29 March 2006

HS: Critical Infrastructure Partnership Advisory Council

Homeland Security Advisory Council Critical Infrastructure Task Force Report
Mar 16 2006

"The Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC) Critical Infrastructure Task Force (CITF) recently released a report including six high level recommendations focused on advancing national policies and strategies that will foster the development of more resilient critical infrastructures. The recommendations leverage the foundation built by prior and ongoing Critical Infrastructure Protection programs, but assert that a future focus on resilience would establish a more appropriate basis for risk-based decisionmaking." http://www.tisp.org/news/newsdetails.cfm?&newsID=804

The title above should link you to the report.

The Critical Infrastructure Partnership Advisory Council has caught some heat recently:
Homeland security group to meet away from public eye
By Anne Broache
Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Published: March 24, 2006, 12:21 PM PST
Last modified: March 24, 2006, 1:42 PM PST
pdate A new advisory committee in the Homeland Security Department is free to disregard a law designed to keep meetings open and proceedings public, according to a departmental notice.

The newly created Critical Infrastructure Partnership Advisory Council is charged with sharing information aimed at protecting the nation's infrastructure, cybercomponents included. Michael Chertoff, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary, cited security reasons when he signed off on exempting the council from the Federal Advisory Committee Act, or FACA.

The decision, which many private-sector players had strongly recommended, was released in a departmental notice published Friday.

The council, which plans to meet at least quarterly, will bring together various federal agency employees and private-sector representatives to discuss the Department of Homeland Security's infrastructure protection plan, which remains in draft form. The fields represented range from agriculture and energy to information technology and telecommunications. Participants include the U.S. Telecom Association, the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association and Internet infrastructure services provider VeriSign.

If those participants are required to comply with FACA, it could leave them seriously hindered in sharing "sensitive homeland security information," the department said.

The 1972 law generally requires such groups to meet in open sessions, make written meeting materials publicly available, and deliver a 15-day notice of any decision to close a meeting to the public. The last is a particular point of concern for Homeland Security officials, who anticipate that private emergency meetings may need to be scheduled on short notice.

The private sector, fearing that sensitive data will get to the wrong hands, has continued to resist sharing important information with the feds, the Department of Homeland Security said, citing government auditors' findings from late 2003.

Making the meetings public would amount to "giving our nation's enemies information they could use to most effectively attack a particular infrastructure and cause cascading consequences across multiple infrastructures," another departmental advisory council warned in August.

One privacy advocate said he didn't buy the excuses. "The public has an extremely strong interest in knowing whether DHS and the relevant industries are doing enough to protect facilities, and whether there might be company negligence that contributes to any possible security vulnerabilities," David Sobel, a general counsel at the Electronic Privacy Information Center, wrote in an e-mail interview...."

here's the link to the entire article: http://news.com.com/Homeland+security+group+to+meet+away+from+public+eye/2100-7348_3-6053795.html?tag=nefd.top

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