Letter from Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) to FBI Director Robert Mueller.
Date: January 22, 2003.
Re: Cyber Security.
Source: Office of Sen. Grassley.

January 22, 2003

The Honorable Robert S. Mueller, III
Federal Bureau of Investigation
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC  20535

Dear Director Mueller:

I am writing to you regarding the government’s investigation of Ptech, a software company in Quincy, Massachusetts.

First, I want to commend you and the FBI, particularly the Boston Division, for taking this investigation seriously in regard to terrorism.  It is my understanding that the FBI did not drop the ball in the way some early media reports had indicated.

I appreciate that FBI officials recognized the seriousness of most of the issues involved in the Ptech investigation and acted accordingly.

However, I am concerned that the FBI may not have done enough to ensure the computers and networks of the government and private sector are free of vulnerabilities which might arise from using Ptech software.

Until the National Infrastructure and Protection Center (NIPC) moves to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), it is still the FBI’s responsibility, through NIPC, “to serve as the U.S. government's focal point for threat assessment, warning, investigation, and response for threats or attacks against our critical infrastructures,” as NIPC’s web site states.

In the case of Ptech and the potential for widespread vulnerability in government computers and systems, I fear some at FBI Headquarters may be suffering from a “not my job, not my problem” attitude that focuses only on the vulnerability of the FBI itself rather than the federal government at large – not to mention the private sector.

I urge you to make sure that the FBI and NIPC, rather than only the bureau’s counter-terrorism division, address this issue in a global way.  I also urge you to ensure that NIPC’s detection, analysis and prevention functions continue during its transfer to the DHS.

As a senior member of the Judiciary Committee, which has oversight of the FBI, I know we both take these issues seriously.  I appreciate the briefings FBI officials have been providing to my staff, and I look forward to continued cooperation. 


Charles E. Grassley