Reno: In some instances, it does. When I came to Washington, I had always felt that there was a one-way street with the feds coming to town saying what they wanted but not giving too much in return. I resolved to try to create partnerships between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies -- at least those within the Justice Department.
In most jurisdictions, I think we succeeded, but there are some where a gulf exists.
GT: I ask that question because Im looking at your remarks from the Stanford conference pertaining to the gulf that exists and the hesitancy of some companies to report when Internet attacks happen. Im just wondering if you think that same hesitancy exists on the part of government agencies to report when they get attacked.
Reno: I think that most people know, and any government agency that thinks that they can keep that information from being made available somehow or another is probably unrealistic. Most government agencies would report it.
GT: One of the comments that I got from the crackers with whom I spoke recently was that they werent all that scared of local law enforcement, but they are worried about federal law enforcement. How does a town that gets attacked balance the jurisdictional issues between allowing their local police to take action and letting federal agents take action when they need to?
Reno: It depends on the capability of the local police to deal with the issue. In some instances, you have a crusty old sergeant who has a natural aptitude in this area; gets interested in computers watching his grandchildren work on them; starts getting really competent himself; understands the issues; has tremendous law enforcement experience; and is the spark which ignites a real initiative in that community.
In other areas, you dont have that. The capacity of local law enforcement varies across the country. Sometimes they can handle it with great efficiency; in other instances, they would have to call in the bureau, and the bureau would have to respond. But the bureau has much to do in terms of building up its capacity as well.
GT: Technology evolves so quickly that its hard for anybody to keep up.
Reno: When I came into office, I was concerned because I didnt think enough was being done to ensure that law enforcement maintain a capacity to deal with these issues, including issues that had a direct and immediate effect on national security.
We can learn from the military, and vice versa. We can learn from the private sector, and its imperative, considering the interconnectivity of the Internet, that the private sector and the public sector come together and churn out some plans.
For the person who goes into the local police, and the local police dont know anything about how to investigate these cases so the person doesnt know what to do next and thinks government is inept, weve got to come together with local law enforcement and let the private sector know, "This is who you go [to] in this jurisdiction. This is how it will be handled. These are the contact points."
GT: Is it necessary to set up a strategy for communicating to the right people?
Reno: To the right people, but, clearly, trying to get the right people is the most necessary thing of all; and the right equipment.
GT: Does local law enforcement need to lobby more at the federal level to get the funding, or is it pretty much understood that local law enforcement needs funding?