| WASHINGTON, July 8
WASHINGTON, July 8 A contract has been awarded
for research to help counter computer-based threats to
national-security networks, the chief U.S. code-cracking and
eavesdropping agency said, amid mounting concern over cyber
The program, dubbed Perfect Citizen, is "purely a
vulnerabilities-assessment and capabilities-development
contract," Judith Emmel, a National Security Agency
spokeswoman, said in an email to Reuters.
"This is a research and engineering effort," she said. "There
is no monitoring activity involved, and no sensors are employed in
The Wall Street Journal, in its Thursday editions, described
Perfect Citizen as relying on sensors it said would be deployed in
networks running critical infrastructure such as the electricity
grid and nuclear-power plants.
Raytheon Co (RTN.N) won a classified contract for the
classified work's initial phase valued at up to $100 million,
the report cited a person familiar with the project as saying.
Joyce Kuzmin, a Raytheon spokeswoman, told Reuters in
response: "We have no info on this."
The NSA, a Defense Department arm, did not confirm or deny
that the contract in question had been awarded to Waltham,
"This contract provides a set of technical solutions that
help the National Security Agency better understand the threats
to national security networks," Emmel said.
It would be inappropriate to confirm or deny details of the
Journal report because of "the high sensitivity of what we do to
defend our nation," she added.
"Any suggestions that there are illegal or invasive
domestic activities associated with this contracted effort are
simply not true," Emmel said. "We strictly adhere to both the
spirit and the letter of U.S. laws and regulations."
U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn said last
month that more than 100 intelligence agencies and foreign
militaries were actively trying to penetrate U.S. computer
systems, and "weapons-system blueprints are among the documents
that have been compromised."
The United States must be able to operate freely in
cyberspace amid dangers of "remote sabotage," General Keith
Alexander said June 3 in his first public remarks as head of
U.S. Cyber Command. It was activated in May to harmonize offensive
and defensive U.S. operations in cyberspace.
(Reporting by Jim Wolf)