Partner Jamie Gorelick, former US Deputy Attorney General during President Bill Clinton's administration, discussed with the Federal Times how the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing changed national security. The interview showcases Gorelick's presence at the creation of the federal government's cybersecurity efforts as the Internet was emerging as a global force. This unique perspective continues to influence her work for clients as a key member of the firm's Cybersecurity, Privacy and Communications Practice.
After the Oklahoma City attack, Gorelick, as part of a working group of senior administration officials, analyzed broad threats to the nation. They quickly realized that the threat was not just from physical attacks on critical infrastructure but virtual ones as well.
“We were briefed on the nature of the threat, and one of the things we were briefed on was the readily available information that would show the vulnerability of our critical nodes. You could find available on the Internet, available publicly, information on, in essence, how to destroy our communications infrastructure. How to destroy the [industrial control] systems that control our transportation and our energy pipelines, just as a couple of examples,” said Gorelick. “This was terrifying to us.”
One year later in 1996, Gorelick and the group recommended to the president the creation of a presidential commission on infrastructure protection.
“By that point we came up with a name for the threat which was cybersecurity. We named it.”