extraordinary challenges as we face the problems associated with
weapons of mass destruction. This technology brings us a new century and a new
world of incredible opportunities and of daunting challenges which, as Adlai Stevenson
would say, stagger the imagination and convert vanity to prayer.
- The government, including the Department of Justice, is facing these challenges head
on and taking steps to ensure the protection of our critical infrastructures, but we know
full well we cannot do it alone. To ensure the protection of our critical networks and
systems, we must work as partners, true partners, with the private sector, with the
academic world, with great institutions such as this, in this vitally critical effort for this
- I am here today to discuss what the Department of Justice, including the FBI, is doing
to face the challenges. And I am here to hear from some of you what steps we can take
to build a stronger, better, two-way, respectful, trusting partnership with everybody
who has been so significantly involved in this effort, some for far longer than we have.
- I want a partnership truly based on trust. As Bruce has indicated, in 1995 the President
asked me to chair a cabinet committee that would assess the vulnerability of our
nation's infrastructures and make recommendations as to how to protect them. The
process we started led to the creation of the President's Commission on Critical
- I would like to pay very special tribute to Tom Marsh, who did an extraordinary job.
He did not just sit in Washington and listen to people. He went out to communities.
He went to so many different places and listened to people because he knew full well
how important it was to build a true line of communication in this very sensitive and
significant area. And so thank you, Tom, for just some great and wonderful public
- MS. RENO: As you know, the Administration is presently engaged in determining
how to implement this report, so this conference could not be more timely. But one
thing is certain, and the commission made sure of that: it is vitally important to the
success of any effort that, it be based on the idea that infrastructure protection requires
that we work together as never before.
- It demands a partnership among all federal agencies with responsibilities for different
sectors of the economy or for certain special functions, like law enforcement,
intelligence and defense. It also requires a partnership with private industry which
owns and operates most of the infrastructures. It calls for a partnership with academia
and labs like the one hosting us today.
- You have the scientific knowledge to develop technical solutions. I have already been
through some of the process that you have been involved in, some of the processes that
are actually critical to solving and protecting some of the very critical infrastructures
that we have talked about today.
- It also requires a partnership with state and local law enforcement. They are used to
robbers with guns, but there are new criminals out there who do not have guns. They
have computers, and they may have other weapons of mass destruction.
- The use of weapons of mass destruction or cyber attacks on infrastructures that could
lead to events like power outages or telecommunications breakdowns are not
hypothetical. They are not speculative. They can happen. And it requires, in the end, a
partnership with the American people who have the right to expect that all of us,
whether we are an attorney general or a general, whether we are a scientist or a business
person, that all of us are going to work together to protect this nation.
- The Department of Justice and the FBI, as I have indicated, want to be strong, good
partners. Let me face up to an issue. Some people get suspicious of law enforcement.
They say, "I do not want to cooperate. I do not want people to recognize my
vulnerability. I do not understand the criminal justice system."
- We have a responsibility to work through the concerns that people may have so that
they trust us. And I am here today and have been involved in trying to do outreach to
those responsible for critical infrastructures to make sure that we hear from you as to
how we can be a better, stronger partner in the process. And I have learned today, just
from this lab, so much that can be done.
- There are other concerns. For example, private business may be concerned about
confidentiality. Business does not want to have proprietary information made public.
The FBI, on the other hand, has a duty to provide an early warning to the community to
prevent further attacks. We must work together to see how we can walk that narrow
line and ensure that we do our duty in terms of preventing further attacks while at the
same time maintaining the confidentiality of the person or institution or business
- The Department of Justice and the FBI have a duty to investigate and prosecute most
attacks on the infrastructure, but there are constitutional and other legal limitations on
what law enforcement can and cannot do. Fourth Amendment protections against
unreasonable search and seizures is one of our citizens most sacred protections.
- We must work with scientists as partners to develop technologies and processes that
enable us to obtain evidence in strict adherence to the fundamental protections
guaranteed our citizens by the Constitution. The private company that is the victim of a
cyber attack must likewise understand law enforcement's responsibility to the
- Some dare to suggest that the Constitution, the most remarkable document that
humankind ever put to paper, cannot keep up with modern technology. I say we must
not and we will not sacrifice any constitutional protection in order to adapt to new
- We must and we will work with you to ensure that we will master the technologies and
together, that law enforcement working with the private sector, working with the
scientist, will make sure that technology can be adapted to meet the constitutional
protections that are so critically important. But to do this, it is going to require that we
talk together, that we work together and that we understand the problem. It may be a
problem that a scientist can solve, but we need the Fourth Amendment expert working
with the scientist to understand.
- The FBI works daily to prevent attacks on the infrastructure. And it is prepared to
immediately investigate if the attack occurs. United States attorneys and other Justice
Department attorneys are available with technical expertise on a 24-hour basis to
- And if the plan is carried out, a cyber attack, if it is carried out by agents of a foreign
state or international terrorist group, we have the responsibility as well under our
foreign counter-intelligence authorities.
- In the early stages of a cyber attack on an infrastructure or a power grid, we often have
no way of knowing who was behind it, what their motive was or where they attacked
- It is impossible to determine whether the attack is part of a terrorist plot, a probe by a
foreign intelligence service, or a part of a national level military assault by a hostile
nation state; or is it simply the work of a disgruntled insider bent on revenge against a
supervisor; or is it a young juvenile hacker out to test his skills against the latest
- At the outset then, it may be premature to mobilize the military or redirect national
- What we do know, however, is that regardless of the perpetrator, his intent or his
whereabouts, the intrusion in most cases constitutes a federal crime. This means the
Department of Justice and the FBI have the authority and responsibility to investigate
- Whether the crime is physical or cyber, we need to ensure that as we investigate we are
coordinating with other agencies as appropriate. If the attack appears to come from
non-U.S. persons located abroad, we would want to call on the intelligence community
to assist in gathering information about the perpetrator's intentions; or if the attack
seems to be part of a hostile nation's war plan or involves an attack on the Defense
Department's own critical infrastructures, DOD obviously has a critical role to play.
- Our challenge, our extraordinary challenge, is to identify the attack we need to know:
When is it a straight law enforcement investigation that the FBI and the Assistant
United States Attorney or Criminal Division lawyer control? When is it something that
the National Security Council takes over? When is it something that clearly becomes
international as opposed to domestic, and therefore the State Department controls?
- What this means is that you do not have any ready answers, but you do have to develop
a process--and we are in the process of doing that--to determine when we hand it off
from one agency to the next, how we work together to make sure that we adhere to
constitutional protections, how we adhere to Fourth Amendment issues, how we
continue to adhere to the Constitution.
- Now Bruce said you had been talking about that this morning. We have been talking
about it constantly in Washington, and it is an extraordinary challenge. And civilian
agencies also have important responsibilities and capabilities. Whether it is the
Department of Energy in the event of an attack on a nuclear power plant or an electrical
power grid, or the Department of Transportation in an attack on our air traffic control
or rail systems, all these agencies have crucial roles in the event of a crisis. But the fact
remains that law enforcement initially will have the lead responsibility for responding
to an imminent or ongoing infrastructure incident.
- One example of the partnerships that we need to foster can be found in a major New
York hacker case. The FBI, Secret Service, NYNEX and Southwest Bell and a number
of private companies and universities worked together to identify and prosecute
successfully individuals who had hacked into a telecommunications network, a credit
reporting company and other systems.
- Meeting our responsibility to protect critical infrastructures, in my view, is one of the
central challenges for law enforcement as we face the twenty-first century. As our
reliance on the Internet, on automated systems and on other technological advances
increases exponentially with every passing month so do our vulnerabilities to
infrastructure attacks. Law enforcement must be prepared to confront this challenge
and be prepared to do so in partnership with other federal agencies, with the private
sector, with academia and with state and local agencies.
- And thus today I am announcing the creation of the National Infrastructure Protection
Center at the FBI. The NIPC's mission is to detect, to prevent and to respond to cyber
and physical attacks on our nation's critical infrastructures and to oversee FBI computer
crime investigations conducted in the field.
- The center will build on the important foundation laid down by the FBI's Computer
Investigations and Infrastructure Threat Assessment Center, which has been subsumed
into the NIPC.
- To ensure the strong partnerships that I consider vital, the NIPC will include
representatives from the Defense Department, the intelligence community and other
government agencies. We also very much want to and hope that the private sector will
be a participant in this center, very much like it participated in the President's
- This is the surest, best, quickest way to build understanding, to learn from each other,
to understand the responsibilities, the duties, the processes and the authorities that each
agency or institution possesses. But let me be frank again. I know sometimes of the
distrust that exists between agencies.
- I want to hear from all concerned, all who are dedicated and vitally involved in the
protection of our infrastructure; I want to know what we can do to build bridges of trust
and understanding and communication, what we can do to better explain the role of law
enforcement so that people can understand, what we can do to sit down with scientists
and say, "Here is our law enforcement. How do we solve it?" We can do so much
through this center if we work together.
- To augment our partnership, we want to establish direct electronic connectivity with
private industry and the Computer Emergency Response Team, or CERTs, which is
located across the country. This is a significant departure from the way law
enforcement has traditionally operated. But the challenges of infrastructure protection
require imaginative solutions. And I consider our liaison and outreach to the private
sector to be absolutely indispensable to our success.
- One of the issues the private sector will raise is, "Why should we work with you in
developing technology? How do we know that you will maintain confidentiality.
What can we do?"
- And in the last half-hour I have learned that I might find some examples here at the lab
in the partnerships that you have built with the private sector in terms of determining
solutions. It is fascinating what we can do if we will only sit down and talk together
and build trust, recognizing that we all have one common objective which is the
protection of this nation that we hold dear.
- The partnerships that we envision will allow the NIPC to fulfill its responsibility as the
government's lead mechanism for responding to an infrastructure attack. But the NIPC
cannot just react from one crisis to the next. To do our job we will have to be able to
prevent crises before they happen, and that requires analysis of information from all
relevant sources including law enforcement investigations, intelligence gathering and
data provided by industry.
- Through partnerships between federal agencies and private industry and with
interagency and private sector representation in electronic connectivity to all of our
partners, the NIPC will be able to achieve the broadest possible sharing of information
and comprehensive analysis of potential threats and vulnerabilities. And through its
Watch and Warning Unit, the NIPC will be able to disseminate its analysis and
warnings of any imminent threats to a broad audience in and out of government.
- This will enable private industry and government agencies to take protective steps
before an attack. But, at the same time, we can take steps together to protect the
interests of all concerned and balance the responsibilities of everyone involved.
- As we build our partnerships, we must ensure that whenever possible we share
equipment, technology and know-how with each other and especially with state and
local law enforcement who are on the front lines. Local police respond with guns now,
but soon they will have to respond with cyber tools to detect an intrusion, to follow
through, to find the person, to hold him accountable; and we must be there working
- This equipment will be expensive. And you scientists will create so much new
equipment so fast that it will be vital that we all work together in every forum possible
to make sure that we avoid costly duplication, that we develop research according to
sound plans that look both to the defense and the law enforcement and the scientific
interest, and that we do as much as we can working together, sharing.
- We have established a track record in this area, but we have much to learn, too. One of
the most important technological partnerships is the one we have established with the
Department of Defense. In 1994 Defense and Justice created a Special Joint Steering
Program group and staffed it with both Justice and Defense personnel.
- We developed products such as the prototype see-through-the-wall radar; more
affordable night vision devices, which have been instrumental in supporting and
helping the Border Patrol; concealed weapons and contraband detection systems; and
improved lightweight soft-body armor.
- In addition to working with DOD, we have developed partnerships with the
Department of Energy and with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
- We point out those as if they are unusual. We should come to accept such partnerships
as a way of doing business in everything that those of us involved in the protection of
the infrastructure do.
- But all of this only begins to touch on the range of things under development and the
technologies needed by federal, state and local law enforcement. As technology
becomes more essential to the mission of the U.S. criminal justice system, it has
become more important that we better organize ourselves to fulfill these new
requirements, because neither federal nor local law enforcement can afford to be
isolated from scientific and technological developments.
- Accordingly, I have directed the creation of a special working group to streamline the
Department's management of research and technology development.
- Finally, as many of you can sympathize, the information revolution has happened so
quickly that kids in junior high school are often more familiar with the new
technologies than your local sheriff or the FBI agent. We need to build a law
enforcement work force that is educated and equipped to deal with the new
technologies and knowledgeable and imaginative enough to think ahead to the next
generation of problems.
- The NIPC will help us do this by working closely with other interagency groups that
are developing training for federal, state and local law enforcement personnel on cyber
investigations and weapons of mass destruction.
- By creating the NIPC, the Department of Justice is taking an important step: We are
creating new partnerships with the private sector and with other government agencies
to combat threats to the critical infrastructure.
- I also have asked Congress to provide us with $64 million in increased funding to
support our expanded efforts to protect the nation's infrastructure in fiscal year 1999.
- These additional resources will be critical to support the NIPC and will also allow the
FBI to create six additional computer investigation and infrastructure threat assessment
squads to be deployed in cities across the country. And it will allow us to hire
additional prosecutors to target cyber criminals.
- As I mentioned earlier, however, not every attack on a computer network or
infrastructure that is used in the United States constitutes an attack on our national
security and, in fact, most do not. An unauthorized cyber intrusion could very well be,
as I indicated previously, from a little hacker or a disgruntled insider. We will pursue
those investigations as part of our law enforcement authority. But, nonetheless, part of
protecting our critical infrastructure means working closely with the national security
community to fight cyber attacks.
- Cyber attacks pose unique challenges. Because of the technological advancements,
today's criminals can be more nimble and more elusive than ever before. If you can sit
in a kitchen in St. Petersburg, Russia, and steal from a bank in New York, you
understand the dimensions of the problem.
- Cyber attacks create a special problem, because the evidence is fleeting. You may have
gone through this computer 1,500 miles away to break through another computer 5,000
miles away. Simply put, cyber criminals can cross borders faster than law enforcement
agents can, as hackers need not respect national sovereignty, nor rely upon judicial
process to get information from another country.
- If we are to protect our infrastructure we must reach beyond our borders. Cyber threats
ignore the borders. The attack can come from anywhere in the world. We must work
with our allies around the world to build the same partnerships that we talk about here
- And to that end, a little over a year ago, I raised with my colleagues, the ministers of
justice of the P8 countries, the eight predominant, largest industrial countries --
Canada, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, Japan, Russia and our
government -- the issue of cyber crime and urged that we join together in developing a
common response. Experts from all our countries and departments worked
together in the interim. And last December the ministers came to Washington to meet
in a day-long meeting that produced agreement as to the dimension of the problem and
produced an action plan that I hope can bring real results in the year to come.
- We must join forces around the world if we are to begin to deal with the cyber crime
that may affect one person or the cyber threat to our infrastructure that may affect the
- To do this we must work very closely with our colleagues in the defense and
intelligence communities both here and among our allies. And this presents the new
partnership. While I am building partnerships with the Department of Defense, I am
getting to know the minister of justice and the minister of defense in another country.
Sometimes the problem seems so big, but it is so critical that we address it and
understand that this great, wide world is now one that can be traveled in seconds.
- Together we will determine whether emerging developments are a national security
problem, a law enforcement problem, how to attack it, how to proceed. But until
evidence is obtained that an incident is a national security matter, it is important that we
not jump to conclusions, that we not conclude that we must use extraordinary measures
that defy our Constitution.
- If it has been determined that an incident is an attack on national security, then the
Justice Department has three distinct roles.
- First, we can conduct a criminal investigation that runs on a parallel track with the
national security elements of the case. Indeed, criminal investigations often yield vital
information and leads for the President's national security advisors.
- Secondly, we can utilize the FBI's counter-intelligence authorities and techniques when
our national security is under cyber attack from a foreign power.
- And, third, we will ensure that any national strategy for dealing with a cyber attack is
drawn up, executed and assessed with strict fidelity to our Constitution and to our laws.
- I think this is the most extraordinarily challenging time that law enforcement has ever
faced. Boundaries in this world have shrunk. Technology has burgeoned beyond man's
wildest imaginations. It is a time for us to come together and realize that if we work
together, if we talk together, if we trust each other and understand that we have one
common goal which is the defense of this nation, we can make all the difference. If
each discipline goes its own way, ignoring the other, we will not solve the problem, and
this nation will be at peril.
- This has been, in this one visit and about a brief half-hour, extraordinarily enlightening
to me. And I go back to Washington confirmed in the belief that, based on the example
of what you do here, we can make a difference and we can translate what you do here
to so many other arenas and forums around this country where law enforcement, the
private sector, the scientists are going to work together.
- Thank you so very much for setting an example.
- (Whereupon, the address by U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno concluded at 12:35
STATE OF CALIFORNIA ) County of San Joaquin ) ss.
I, Susan Palmer, a Certified Electronic Reporter and Transcriber by the American Association of
Electronic Reporters and Transcribers hereby certify that I reported, using the electronic reporting
method, the proceedings had of this matter previously captioned herein; that I thereafter
transcribed my audio recording to transcription by way of word processing; and that the
foregoing transcript, pages 1 to 26, both inclusive, constitutes a full, true and accurate record of
all proceedings had upon the said matter, and of the whole thereof. Witness my hand as a
Certified Electronic Reporter and Transcriber this 28th day of February 1998.
Susan Palmer, CERT 00124 Palmer Reporting Services
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