Office of the Attorney General News Release Archive

Monday, December 17, 2001


HOUSTON - Members of the State Infrastructure Protection Advisory Committee (SIPAC) met today in Houston as the group continued working on its recommendations for better securing essential computer services and forms of commerce. SIPAC, created earlier this year by Texas Attorney General John Cornyn, grew from the Internet Bureau he established more than a year ago. Also, it was announced that a national conference, sponsored by the U.S. Critical Infrastructure Assurance Office (CIAO) would be held late January in Texas.

"We've become very dependent on computers to run the components that make up our daily lives," Attorney General Cornyn said. "It's important that we protect this central nervous system of our industrialized society. This includes taking a close look at such areas as telecommunications, oil and gas pipelines, transportation networks, emergency services, and other vital systems."

Cornyn began working on issues of critical infrastructure protection last year in conjunction with the U.S. Justice Department and CIAO. The terrorist attacks in September have added to SIPAC's mission and made the timeliness of their recommendations even more critical.

"The president's Office of Homeland Security is relying on SIPAC to come up with a plan that can be used as a model for other states," said Retired Admiral Bob Inman, who chairs SIPAC and was once director of the National Security Agency. "We have some of the nation's top experts working on this critical project, including representatives from the private sector who have experience with doing business in some of the world's most dangerous places."

Industry leaders were among those who briefed SIPAC members at Rice University's Baker Institute on Monday. Others joined the group via video conference, including Richard Clarke, the president's top advisor on homeland security issues. SIPAC, which is working in conjunction with Gov. Rick Perry's Task Force on Homeland Security, is working toward a spring 2002 deadline for finalizing its plans.

Also at Monday's meeting, officials with the National Infrastructure Protection Center in Washington, D.C., announced plans for a conference to be held January 24-25, 2002. Austin will host experts from around the nation who will work to strengthen and enhance the public and private sector ability to plan, protect, detect, respond, and manage recovery within the nation's communities.

"We are pleased to have Texas host the first in a series of nationwide conferences focusing on protecting the nations critical assets," said John Tritak, Director of CIAO. "Attorney General Cornyn has demonstrated an outstanding vision in the area critical protection of the states assets and, in turn, has positioned Texas to lead the way as a model for other states."

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