Thompson Announces Hearing on Nation’s Vulnerability to Computer Attack

Washington, DC–Senate Governmental Affairs Chairman Fred Thompson (R-TN) has scheduled the second in a series of computer security hearings. The hearing on “Cyber Attack: Is the Nation at Risk?” will be held on June 24 at 10 am in Room 342 Dirksen Senate Office Building.

“We cannot wait for an electronic Pearl Harbor or Oklahoma City to recognize there is a problem,” Thompson said. “At risk. are the systems that control the nation’s national security, air traffic, finances, power, and communications.”

This hearing will explore with America’s intelligence leaders how vulnerable America is to a computer attack. George Tenet, head of the nation’s intelligence community and Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, will describe the information warfare threat to America’s computers and way of life, The Committee will examine whether the Chinese and Russian militaries, foreign intelligence agencies, terrorist groups, and organized criminal gangs are targeting the American heartland with cyber “weapons of mass destruction.”

Lt. General Minihan, the Director of the National Security Agency, will identify in greater detail the nation’s vulnerability as revealed in a recent war game known as “Eligible Receiver”. The Committee also will explore whether the Year 2000 problem will increase America’s vulnerability to attack. As we approach the 21st century, will terrorists and rogue nations test their information warfare weapons without fear of being caught and insert data smart bombs into the nation’s computers for use at a later date?

“While most Americans know about the benefits of computers,” Thompson said, “they may not be aware of the darker side of the information age that could leave us vulnerable to attack.”


The Honorable George J. Tenet
Director Central Intelligence Agency

Lieutenant General Kenneth A. Minihan
Director, National Security Agency