Homeland watch

Baker reveals policy views

For a view of homeland security policy ideas espoused by Stewart Baker, the Homeland Security Department's new policy czar, look no further than his testimony to the 9/11 Commission.

Baker wants investigators to be able to search, within 30 seconds, a terrorism suspect's address, phone, e-mail, financial, travel and organization records.

The government also needs to have access to private sector data about a specific attack site within four hours after that site is threatened, and information on nearby critical infrastructure nodes within five minutes, Baker wrote.

To protect against abuses, DHS should use electronic auditing and rules-based access control as well as anonymization.

Einstein program to expand

DHS' National Cyber Security Division has deployed its Einstein Program for monitoring network activity at the Transportation Department and two other agencies, and expects to use Einstein at five other agencies within the next four to six months, Donald Purdy Jr., acting director of the division, told the Senate.

The division launched Einstein, a "cybersituational awareness" program, last September. It collects and compares the flow of information on the agency networks.

Spurring changes in airport security

Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.) got a laugh at a Senate hearing July 19 while talking of having to give up his riding gear to DHS security inspectors at an airport.

"They get very nervous when you have a set of spurs in your bag if you're traveling between here and Montana ... I never got them spurs back," Burns said.

Following up was Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), who asked, "I was kind of curious what the senator uses the spurs for in Washington, but I won't go there."

A quick search on Lexis-Nexis Inc. libraries revealed a possible answer: Burns rode horseback for the 1.7 mile Presidential Inaugural Parade here in January.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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