Report: Faulty Communications Imperil President

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  • 2:48 pm
    Wired.com

The U.S. Secret Service is asking for $34 million to help upgrade its communication system, and says that without the money the president’s life could be in danger, according to a news report.

The agency says that its communication system is incompatible with the White House communication system, resulting in a “dangerous gap” that could “prevent the attainment of the performance target of 100 percent protection.”

The statements appeared in a 2010 budget request, submitted to Congress this month, according to ABC News. According to the request, the agency’s “degraded” networks and software are “adversely impacting critical operational missions” and could thwart agents communicating in an emergency.

“USSS’ protective and investigative missions will be functionally unable to respond to the increasing volume of threats without additional investment,” the budget request says.

The agency also indicated that without the multi-million-dollar upgrade, its system was vulnerable to hacker attacks.

A spokesman for the agency told ABC News that the agency isn’t currently at risk “at this time.”

“Despite the challenges we are currently facing with an aging IT infrastructure, this will not interfere with our ability to carry out our protective and investigative missions at this time,” the spokesman said.

But in testimony to Congress in March (.pdf), Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan said that “the agency’s IT and other mission critical infrastructure cannot sustain the tempo of current operations.” Sullivan also noted that the agency flunked an NSA security audit last year that was intended to detect intrusions and vulnerabilities.

“While the NSA findings are classified, I can tell you that the results were chilling,” Sullivan testified.

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2009/05/secretservice/

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