Thompson Introduces Legislation to Protect Federal Computer and Information Systems

Washington, DC – Senate Governmental Affairs Committee Ranking Member Fred Thompson (R-TN) has introduced legislation to prevent the lapse of the Government Information Security Reform Act (GISRA), an important law which protects federal information systems from vulnerability to computer attacks by international and domestic terrorists, crime rings, and hackers.

“According to a recent survey, a majority of information technology professionals believe a major attack against the government is likely in the next year, and even more recognize the gap between the threat of an attack and the government?s preparedness. This is very telling. We are fighting a new war in a new age on unconventional fronts. We can not afford to overlook our nation?s technology infrastructure as we secure our homeland,” said Thompson.

After numerous Governmental Affairs Committee hearings and General Accounting Office reports identifying systematic failures of government information systems, Congress enacted the Government Information Security Reform Act, which requires federal agencies to develop and implement security policies. The law also provides the Office of Management and Budget with the authority to demand from agencies better plans for improving computer security. However, this law includes a sunset provision and is set to expire November 29, 2002. Senator Thompson?s legislation,

S. 3067, repeals the sunset and makes permanent the Government Information Security Reform Act.

“We must ensure that Federal agencies continue to protect their assets and prevent hackers and cyberterrorists from wreaking havoc with citizens? sensitive information. Americans trust that their personal information, such as taxpayer data, veterans? medical records, and social security portfolios, will be kept safe. Information security is too important to let this bill expire.”