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    Washington Post: Obama Administration to Involve NSA in Defending Civilian Agency Networks

    UPDATE: The Wall Street Journal has more on Einstein 3.

    The Washington Post has breaking news:

    The Obama administration will proceed with a Bush-era plan to use National Security Agency assistance in screening government computer traffic on private-sector networks, with AT&T as the likely test site, according to three current and former government officials.

    President Obama said in May that government efforts to protect computer systems from attack would not involve “monitoring private sector networks or Internet traffic” and Department of Homeland Security officials say that the new program will only scrutinize data going to or from government systems.

    But the program has provoked debate within DHS, the current and former officials said, because of uncertainty over whether private data can be shielded from unauthorized scrutiny, how much of a role NSA should play and whether the agency’s involvement in warrantless wiretapping under the Bush administration would draw controversy. […]

    Under a classified pilot program approved during the Bush administration, NSA data and hardware would be used to protect the networks of some civilian government agencies. Part of an initiative known as Einstein 3, the pilot called for telecommunications companies to route the Internet traffic of civilian government agencies through a monitoring box that would search for and block malicious computer codes.

    AT&T, the world’s largest telecommunications firm, was the Bush administration’s choice to participate in the test, which has been delayed for months as the Obama administration determines what elements of the Bush plan to preserve, former government officials said. The pilot was to have been launched in February.

    “To be clear, Einstein 3 development is proceeding,” DHS spokeswoman Amy Kudwa said. “We are moving forward in a way that protects privacy and civil liberties.”

    Read the full story.

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