Widely circulated and later confirmed, this letter from "cyber-security" adviser Richard Clarke was sent out to all department heads.
From: Richard Clarke To: All ISAC's With the completion of the National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace and the stand up of the Department of Homeland Security, it is a good juncture for me to end my 11 years in the White House. I have, therefore, sent a letter of resignation to the President. The events of the last weekend demonstrate yet again how vulnerable our society is to cyberspace attacks. The Sapphire Worm was essentially a dumb worm that was easily and cheaply made. It attacked only one vulnerability on one piece of software from one vendor for one type of machine. Moreover, that vulnerability was one for which a patch had been available for many months. Nonetheless, the results of the worm were significant. It spread to hundreds of thousands of machines in less than 15 minutes. It disabled some root servers, the heart of internet traffic. Although it was aimed at servers, it caused routers to flop and cease to function. Some airline flights were delayed or cancelled. Some banking functions ceased. A national election/referendum in Canada was canceled. Workers were sent home at some major US companies. With slight modifications, the results of the worm would have been more significant. More sophisticated attacks against known vulnerabilities in cyberspace could be devastating. As long as we have vulnerabilities in cyberspace and as long as America has enemies, we are at risk of the two coming together to severely damage our great country. We can not assume that the past level of damage is in any way indicative of what could happen in the future. Therefore, it is essential to the health of the nation 's economy and the security of the country that we aggressively implement the National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace. It can not be the job of the Department of Homeland Security alone. Every major Federal agency has a role. White House leadership will remain essential. Congressional attention, support, and oversight must continue. Active partnership with and by the Private Sector will be crucial. I have enjoyed working with you to raise awareness about terrorism and more recently about cyberspace security. Thirty years after beginning federal service, I hope now to learn how to contribute to these issues as a private citizen. I hope we can stay in touch.