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President Bush's single largest request for funds and "most important initiative" in the fiscal 2009 intelligence budget is for the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative, a little publicized but massive program whose details "remain vague and thus open to question," according to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
A highly classified, multiyear, multibillion-dollar project, CNCI -- or "Cyber Initiative" -- is designed to develop a plan to secure government computer systems against foreign and domestic intruders and prepare for future threats. Any initial plan can later be expanded to cover sensitive civilian systems to protect financial, commercial and other vital infrastructure data.
The committee's report recognized that as the initiative develops, "it will be imperative that the government also take into account the interests and concerns of private citizens, the U.S. information technology industry, and other elements of the private sector."