By DAN CATERINICCHIA
AP Business Writer
2007 The Associated Press
Jan. 16, 2007
WASHINGTON -- Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff on Tuesday
asked business leaders to assess the potential conflict between national
security demands and employee privacy laws regarding risks to the
nation's critical infrastructure, such as water, energy and other
"It's something businesses must reflect upon and strike the right
balance between security with respect to their work force and the
privacy workers expect," Chertoff told The Associated Press following
remarks to the National Infrastructure Advisory Council. The council is
a group of private sector executives and state and local government
leaders who meet four times a year to advise the White House on keeping
crucial facilities secure.
The private sector controls about 85 percent of the nation's water,
energy, transportation and other critical infrastructure.
Chertoff said the council should explore the insider threat to critical
infrastructure systems to identify "sleepers who could be the source of
Internal threats are a risk at all 17 critical infrastructure sectors
and represented the next logical step for the council to explore
following threat assessments at the entrances and perimeters of
facilities, says Robert Stephan, Assistant Secretary of Homeland
Security for Infrastructure Protection.
In addition to water, energy and transportation, the 14 other critical
infrastructure sectors are: communications, chemical and hazardous
materials, commercial facilities, dams, defense industrial base,
emergency services, financial services, food and agriculture, government
facilities, information technology, national monuments and icons,
nuclear power plants, postal and shipping, and public health and health
Erle A. Nye, chairman emeritus of Texas' biggest electricity producer
TXU Corp., leads the council, whose members include executives from
Intel Corp., Akamai Technologies Inc., IBM Corp., ConAgra Foods Inc.,
Symantec Corp. and others.
The council will establish a subcommittee to explore the insider threat
issue and that group is expected to present status reports in April and
July, with formal recommendations possible by October, said Bill Muston
of TXU who supports Nye in his duties as council chair.
Representatives from the National Employment Lawyers Association intend
to monitor the council's progress and said that since many employee
privacy laws are established at the state level, it would take a new
federal law to override them.
Kathleen Bogas, president of NELA's executive board and a private
attorney in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., questioned how the council would
explore the insider threat.
"This could be a huge issue," Bogas said, since any approach that
focused on physical appearance or national origin of employees could
present legal problems.
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